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Old 09-21-2011, 01:58 PM   #1
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Default Batch Sparge - grain bed depth matter?

I'm trying to determine my best option for MLT, whether it is a round cooler or a rectangular cooler, and what size is best. I've read the threads and the graphs and tables, but I still have a question about grain bed depth and whether it matters or not when batch sparging.

If I read correctly, grain bed depth matters more in fly sparging than batch sparging, and as long as the bed is deep enough to set properly, that is all that really matters...correct?

If I'm looking to do 5-10 gallon batches, I was thinking a 52-qt rectangular would be ideal after reading Bobby_M's post regarding Mash Tun Sizes, but I wanted to make sure that the grain used in a 5g batch wouldn't be "too small" to provide a decent grain bed depth for sparging...or if it even matters!

I bought a 10 gallon round Rubbermaid from Home Depot after reading some threads, but now I'm reconsidering whether I'd be better off getting a larger rectangular or not...

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Old 09-21-2011, 02:18 PM   #2
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The only challenge is that usually the larger the footprint, the harder it is to drain fully. In other words, the apparent dead space is increased. In a large MLT with a small grain bill, I'd recommend propping up the far end to angle towards the drain side. From a sparge perspective, it doesn't matter at all.

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Old 09-21-2011, 02:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Bobby, I think I will swap out for a rectangular one then and build a manifold.

BTW, I placed an order yesterday for some kits and bits from your site. Very excited!

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Old 09-21-2011, 02:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
In a large MLT with a small grain bill, I'd recommend propping up the far end to angle towards the drain side.
I do that and it works well for me. Takes a bit to drain out that last little bit but I just leave my MLT propped up like that while the wort is coming to a boil. Doesn't seem to be much liquid left when I clean out the cooler.

Nice part about having the large cooler is that even with large grain bills and 10 gallon batches I've got plenty of room.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:53 PM   #5
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I use a retangular tun that I built. It's a Coleman 50qt or so cooler. My false bottom is PVC pipe with slits. When it comes to sparging I have had no issues. It drains all the way. A guy I know uses a round and doesn't have issues either.

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Old 09-21-2011, 04:32 PM   #6
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I use a Coleman Extreme 70qt. I also brew ten gallon batches. I find that I am near capacity using that MT. I though will not be changing soon.

BTW - Using blue foam that is about 1.5" to 2"s thick I created a Tun Filler that fits snuggly inside the cooler. I am then able to stuff one or two of these depending on how much grain/water I have in the cooler to fill the dead space. Works very well to hold the heat.

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Old 09-21-2011, 04:49 PM   #7
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I am currently using the coleman extreme 70 qt rectangular cooler with a bazooka screen, doing 5 gallon batch sparges. My dead space is next to nothing, as I prop the non-drain end up when the lauter begins to fizzle out.

Prior to the mash I'll throw a gallon of hot water in the cooler and shake it all around to heat the walls and air inside, then dump it and throw my strike water in. I've had no problems whatsoever with hitting temps and gravities, and I don't use a space filler.

FWIW, if you're batch sparging I don't think a manifold versus screen matters efficiency wise (sorry if you already know this). But depending on your MLT one may deal better with dead space than another.

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Old 09-21-2011, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubilee View Post
I am currently using the coleman extreme 70 qt rectangular cooler with a bazooka screen, doing 5 gallon batch sparges. My dead space is next to nothing, as I prop the non-drain end up when the lauter begins to fizzle out.

Prior to the mash I'll throw a gallon of hot water in the cooler and shake it all around to heat the walls and air inside, then dump it and throw my strike water in. I've had no problems whatsoever with hitting temps and gravities, and I don't use a space filler.

FWIW, if you're batch sparging I don't think a manifold versus screen matters efficiency wise (sorry if you already know this). But depending on your MLT one may deal better with dead space than another.
Yeah, I was thinking manifold more than screen to get more coverage. In the round cooler I probably would have left it as a screen or ss braided tube, but in the rectangular I think a manifold would serve it better. Having said that tho, I realize it's a big chunk of personal preference and your cooler dimensions.
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigirishape View Post
Yeah, I was thinking manifold more than screen to get more coverage. In the round cooler I probably would have left it as a screen or ss braided tube, but in the rectangular I think a manifold would serve it better. Having said that tho, I realize it's a big chunk of personal preference and your cooler dimensions.
FYI, if you decide to go with the 70 qt coleman extreme there's a drain channel on one end. When I prop it up (with a 4x4) my dead space amounts to less than 1 cup. I mention this because it's probably easier/faster to clean the bazooka screen than disassemble and clean a manifold....but ymmv.

Cheers!
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubilee View Post
FYI, if you decide to go with the 70 qt coleman extreme there's a drain channel on one end. When I prop it up (with a 4x4) my dead space amounts to less than 1 cup. I mention this because it's probably easier/faster to clean the bazooka screen than disassemble and clean a manifold....but ymmv.

Cheers!
Good info about the Coleman 70qt, where did you pick it up at?

I also figured a cpvc mani would be cheaper than a screen, no? I just got done pricing out and buying all sorts of bits for my AG setup, so I'm all 'priced' out. I may be wrong, but knowing the kettle screen from bargainfittings was $17.99 and $17 at midwest, i figured a cpvc setup would be cheaper...but I haven't priced out pieces.
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