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Old 02-11-2010, 12:28 AM   #1
Espi
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Default Mash Tun size question..

I have a Coleman cooler around the house that I was thinking of converting to my mash tun. I have been looking around here and am thinking I am better off going with something a bit smaller.

Its a 54 quart, 13.5 gallon square cooler.

I did a search but didn't get the direct answer to my question...

The overall inside measurements are 21.5 by 10 wide... quite large.

My questions are, will my grain bed be too "thin" or spread out for an average OG beer, and a 5 gallon batch?

This could effect my efficiency in the end correct?

At this point I don't think I will go much larger than 5 gallon batches.

Thanks in advance.

Scott

Edit... added pics to page two of the cooler and something I was thinking of using.

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Reason: added pics, on page two.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:31 AM   #2
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If it is the old green plastic one I have the same one converted to a mash tun.....it is pretty damned big. The efficiency does not seem to be as much of an issue as thermal loss due to too much space in the cooler...today started at 152 and was at 146 by 60 minutes. IMO thats a pretty big drop in just an hour.

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Old 02-11-2010, 12:34 AM   #3
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I have used the same cooler and has worked fine.try to use high temp hose though.
Look here:
http://www.donosborn.com/homebrew/mashtun.htm

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Old 02-11-2010, 12:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunder View Post
I have used the same cooler and has worked fine.try to use high temp hose though.
Look here:
http://www.donosborn.com/homebrew/mashtun.htm
+1 on the high temp hose..... I had issues with my chiller hoses AND the mash tun drain hose...replaced the chiller hos with some stuff I had in the basement for waterlines. ALMOST too stiff but way better than collapsing hoses.
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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:44 AM   #5
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@ steve, Yes pretty much the same cooler only a touch newer. I never thought about the head space and holding the temp. The cooler walls/lid don't seem that thick... Thanks.

@ thunder, I am planning on building a copper manifold for it. Have you noticed a lot of heat loss due to head space with 5 gal batches..




BTW, this forum rules for all the quick responses!

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Old 02-11-2010, 01:00 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=Espi;1875562]@ steve, Yes pretty much the same cooler only a touch newer. I never thought about the head space and holding the temp. The cooler walls/lid don't seem that thick... Thanks.

@ thunder, I am planning on building a copper manifold for it. Have you noticed a lot of heat loss due to head space with 5 gal batches..



No i Heat it up with boiling water for about 20 min.then
During my mash/sparge i put a blanket over the top of the cooler
seems to hold temp well.You have to remember most coolers are insulated
to maintain internal temp.

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Old 02-11-2010, 01:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OHIOSTEVE View Post
If it is the old green plastic one I have the same one converted to a mash tun.....it is pretty damned big. The efficiency does not seem to be as much of an issue as thermal loss due to too much space in the cooler...today started at 152 and was at 146 by 60 minutes. IMO thats a pretty big drop in just an hour.
One thing you might try is to fill the lid with some spray insulation. I did this with my old 5gal MLT and never have any thermal loss issues with mash times up to 90 minutes.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:29 AM   #8
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thanks for all the quick replies....

any ideas on whether or not there will be grain bed depth issues for proper extraction? Maybe there are other things I should spend my time thinking about before this while making the transition to AG.

I have a tendency to over think these processes and make them more difficult then they need to be. Some one please step up and tell me to quit geeking out so much...

meh, I can always use the "my mash tun is bigger than your mash tun.". but I can be sure to get the "its not the size of your mash tun but the...." response.

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Old 02-11-2010, 02:38 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=thunder;1875595]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Espi View Post
@ steve, Yes pretty much the same cooler only a touch newer. I never thought about the head space and holding the temp. The cooler walls/lid don't seem that thick... Thanks.

@ thunder, I am planning on building a copper manifold for it. Have you noticed a lot of heat loss due to head space with 5 gal batches..



No i Heat it up with boiling water for about 20 min.then
During my mash/sparge i put a blanket over the top of the cooler
seems to hold temp well.You have to remember most coolers are insulated
to maintain internal temp.
I have no idea why I lose this much heat.. I preheat the tun with hot ( not boiling but around 150 degrees) water and I had 2 blankets piled on and around it.
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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:38 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Espi; ....

. Some one please step up and tell me to quit geeking out so much...

I had no issues wih grain bed depth.Your batches are going to be
five gallons right?

By the way"quit geeking out so much"

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