Vacant's £3 stainless mesh Grain Basket

 
grain basket before mashing in


 

Here it is in my 50 litre shiny boiler before adding 4.5Kg grains at the start of a "single pot" all-grain brew day.


The grain basket can be fettled in 15 minutes from

      • a 30 litre plastic "Euro bucket", check top diameter 360mm, bottom diameter 320mm. These are also sold as 33 litres to the brim
      • some nylon strimmer line or marine grade 1mm steel rope or similar
      • a £3 Ikea stainless splatter screen, these are 33cm diameter, excellent quality

If the grain basket needs to be submerged for larger brew lengths or recirculation then a second splatter screen can be fitted in the Euro bucket's lid to keep the grain in place.

I also fashioned a lifting handle from a wire coat hanger.

The pictures below show

  • The mesh filter, forced in about 24cm deep
  • The "strimmer line" web, now replaced with 5m of 1mm marine grade steel rope through eight holes (£1.80 delivered)
  • After the mash, the basket drains into the boiler while resting on two aluminium poles from a window cleaning kit. The wort staining shows the top of the basket was around 6cm clear of the mash, no need for a lid with 32 litre liquor/23 litre brew length. The boiler is a second hand HLT and the elements have been fitted quite high
  • Grain basket with a second splatter screen in the lid

 
 
filter
 
backup supporting web
 
 
draining after the mash
 
basket with lid

HOWTO make a VGB

  • Stuff the splatter screen down into the bucket until it forms a tight and level fit about 24cm deep
  • Mark and drill four or more holes just below the splatter screen, the web will be for emergency support
  • Run some line through the holes and tie off to form a supporting web
  • For a 50 litre stainless boiler cut back the bucket's handles a bit with a stanley knife
  • For a 50 litre boiler cut off the base of the bucket about 3cm from the bottom so the boiler lid will close over the bucket lid (if you want a lid)
  • Cut out a space for the boiler tap/bazooka filter - not too generous as this helps keep the basket from twisting
  • Cut out a wider space around the kettle elements - add few extra cm to stop the plastic touching
  • You may want a wire coat hanger handle, align the holes for this with the handles of the boiler - another check to keep the plastic away from the kettle elements

That's it. I also cut shallow notches so the aluminium draining poles don't slip around.


HOWTO make a grain basket lid


  • If you place the second splatter screen on the lid you'll find it is a little too large to fit on the flat part of the lid
  • Working around the lid, cut out notches such that each "tab" has about a 2mm recess. The splatter screen should snap into place
  • Remove the splatter screen and cut out the flat part of the lid except for a surrounding border of at least a couple of mm
  • Snap the splatter screen in place under the tabs
  • Flip the lid over and make the stainless/plastic boundary grain-proof by forcing a piece of thin tubing around the gap. I used spare hose from my RO filter system

 
cut tabs with a 2mm recess, remove the flat part of the lid except for a 2mm surrounding border
 
insert tubing to make the plastic/metal boundary grain-proof

What next?


This is crying out for a decent pump to recirculate the wort. And a temperature probe. And a PID. And an Arduino controller. Why did I give my old Raspberry Pi to my son? I could have a Braumeister/Grainfather clone for a fraction of the price.