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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > 2 5gal coolers? mash tun?
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:00 AM   #1
NikolausXX
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Default 2 5gal coolers? mash tun?

I just got a free 5 gal rubbermaid. I estimate about 10 pounds grain max. These things are all around me and cheap or free. Could a guy make 2 5gal mash tuns, and make a big 5 gallon, or small 10 gallon batch of beer? Would it be like a 10 gal gott? I could make 2 5gal tuns less than the cost of 1 10 gal gott cooler! Didnt know if anybody tried using 2 small mash tuns instead of 1 large, and any of the complications, other than time and math? Method is batch sparging, with a stainless mesh.

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Old 09-06-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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Sure you could use two 5's to equal a 10 gal. Be a little more laborious checking temps and sparging, but, you gotta do what you gotta do. BTW a 48 qt rubbermaid is around 16 bucks.

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Old 09-06-2008, 11:29 PM   #3
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I think you would just have two five gallon batches and not a ten. The work using two small coolers would defeat the purpose of a quicker and more efficient ten gallon batch using a larger cooler.

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Old 09-06-2008, 11:29 PM   #4
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I've been doing 14 lb mashes in a 5gal rubbermaid. I think about 15 is the max.

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Old 09-07-2008, 02:22 AM   #5
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I can get approx 12.5lbs grain in my 5 gallon round coolers. I have recently upgraded to 10 gallon batches, but have not finished my new MLT. I have done a couple split mashes in two 5 gallon coolers. I did not check my efficiency from each mash but combined it was still 73%. So I would say yes you can. And no they would not necessarily make a small 10 gallon batch you could make medium gravity beers.

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Old 09-07-2008, 04:18 AM   #6
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Ya I think ill go cooler shopping at walmart! I will use the 5 until I get a better cooler. I was offered another free 5 gallon today. And scored another turkey fryer! You can do 12 pounds of grain in a 5 gallon? I was thinking of a recipe around 10lbs for a brown ale. So far though the 5 gallon has been free. Free cooler, free ballvalve, pipe nipple, orings, washers, and nut. I plan a bazooka tube, might have to spend a couple bucks to cobble that together.

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Old 09-07-2008, 07:06 AM   #7
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...You can do 12 pounds of grain in a 5 gallon?
I mashed 11.31lbs of grain in 5 gallon cooler yesterday with a 1.3qt/lb of grain ratio and had room to spare. It was my first all grain so I have yet to see how much grain I can cram in there.
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:09 AM   #8
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you can do 1.1qt/lb of grain and get away with quite a bit, then do a double batch sparge.

it might be kind of difficult getting a good stir and mixture, tho. definitely get a good mash paddle like this one

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Old 09-08-2008, 12:29 AM   #9
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I maxed my 5 gal out at 12.5 lbs at 1.25 / lb. There was NO room to spare. I realized the next couple of beers I wanted to make had even bigger grain bills, and upgraded to a 10. I probably should have gotten the 10 to start, but live and learn.

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Old 09-17-2008, 03:55 AM   #10
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Well I only have 1 5 gallon made. And I think ill stick with that for now. I was at home depot looking for orings, and braid parts for my brew day this weekend. They have 10 gallon Rubbermaids, that are red and say home depot on them, for 39 bucks! I didnt buy tho because I just spent a mint on grains and yeast from the local HBS. I put 11 pounds in the 5 with a 1.25 ratio and still had about 3 or 4 inches to spare from top. I bought a paddle from LHBS for like 5 bucks, flimsy plastic thing, but it works ok I guess, could be a little stiffer but is plenty long. I made a 60 percent wheat/ 40 percent pills heffe. I got slow/stuck sparges. I am assuming too fine of crush on the wheat, only added 1/4 pound rice hulls that were not soaked, and added them last. I might try this again, adding at least 1/2 pound if not the 3/4 pound rice hulls I got left into the cooler, and soaking them during the heat soak period before I add the grains. Then adding my grains and possibly crush the wheat a little more coarse. I got corona grinder, so it is a bitch adjusting for different grains. It crushed the pills perfect, but the wheat it was leaving 3/4 chunks of grains in there, so I tightened it, possibly a little too much.

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