Originally Posted by Newbrew12
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.