Manifold in a round cooler

It's built from 3/8"OD copper tubing (I had a bunch of it), "held together" with 3/8" copper fittings. These are designed to be soldered together, but I've just "slip fit" them. Thus, I can take it apart for cleaning. There are 3 basic pieces: two semi-circles and one straight piece. There are 4 T fittings, and two very short bits of tubing. The "down tube" is long enough to reach just to the top of the cooler (I want to be able to put the lid on), and there is another piece that goes through the hole where the spigot was. (I got a nice fitting from Kinney Baughmann that fits in this hole and has compression connections on both ends). On the outside is a short piece of tubing, a ball valve, and another short piece of tubing, all held together with compression fittings. I can slip my siphon hose over the last bit of tubing.

Inside, it looks like this from the top (Thanks Jim for the original graphic).


				     *(long tube coming up at you)
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                                  *****
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				     *(short tube going out the spigot hole)
The semicircles and cross-piece are slotted on the bottom side. I made a little jig from a piece of 2x4 to cut the slots. It's just a hole through the 2x4 a little bigger than 3/8". I stuck the 2x4 in a vise, then put the tubing through the hole, and sawed right next to the 2x4. Lots easier than trying to just hold the sucker still with one hand and saw with the other.

I made it a tight fit in the cooler. I didn't realize it until recently, but this is extra insurance against the manifold coming apart during the mash (there was a "horror story" about this in the HBD).

The downtube is very useful for introducing water gently from the bottom (underletting): Put the cooler on the floor. Fill the siphon hose with water and crimp one end in your hand. Slip the one end over the downtube (easier with practice). Put the other end in the pot full of water, and release the crimp. It seems to me that I get better mixing this way, when I'm trying to infuse water to raise the temperature of the mash.

It also should act as a suction breaker -- that is, if the suction from the water flowing out the spigot is too hard, instead of getting a stuck mash, you'll just suck air from the downtube. I'm not sure if this is an important consideration, since I usually set the valve so it runs pretty slowly.