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Old 11-03-2008, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default 5 Gallon Igloo Water Cooler?

The local Wally World has 5 gallon Igloo water coolers for about $22.

Will those work for brewing 5 gallon mini-mash batches? How well do they handle the heat?

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:42 PM   #2
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These work well for 5 gallon AG, so mini-mash will work too.

I have zero temp loss over a 60 minute mash. However, I did also spray Great Stuff into the lid for extra insulating properties, as these lids are hollow.

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:43 PM   #3
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Just did my first PM in one yesterday. I used a braid and valve. It worked great.

I put the weight into BeerSmith and told it to adjust for equipment. I nailed my strike temp. After a half hour I gave the mash a stir and added a pint of boiling water to bring the temp back up. If I wouldn't have opened the lid it would have held the temp within 3* for an hour which is good enough for me. I'll probably insulate the hollow lid with spray foam insulation before I use it again.

I will use it for small AG batches (cream ale) since it is compact and easy to clean. When I do bigger AG it doubles as a grant -- I collect the first runnings and the marks inside tell me exactly how much I have so I can calculate how much water I need for sparging.

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Old 11-03-2008, 02:56 PM   #4
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I have one that I was using for PM and it worked great. I have started doing all grain and the most it can hold is about 12.5#. I will probably upgrade to a 10 gallon for bigger beers but for most, its just just fine.

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomyces View Post
Just did my first PM in one yesterday. I used a braid and valve. It worked great.
Did you assemble it yourself, or did you buy are ready made one? What were the sizes?
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bashe View Post
I have one that I was using for PM and it worked great. I have started doing all grain and the most it can hold is about 12.5#. I will probably upgrade to a 10 gallon for bigger beers but for most, its just just fine.
That is what I use as well. It works just fine except like bashe says you're kind of topped out at 12# capacity. It seems to work best if you limit the grain bill to 10# though, even though it will hold more than that.

If I have to mash more than say 11.5# pounds, I'll just use a couple pounds of DME or LME to make up the rest of the gravity if I need more than that.

The first batch I did with it - I did a 5 gallon mini-mash just to get my confidence level up in how mashing would work out for me. I think I mashed something like 4 1/2 # just to get the comfortable with it.

For what you want to do, this cooler will work great.
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:02 PM   #7
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Did you assemble it yourself, or did you buy are ready made one? What were the sizes?
I assembled mine myself. It was very easy, I went to home depot and found the spigot and steel braid on my own. Then I explained to the person who worked there what I was trying to accomplish and he located all the rest of the parts for me.

There is a topic somewhere on this forum about how to make one, basically you just follow the instructions.

One note though: when you stir the mash, the steel braid will stretch and start to wear out which will eventually lead to stuck mashes. Your natural inclination will be to take the braid off, and cut off the end where it gets stretched and put it back. This is kind of a hassle. Instead of doing that, just do what I do. Tie a knot in the steel braid so that the knot is clumped right around the inside part of the spiggot - works great.
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:22 PM   #8
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I use a 5 gallon too. I built a CPVC manifold for mine. Works like a champ.

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:51 PM   #9
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i use a 5 gallon igloo myself for AG and it works great for 5 gallon batches. use a steel braid. did conversion myself using the DIY method with added rubber washers and hose washer for extra tight seal

have pics in profile. easy to make

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Old 11-04-2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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I use an igloo. For years, I've used the plastic valve on the outside (3/4" inside and about 1" outside diameter). To put this in I had to ream out the opening a bit with a rasp. Before I had this, I used the 2 plastic bucket system, with a lot of holes drilled in the bottom of one bucket. When I got the igloo, I just cut out the bottom of drilled bucket and put it on top of some plastic in the bottom of the igloo and let the wort run through that out the spigot. This has worked well for lots of years - 8 or so?

Now I'm tired of that and the plastic with the holes in it is wearing out and breaking around where the spigot is, so I'm going to the wire SS braid. Also, I've had a few stuck sparges - especially with wheat beers. I just learned about the braid yesterday on this forum! What I ended up doing is just putting a 3/4" threaded hose fitting adapted to a 3/8" barbed fitting. This then goes to a 3-way fitting and a braid loop. I'll give that a shot when I brew this weekend.

I'm brewing an American Pale Ale. Last Sunday I brewed an oatmeal stout. I hope at least one of these to be ready by Thanksgiving.

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