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Old 01-25-2013, 05:31 PM   #1
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Default Rectangular vs. round cooler?

Hey all,

Sorry if this has been answered somewhere but I am looking to get into all grain and have been looking at coolers. Is there a recommendation on rectangular vs. round coolers. The rectangular's seem to be a lot less expensive but if it has too many dissadvantages then I want to stick away from them. I'd probably be fly sparging if that plays a roll in the decision. Thanks all.

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Old 01-25-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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I like the round one because it takes less space, and I feel it holds the temperature a lot better. I bought a 10 gallon igloo home depot cooler, and I do not even drop 1 degree over an hour mash rest. It works amazing. I batch sparge, so I really can't help you there.

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Old 01-25-2013, 06:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Newbrew12 View Post
Hey all,

Sorry if this has been answered somewhere but I am looking to get into all grain and have been looking at coolers. Is there a recommendation on rectangular vs. round coolers. The rectangular's seem to be a lot less expensive but if it has too many dissadvantages then I want to stick away from them. I'd probably be fly sparging if that plays a roll in the decision. Thanks all.
I think that either type of cooler will serve you well. There is an important distinction, however. And that distinction is based upon the Sparge Method that you wish to employ.

If you wish to fly sparge, you will need to be concerned with water channeling and with grain bed depth. You will get the most uniform grain bed depth with a round cooler. You will also get less channeling of your sparge water if you use a round cooler IF you use the correct lautering system. For Fly Sparging, you would be best off with a Round Cooler and a Manifold or False Bottom.

If you wish to Batch Sparge (which is what many of the people on the forum do), you have more options. Grain Bed Depth is not an issue, so you can have more cooler options to choose from -- be they round coolers or rectulangular coolers. Also, you don't need to be as picky with your lautering system. You can use false bottoms, manifolds, stainless braids, or filter screens. You usually stir up the grains to mix in all the sugars right before the Vourlaf and sparging; you don't need to worry so much about channeling, or having a uniform grain bed depth. The options with batch sparging are more varied, and it generally takes less time.

FWIW, I have a round 10 gallon Rubermaid cooler that I mash in. It is fitted with a stainless braid from a Hot Water Tank supply line. I have tried using a false bottom, but I have not had much luck with that. I do like the stainless braid.

If you are set on fly sparging, then your best options are with a round cooler and a false bottom or manifold.

I hope that this helps.

Mark
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. From what I gather... and what you started to explain, the difference is that in Batch Sparging you mash like normal and then mix it all up, vourlaf, drain the mash tun completely to the bk and then add the hot water back to the drained mash tun? I guess I've been reading some on it but haven't really wrapped my head around it. Only reason I've leaned towards fly sparging is because I've seen it done and it makes sense to me haha. I assume there's a thread with a walk through of it but I must be missing it.

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Old 01-25-2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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I started a similar thread a year or so ago. Loads of opinions and good sound advice. I ended up going rectangular 48qt or 12 G. I think a lot of the round ones max at 10G where as you can get 10, 12, and 15 G rectangular coolers. I would guess that the round would keep the temp more consistent but I like having more elbow room to mash in. In the end, I would go look at a variety as you are out and about at Target, Walmart, Sears, etc...and think about size, price, and how easy will it be to convert it to a mash tun. Good luck! ~Chris

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Old 01-25-2013, 06:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Newbrew12 View Post
Thanks for the info. From what I gather... and what you started to explain, the difference is that in Batch Sparging you mash like normal and then mix it all up, vourlaf, drain the mash tun completely to the bk and then add the hot water back to the drained mash tun? I guess I've been reading some on it but haven't really wrapped my head around it. Only reason I've leaned towards fly sparging is because I've seen it done and it makes sense to me haha. I assume there's a thread with a walk through of it but I must be missing it.
Here's some info about batch sparging on the Cheap'n'Easy system...www.dennybrew.com

I far prefer rectangular coolers. You get much more volume for your money and the larger opening makes it easier to stir. On my average 5 gal. batch I only loise 1-2F over the course of a mash. Not enough to worry about.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:52 AM   #7
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+1 on the square coolers giving you much more space for your money. That being said I use and like round coolers, I could try to justify why round coolers are better, but theres probably no difference. Mine just works for me.

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Old 02-02-2013, 12:37 AM   #8
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Great link Denny thanks.

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Old 02-02-2013, 12:51 AM   #9
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My sense is to go for the least expensive cooler you can find. I have a 5 and 10 gal round Igloo and a cheap 48 gal rectangular cooler with a SS braid. Can't remember when I last used the Igloo. You can make great beer with all of them though...

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Old 02-02-2013, 01:05 AM   #10
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We used round cooler with the toilet braid and they worked great and we batch sparge:


Brewery Rule # 23:

Fly Sparging is for Flys!

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