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Old 02-23-2014, 06:11 PM   #1
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Default New mash tun

Hi all,
I am preparing to upgrade my mash tun from a 10 gal orange rubber made cooler with a false bottom in order to accomodate more grain/water to make bigger beers. I usually shoot for 11 gallons into my fermentors, so as I have been moving to experimenting with IIIPAs and Belgians with SG in the 1.070-1.090 range, I end up with a mash that is well below 1.25 quarts/lb., andthe mash goes right to the top of my current tun, and the result is reduced efficiency, and lower than target SG.

When I make smaller beers, SG in the 1.050 range, I end up with the proper grain/water ratio, and I hit my target SG pretty within a point or two, so I am nearly positive that a bigger mash tun that allows for the proper ratio will fix this problem on the bigger beers. I am able to hit and hold my target mash temps (149-154, style dependant), my mash pH is always 5.2-5.4, and I fly sparge with 170 water for 60-90 minutes to collect my target boil volumes, in the 13 gallon range.

I have a 64 quart cooler that would work, but have some concerns over the shape of the inside of the cooler (pic attached). It is rectangular, and there are two wheels on the outside, so there is some "floor space" in the cooler that is above the bottom of the cooler, i.e. the bottom is not flat. My plan is to use a modified SS hose for a manifold, but with this cooler, the manifold will only cover about 3/4 of the bottom of the cooler.

Any thoughts on whether this will cause any noticeable drop in efficiency compared to buying a new cooler with a completely flat bottom?

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Old 02-24-2014, 02:35 AM   #2
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I wouldn't think the length of the hose would cause any efficiency issues. When looking at toilet supply style tuns most of those don't cover the entire length. My concern would be grain hiding on nooks and crannies leading to some accidental dough balls. I would also be annoyed during the mash in trying to stir around in something that isn't flat.

I'm sure if you can stir the grain well, hit and hold your temps, and drain it, you'll have no problems at all. Flat and the same depth just makes it easier to work in.

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Old 02-24-2014, 01:45 PM   #3
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Good point on the nooks and crannies being an issue. I am going to build my manifold and give it a try on my next bew day in a few weeks. If it is annoying, or the efficiency seems off, I will just get a new cooler with a flat bottom, and move my new manifold.

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Old 02-24-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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That cooler will make a great batch sparger, might be questionable for fly sparging, especially with a SS braid IMHO.

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Old 02-25-2014, 02:20 AM   #5
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This looks like the Coleman Xtreme. There's a good DIY build for this. I used it to put together mine. I could probably put together a part list tomorrow.

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Old 02-25-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
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I have a Coleman extreme with a stainless braid, and I get around 80% to 82% efficiency. It is a great cooler and will hold within 1C for an hour.

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Old 02-25-2014, 09:50 AM   #7
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I am not so concerned with the small elevated portion of that cooler, what concerns me more is the long rectangular shape, and the possibility of the sparge taking the easiest route out of the cooler. I feel that the grain nearest the bulkhead will receive a better rinse than the grain at the opposite end of the cooler. Try a fly sparge if you are so inclined, if that doesn't suit you, I would try a batch sparge with that cooler FTW...cheers!

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Old 02-25-2014, 03:00 PM   #8
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I was leaning towards moving to a batch sparge, I had the same concern about the shape. I am brewing two batches on March 8, I am going to reproduce a Hefe at 1.052 SG and an II IPA at 1.080 SG I did in my old mash tun, batch sparge and see what the difference in efficiency is compared to my old system.

Would anyone using the Coleman Extreme be so inclined as to post a picture of the inside of your coooler with the manifold? I will also search for the DIY build.

Thanks all for your help.

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Old 02-25-2014, 06:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhawk96 View Post
I fly sparge with 170 water for 60-90 minutes to collect my target boil volumes, in the 13 gallon range.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhawk96 View Post
I was leaning towards moving to a batch sparge,
60 - 90 minutes OMG, I would put a single length of sturdy braid in that cooler and batch sparge every day...Just my opinion, I'm a batch sparger by nature!

Like this perhaps....
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/attachments/f51/46327d1328253114-52-qt-coleman-xtreme-mash-tun-build-img_1179.jpg
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:36 AM   #10
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I'd build a loop manifold and batch sparge with it. Actually, Knowing me, I'd also put cross bars in the manifold every six inches. I love to over complicate.

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