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Old 06-20-2014, 01:56 PM   #1
jlawrence
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Default Mash tun too big?

I recently built a mash tun out of a 48 qt rectangular cooler. I want to do a 1 gallon test batch, and I was wondering if the mash tun is too big?

I will be batch sparging, and the recipe is similar to Biermunchers centennial blonde.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:12 PM   #2
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Yes. The reason is that you will put your stuff in there and it won't fill the tun enough to hold temp. It won't have the thermal mass that allows it to hold temp.

For 1 gallon batches, I'd use a BIAB method on the stove in some smaller vessel.

To test the mash tun, first check with water for leaks, then just jump right in with a full batch. Even a 5 gallon batch in a 48 gallon tun will not be a lot of grain.

Don't forget to account for grain temperature and either adjust strike water for heat loss due to cooler soaking it up, or preheat the cooler with some water. Or maybe both.

I recommend aiming a few degrees higher. It's WAY easier to add a few ice cubes to cool it, than it is to try and heat it up some more.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:15 PM   #3
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Easiest and best way to do a small mash like that is in a pot in a warm oven.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:27 PM   #4
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my tun is oversized for the batches I do, lots of headspace. first couple batches I would lose 7-8° over the course of the hour-long mash

now, I just put a layer of aluminum foil over the top of the grain bed, only lose 1°

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Old 06-20-2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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Maybe I'll try the aluminum foil, hopefully I can keep the temperature up


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Old 06-21-2014, 02:24 AM   #6
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I think most folks who use aluminum are doing something like a 5 gal batch in a 10 gal cooler. A 1 gal batch of Centennial blonde is like what, 1lb and a half of grain? In a 12 gal cooler?!? I'm wondering what you're trying to test. If its the recipe I'd do it in a pot on the stove like mentioned. If you are trying to get any useful information about your system like efficiency, strike temps, etc. I don't see the value of doing something that small.

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Old 06-21-2014, 09:02 AM   #7
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Default Mash tun too big?

Fair enough, I'll just stovetop it. I've done biab before and wasn't really happy with it, but no harm in trying.

Thanks!


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Old 06-21-2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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Default Mash tun too big?

If it makes you happy, just mash in a pot in the oven, then dump it in your cooler to lauter and sparge.

Or keep a kettle handy with some boiling water to bump the temp up in your under filled cooler MLT, guessing you will need to add heat with such a small mash.

1.5 pounds of grain in a 12 gallon cooler is barely more than a stain on the bottom, I wouldn't try it.

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Old 06-21-2014, 06:12 PM   #9
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I never tried it after, didn't want to risk it. Maybe I'll do what you're suggesting and dump it in the cooler just to vorlauf/sparge, but do the rest in the pot on the stove


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Old 06-23-2014, 06:55 PM   #10
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If I was only doign 1 gallon, a stovetop BIAB or oven BIAB would be super easy. I like to dunk the bag in a separate pot to sparge, but for a 1 gallon recipe I'd be awful tempted to skip the sparge and just mash a bit more grain and do a no-sparge brew.

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