I decided my next piece of brewing equipment would be a new mash tun so I started looking around for a good price on an appropriate vessel. I found a new 10 gallon rectangular chest cooler for $20 last week so I picked it up and started the build on Saturday.
I wasn't quite sure what design I wanted but this was definitely going to double as a lauter tun so I needed some sort of filtration system. Rectangular false bottoms are tough to find and fairly expensive so that was out. I originally headed to Lowes figuring I'd use a steel braided hose for filtration but after I got there I decided to build a PVC manifold instead.
I drilled a bunch of 1/8" holes in the top and sides of the manifold for filtration. I ended up with a stuck sparge a couple of times so I might need to widen them a little bit next time.
An inline ball value connects to the output PVC and a 90 degree plastic PEX barb is a perfect attachment for a plastic hose and is easy to unscrew for cleaning.
I let everything cure overnight and brewed my first batch on Sunday, a citra pale ale. I calculated my efficiency and figure I hit about 80%. My collection volume was a ballpark estimate so this could go a few percent either direction but even low balling at 75% is pretty good for a batch sparge. It was reasonably easy to clean and can double as a chilling vessel if I need to drop wort temperature down really low for lager brewing. Overall I'm pretty happy with the new tun and at about $50 it was a real bargain.