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Old 01-03-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
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Default Using large grain bag with 10 galloon cooler

After about 20 extract batches, I'd like to upgrade to all grain, but I'm on a budget. On the very helpful advice of several members of this forum, I purchased an Igloo 10 galloon cooler at a very reasonable price.

Then I started asking aroung about the cheapest way to convert this cooler to a mash tun. I emailed Midwest (not hawking Midwest but they've been very helpful to me) asking about their cheapest cooler conversion kit.

To my suprise, customer service suggested several options. One suprised me. They suggested putting this grain bag
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/nylon-extra-large-straining-bag-2-x-3-coarse-mesh.html inside the cooler. When finished, you just lift out the bag (I realize it's going to be heavy) and just siphoning out the wort when I'm done with the mash in and sparge.

4 questions:

1. This would work, right?
2. Is there reason you couldnt drain the run off through the spigot the cooler came with into a pail
3. What would you have to be careful to avoid?
4. Is this BIAB? If not, how does it differ?

Thanks for all your help. This forum rocks!

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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I haven't done it yet that's how I plan to brew all grain. Here's a thread about the process.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/my-new-compact-semi-biab-setup-365526/

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Old 01-03-2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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That is essentially what I thought BIAB was. Maybe not though. Good luck.

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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Traditional BIAB does the mash in the boil kettle so when you pull the bag out the wort is ready to go, but otherwise it is a similar process. If you go this route you won't be able to really sparge unless you are adding a false bottom or bazooka screen on the tap. I'd suggest for your first attempt to just treat it like BIAB and once you lift the grain and drain it, pour the wort into your kettle and start your boil. One thing to keep in mind - be sure you stir the crap out of the grain before you finish mashing to get your efficiency up. I'd also recommend bumping your grain bill by about 10% so you have a better chance to get to your OG (and use the results of this brew to figure out where to go for the next one.)

Good luck!

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:44 AM   #5
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Thanks for the good advice....but it leads to another noob question (sorry!)

Why couldn't you sparge with this setup?

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:51 AM   #6
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You could give it a try, but without a false bottom or bazooka it will probably clog - those bags will let some grain through. I'd just treat it as a two step BIAB until you can save the money to full convert the cooler to a mash tun (which is what I am not-so-patiently waiting to do!)

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:57 AM   #7
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I have a fully converted MLT (w/false bottom) that I heat with a copper coil in the MLT using RIMs...I have actually thought about using the bag just to make cleanup a breeze.

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Old 01-04-2013, 01:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehardt View Post
Thanks for the good advice....but it leads to another noob question (sorry!)

Why couldn't you sparge with this setup?
You can sparge. You first have to drain off the wort, then add your sparge water and when you drain that off, you're ready for the boil.

I did this the very first time a tried an all grain batch. It was a PITA....after that day I went to home depot, bought a 1/2" ball valve and other fittings and then picked up a bazooka screen. Very happy with the setup...until I learned about bargainfittings.com, where I could have gotten a stainless kit at a good price.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbaumannerb View Post
You could give it a try, but without a false bottom or bazooka it will probably clog - those bags will let some grain through. I'd just treat it as a two step BIAB until you can save the money to full convert the cooler to a mash tun (which is what I am not-so-patiently waiting to do!)
Ah, thats why Midwest customer service was talking bout using the autosiphon. Probably have to mash, let sit for an hour, pull out the grains, autosiphon out the wort, throw the bag back in, sparge and autosiphon...
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:17 AM   #10
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That seems like more hassle than it's worth to me...

Gary

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