I scored a used 5-gallon round Igloo water cooler at the local homebrew club raffle last night. It has a false bottom, but I'm thinking I'd rather make a ss braid for it. The false bottom fits so tight it doesn't go all the way to the bottom. I'm also going to replace the bulkhead assembly with one described in How to Brew as I don't like the way the one already in there is made.
It came with a sparge arm, but I believe I'd need another cooler with spigot to act as a hot liquor tank to use that, correct?
General question - how much grain can be comfortably mashed in a 5-gallon cooler? I'm only intending to do partial mashes with about 3 gallons of boil volume, most likely adding extract at the end of the boil and topping up to 5 gallons. (I'm limited to an electric stove inside, so partial boils are about as good as I can get.)
Thus far I've done three batches total, all using grain, but these were just steeped specialty grains. I've never mashed before.