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Old 11-10-2011, 09:49 PM   #1861
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I think you will find that at least 4 of those degrees were lost in the first 10 minutes, with the other 2 drifting over the length of your test. When I do a mash in this thing after preheating it I barely lose a half degree over an hour. That is strange about the water being cooler at the top, since heat rises.
The thermal mass is all in the bottom where the grains collect, it's denser so holds temperature better.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:04 PM   #1862
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The thermal mass is all in the bottom where the grains collect, it's denser so holds temperature better.
I don't think the grains are denser than water... Taking a scientific angle, they are probably insulating and restricting the heat from transferring upward if anything. Now I'm really geeking out on this though, and want to get a thermometer with a 18" probe to find out.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:32 PM   #1863
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Ok I'm new to all grain and I have like 3 1 gallon batches under my belt. What does this do exactly? I am going to read this entire thread but I have seen pics of these gatorade coolers and I'm lost.

Do you dump the grains into the cooler after you mash out and then do the sparge process by dumping the hot water into the cooler and let it steep in the MLT? Then transfer to your primary? Sorry big Newb here.

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Old 11-11-2011, 05:43 PM   #1864
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Ok I'm new to all grain and I have like 3 1 gallon batches under my belt. What does this do exactly? I am going to read this entire thread but I have seen pics of these gatorade coolers and I'm lost.

Do you dump the grains into the cooler after you mash out and then do the sparge process by dumping the hot water into the cooler and let it steep in the MLT? Then transfer to your primary? Sorry big Newb here.
The quick answer is that you put your dry, cracked grains in the mash tun. Dump the hot water over them at the desired temp and volume. Let the grains steep to extract the sugars for the wort, usually 60 mins. Drain the wort from the mash tun into your brew kettle through a filter and then you begin your boil. By filter I mean something like the stainless steel mesh or hose braid that is only intended to keep the grains from flowing out into your brew kettle.

There is obviously quite a bit more going on in the mash tun and you can do multiple adds of water at multiple temperatures to achieve the desired result for your particular recipe. You can learn about all that on many of the other technique and recipe threads though.

Cheers,
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:56 PM   #1865
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Nothing wrong with being a Newb.

This vessel is where the mash rest takes place, and it also serves as your lautering vessel. You put your grains and (heated) mash water in here, close the lid and let it rest for whatever length of time your recipe calls for. At the end of your mash rest you drain the wort out through the ball valve into your kettle, add your (heated) sparge water, wait about 10 minutes and drain that out into your kettle, too. I don't know if that answers all of your questions, but I hope it helped!

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Old 11-11-2011, 06:31 PM   #1866
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Awesome makes sense now. I think I can do this. Then once the mash & sparge are done then you go ahead and do your normal boil, add hops, etc. Sounds like a mess free process. One of the instructions I have said to mix the mash every 10 mins or so. So I assume this step isnt necessary? Just keep the lid close, take an occasional temp? Then if the temp falls below where you want it then add some more hot water? I assume these coolers retain heat well for the 60-75 mins.

Thanks dudes!

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Old 11-11-2011, 07:27 PM   #1867
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Awesome makes sense now. I think I can do this. Then once the mash & sparge are done then you go ahead and do your normal boil, add hops, etc. Sounds like a mess free process. One of the instructions I have said to mix the mash every 10 mins or so. So I assume this step isnt necessary? Just keep the lid close, take an occasional temp? Then if the temp falls below where you want it then add some more hot water? I assume these coolers retain heat well for the 60-75 mins.

Thanks dudes!
They retain heat extremely well. You will usually only lose somewhere around 1-2 degrees, but if its a larger mash not even that much. A word of advice though, add the water first, not the grains. If you add water that's about 170, let it sit in the tun for 10 minutes, it will preheat the walls nicely and your dough-in will be much more stable temp wise. This technique will make your temp a little high at first, but you can stir, wait a minute, add a little cool water maybe and you're golden. Its WAY easier to adjust down with this system than up. Going up is a pain.
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Old 11-11-2011, 09:11 PM   #1868
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I am in the middle of building one of these cooler tuns with the 10 gallon cooler from home depot. I basically built it to match the original instructions. I have a couple quick questions that I wasn't able to locate the answers to in the 187 pages of this epic thread.

Will zipties work to attach the braid to the plumbing? I saw someone say that is what they used them but I haven't seen any updates as to how it is holding up. I tried some stainless steel cable ties that I picked up at lowes but was unable to get them tight enough.

Is it normal for all the fittings to spin freely? I tightened as best I could but I can still spin the plumbing easily. I don't think I am leaking but it just doesn't seem too sturdy. I am not sure if I can get things taken apart again to add another washer if that is what I have to do.

Hopefully I can get this put together for my first all grain session on Sunday.

Thanks.

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Old 11-11-2011, 10:13 PM   #1869
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^^ I can spin my setup freely, and it holds water tight. Used it 12 times so far without a drip. Why don't you want to use SS hose clamps?

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Old 11-12-2011, 12:29 AM   #1870
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FYI - For those of you wanting to build a 5 gal version. Lowes has them for $21.88. I just got mine today.

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