Originally Posted by rjschroed
I always put my strike water into my mash tun first then stir in the grains. helps to avoid dough balls. Also when batch sparging you can drain your tun all the way. Your sparge water should heat the grain bed to near 170. This stops conversion and helps aid in rinsing the sugars from the mash.
+1 on mashing at 150 and 75 minutes.
I use a 10 gallon Igloo cooler, and have for years! I agree with putting the strike water in the cooler first! A couple of reasons- one, you can add hotter water (in the high 170s) and let it cool. This will preheat the MLT. That's very important in a cooler. You'll lose a ton of heat, especially in the winter time, from the strike water into the cooler. After the temperature of the water lowers (about 15 minutes), check it and stir it up. If it's too low, pull some out and heat it up. If it's too high, stir some more until you're at your strike temperature.
Then stirring well, add the grain. This helps avoid doughballs. If you add the grain first, you'll have a doughball mess. (Ask me how I know this!
Check the temperature in several places, and if it's different, keep stirring. It might take about 10 minutes for the temperature to be equalized throughout.