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I've been to 3 Home Depots in my area searching for the metallic components to construct a mash tun out of a water cooler. I could not find stainless steel, only galvanized or black steel. They a copper ball valve but not any other components. They did have lead-free brass, but not in the sizes I was looking for (3/4" coupling, pipe nipple, etc). Two Ace Hardwares and one True Value did not either.

Which stores carry them? I want to build this tomorrow.

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    The other solution is to look at a different, easier, cheaper design. see www.dennybrew.com for ideas. – Denny Conn Aug 10 '14 at 15:23
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Have you tried your local homebrew store?

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There are many mail-order or online places to get these components, but local hardware stores will typically not have everything you need.

There might be a specialty plumbing store near you or a Grainger Industrial Supply type store near you.

If that does not work, you can order online from sites like bargainfittings.com or fittingsandadapters.com.

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There are many online stores, which provide these types of components. Even so, I will personally suggest shanesstainless.com.au. It is a very well-known online store. You can get to order your desire component here.

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If you want to build a mash tun with hardware store parts, you typically won't find stainless steel and your options will usually be limited to "plumbing" parts (copper/brass, garden hose fittings, etc). That doesn't mean you can't do it, but in my experience, it's about the same money (or more if you make some mistakes) and you end up with brass, especially over using sites like bargain fittings. Denny's is the best suggestion for using local hardware stores and the most cost efficient.

I wouldn't recommend a kettle screen, as in my experience, you only save ~$10 and they must be removed and cleaned, otherwise they will clog your system. A round 10g cooler with a round false bottom, connecting hose and fittings seems to be what has worked for me. But, if you want stainless steel, you pretty much have to order everything (cooler from home depot, ship to store ~$50, most don't carry the 10g), fittings from bargain fittings (~$80 with thermometer and two bulkheads plus valve - all stainless) false bottom and hose from midwest or williams or other (~40-50). It's around $170, but it's cheaper than most "complete" tuns and all stainless. EDIT - Just thought I'd point out, Morebeer sells a mash tun for 180, but it is missing the second bulkhead and thermometer. You can't save a ton buying all the parts and building it yourself, but you do save a bit (~50).

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Your local brewery store may have a small selection of fittings, but your best bet for selection and pricing is going to be online. I manage Sanitary Fittings where we sell a wide variety of fittings for home and commercial brewers alike. If you need any help please let me know.

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