Cheap and Easy 10 gal Rubbermaid MLT Conversion

Building a mash & lauter tun from a large beverage container is easy and inexpensive to do.  You can buy Kewler Kit conversions that supply you with a pre-build bulkhead and faucet, but off-the-shelf components from your local hardware store work just as well, and cost far less.  I got all my parts at my local Home Depot.

The style of MLT that I built was for batch sparging.  To make it easy and cheap to build, I used a stainless steel braid for straining the grist during lautering.  But one could easily substitute a false bottom or manifold, if desired.  The bulkhead is made from a brass nipple connector and a few washers to add rigidity and obtain the correct spacing.  The faucet is a simple ball valve.  That's it!

(Click on any picture to enlarge it.)

Parts List:

Here are the parts you will need for the conversion (see picture, left to right):

  •  Rubbermaid 10 gallon round beverage cooler
  •  all stainless steel hose clamps x 2
  •  brass square head plug (Watts A-737)
  •   x 12 (or larger) braided stainless steel supply hose
  •  3/8 female barb adapter (Watts A-298)
  •  5/8 stainless steel fender washer
  •  3/8 MIP x 1-1/2 brass nipple (Watts A-786)
  •  seal from plastic spigot of cooler (shown below)
  •  Teflon tape (note: everything to the left of the tape in the picture above goes inside the cooler, and everything to the right goes outside)
  •  5/8 O-ring (preferably heat resistant, if you can find one)
  •  3 x 5/8 fender washers
  •  3/8 threaded ball valve
  •  3/8 male barb adapter (Watts A-294)


Step 1 - Remove the spigot from the cooler:

  • using a wrench to firmly hold the nut inside the cooler, remove the plastic spigot from the Rubbermaid cooler
  • retain the seal from the inside of the cooler for use in Step 2 below

Step 2 - Inside parts:

  •  Stainless steel braid:
    • cut the ends off the stainless steel braided supply hose using a hacksaw or rotary tool (my Dremel tool cut through the braid like nothing -- took about 60 seconds)
    • using a set of needle nose pliers, grab the flexible hose inside the braid, and PUSH the braid off the hose (don't pull!)
    • insert the brass square head plug into one end of the braid and secure with a hose clamp (or you can just crimp down the end, but then the braid may float up in your mash)

  •  Bulkhead:
    • apply a few wraps of teflon tape to threads on the brass nipple
    • slide stainless steel washer onto brass nipple
    • securely attach female barb adapter to brass nipple
    • insert seal from plastic spigot on inside of cooler and insert brass nipple inside

Step 3 - Outside Parts:

  •  pull brass nipple all the way through the hole in the cooler, and insert O-ring

  •  apply teflon tape to threads on nipple
  •  add fender washers as spacers to ensure a tight fit of the components once the ball valve is attached (mine needed 3 washers)
  •  attach the ball valve
  •  apply teflon tape to the male barb connector, and attach it to the bal valve

Step 4 - Attach Stainless Steel Braid

  •  slip a SS hose clamp over the open end of the SS braid
  • slide the braid onto the barb connector inside the cooler, and tighten the hose clamp

The Finished Product

That's it. You now have a cheap MLT that was easy to put together.  To be sure mine didn't leak, I filled it to the 10 gallon capacity with water, and let it sit for 45 minutes.  Didn't leak a drop!









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