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Old 04-07-2012, 12:27 AM   #1
Naptown
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Default Mash tun cooler not working well for me

I bought a 52 qt igloo marine cooler and have been using the SS braided line. I have had some terrible numbers lately, so I took some more accurate temp readings tonight. Tonight is a big beer - Bombastic 1.075. Because my efficiency is so low, the LHBS set my efficiency to 65% in proMash.

Almost 20 Lbs of grain, mashed in with about 6 gallons of water at about 164 degrees. I was using a digital thermo that was inside the mash tun. Started great. 153, then 152 about 5 minutes in. Then it started falling quicker. Needless to say, last time I checked I was at 144 with about 12 minutes left in my 60 minute mash.

Should the temp drop this much? I thought it held very constant after you mashed in. Thoughts? What am I forgetting?



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Old 04-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #2
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Did you pre-heat the cooler?



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Old 04-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #3
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It shouldnt drop that much.

You might try wrapping the mash tun in a sleeping bag or something else thermally insulated to retain some heat. You also might consider increasing the amount of water (ie, water to grist ratio) you use to mash in. More hot water = more thermal mass = less reduction of heat. It also means less sparge water.

Maybe we'd be better equiped to advise you if you outlined your process step by step.

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Old 04-07-2012, 12:52 AM   #4
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A cooler isn't likely to lose that much heat in an hour. Are you sure the thermometer is accurate?

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Old 04-07-2012, 12:57 AM   #5
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Sounds like every time you open it up you lose a degree. Preheat your cooler with a few gallons of 160ish water, wrap that sucker in a blanket, and don't fiddle with it for the whole hour. (edit) Or maybe your not opening it. maybe ghosts are haunting your mashtun, do you live in a haunted house?

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Old 04-07-2012, 01:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooksy
Sounds like every time you open it up you lose a degree. Preheat your cooler with a few gallons of 160ish water, wrap that sucker in a blanket, and don't fiddle with it for the whole hour. (edit) Or maybe your not opening it. maybe ghosts are haunting your mashtun, do you live in a haunted house?
This. Preheat then add water and grains. Stir the crap out of it and let it sit for ten minutes covered in towels or blankets. The. Check the temp to make sure that you are on target. Leave it alone for the hour wrapped up again.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthBay View Post
It shouldnt drop that much.

You might try wrapping the mash tun in a sleeping bag or something else thermally insulated to retain some heat. You also might consider increasing the amount of water (ie, water to grist ratio) you use to mash in. More hot water = more thermal mass = less reduction of heat. It also means less sparge water.

Maybe we'd be better equiped to advise you if you outlined your process step by step.
I always thought that by adding more water to your mash you were more likely to loose heat because the thicker grains retain heat better than just plain old water. It's like oatmeal, which will stay hot on the inside forever, vs a bowl of hot water which will lose temp quickly. So therefore a thicker mash might be your target.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooksy View Post
Sounds like every time you open it up you lose a degree. Preheat your cooler with a few gallons of 160ish water, wrap that sucker in a blanket, and don't fiddle with it for the whole hour. (edit) Or maybe your not opening it. maybe ghosts are haunting your mashtun, do you live in a haunted house?
This...

Stop opening the mash tun. OR if your like me and want to know the temp, put a small hole in the top of the mash tun and push a LONG thermometer (one of the turkey fryer one's) into the mash tun thru the hole so you dont have to open it up.
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:15 AM   #9
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I didn't open it at all in the 60 minutes. I'm using a wired thermometer.

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Old 04-07-2012, 01:15 AM   #10
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We have used the round 10 gallon coolers and maybe lose 1 degree in 90 minutes. On thing that we do it to make sure the water is at Temperature in the Mash Tun prior to adding the grain. If we are shooting for a starting temp of 164, then we will add water at maybe 180 and then add cooling water 1 cup at a time till we get 164. If we need to remove some water to get to the 6 gallons, we will do so. It is much easier to cool water than heat it by additions. We have found this method very useful in not chasing the mash temperature. We have moved on and have a Stout MLT and now use a HERMS system to maintain tempuature, but we still achieve our start temp and volume prior to adding the grain. We also add about 1/2 pound of base malt to any standard 5 gal recepie, although lately we have improved our effiency so we are adding water to get the the projected OG. In fact on our last brew, I used one of the Starter flasks to make a one gallon bonus batch.



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