Originally Posted by t1master
that's about it mate! sorry if i sounded confused before, still learning as i go, and i lean towards the daft side at times
Doh! Woah! I was sooo confused. I guess I only read the segment of the article you posted, and for some reason I thought you were trying to use one kettle to do all and I just couldn't see it. My bad! Did I say "Doh!"
The setup you're describing sounds just like mine. I use 3 converted stainless kegs. I actually very much *prefer* a mash tun made of stainless to a cooler because the rate I brew tends to destry coolres. Eventually the heat warps them and the layers separate etc.
So, I have 15 gallons of capacity in each vessel and brew batches that end up at around 12 gallons. We just wrap a blanket around the mash tun and it holds heat just fine. Believe me, all the conversion is done in about 15 minutes anyway. I used to have a keg that had a sheet metal jacket insulated with about 3 inches of rigid foam insulation, but the thing was such a huge beast that this time I decided to just go with a blanket. Works great, even if it isn't as high tech
Another thing about the bigger mash is it tends to hold its own heat better just because of thermal mass.
I had a RIMS system before this one and it could hold temp within a couple tenths of a degree perfectly. But when I buyilt my current system, I went back to basics with the three tier infusion setup. I like the low-tech method so much more, and the fact is, if you get your mash temp pretty good, conversion always happens and works great.
As Uncle Fat said, put a spigot on every vessel and build a 10 gallon system. I also like a minifold made of a pipe of some sort with drilled holes over a false bottom, but that's just me. A filter on the outflow of your kettle is a must, as Uncle point out, for the hops. Getting hops in your chiller can really suck.
So, sorry about the confusion. I feel like a dumb a** for not thoroughly understanding where you were coming from. Stainless mash tuns are great...better than coolers as far as I can tell.
If you do get a cooler, I like the big orange Gott coolers. They make a 1o gallon one that can do a pretty big batch.