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Old 05-30-2010, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default DIY Mash Tuns: Pros and cons of cube vs. "gatorade" style?

Hello, new all-grain brewer here. I am trying to figure out what the best route would be as far as a cooler for a DIY mash tun. What are some pros and cons when comparing the gatorade style round coolers with the rectangular box ones? Are there any practical differences? Efficiency differences? Cost differences? I would most likely be doing 5 gallon batches but have the capacity to ferment 10 at a time if need be. Is there any particular brand I should look for/be weary of?



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Old 05-30-2010, 11:02 PM   #2
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I chose the rectangular cooler simply because there are going to be those times where you're going to want to do a batch that requires too big of a mash to fit inside of the round mash tuns. I know a lot of people go with the Igloo Maxcold. Here is the youtube video of the one that I made

. I made that exact one and I'm now on my 40'th batch or so with it still standing strong.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:02 PM   #3
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I have a friend that's looking to build a mash tun this summer. Could you post a written version of the supply list?

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Old 05-31-2010, 06:35 PM   #4
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Look in the DIY section of this forum for more information, including a list and pics of mash tun options. I use a 10 gallon cooler from The Home Depot, which works very well for five gallon batches, and also for bigger 5 gallon beer batches. I preheated mine during my first all-grain batch, and it held my mash temperature very well. I used a braided stainless steel hose as a filter, worked great!

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Old 05-31-2010, 06:47 PM   #5
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This is a valuable link with a supply/cost list even.

As far as what to get... I tried to jump in AG for a while but being a broke college student I didn't think I could afford the parts. I kept patient and one fine day I found a rubbermaid cooler at Savers for $6, then build the manifold for ~$12 (True Value is cheeeaaaap) and I was ready for all-grain.

As far as practicality/efficiency questions, I feel you will get a different opinion from everybody. The most important thing to keep in mind (in my book) is to get one that is a proper size so you won't get too much headspace. If the steam has somewhere to go the mash won't keep a constant temperature. Had a problem with that for a while before I figured it out.

Hope that helps and good luck!
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:00 PM   #6
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I actually have the parts list that I made from watching that video up top stuck as a bookmark in my How to Brew book. If I get some time I'll post, but I made that list from watching that video. Mr. Brown tells you everything you need including parts #'s.

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Old 05-31-2010, 09:12 PM   #7
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I found the rectangular coolers to be slightly less expensive and easier to find compared to a 10 gallon round cooler. Don't bother with a 5 gallon cooler unless you have no plans to make a stronger than average beer or ever want to make a 10 gallon batch.

One advantage of the round cooler is that false bottoms are easy to find. However, it's easier to build a manifold for a rectangular cooler.

Other than that I don't see any other difference. In general I would say it's more about preference and what's most readily available.

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Old 05-31-2010, 09:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scut_Monkey View Post
I found the rectangular coolers to be slightly less expensive and easier to find compared to a 10 gallon round cooler. Don't bother with a 5 gallon cooler unless you have no plans to make a stronger than average beer or ever want to make a 10 gallon batch.

One advantage of the round cooler is that false bottoms are easy to find. However, it's easier to build a manifold for a rectangular cooler.

Other than that I don't see any other difference. In general I would say it's more about preference and what's most readily available.
+1

I went with a 48 qt and to be honest with you, I wish I would've went with a 60 qt. You're not going to lose much temp due to a lower thermal mass if you have a quality cooler. The biggest batch I've done in my 48 qt was a double batch of Ed's Porter (I think 25 lbs of grain) and although it was a tight fit, it did fit. I also don't know if I would go with a copper manifold again simply because I think a cpvc one would work just as well and cost significantly less.

GL
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfPint View Post
+1

I went with a 48 qt and to be honest with you, I wish I would've went with a 60 qt. You're not going to lose much temp due to a lower thermal mass if you have a quality cooler. The biggest batch I've done in my 48 qt was a double batch of Ed's Porter (I think 25 lbs of grain) and although it was a tight fit, it did fit. I also don't know if I would go with a copper manifold again simply because I think a cpvc one would work just as well and cost significantly less.

GL
I agree with this completely. Buy a good cooler regardless of which you choose. I use a relatively cheap cooler and it sucks for holding temp and looses about 5 degrees over an hour without opening the lid. I also agree there is no need for a copper manifold, use cpvc. It's easier to work with and cheaper.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:27 PM   #10
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I ended up going with the round style for both my 5 and 10 gallon versions. Most of the cube style ones I saw either had an ackward hump where the drain was, or had no drain at all. Being in an apartment with no real power tools, a Gott cooler was the simplest build for me. Just pop out the spigot and its ready for the bulkhead.

All the parts you need for the bulkhead can be found at bargainfittings.com. If you price out everything at the hardware store, you might save a few bucks, but the kits there have everything you need. Plus, things like silicone O rings are tough to come by in quantities less than 100 count. All you need after that is a section of CPVC and some elbows.

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