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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Cylindrical or Rectangular MLT?
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:08 AM   #1
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Default Cylindrical or Rectangular MLT?

I am not sure if this should be with the equipment forum (if so feel free to move it)

I'm trying to put together my equipment to make the move to AG. I know there has been some discussion regarding the best SIZE for a 'cooler' style MLT, however, does anyone have any thoughts/comments/recommendations about choosing between the Cylindrical beverage coolers and the rectangular 'ice chest' style.

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Old 03-21-2008, 04:12 AM   #2
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It really depends, IMO alot, on the size of the beer you intend to brew.

Big beers, i.e. a lot of grain can create a difficult to manage "column" in a cylidro-cooler MLT thus meaning a deep grain bed which can cause trouble in runoff by getting stuck.

A rectangular can have the same issue but is less prone to this as their is more room to "spread out".

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Old 03-21-2008, 04:13 AM   #3
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In a perfect world, I prefer a round cooler. It's easier to stir things really well, and I feel there are less temperature variations in a round cooler.

Having said that, I have a rectangular cooler. It was cheaper (and makes fine beer). Seems like once you get past the 5g size the round coolers get pretty expensive.

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Old 03-21-2008, 04:14 AM   #4
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Me and most of my friends that use rectangular coolers get about 65 to maybe 70% eff., I don't mind paying a lil more for more grain, but I like to think I have a really good setup. I've heard of people using the 10 gallon drink coolers and getting a lot better eff. I am hoping to switch to one, but they are pretty hard to find locally and I don't want to pay shipping.

If you do get a rectangular one, you want one with good bottom geometry, make sure it has a good spot for a valve and manifold. It is sometimes hard to get the valves to seal if the outside is corrugated/rough, or isn't perfectly flat. I've never converted the round ones, but I'd imagine they have a flat spot where the traditional drink spigot would be.

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Old 03-21-2008, 04:27 AM   #5
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I have a rectangular one and prefer them over the round style. I also use it to keep the carboy cool as the weather warms up.

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Old 03-21-2008, 07:00 AM   #6
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I like round ones because of the following:

1. Good grain depth for geting good filtering action from a false bottom.

2. Even drainage through the grains and especilally if using a spraybar(fly sparge) but also works good for batch sparging because it is easy to stir.

3. They have good insulation (better than some cheaper rectangular coolers).

The only downside I can see is that the round coolers only can be only 5 or 10 gallons capacity and I use 2 of them when doing a very large grain bill for 12 gallons. I could use 1 rectangular one but then it is harder to get the water to drain evenly in the rectangular cooler when using fly sparge which I have been using lately because I am testing different latering/sparging techniques.

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Old 03-22-2008, 03:06 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses...Seems like you can have success with either style, and each have their pluses and minuses. I think I may splurge and go with the cylindrical (even though they are pretty pricey) it will fit better in the space I have been allowed by SWMBO!

Cheers!

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Old 03-22-2008, 03:22 AM   #8
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I was able to get a 10 gallon Coleman drink cooler. It is square.




I really like it and regularly get into the low 90's for eff.


I fly sparge and the arm fit nicely into the lid.

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Old 03-22-2008, 03:45 AM   #9
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what do you use for a pump for your fly sparge? that's amazing eff.

do you do 5 gallon batches?

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Old 03-22-2008, 03:47 AM   #10
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I brew 10 gallon batches all gravity fed. No pump.

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