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Old 11-10-2009, 11:16 AM   #1
Kulprit
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Default 50 gal batches - what to use for MLT

I am trying to mock up a way to upgrade our batches to the 50 gallon range.

The kettle and fermentation are straight forward enough - just spend some money.

I am having trouble figuring out a way to come up with a straightforward solution to doing a mash this large.

Would you guys say it's ok to use two coolers for this? Say two 150qt coolers? Trying to get a single cooler in the 250qt range is expensive but two 150qt coolers are much more reasonable.

What would be the pitfalls/pros/cons of doing something like this?

I would love to hear what people with experience use?

I should mention we are trying to keep our costs down as this is basically a pilot system to be used for a year or two and then hopefully upgraded again to pro setup.

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Old 11-10-2009, 01:00 PM   #2
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You might keep checking the classifieds at probrewer.com. I have seen mash tuns for 2 bbl systems for sale. If that is out of your price range, look into usplastic.com. They have large food-safe drums for sale for relatively low $$$. You could wrap insulation around it and drill for drain fittings.

Not sure if either will help you, but worth a look...

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Old 11-10-2009, 03:39 PM   #3
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Are you trying to setup a small brewery or have a "group" brew day?

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Old 11-10-2009, 04:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kulprit View Post
What would be the pitfalls/pros/cons of doing something like this?
Inconsistency. The coolers won't be 100% the same, and it will be a pain to make sure everything is perfectly split and balanced between the two. If you're trying to dial in the system and get results out of it that you can easily reproduce, it just throws another variable in there.

I'd suggest looking into plastic 55 gallon food-grade drums. You can usually pick those up for a song at local places that only use them once. There's a guy on craigslist by me that sells them for $15! A few layers of foil bubble wrap insulation on that and you're good to go.

When you get to that size mash tun, it holds heat pretty well just due to the sheer size of it, so that much insulation should be enough.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:42 PM   #5
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+1 on the 55 gal poly drum.

You can do much better on the insulation than bubble wrap. Check out the sheet insulation available at McMaster-Carr.

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Old 11-10-2009, 04:56 PM   #6
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What type would be best?
http://www.mcmaster.com/#insulation-sheets/

looking at the table, the bubble wrap has the highest R-value of the available flexible insulation... all the other ones are rigid, as far as I can tell?

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Old 11-10-2009, 05:14 PM   #7
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I don't think the bubble wrap is such a bad choice, you just have to wrap it a few times around. I'm going to be trying out some of the semi rigid mineral wool board which seems to be flexible enough to wrap around a 16" diameter at least. It would have to be jacketed without something to protect it.

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Old 11-10-2009, 05:21 PM   #8
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One of the nice things about the foil bubble wrap is you can use velcro to secure it. So you can take it off to clean up the particles of grain that inevitably get in there

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Old 11-10-2009, 05:28 PM   #9
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One of the nice things about the foil bubble wrap is you can use velcro to secure it. So you can take it off to clean up the particles of grain that inevitably get in there
You clean those out? I thought they gave the beer extra escence after decaying a bit.

I'm piecing together a 55 gallon stainless drum system and its coming together nicely. I would recommend looking into stainless drums and having a custom false bottom made.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:31 PM   #10
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I think I have seen people use those big trashcans.

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