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Old 07-13-2009, 09:23 PM   #1
json2001
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Default Going AG: Mash Tun Cooler Questions

So, I want to make the leap and go All Grain. In fact I think it might be easier than what I'm doing now with PM after dropping the coin on the specialized equipment. A few of questions:

  • I assume I should just got for the 10g cooler.
  • Will I benefit from getting the "commercial grade" cooler?
  • Do I need a matching 10 gallon cooler the hot water tank? Or can I scrape by sparging from a 5gallon tank?
  • Best place to get a cooler for the best price?
  • Tips on a cheap/efficient sprayer to sparge with?
Once I get this sorted and get a immersion chiller (make my own? or take my brew kettle in to my lhbs and have them make one?) I'll be going AG. Really excited. Thanks a lot in advance.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:47 PM   #2
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Also, I have noticed that lots of people use the ss braiding. If cost wasn't an object (it is...) would you OBVIOUSLY go with a false bottom? Or does the braiding do the job just as well for less?

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Old 07-13-2009, 10:03 PM   #3
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well, are you planning to batch sparge, or fly sparge?
with a batch sparge the SS braid is fine, and you don't use a sparge arm to sprinkle water in.
I"ve never seen a difference between 'regular and commercial' coolers. What you'll be buying is a 5 or 10 gallon water cooler meant for a construction site. It'll be insulated well.

I've yet to need a 10 gallon MLT. All my 1.060 OG brews fit in a 5 gallon cooler.

I use a 7 gallon stock pot for hot water. it has a ball valve that i just open so it drains into the MLT.

hope these answers help.

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Old 07-13-2009, 10:04 PM   #4
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I use a SS braid and it works fine for me, and for me it was an issue of KISS, when and if its not simple any more then I know I'm getting too complicated. I batch sparge, so it works perfectly fine for me.
Some times you may need more than 5 gallons depending, but if you got other pots you can heat water up with and add it if needed you can always work around that issue.
I use a 60qt Ice cube for my mash tun, just be certain that you can fit the biggest grain bill that you can imagine you want, to 10 gallons at least.
I picked mine up at Walmart, best price I can get here.
Best of luck, and going all grain made a big difference in my beer, almost as big as fermentation temperature control.

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Old 07-13-2009, 10:05 PM   #5
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1 - yes, go for the 10g
2 - not familiar with the commercial grade one (are we talking about circular water coolers? if so, just get the regular one)
3 - use whatever you want for the HLT, it definitely doesn't have to be matching. for 5 gallon batches, i usually start with 9 or so gallons in my HLT. for dough in, i normally use around 3-4 gallons, then batch sparge with 2.25 two times.. of course the amount of grain and desired gravity will dictate how much you actually use. anyway, my point is you'll probably need something with around 10g of capacity for the HLT if you don't want to have to add in water and reheat it. are you going electric by the way?
4 - not sure who has the best price on those coolers... HD for some, lowes for others, walmart for some... just depends.
5 - personally, i'd recommend batch sparging, it's really easy and you can get good efficiency with it. i had a few hiccups with my first few AGs getting good efficiency, but since i've been pretty consistent around 75, which is fine with me.
6 - make your own immersion chiller, plenty of tutorials around here, easy and a little cheaper than they can be bought (usually).
7 - i use a copper manifold, i didn't solder anything, it works awesome, but i had some copper laying around and i'm sure making the braid is cheaper and a little easier since you don't have to cut a bunch of slots in it like you do with copper. i'd go the DIY route, those false bottoms can be pricey and if you make one right, it'll do just as good a job.

AG is a blast, good luck with it!

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Old 07-13-2009, 10:08 PM   #6
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1. 10g at least!
2. No, or marginally at best.
3. No. It looks nice, but rarely will you sparge with more than 5g. Unless you try to make a 10 gallon batch in there.
4. Walmart probably. I live in Canada though, so I might not be much help.
5. I batch sparge, that's super cheap!

Make your own IC. I bought one and it was stupid. There's no need because they are so easy to make.

SS Braiding is what I use, but I batch sparge. False bottom is better for fly sparging in general (less propensity for 'channeling' because the entire area can drain freely). I also use a 15 g square Igloo cooler that cannot fit a false bottom.

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Old 07-14-2009, 12:51 PM   #7
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This is why I love HBT. Awesome! Thanks for the answers guys. Very helpful.

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Old 07-14-2009, 12:57 PM   #8
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Don't forget to post some pictures.

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Old 07-14-2009, 01:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeatyPortion View Post
Don't forget to post some pictures.
I will indeed. Got a new iPhone, so i really have no excuse for not taking pictures. My next batch is going to be another PM, but I'm adding a yeast starter and making a stir plate as well as making my immersion chiller. Last batch I added in temp control to fermentation.

Then I expect the next batch will be all grain where I build my mash tun and HLT.

I like adding a little something new to the equation each step so I get comfortable with one or two new techniques instead of being overwhelmed by a bunch of new stuff.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:03 PM   #10
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Awesome. I dig seeing how each person puts their MLT together.

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