How to Convert a Rubbermaid Cooler to a Mash Tun

Written by jason keele
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How to Convert a Rubbermaid Cooler to a Mash Tun
From barley grains to amber-hued beer at home -- it's possible. (Bottle with beer on a white reflecting surface image by Alexander Oshvintsev from

Home brewing is an addiction, and once you have reached the stage of desiring an all-grain brew there is no hope for a cure. Your only consolation will be that delicious first batch of beer made entirely from fresh barley grains, your recipe cooked from scratch. There is no need to purchase malt extract, or piddle with 5-gallon batches. Converting a common household 10-gallon round Rubbermaid cooler into a mash tun will allow you to upgrade to all-grain brewing, and brew 15-gallon batches.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • False bottom
  • Potholder
  • 1-foot vinyl tubing, 3/8-inch

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  1. 1

    Place a stainless steel false bottom, a perforated metal device made for brewing, so it lays flat in the bottom of the cooler. The false bottom will keep your grains from clogging the spout. Its all that's needed to turn your cooler into a mash tun.

  2. 2

    Connect one end of a 1-foot piece of 3/8-inch vinyl tubing to the hose barb on the top of the false bottom.

  3. 3

    Insert the other end of the vinyl tubing into the hole for the spout on the inside bottom of the cooler.

  4. 4

    Grip the drain spout with a potholder whenever draining the mash tun. This will protect you from burns and eliminate the need to purchase a more expensive draining ball valve.

Tips and warnings

  • Stainless steel false bottoms can be purchased from a home-brew supply shop or online.
  • Mash tuns involve the use of hot water; please use common sense to avoid burns.

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