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Old 04-02-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
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Default Will I regret a lower end Coleman cooler for my mash tun?

Hey all,

Looking to put together a mash tun this week -- my original plan was to grab a Coleman Xtreme 36qt cooler for $45 at Walmart, which is more or less the top of my budget. However, I've just spotted the "lower end" blue Coleman cooler (shown below) for just $25 for the 48qt size. I know that the Xtreme coolers are supposedly better insulated, but has anyone actually used the blue Coleman cooler (shown below) for a mash tun and had good success with it keeping temp? Though I only do 5 gallon batches, I know that 36qt is a bit on the small side even for that, so the 48qt would obviously give me extra capacity. However, I don't want to sacrifice the ability to hold a consistent temp with a smaller 5g batch grain bill with a crappy cooler. Any thoughts?



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Old 04-02-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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i bought a super cheapy cooler for my mash tun. I can feel heat escaping through the lid so I know it will not hold heat well by itself. I just wrap it in 3 blankets, and it will stay within 1/2 degree over an hour that way.



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Old 04-02-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
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First, you should probably have a 48QT. for 5 gallon batches to start with.

But getting a good cooler is also pretty important.

I don't know what model mine is, but it's 48QT and seems to hold heat pretty well as long as I preheat it. I haven't even added spray foam insulation in the lid yet! And adding blankets is always an option.

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Old 04-02-2012, 11:18 PM   #4
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Definitely put the extra money into it. I have a 48 q that was $20 from Walmart and I'm regretting it. I have a constant struggle to maintain temps and only after I wrap it in 2 blankets can I keep it to about a 4 degree drop over an hour.... Put the money in don't make the same mistake.

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Old 04-02-2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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I have that blue cooler although I'm not sure if it's that size or one larger. In any case, I struggle with attaining and holding temperature. I'm new to all grain though so take this with a grain of salt. I have a hard time pre-heating it and holding it at 152 degrees. After an hour, it usually drops a few degrees. I'm probably going to abandon the whole mash tun idea and go BIAB instead of investing in a more expensive cooler.

I also have an Xtreme cooler from Coleman that I generally use when traveling. The insulation in the Xtreme coolers is much, much better. I haven't used it as a mash tun and don't plan on it since I use it frequently for non-beer purposes.

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Old 04-03-2012, 12:00 PM   #6
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I don't do any huge beers, but I find I can work with my 5 gallon igloo for 5 gallon batches with no problems. I can't see why a 36qt (nearly twice the size of my 20 qt) wouldn't be sufficient for 5 gallon batches.

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Old 04-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tektonjp View Post
I don't do any huge beers, but I find I can work with my 5 gallon igloo for 5 gallon batches with no problems. I can't see why a 36qt (nearly twice the size of my 20 qt) wouldn't be sufficient for 5 gallon batches.
Same here - but you're limited on how big a beer you can go-

I max out at 13 lbs of grain + water - that is right to the top of my 5gal. So if I wanted to do a bigger beer, I'd have to consider replacing or doing multiple steps to achieve my goal.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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I've bought my last couple from the D.I. or thrift store and haven't had problems other than wearing out and cracking if I bump the ball valve hard (how I keep cracking mine).. I use a old comforter to wrap my coolers and have no heat loss



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