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Help me decide if I want this as a mash tun


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Right now a partner and I are hoping to start a distillery as cheaply as possible, get a product on a few shelves, and see how things go from there. We weren't planning on buying a ton of equipment, but I just found this surplus dairy equipment and am wondering if it's a deal I shouldn't pass up.

As of right now we are planning on using a 55 gallon SS drum and a 4", 4 plate column still. We were going to mash in the same SS drum, but now there's this beast.

I've been a beer homebrewer for awhile, and understand the mashing process. I'm not sure what mods I'd need to do, and how much they'd be.


No idea if the motor works or not. Any idea how easy it is to replace?


Here's the whole thing, can I just put a burner underneath if the agitator does it's job?


Here's where I get nervous, I don't know a ton about heat exchangers or agitators.

1. Can I head and cool ~150 gallons of mash with a heat exchanger like this? If so what other equipment do I need? I assume circulating boiling or cold water through that would be very slow.

2. That agitator doesn't cover the entire bottom. Will this work for grain, or would I need to replace it with a larger one?



This bottom seems pretty wide/nice. I assume as long as my mash isn't super thick I would be able to let gravity do it's work on draining the tank? I'm planning on fermenting and distilling on the grain.

Any thoughts or advice would be great.

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Well , you asked for it. So here it is. If you can't look at the agitator and see for yourself how easy it is or isn't to replace, then my guess is your gonna have hard time. If you aren't mechanically enclined, able to weld, able to think through a design, and willing to sac up and give it a try, fix it and refix it and LEARN for yourself as you go until you figure it out?, then you might wanna save your duckets up for something turn key, that someone else did all that for you. No meaning any offense. But he'll if your motivated, then by all means save yourself some money, grab that tank and turn it into a mash tun. Do some homework, get a welder, geter done. Stick your neck out a little. Or give a guy that did your $. Looking at the photo, I wouldn't put much value in the motor, working or not, but surely that tank could become a mash tun.

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Based on your pix, the agitator looks sufficient to move stuff around, depending on it's rpm. A piece of HDPE and some stainless screws could certainly extend the sweep, if the motor and gearbox can handle it. The stainless looks good. I'd probably go ahead and grab it, myself. Then again, I've modified more that a few vessels in my time...

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I still don't understand, are you looking to use it as a mash tun or just a plain ol' cereal cooker? Are you using grain that needs to be gelatinized?

You were talking about fermenting on grain, which means you aren't going to need to do much to modify that vessel, you certainly don't need any screen, and the vessel geometry isn't important if you don't need to to shovel out the grain.

What's the rating on the heat exchanger? Do you know if it was for heating or cooling? Steam? Ideally if that was steam or hot water, it would be very easy to retrofit.

That agitator looks plenty strong to me, I wouldn't touch it.

I doubt that you'd clog up that output valve, but if you let a very stiff mash settle before you cracked it, you might plug up.

On second thought, it's a piece of junk, let me take it off your hands and scrap that right quick.

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