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Old 08-27-2010, 02:11 AM   #1
emr454
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Default Is a 30 or 40 qt cooler too big for a 2.5 gal batch?

I am deciding to try all grain again, after my first failure with BIAB on the stove top, and have an Igloo cooler all set up for mashing in. Since my gas stove can't handle large amounts for boiling, I want to try a 2.5 gal batch.

I'm thinking of something relatively simple like Ed's Haus pale ale.

My question: since I will have a small amount of grain in the cooler, and a large "dead space", will this contribute problems? I plan on pre-heating the tun and letting the temp fall naturally to my desired mash temps.

Will this work and hold relatively steady mash temps? Thanks in advance.

Eric

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Old 08-27-2010, 02:46 AM   #2
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I do not think it should be a problem. I started out with a 2 gallon cooler now I have a 10 gallon and 5 gallon. Go big because someday you might want too or be able to go bigger all grain. I think your temps should be ok.

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Old 08-27-2010, 02:53 AM   #3
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It'll work just fine, but if you've got a lot of dead space, you're going to need to use a little extra water. I'd probably account for the loss by using a tad more grain, then instead of dumping the water out of the mash tun when you pre-heat, just drain it off so you don't lose any of your mash and sparge volumes.

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Old 08-27-2010, 02:59 AM   #4
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don't use more water if it's bigger. grain saturates at about 1.125 quarts water per lb of grain. aj and hypno both have valid points. i'd just get bigger coolers, and forget thist " start small " stuff

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Old 08-27-2010, 04:08 AM   #5
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Also you could get some foam to insulate it while its mashing. Don't worry if it accidentally touches it for a moment because you'll be boiling the mash shortly after.

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Old 08-27-2010, 01:33 PM   #6
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Holding mash temp would be your only issue. It may not hold it as well. When you fill that sucker up though, it will hold temps like a champ.

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Old 08-27-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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Two things I'd recommend:

1. Preheat the mash tun. Might be tough to predict exactly how much heat loss you'd have from doing a small batch, but if you preheat (with just a little near-boiling water for a few minutes), the amount of the loss will be a lot lower.

2. Thinner mash. Do something like 2.0 qts/lb, just to increase the total mass inside the mash tun. Should also help to keep temps stable.

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Old 08-27-2010, 02:49 PM   #8
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I agree with the_bird. I had problems holding my mash temperature when I did a lower water to grain ratio. When I stepped it up to about 2.0, then my temperatures were much more consistent.

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Old 08-27-2010, 07:02 PM   #9
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Get a small cooler to start with. After a while, you're going to want to tinker with something again. If you already have a large mash tun, you won't be able to tinker and make another.

Start small with the right size for your mash; when you are ready for larger batches, you'll get to build another mash tun. It's a win/win as I see it.

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Old 08-27-2010, 07:22 PM   #10
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How long you think he's going to be sticking with half-batches, though? I started with a small cooler (5 gallon), and used it maybe twice.

Get yourself a 10-gallon cooler. Preheat it and use a thin mash. You might lose a little temp, it might take a little work to dial in where your temps need to be, but you'll figure it out.

Why build it twice?

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