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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Mash Tuns: How Big Should I Go?
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:56 PM   #1
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Default Mash Tuns: How Big Should I Go?

I like to brew 5 gallon batches and have been using a 5 gallon cooler as a mash tun. I've noticed that, as a general matter, the 5 gallon mash tun can mash a total of about 4 gallons of water, when its filled with grains.

I recently started using the iPhone app Brew Pal and, from their calculations, it seems as if I need a bigger mash tun. Their calculations call for an amount of water that often exceed 4 gallons of water, sometimes as much as 6 gallons.

I guess I can always go out and get another cooler. However, I'm not sure my tiny NYC apt. can hold a 10 gallon mash tun (I guess I can get a 7 gallon cooler but are somewhat hard to find.)

Any thoughts on how to continue using a 5 gallon mash tun when I need more water than the mash tun can hold?

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:00 PM   #2
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Get a 10 gallon cooler. You can store stuff inside it.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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If the iphone says you need a bigger cooler, i would go get one asap...

J/K, it is my understanding that a 5 gal cooler will do 5 gal batches up to about 1.060.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:19 PM   #4
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i used to use the free app sparge pal. however, my beers never came out good based upon the sparge pal's calculations. then, i started using brew pal. although i haven't drank any beers made with brew pal yet, so far, it seems much better. the gravity readings are much more accurate and i just seem to have a better "feeling" than with sparge pal. the only wrinkle i am seeing is that, according to their calculations, i need a bigger mash tun, which would probably explain why my beers never came out all that hot using sparge pal.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by hiphops View Post
Any thoughts on how to continue using a 5 gallon mash tun when I need more water than the mash tun can hold?
think you answered your own question.

you could partial mash. or get a bigger one.

i just upgraded to a 12 from a 5, brewdays are much nicer.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:25 PM   #6
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Use 1 qt water/1 pound grain as a ratio for your mash.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:26 PM   #7
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thx moto. i guess i'm too much of a lawyer sometimes: i only ask questions to which i already know the answer!!!

Go Badgers. Maybe we'll have better luck at the rose bowl next year!

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:34 PM   #8
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I've got a 36 qt marine igloo that I converted (I had it "gifted" to me after a road trip last summer because my buddies didn't want it). I've only used it a few times, but I think anything bigger than a 14-15 Lb grain bill would be pushing it past it's limit. So... unless you get really good efficiency and/or really don't plan on making big beers (over about 1.060), I would go bigger than 36 qts.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #9
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I use a 48 quart rectangular cooler and I can't imagine doing any big beers in a smaller mash tun.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:56 PM   #10
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I always refer these questions to this thread. The chart that is provided is excellent for determining what size you should go with.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/how-...-needs-123585/

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