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Old 01-07-2013, 04:07 AM   #1
cwsmitty
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Default Building mash tun...questions.

I'm looking to build my own mash tun. I have the "Brew Ware" book and looking to use their plans with a rectangular cooler (probably around 32 qts) with a CPVC manifold.

1. Is this a good mash tun design?
2. If so, is there a recommended cooler? Is Rubbermaid better than Coleman? Does it matter?

Thanks!

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Old 01-07-2013, 04:20 AM   #2
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I have a rubbermaid marine cooler. 48 quarts, rectangular, because it was cheap, but it holds temps really well. I brewed today and it was 32 degrees out. Only lost one degree in the 60 minute mash. I prefer the larger cooler, because it allows a little extra room for sloshing while mashing in. You want to make sure to stir the mash really well and on a batch sparge, if you are putting in 4-5 gallons or so, on top of the saturated grain, it actually gets pretty full. (I boil off 2 gallons per hour, so my sparges can get pretty big.)

I'm sure 32 quarts would be fine, 8 gallons seems plenty big, just throwing out my two cents. I don't think I paid more than $20 for my cooler at wal-mart though and as I said, it holds temps pretty well.

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Old 01-07-2013, 04:25 AM   #3
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It'll work great. Get it all plumbed up and brew with it and report back. That's what I did I I'm not going back.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/photo/ne...tun-56305.html

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Old 01-07-2013, 04:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clonefan94
I have a rubbermaid marine cooler. 48 quarts, rectangular, because it was cheap, but it holds temps really well. I brewed today and it was 32 degrees out. Only lost one degree in the 60 minute mash. I prefer the larger cooler, because it allows a little extra room for sloshing while mashing in. You want to make sure to stir the mash really well and on a batch sparge, if you are putting in 4-5 gallons or so, on top of the saturated grain, it actually gets pretty full. (I boil off 2 gallons per hour, so my sparges can get pretty big.)

I'm sure 32 quarts would be fine, 8 gallons seems plenty big, just throwing out my two cents. I don't think I paid more than $20 for my cooler at wal-mart though and as I said, it holds temps pretty well.

Thanks! If I'm doing five gallon batches, would the 48 quart cooler be too big? Is the grain bed deep enough for a five gallon batch?
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hackwood
It'll work great. Get it all plumbed up and brew with it and report back. That's what I did I I'm not going back.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/photo/ne...tun-56305.html

Thanks! I saw your picture as I was tooling around on here before I posts my question--very impressive setup! I will post a pic when I build it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:53 AM   #6
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I used an igloo Marine 50 qrt cooler and it works great so far. I've done 2 batches with it and have never lost more than 1F over a 60 mash. Built a cpvc manifold and it also has worked great. Got great efficiency both times doing a batch sparge. I like the size of the cooler because it allows me to brew a "bigger" beer without running out of space for a 5.25gal batch.

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Old 01-07-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwsmitty View Post
Thanks! If I'm doing five gallon batches, would the 48 quart cooler be too big? Is the grain bed deep enough for a five gallon batch?
I've never had any issues and my efficiency has been in the high 70s on every brew. Once that grain gets full of water and swells up, you'd be surprised how much room it will take up in the cooler.

Although I batch sparge and have never done a fly sparge. It seems most who fly prefer the round coolers, but there are many who have great success using the rectangular coolers as well.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clonefan94 View Post
I have a rubbermaid marine cooler. 48 quarts, rectangular, because it was cheap, but it holds temps really well. I brewed today and it was 32 degrees out. Only lost one degree in the 60 minute mash. I prefer the larger cooler, because it allows a little extra room for sloshing while mashing in. You want to make sure to stir the mash really well and on a batch sparge, if you are putting in 4-5 gallons or so, on top of the saturated grain, it actually gets pretty full. (I boil off 2 gallons per hour, so my sparges can get pretty big.)
I have the same cooler and the same thoughts. I thought it would be too big, but its the right size. Holds temp great.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:55 PM   #9
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An alternative...

www.dennybrew.com

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwsmitty View Post
I'm looking to build my own mash tun. I have the "Brew Ware" book and looking to use their plans with a rectangular cooler (probably around 32 qts) with a CPVC manifold.

1. Is this a good mash tun design?
2. If so, is there a recommended cooler? Is Rubbermaid better than Coleman? Does it matter?

Thanks!
Here are a couple of thoughts for you to consider.

First, are you going to Fly Sparge or Batch Sparge.

If you Fly Sparge, you will need to be more concerned about the lautering system (False Bottom, Manifold, Stainless Braid), and the grain bed depth. These two considerations tend to moving toward a round cooler with a manifold or false bottom. You will also not want TOO big a cooler as this will minimize the grain bed depth.

If you Batch Sparge, you have a lot more options available to you. You can more easily use round coolers with different lautering systems, or you can use rectangular coolers with different manifolds or screens. You also don't need to worry as much about your grain bed depth. So, you can go larger with your cooler if you would like.

Second, you ask if Rubbermaid is better than Coleman. I don't know about these brands particularly, but some coolers will be better than others because they hold the temperature better. I would presume that any well insulated cooler would be good.

Having said that, you have a whole field of options from which to choose.

I hope that this helps.

Mark
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