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Old 03-15-2007, 06:27 AM   #1
revrand65
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Default 5 gal igloo cooler for mashing.

after doing around 50 extract brews i'm ready to do all grain..i allready have a nice propane burner,sparge water bucket all the taps and fittings and am waiting on my 30 qt. stainless brew pot which i got used off ebay for $53..so here's my question..i bought a 5 gal round igloo water cooler from walmart for $18 ..i plan on doing 5 gal brews only..will the 5 gal cooler be big enough for mashing..i'd hate to take it back and invest another $30 for a ten gal when a 5 gal will work just as good..thanks to all who reply..

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Old 03-15-2007, 06:45 AM   #2
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You can do a single infusion in there with about 13lbs of grain... I used to have a 5 gallon, go here for pics (blue coolers)

http://s168.photobucket.com/albums/u189/PolTavern/

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Old 03-15-2007, 07:18 AM   #3
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In the long run you will be better off with a 10 gallon. If you are batch sparging then I would get a rectangular cooler.....about 48 quarts or so.

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Old 03-15-2007, 12:02 PM   #4
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You can do it no question. But at some point you are probably going to want to do a big beer and a 5 gal. MT is going to present a problem.

Here's an example: wife loves New Castle ale the the recipe call for X lbs. of grain and 8 gal. of water then boil for 2 hr. down to 5 gal.

IMHO if you buy cheap you'll buy twice.

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Old 03-15-2007, 12:29 PM   #5
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Honestly, if it's not too late to take it back, I would. Especially if you plan on batch sparging, because having the mash tun bigger than you need is not really an issue for batch spargers, and batch spargers need larger mashtuns because you need room for grains + several gallons of water.

As others have said, there will come a time when you want to be able to mash more than the 13 lbs or so that you can fit in that 5 gal--whether it's for a bigger beer, or doing a 10 gal batch with a brew buddy or whatever.

I use an old 8.5 gal rectagular as my regular MLT, but I can jury rig my manifold in a 12 gal for larger grainbills if needed (like for a 10 gal batch). The 8.5 gal cooler allows me to batch sparge grainbills up to about 18 lbs.

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Old 03-15-2007, 04:25 PM   #6
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you might want a pot with a little more room in the future as well, 30quart is 7.5 gallon. I know you said you will be doing 5gal batches, but I think you will find that you will start your boils with 6.5-8 gallons of wort depending on the recipe. I had a 30quart for my first few batches and had to have two pots boiling for all the runnings.

I scaled my recipes back so I ended up with 4~5 gal batches until I got a ten gallon pot. now I can do 6gal at a time.

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Old 03-15-2007, 05:02 PM   #7
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Ok the long and short of it is:

Fly sparge, 5 gallons can do a 90 beer no sweat with a single mash infusion @1:1 ratio. I also do 6 gallon batches easy. The best operating range for my tun is a 50 to 60 beer. Big beers over 70 are harder to get my normal efficiency.

Batch sparge, go 10.

Either way, go 10. I have a 5 and it works great, but a 10 would have been a better investment probably.

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Old 03-15-2007, 05:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice.i'll be returning the 5 gal and getting a 10 gal this weekend..i kind of figured thats what i'd hear...oh well it's better to get the right things the first time..as for the 30 qt. kettle everywhere i looked you are gonna spend around $100 plus shipping for a larger pot...iv'e got a 15.5 sanke in the garage from the so called king of beers that came with my used kegorater when i bought it..it's half full and dated 1982....can you say stale ale..i'm probably gonna cut the top out of it someday if i need it.but i figured it would be a little too big for the smaller boils..

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