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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Mash Tun - 5 or 10 gallon cooler?
View Poll Results: What size batch/MLT?
5 gallon batches/5 gallon MLT 15 22.06%
5 gallon batches/10+ gallon MLT 38 55.88%
10+ gallon batches/10+ gallon MLT 15 22.06%
Voters: 68. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-02-2009, 07:49 AM   #1
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Default Mash Tun - 5 or 10 gallon cooler?

Background: Right now, I'm doing 5gallon partial mashes, but I'm thinking about just going all grain/batch sparging. I don't plan on ever doing batch sizes over 5gallon.

Should I buy the 10gal cooler even if I still do a few more partial mashes and then switch to AG? Would it really be that bad if I did a partial mash with only a few lbs of grain in a 10gal cooler? After searching quite a bit, it seems that there are a mix of people that are happy with their 5gal and happy with their 10gal. I suppose it comes down to this: does it hurt anything to have a much bigger cooler than you would ever use, even if there's lots of extra headspace? Or should I just stick with the 5 gal cooler since that should theoretically meet all my brewing needs?

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Old 12-02-2009, 08:07 AM   #2
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I use a 5 gal rubbermaid drink cooler with a false bottom. I double batch sparge with it. It can hold a max of about 17lbs of grain depending on the ratio you use. I think it is perfect. It would probably work great for you unless you are making very high abv beers.
A bigger cooler would allow you to have a bigger grain bill and single batch sparge.

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Old 12-02-2009, 10:13 AM   #3
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I have the same question as my Christmas gift to myself is a AG setup. Everything I have read is pointing to the fact that I need larger than a 5 gallon cooler. I plan on going with the 10gallon.

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Old 12-02-2009, 11:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lefty View Post
I have the same question as my Christmas gift to myself is a AG setup. Everything I have read is pointing to the fact that I need larger than a 5 gallon cooler. I plan on going with the 10gallon.
+1

I am slowly switching to better All Grain setup (doing BIAB for now), but when the time comes, I'm getting a 10g, because even though I plan on sticking to 5g batches, from what I have read you can't really do high gravity brews comfortably on a 5g MLT - might as well just get the 10g and be ready for anything.
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffdeezy View Post
I use a 5 gal rubbermaid drink cooler with a false bottom. I double batch sparge with it. It can hold a max of about 17lbs of grain depending on the ratio you use. I think it is perfect. It would probably work great for you unless you are making very high abv beers.
A bigger cooler would allow you to have a bigger grain bill and single batch sparge.
Wow...17 lbs in a five gallon tun...oh my! W/ a false bottom no less. 17 lbs at .8 qt / lb is five gallons, how do you batch sparge?
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Old 12-02-2009, 03:19 PM   #6
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I've been using a 5 gallon with braid for several years and never have had a problem.
At 1.25 quarts/pound you can get 14 pounds in there, and like someone else said, you can squeeze more in by changing the grist to water ratio. I am limited by space, so I couldn't really go larger with a cooler.

And honestly I've not come up to a recipe yet where I've needed to use a larger cooler.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:45 PM   #7
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I could squeeze 15# of grain in my old 5 gallon cooler with a hose braid (1.0 qt/lb ratio). With my regular efficiency of about 90%, that much grain would give me a 1083 beer but realistically the efficiency drops when my gravity goes up so the cooler can probably handle about a 1073 beer.

I found that if I wanted to do a bigger beer, I would have to do two consecutive mashes with half the grain in each mash. With a 30 minute mash and batch sparging, it doesn't add too much time to the brew day but it was enough to make me upgrade to a 52 qt square shaped cooler.

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Old 12-02-2009, 03:51 PM   #8
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wow, 17lb in a 5 gallon cooler....and I thought 10lb was nuts...

guess i'll have to take off the sally pants.

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Old 12-02-2009, 04:02 PM   #9
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My 5 gallon was nice... but I had to do really thick mashes if I wanted anything over 1.050. The other thing was once I switched to the 10 gallon I could use the 5 gallon as a HLT for fly sparging.

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Old 12-02-2009, 04:44 PM   #10
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I used a 5 gal because it was free, but after only two batches bought a 10 gal. I like making higher gravity beers like IIPA's and barleywines pretty regularly, so the 5 gal just didn't cut it for me. Just like bernerbrau, I now use my 5 gal as a HLT.

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