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Old 12-03-2008, 11:01 PM   #1
brewluver
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Default Partial Mashing Need Help

I'm pretty new to this hobby and i have a few extract batches under my belt so i'm looking to try some Partial Mash recipes. I would like to make a Mini MLT out of a cooler but don't know what size to buy. Looks like the recipes i'm looking at use 3 to 6 pounds of grain. I would think a 2 gallon cooler would be alittle tight and 5 gallon cooler might be two much. I have found some 3 gallon coolers butthey run around 30 bucks. I live in a condo right now so going to all-grain will be years down the road. Should I just get the 3 gallon to be safe? I know you can do this process without a cooler but i sure do like having gadgets to play with. Any suggestions would be great.

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Old 12-04-2008, 12:14 AM   #2
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MLT

Countertop Partial Mash (BYO recently moved the article and apparently took out all the paragraphs and such, sorry).

The second link will give you an idea. I think i've heard 2 gallons can hold up to ~5lbs.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:17 AM   #3
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Once you do a few partial mashes, you're probably going to want to move on to all-grain. Ask me how I know.

I used a 3 gallon cooler for several PM batches, then swapped the hardware into a 5 gallon, which I've continued to use for dozens of all grain batches. Now I'm at the point that I wish it were 10 gallon, as I'd like to do some big beers and am also gearing up for 10 gallon batches.

My advice is to AT LEAST go with the 5 gallon, it's great for partial mashes and even all grain up to around 1.065 OG.

My original 3 gallon cooler now serves camping duty!

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Old 12-04-2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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I agree -- go with a 5 gal cooler. It will serve you well for both a PM or all-grain recipe.

I have 2 gal, 3 gal, and 10 gal coolers that I have used in the past for brewing. The 2 gal got ditched right away. I still use the 3 gal one though.

Also, if you use a grain bag like the BYO article suggests, get a vegetable strainer to line the bottom of the cooler with. Or just spend $4 and install a SS braid (you can but in a bulkhead and ball valve, but its not necessary until you start doing bigger volumes of beer -- see my sig for the build).

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Old 12-04-2008, 01:10 AM   #5
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well right after I posted this SWMBO came in and asked what i was doing. Long story short I told her and i believe she may have already bought the 3 gallon cooler for me for Christmas (she is not very good at keeping secerets). Well thats ok with me like i said we live in a small condo so the smaller the equipment the happier "she" is.

So even if i use a SS braid i will need to use a grain bag, or some sort of false bottom?

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Old 12-04-2008, 02:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by brewluver View Post
well right after I posted this SWMBO came in and asked what i was doing. Long story short I told her and i believe she may have already bought the 3 gallon cooler for me for Christmas (she is not very good at keeping secerets). Well thats ok with me like i said we live in a small condo so the smaller the equipment the happier "she" is.

So even if i use a SS braid i will need to use a grain bag, or some sort of false bottom?
No sweat, that cooler will work great for partial mashes. The braid is all you need. Be sure to read FlyGuy's MLT conversion thread (in his sig) for all the details, and I highly recommend fitting a perforated vinyl tube into the braid as he suggests. Mine has worked flawlessly with this setup for MANY MANY batches, without even a hint of a stuck mash.

This shot is actually from my 3 gallon cooler. The exact assembly dropped right into my 5 gallon, where it continues to work great.

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Old 12-04-2008, 02:38 AM   #7
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looks great, I am definitely going to use that same setup. Thanks for the advice

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Old 12-04-2008, 01:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
I highly recommend fitting a perforated vinyl tube into the braid as he suggests.
What is the purpose of the perforated vinyl tube??? Does the tube actually go inside the SS braid? I have a piece of copper inside mine to hold the braid down. Does it serve the same purpose???

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Old 12-04-2008, 03:18 PM   #9
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What is the purpose of the perforated vinyl tube??? Does the tube actually go inside the SS braid?
Two things. It keeps the braid from getting crushed by the weight of the grain bed, plus it allows you to connect to a barbed fitting without the need of a hose clamp. Some were finding that the worm gears on their "stainless" hose clamps were rusting.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:54 PM   #10
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I suggest that you try it both ways and see what works best. Some prefer not to use a tube, and some swear by them. I do highly recommend that you only use a stiff, heat resistant and food-grade piece of tubing. Some have used cheaper, more pliable vinyl tubing -- but at high temps, it just collapses on itself making it worse than not using any tubing at all.

I actually used the tubing because it was also a convenient way to attach the braid to the barb inside the cooler, and it made it easy to cap the other end with a brass nut.

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