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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > 22 quart cooler, 2 4 gallon brew pots: how much can I brew AG?

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Old 05-29-2008, 02:19 PM   #1
Cugel
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Default 22 quart cooler, 2 4 gallon brew pots: how much can I brew AG?

hey everyone,

I have a quick question about the capacity of my equipment. I have a cooler in the basement that's rarely used for cooling things so I want to start experimenting with AG to see if I want to do this long term.

I have a 29 quart (7.25 gallon) rectangular cooler, and two 4 gallon brew pots. How much grain can I mash?

Instead of installing a braid, spigot etc. I will use grain bags initially to hold the grain while mashing. How much is reasonable to put in each grain bag -- they're the largest I could find at the LHBS?

Thanks!

Edit: To calculate the volume I measured the insides to get 1683 cubic inches and according to the google calculator is 7.25 gallons which in turn equates to 29 quarts.

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Old 05-29-2008, 02:33 PM   #2
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I don't know if this is accurate, but I just brewed an ale that had 15lbs of grain in it with a single infusion medium body batch sparge, and according to beersmith it required 6 gallons of mashtun space. If this is correct you could do a fairly big beer in your cooler.

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Old 05-29-2008, 02:36 PM   #3
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Someone will have a link to a caluclator on here. You can mash about 14-15 pounds of grain in a 5 gallon system. Isn't a 22 quart a 5.5 gallon system?

Edit: I would not suggest a bag for an AG brew. You will need to batch or fly sparge and I think your efficiency will ge quite low. SOmeone else may be able to tell you from experience though.


There are some pretty easy solutions for lautering. Search the forums for simple solutions.

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Old 05-29-2008, 02:48 PM   #4
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OK thanks, I'll look for lautering solutions that don't involve hole drilling etc. or bags.

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Old 05-29-2008, 03:10 PM   #5
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http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

Has a simple calculator for figuring out amount of gallons needed for grain weight. As long as you stay with 1 to 1.25 qt/lb......you can have good effeciency with a 10-12 lb grain bill (which 22qt is closer to 5.5 gallons). You have some room left over for sparging. Though fly sparging might be the only way to go.....as I have a 10 gallon rubbermaid that gets 5 gallon when I'm doing a moderate grain bill with fly sparge.

*edit* Notice you've found out that your cooler is 29qt: in that case you should be good to go with most 5 gallon batches of ales: the only beer I've brewed so far that's gone all the way up to 10 gallons is a 5 gallon Imperial Stout: 16 lbs of grain is probably the max I would go for with your cooler.
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:46 PM   #6
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BYO had an article a few years ago about using an inexpensive showerhead for sparging.

I use a 5 gallon round with a false bottom. I like false bottoms since I get a more uniform drain from the grains. For your scenario, you could always mash in the cooler and use s plastic bucket with lots of tiny holes driled in it for lautering. You would batch sparge in this scenario because you would mix 1/2 your sparge water with the grains and then dump into your lauter bucket sitting inside your bottling bucket. You could fly sparge also if you wanted in this situation, but I would batch when starting out.

Worst case scenario if you want to do a big beer (over 16 pounds) is to use the cooler for the base grains and use one of your pots for your specialty grains.

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Old 05-29-2008, 05:27 PM   #7
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I did 10.5# grain in a 6 gallon usable cooler, no problemo. You could probably do 15 pounds no problem if you kept your water at 1qt per pound.

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Old 05-31-2008, 03:41 AM   #8
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I have a 40 qt square cooler with a pvc pipe with cuts across the bottom side, I easily get 8 gallon batches out that boil down to 5 gallon batches. I would suggest if you sparge in the cooler that when you finish your mash time. that you drian the wort that is in th cooler before you hit it with sparge water. This will give you a really high sugar start to a 4 gallon boil. I would try to make 2 1/2 gallon batches until you buy a 8 gallon
boil pot. In your 4 gallon boil pots you good boil each down to 2 1/2 and the rack into a five gallon fermentor to blend. Make sure you preheat your cooler for better mash temp control. You can also make some toasted malt (barley unground in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes). Putting this in cold grain raises the grain temp and helps with cooler control. You will have to experement with water add temp to get the right mash temp when doing this.

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Old 05-31-2008, 03:43 AM   #9
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sidenote I make a lot of 30lb batches

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Old 05-31-2008, 09:40 AM   #10
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I have a 7.5 gallon cooler and can mash 18.5 lbs of grain in it using 5.75 gallons of mash water at the max. Does your cooler have a spigot in it? If it doesn't, hole drilling is in your future.

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