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Old 10-06-2008, 06:05 AM   #1
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Default Decision Time- First AG setup

It's come to the point where I need to decide if I want to use a 10 gallon water cooler for a MLT, a keggle, or if i want to use a stainless steel pot with a fitting. I haven't gotten many opinions from people who have tried more than one of these options; I was just wondering what the HBT community had to tell me...

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:10 AM   #2
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I use a 10 gallon cooler, works great for me!

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:18 AM   #3
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i like my 10 gallon cooler.

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:22 AM   #4
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not to mention this is the time of year to get them on clearance

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Old 10-06-2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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I also use a 10 gallon cooler.........but that doesn't mean it's right for you.

I guess the place to start is to already think of upgrades. Will you want to have the ability in the future to direct fire your mashtun for step mashes? Will you batch or fly sparge? Is there any chance you'll be wanting a brewstand?

I pieced my system together (still working on it) because I never even imagined making AG batches, let alone 10 gallon batches with step mashes and decoctions. So, even though my cooler system works fine for me, I wish I had thought it out more and bought some different equipment. It works just fine, of course- but it does limit my options.

Something that I think about that most of you guys don't is the weight of the "stuff". There is NO way I can lift 6 gallons of hot wort. No way. So, now, I'm wishing I had a ballvalve on my kettle, as well as a pump or something to raise those runnings from the ground to the burner. If I had it set up better, I would have a "tier" set up to minimize the heavy lifting. I brew mostly inside, so it means I lift from the floor to the stove top. That's one reason I batch sparge- I can lift my pot with my first runnings to the stove top and start that on to boil while I'm sparging. Then I have to collect those runnings and pour into my brewpot. It's definitely not ideal. When I brew outside, I'll sparge into the keggle already on the burner.

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Old 10-06-2008, 01:52 PM   #6
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I use a 20 gallon cooler (80qt) and I'm very happy I did not go smaller. In fact I wish I would have gone bigger.
I make ten gallon batchs and will be going up to 40 gallons soon so now the MLT will be to small.

Figure out what you want from it then make one.

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Old 10-06-2008, 01:58 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that any cooler is going to be a minimal investment and you can resell it for almost what you've paid. If you plan to batch sparge, I recommend a 48qt rectangular cooler. It's big enough for BIG 5 gallon batches and moderate 10 gallon batches.

No matter what you think you might want to do in the future, I'd highly recommend using a cooler based MLT for at least your first 10 batches.

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Old 10-06-2008, 03:11 PM   #8
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The cooler has the advantage of being inexpensive (already mentioned) and very functional. There's really no special tools needed to put one together and the work that is needed can be done with relative ease. Although it's not the end-all, it's at least a good starting point and can serve your needs without wiping out your budget.

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Old 10-06-2008, 04:30 PM   #9
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so one last question- am i going to be limited doing five gallon batches at all with the ten gallon cooler? even with super high gravity barleywines? and can i move to ten gallon batches using the same ten gallon cooler?

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Old 10-06-2008, 04:34 PM   #10
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so one last question- am i going to be limited doing five gallon batches at all with the ten gallon cooler? even with super high gravity barleywines? and can i move to ten gallon batches using the same ten gallon cooler?
Sure you can do ten gallon batches with a 10 gallon cooler, not big ones but small ones you can.
The 999BW brew maxed out my 20 gallon, would not even want to think about doing in a ten.
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