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Old 05-14-2010, 04:32 PM   #101
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I don't know why seem to have issues with this type of cooler. I just started AG with this cooler and a copper manifold. Once I got my process dialed in, I've been getting 80%, only leave about 1 cup behind and only drop 1 degree over an hour (with foamed lid and blankets-just in case).

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Old 05-14-2010, 04:36 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Ki-ri-n View Post
I don't know why seem to have issues with this type of cooler. I just started AG with this cooler and a copper manifold. Once I got my process dialed in, I've been getting 80%, only leave about 1 cup behind and only drop 1 degree over an hour (with foamed lid and blankets-just in case).
Hey Kirin,

Glad you're getting such a good result!

If you don't mind, could you describe how consistent your efficiency is, and perhaps describe in detail how you go about your mashing (pre-heat, water temp, blankets wrapped around, etc)

Thanks,

-e
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:53 PM   #103
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Consistent hey? Well, I've only done 4 AG batches up to this point. All with the same cooler MLT described below. 1st batch was 49%, 2nd was 70% and the last two were both 80% The first two I know were attributed to my crush while I was dialing in my grain crusher. The last two batches were the exact same recipe.

I heat my strike water 10 degrees above the calculated temp (using Brewtarget). I fill the MLT and leave it sit for 10/15 min or so. I then vaulrauf (sp?) about a half gallon (to make sure I have heated water inside the whole manifold) and re-check my temp. If it's close to my calculated strike temp I'll dough in or add ice/re-heat the water until it's right on (so far it's been right on). After dough in, re-check temp again, yadda, yadda, yadda.

While mashing, I throw on two bath towels over the top. My cover is spray foamed too but i do it just because.

For sparging, I do a double batch sparge.

I think a lot of people's problems might be their manifold design, grain crush, ect. Not necessarily the cooler.

Bottom of Manifold w/ 3/32" drilled holes, all completely soldered. Pick up is in the MIDDLE and is spaced about 2" away from each cooler wall. When I solder the manifold, I did it on a piece of cement board and made fairly sloppy solder joints. This left little pads/feet of solder so the manifold is up by about the thickness of the copper elbows. That and the fact that the whole manifold is rigid (constantly lies right on the bottom of the cooler and won't move if I hit it while stirring), allows me to drain just about everything out of the MLT except for a cup or so.

Bottom of Manifold:


Inside MLT:


Valve:


Does that help?

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Old 05-15-2010, 04:20 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Ki-ri-n View Post
Consistent hey? Well, I've only done 4 AG batches up to this point. All with the same cooler MLT described below. 1st batch was 49%, 2nd was 70% and the last two were both 80% The first two I know were attributed to my crush while I was dialing in my grain crusher. The last two batches were the exact same recipe.

I heat my strike water 10 degrees above the calculated temp (using Brewtarget). I fill the MLT and leave it sit for 10/15 min or so. I then vaulrauf (sp?) about a half gallon (to make sure I have heated water inside the whole manifold) and re-check my temp. If it's close to my calculated strike temp I'll dough in or add ice/re-heat the water until it's right on (so far it's been right on). After dough in, re-check temp again, yadda, yadda, yadda.

While mashing, I throw on two bath towels over the top. My cover is spray foamed too but i do it just because.

(snip)

Does that help?
Kirin, these are excellent tips, thanks so much for sharing. I had not thought of letting the water sit for 10-15 minutes, nor vorlaufing a bit of water to make sure my manifold (CPVC, slotted, resting on the elbows) is fully "filled".

I really appreciated the insight. I've been doing about 10 AG batches, and while the results have always been enjoyable, the process has at times been a little stressful and frustrating.

I'm brewing again tomorrow, and will certainly put your advice to work!



-e
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:02 AM   #105
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Kirin, these are excellent tips, thanks so much for sharing. I had not thought of letting the water sit for 10-15 minutes, nor vorlaufing a bit of water to make sure my manifold (CPVC, slotted, resting on the elbows) is fully "filled".

I really appreciated the insight. I've been doing about 10 AG batches, and while the results have always been enjoyable, the process has at times been a little stressful and frustrating.

I'm brewing again tomorrow, and will certainly put your advice to work!



-e

Hi again!

Sorry for the late reply, but thought I'd share the results of my last brew session, as I followed Kirin's tips.

As before, I heated the strike water well above the target. Before the temp seemed to settle in close to the right temp, I stirred, let the water sit for a while, drained a little, and when it was "just right" I stirred in the grains.

I then employed two thermometers: One electronic with a short probe sticking in about 4 inches into the grain bed, and another, dial term with a long probe sticking almost into the bottom of the grain bed.

They were diverging, in both temp reading and direction. The upper level one (short probe) showed a temp going down, and being lower than my desired mash temp. The other one, stayed stable and was right on target.

I decided to trust the lower one "more than the other", thinking that the electronic one wasn't quite as good as the "mechanical", but here's also what happened: The temp stayed stable on both.

In the end, I extracted exactly the amount of sweet I needed, at exactly the right gravity, boiled it down to exactly the right OG, and all was well.

The lesson learned for me was twofold:
a) Let the cooler warm up _very well_ before stirring in the grains. Follow Kirin's tips on how to do it

b) Don't trust an electronic only temp reading from the top of the grain bed. Use something that sits in the middle of it, and you'll get a true or truer reading

Thanks again Kirin, can't wait to do this again (This Belgian Wit just hit the keg, and it tastes great so far)

Best,

-e
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:16 PM   #106
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Default 60 qt cooler question

anyone know a maximum amount of grains this setup will support? need to do a monster stout for the colorado winter. also i use this for 10 gal batches. thanks guys!!!

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Old 09-10-2010, 05:21 PM   #107
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Can't wait to try this.

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Old 09-10-2010, 09:43 PM   #108
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The largest batch I have brewed in this setup was 10 gallons of IPA using about 25 pounds of grain. I had plenty of room in the cooler left.

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Old 09-10-2010, 09:57 PM   #109
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I've brewed 10 gallons of Pale Ale, a pumpkin ale, and a 5 gallon RIS that all were in the ~25# range. I wasn't able to mash as thin as I usually like but it's worked well for me. I was about an inch from the top for both the 10 gallon batches.

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Old 09-10-2010, 10:39 PM   #110
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I've mashed around 33lbs successfully, but it got a little messy at times...

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