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Old 12-03-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
CemeteryCellarsBC
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Default 5 Gallon Igloo Mash Tun

I'm sure everyone here has seen this thread a million times but as much as I search I'm still not confident.
I just converted a 5 gallon Igloo cooler over and I'd love to use it for my all grain batches. I'm not one who requires a lot of end product and I'm not kegging at this point but I would like to brew some higher abv beers. Is it possible to do that with a five gallon mash tun? Is it feasible for me to brew all grain beers and come out with a good product with a 5 gallon mash tun? I'd really prefer to stay with smaller batches.

Thanks!

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:24 PM   #2
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Just for referrence; my Igloo cooler mash tun is 13 gallons and the biggest 10 gal AG batch I can brew is about 1.070 OG with a standard 60-75min boil down. So that means I would need a 6.5 gallon mash tun to brew a 5 gallon batch at 1.070.

If you are making 5 gallon batches you really need a larger mash tun than 5 gal. 7 gallon would be minimal but why go so small? I got my Igloo 13 gal (52qt) rectangular cooler for $25 on sale...has worked flawlessly for 15 batches. I can easily mash for 5 gal batches or 10-11 gallon batches of session ale.

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:24 PM   #3
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Yeah a 5 gallon MLT is fine for lower-normal gravity 5 gallon batches or smaller batches of higher gravity beers.

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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I'm really looking to brew an occasional 6-8% ABV IPA...can I make that happen?

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CemeteryCellarsBC View Post
I'm really looking to brew an occasional 6-8% ABV IPA...can I make that happen?
Are you making 5 gal batches or smaller? You could always sub some light DME or LME for your base malt to boost the gravity if you can't mash enough base grain to hit your target OG. 20-25% extract won't really effect the flavor much at all, especially in a hop-dominant IPA style.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:54 PM   #6
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This comes up every now and then....Best answer I've ever heard,

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Originally Posted by JonM View Post
No rule that says you have to do a 5-gallon batch. You can always run it through Beersmith and reduce the batch size to something that will fit in your 5-Fallon cooler. Green Bay Rackers says you can get 15-ish pounds in there at 1 qt/lb, so maybe do a 3.5 gal batch?

I do A TON of high gravity batches with my 5 gallon cooler. I just do them as a 2.5 gallon batch.

If I'm making a bigger beer I'm often doing a 2.5 gallon batch instead of a 5 gallon one the 14 pounds of grain that can be held in a 5 gallon makes a beer with an og of 1.151. That's a pretty big beer if you ask me.

I find that one case of big beers is often more than enough.

In fact my first partigyle pumpkin ale was 2 2.5 gallon beers from the same grainbed. A strong ale and a regular amber ale. They were 2 stove top beers from my lowly 5 gallon mash tun.

Here.

I've been using my 5 gallon cooler for years, and I've rarely needed larger for most of my beers. If I'm doing something special or really big and want 5 gallons, I have plenty of brew buddies that have larger coolers I can borrow.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:58 PM   #7
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You can always add a second, larger cooler mash tun to your equipment at a later date if you wish to go bigger on your batch size. For me I am married, have a house and a full time job that takes a lot of my time. I only have the opportunity to brew about once a month....so I always make 10-11 gallon batches. If you can brew weekly and really enjoy the process, then smaller batches would be a lot easier, especially since you can brew in your kitchen which is nice in the winter months.

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Old 12-04-2012, 12:26 AM   #8
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I mashed 13 lbs. in my 5 gallon Igloo MaxCold without a problem at 1.25 quarts per pound. It was pretty full but held the temperature great. The recipe was EdWorts Bee Cave Brewery IPA with an OG of 1.065 and came out great!

On a side note, I also just bought a Igloo 10 gallon commercial grade beverage cooler since I'd like to be able to brew bigger beers without capacity issues.

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Old 12-04-2012, 11:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kifkroker
I mashed 13 lbs. in my 5 gallon Igloo MaxCold without a problem at 1.25 quarts per pound. It was pretty full but held the temperature great. The recipe was EdWorts Bee Cave Brewery IPA with an OG of 1.065 and came out great!

On a side note, I also just bought a Igloo 10 gallon commercial grade beverage cooler since I'd like to be able to brew bigger beers without capacity issues.
I too have pushed my 5 gallon to the max with 12+ pounds of grain and as much water as would fit. I now have a Gatorade 10 gallon water cooler waiting on conversion.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepinjeepin View Post
I too have pushed my 5 gallon to the max with 12+ pounds of grain and as much water as would fit. I now have a Gatorade 10 gallon water cooler waiting on conversion.
I haven't used my 10 gallon Igloo yet... Debating on whether or not to go with one of those awesome NorCal Jaybird False Bottoms or just do a SS water heater hose that my 5 gallon has in it (which has performed flawlessly so far).

If anyone has used both, please comment on which you prefer for batch sparging.

Thanks!
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