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Old 01-06-2012, 05:54 PM   #1
rancineb
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Default Mash Tun - Cooler Type

For those who made their own mash tun out of a cooler, what type of cooler did you use to maintain the temperature best? I bought a generic Coleman and in the middle of doing a test but it doesn't appear like it'll be able to hold a temp of 150 for an hour. Curious if the better coolers made a difference or if there are other ways you maintained a stable temperature to make the wort.

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Old 01-06-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
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You can always wrap it in a blanket or sleeping bag.

I use a Coleman 72 Extreme.

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Old 01-06-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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coleman and igloo are decent. I bought mine cuz it said it would keep stuff cold for up to 5 days and it was enormous. pre warming the mlt before putting your mash in there helps a lot and make sure to keep your lid closed. the lid is where all your heat would get lost

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Old 01-06-2012, 06:06 PM   #4
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Like the others said pre-heat and wrap in a blanket, at least this time of year. I have a 5 gallon igloo and a 10 gallon rubbermaid, during the summer they have no problem holding the heat. Winter time I don't think it's going to matter, you're going to have to wrap and pre-heat to maintain temp. Even if you lose one or two degrees it won't make that much of a difference to the final product.

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Old 01-06-2012, 06:15 PM   #5
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Testing with water will always show much greater drop in temperature than a barley mash and is not a valid test as the two are thermally diferent. IME a generic Coleman cooler will work fine if preheated thoroughly. Did I mention preheat!

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Old 01-06-2012, 06:21 PM   #6
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If you don't do the Igloo Round cooler from Home Depot which a lot of people use, I would get either a Coleman Xtreme or Igloo MaxCold. Those have thicker insulation and should hold temps better.

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Old 01-06-2012, 06:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback. I was looking to get the Coleman Xtreme but it wasn't available in the store so I'll need to order it. Figured I'd buy the cheap one first and do a test before ordering the Xtreme.

When you mention preheating, do you mean putting warm water in the cooler and then draining before the mash?

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:19 PM   #8
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Yes, that is preheating. That way, your mash heat isn't absorbed so readily into the plastic walls, as they're close to the same temperature already. You can also consider getting some expanding foam and filling the lid with it (assuming it's hollow). I have read of people doing this and getting better heat retention out of their coolers.

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfriesen
Yes, that is preheating. That way, your mash heat isn't absorbed so readily into the plastic walls, as they're close to the same temperature already. You can also consider getting some expanding foam and filling the lid with it (assuming it's hollow). I have read of people doing this and getting better heat retention out of their coolers.
+1. Also, you can get a small piece of foam insulation cut to fit your mlt and wrap it in foil. Then set that sucker on top of your mash and close the lid. This reduces headspace and therefore helps retain heat. I've never done it but have heard others have with great success.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #10
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+1 to fill the lid with foam, my lid gets noticeably hot during the mash and so I have foam and now a blanket or two over it. I think more important than heat retention as they are all pretty much the same (or can be fixed with blankets) is shape. My free cooler/mash tun is rectangular and I would prefer something with less area more depth for the same volume. I find for lighter weight beers that there is insufficient bed depth for a good filter, just as well I like my beers heavy but then again who doesn't.

Clem

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