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Old 11-29-2009, 06:17 PM   #11
chandlervdw
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Thanks for the iodophore tip. That'll come in handy.

What sucks is that I definitely overshot my strike temp to account for the mashtun absorbing some heat. I guess I didn't wait long enough because it lost so much heat during the mash. I'm going to just test with hot water and see how much it absorbs before it starts to level off. Scinerd, how many quarts will your mashtun hold? I might need to go more than 20-25°F, since mine is 60qts.

I've been using beertools pro (mac) trial version and the trial just ran out. Any chance you guys know of a promo code?

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Old 11-29-2009, 10:16 PM   #12
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you will figure it out with your equipment....I would throw 5 gallons of 170 degree in and time how long it takes to drop. you also may want to get a smaller mash tun so you can more easily control the temperature since it just noiw stuck me that your doing about 4 gallons in a 15 gallon mash tun. You probably jyst need a smaller mash tun. Home depot sells 5 gallon igloo coolers for around 40 bucks. Craigslist has them for less usually. You could also try cutting a circle out of thick styrophome insulation and capping the mash with that to better hold temp...you have way too much dead space.

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:16 PM   #13
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What is your grain bed depth? Too shallow of a grain bed can also lead to conversion issues. Also is your cooler round or square? (Just curious)

I agree with Scinerd3000, a smaller Mush Tun may help with the temp fluctuations. Or you could brew bigger batches, or stronger SG beers. =)

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:24 PM   #14
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Well, I'd rather not get another cooler cause I bought this one specifically for converting into a mashtun. I just apparently got one that's too big.

I used a 1/3 gal of strike water per pound of grain so proportionally it's correct but the grain bed does end up being fairly shallow. It's a rectangle and it's really big... this is what I converted (although I got it from craigslist for 25)... http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=8586970

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:46 AM   #15
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those coolers work well...however with that setup im guessing livErD69 is right and the grainbed is too shallow. I would atleast up your batches to 5 gallons. Generally 2,5,10,15 gallons are all the same amount of work and take the same time however you end up with more beer...

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Old 11-30-2009, 03:08 AM   #16
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yeah, I guess I'm just afraid of the cost & ruining another batch...

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Old 11-30-2009, 03:24 AM   #17
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do me a favor and just for the hell of it take a pic of the inside of your cooler if possible...I understand being afraid of messing up a batch or 2 but we've all been there and its how you learn. If i were you i would buy a cheap kit something like this (http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_452_378_377&products_id =1712) and add another pound of the base malt (in this case vienna) to offset the loss in efficiency. If nothing else the added grain for a 5 gallon batch should help offset the huge cooler your using...

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Old 11-30-2009, 01:17 PM   #18
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The Inside


Inside near drain


Outside


Outside near drain



Inside filter end




Obviously, it's pretty big. Last night I put in 190°F water and after 10 or 15 minutes (possibly 20 or 30) it was down to 173°F. After about 4 or 5 hours, it was down to 143°F or so. This morning it was still warm.

I noticed a couple of places near the top (the recess 'handle' to help open the lid, and one of the corners) where steam was leaking when I first added water. I'll end up putting some duct tape on the lid to seal it off better, unless you guys have a better idea. I also just ordered this digital thermometer (http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000095RC4?tag=betteraddons-20), which will help. Scinerd, I'll take your advice and keep some boiling water ready to heat the mash back up.

Also, I'd hate to heat up water just to use for heating up the mashtun and then have to waste it and put the proper amount of strike water in. I guess I should just start each mash with the proper amount of 200°F strike water, wait 20 minutes and see where the temp is at. A few ice cubes would probably help it cool down if after 20 mins or so if it's still too hot. Hopefully, it won't be too cold. I also might end up trying to cut this piece of high density styrofoam that I've got & wrap it in tin foil, then secure it ABOVE the mash... that might help displace some of the headspace air in the cooler and also act as an insulator - I just don't want to get it in my wort at all.

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Old 11-30-2009, 06:35 PM   #19
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that sounds great. And from looking at your setup, the only thing glaring at me is the extra 2 inches of hose hanging before the ball valve outside the kettle. You may want to wrap some insulation around that to further minimize the heat loss although i doubt that its responsible for that much loss. Also check the lid. My cooler has a hole in the underside of the top where its hollow and if yours has the same you could fill it with spray insulation foam from HD or Lowes to further lower the heatloss. Some people also wrap there coolers in heavey blankets which can work well. Good luck and please post back after your next batch. Cheers

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Old 11-30-2009, 07:40 PM   #20
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Scinerd, will do and thanks for the tips. Crossing my fingers hoping that a thorough pre-heat and some steam leaks will fix my problem! I'll post, for sure

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