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Old 08-14-2012, 12:19 AM   #1
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Default Should I go forward with building a keg MLT?

I've been using a cooler MLT for the last few years and it works just fine. The only thing that kind of bothers me is the idea of heating up that plastic so much. I don't know if my MLT is made with BPA or not, it's a Coleman XTreme. I already have a keggle that I can convert to a MLT and I have the burners to handle the direct firing and the pump to recirculate. I've been researching here on the forum all the ways to insulate the MLT to hold mash temps and that sounds like a bit of a pain, but doable. I've been given gift certificates to get all the hardware I need to add a false bottom (from what I can tell the Jaybird false bottom is the way to go) and convert to a MLT. I'm just trying to decide if it's worth it. The hassle of making an insulating jacket for the MLT, having to clean all the grain out of that thing can't be as easy as dumping my cooler MLT, having to recirculate with the pump. I'm game if it is worth it and is safer for me and my drinkers I'm just trying to ascertain if it's really worth the trouble, time, and cost.

Any thoughts, suggestions are appreciated.

Cheers!

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Old 08-14-2012, 12:22 AM   #2
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I thought bpa was only used to make hard clear plastics. The Coleman plastic is opaque and soft.

Although you just clued me in on a possible source of a particular plasticy off flavor... Maybe certain mash ph levels bring out some nasties from the cooler mash tun.

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Old 08-14-2012, 12:50 AM   #3
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For me it was worth it. My mash temps were inconsistent at best (especially during the winter months). My MLT is a keg with a insulating blanket made out of a water heater blanket. I didn't want to direct fire, so I went with a RIMS tube. Now I just heat the water in my HLT, transfer to the MLT, set the RIMS controller and let it recirculate. For me it's worked great. Fairly simple project. Cleaning the MLT isn't an issue either. I've re-purposed and old book shelf that allows me to lay the MLT on it's side and simply shovel the grains into a trashcan.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-dummies-114997/

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Old 08-14-2012, 06:00 AM   #4
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BPA is not an issue with the Coleman cooler and you can recirculate just as easily.
I would be more worried about what's gonna happen if the breweries ever get serious about recovering their stolen kegs.
They ain't gonna find any AB kegs all cut up in my set-up.

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Old 08-14-2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PosterGuy View Post
BPA is not an issue with the Coleman cooler and you can recirculate just as easily.
I would be more worried about what's gonna happen if the breweries ever get serious about recovering their stolen kegs.
They ain't gonna find any AB kegs all cut up in my set-up.
Maybe they'll join forces with the milk-crate industry and finally see these DIY-ers pay for their crimes!

"what're you in for?"
"stolen kegs man"
"full beer kegs? cool"
"nah, empty"
"...."
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PosterGuy View Post
BPA is not an issue with the Coleman cooler and you can recirculate just as easily.
I would be more worried about what's gonna happen if the breweries ever get serious about recovering their stolen kegs.
They ain't gonna find any AB kegs all cut up in my set-up.
How do you know that the Coleman coolers don't have BPA? I think that the breweries have much better things to do with their time and money than go after homebrewers and their old kegs. How would they ever find them anyway? Are they going to knock on doors in every neighborhood in America until they find a couple? I have absolutely no worry whatsoever about being "hunted" down for the keg I bought at a garage sale 3 years ago. I don't think you should worry about it either.
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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I'd guess that it's the exact same plastic used as those giant round coolers that are meant for hot liquids, so I wouldn't worry about it. The soft white plastic isn't BPA-type plastic anyway. Can't imagine Coleman having two "blends" of plastic for lining each different type of cooler - plus if one is designed to put food and drinks in it anyway, it'd probably be "food grade".

Are kegs lined with BPA like canned food?

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Old 08-14-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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I had a round igloo cooler (10 gallon size) for years. I still have it, but needed something bigger so I went with a keg. I preheat it, just as I did the cooler, by adding my mash water at 180 and then letting it drop to strike temps. After that, it holds temperature amazingly well. I was actually really surprised, because I've seen all sorts of ways to insulate a keg MLT here on the forum. I mentioned this to my friend who helped me build the MLT (cool tippy dump, with a bottom drain) and he said that stainless is actually pretty good at holding heat, even as thin as it is.

I do have a HERMS, but sometimes I don't even run it until going to mash out temps- and I still hold heat for an entire hour.

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Old 08-14-2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Are kegs lined with BPA like canned food?
No- just plain ol' stainless.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I had a round igloo cooler (10 gallon size) for years. I still have it, but needed something bigger so I went with a keg. I preheat it, just as I did the cooler, by adding my mash water at 180 and then letting it drop to strike temps. After that, it holds temperature amazingly well. I was actually really surprised, because I've seen all sorts of ways to insulate a keg MLT here on the forum. I mentioned this to my friend who helped me build the MLT (cool tippy dump, with a bottom drain) and he said that stainless is actually pretty good at holding heat, even as thin as it is.

I do have a HERMS, but sometimes I don't even run it until going to mash out temps- and I still hold heat for an entire hour.
Good to know Yoop. I don't have any interest in building a complex HERMS or RIMS system, at least at this point in time, so it's good to hear that yours tends to hold temps well. I don't have a brew stand so building a tippy system isn't an option for me right now. That's why I'm trying to get an idea of how much of a hassle it is to clean all the grain out of the keg after mashing. I guess you just have to scoop it out, no way around it.

BTW Yooper, I've brewed a couple of your recipes and loved them. Thanks for your contributions!
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