Sparge Arm for 10 Gallon Mash Tun

We have decided on a sparge method.  We will fly sparge our mash.  To be able to do that, we will build a sparge arm to help distributed the added water evenly and not create water channels in the mash.

After some thought, I decided to use a design very similar to the manifold I built for the bottom of the Mash Tun.

I already had the CPVC pipe left over from the manifold build.  So only the fittings were needed.

1/2 in. CPVC CTS 45-Degree Slip x Slip Elbow – 9 x $0.44
1/2 in. CPVC CTS Slip x Slip x Slip Tee – 3 x $0.25
1/2 in. CPVC CTS Slip x FPT Female Adapter – $1.19
1/2″ STAINLESS Quick Disconnect – Male x 1/2″ NPT male – $6.99

I cut six 3-inch lengths, four 1-inch lengths, two 3 1/2-inch lengths and a 6-inch length of CPVC.

On the 3- and 3 1/2-inch pieces, I drilled 1/4″ holes.

Since the only thing going through this is water, I decided to cement the pieces together.  I used PVC Cement that comes with both a primer and the cement.  Of course, I already had these from past projects.

Make certain that you are using cement that is for potable water.

Prime all the ends and let it dry.  Then start applying the cement to each connecting point and build the octagon.  The 6-inch piece will go straight up.

Note that the holes in the pipe are angled toward the outside as close to a 45-degree angle as I could get them based upon the location of the holes.

Add four wraps of teflon tape to the Quick Disconnect and screw it into the female adapter.

This part does NOT get cemented to the assembly.  I want the sparge arm to be removable.

To accommodate this, I drilled a hole and installed a keeper screw.

Here’s a close up look.  I used a screw from the fan I used to build the Stir Plate.

Drilled a 5/8″ hole in the center of the cooler lid.

Sparge Arm installed.  The fitting keeps it in place.

This is how far the sparge arm extends into the Mash Tun.  I can make the vertical arm shorter if needed.

Never knowing when to leave well enough alone, I decided to create a thermometer tube to use during Mashing.  I cut a 3-inch piece of CPVC and cemented a coupler to it.

I then placed a small stopper into the coupling.  The hole in the stopper was just big enough to fit around the nut on the thermometer.  To be sure of a tight fit I used the PVC cement to attach the stopper to the thermometer.

The thermometer came with the brew cart that I ordered.  That explains the higher temperatures on the dial.

Thermometer installed.

The thermometer extends far enough to be able to get readings from the mash.

Well, after using the thermometer that came with the cart, it simply didn’t work.  I had liquid at 155 Degrees in the cooler, but the thermometer only showed 126 Degrees.  I grabbed the thermometer from my 5 Gal brew setup and stuck that through the CPVC tube.  It read 155 Degrees and stayed there.

Having used this for three brews now, I cannot be happier with this sparge assembly.

Remember to always calibrate or have a backup, especially when using free crap.

The only purchase for the thermometer was the coupling.

1/2 in. CPVC CTS Slip x Slip Coupling – $0.27

There you have it.  A sparge arm for $12.89.  The thermometer assembly brought it up to $13.16.

Brew More Beer!

5 Replies to “Sparge Arm for 10 Gallon Mash Tun”

  1. Great design and I'm stealing it 🙂 Please explain why you would angle the holes towards the wall of the cooler? You would want an even coverage over the top would you not?. The holes looks like it will wash down the walls.
    Another question is you stated you Fly sparge but you glued the joints stating only water will be run through it. Fly sparging is draining off the bottom and returning to the top until the wort becomes clear and is called vorlauf. What ypu described is batch sparge. This is where water is added to rinse the grain. This is repeated to achieve the pre-boil volume if needed. I'm a newb so correct me if I am wrong.

  2. The holes are not angled toward the walls, but are on the top of the sparge assembly. This creates more of a "raining" effect and will not cause channels to form.

    Fly sparging is a continuous sparge. As you empty the sweet wort from the mash lauter run into the boil kettle, you are adding water from the hot liquor tank. This is done after the vorlauf, which is typically only about a quart. What you described is a recirculating mash. There are two predominant methods for doing this: HERMS and RIMS. They will be described in a future blog post. Batch sparging is emptying all the sweet wort into the boil kettle. Once the mash lauter tun is drained, the full amount of sparge water is added to the MLT and drains again into the boil kettle.

  3. I just came across this after having just built something extremely similar. However, I've come across a bit of a surprise problem: how to match flow rates when the lid is on and I can't see the levels on the mash tun. Any suggestions? How do you manage this?

  4. Ah, you are using pumps. I'm currently gravity feeding everything.

    I might try to build something similar but with a solenoid valve to keep gravity feeding. Then again, I may end up getting a pump or two for the long run RIMS/HERMS setup I'm playing with. Moar projects!

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