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Old 04-08-2009, 03:55 PM   #1
Feb 2009
Posts: 83

Ok I am ready to make the switch to AG brewing.
I want to stay with five gal batches and I want to start with batch sparging.
What size cooler should I start with?
I believe I will make a manifold using cpvc piping.
Is there any consensus as to whether slots or holes are best?

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:32 PM   #2
brewmasterpa's Avatar
Jan 2009
orange, ca
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the 10-gallon rubbermain works great for 5-gallon batches. more than enough room to do even a barley wine in the 10-gallon. i do 10 gallon batches in my rubbermaid and theres just enough room. esiest to deal with for false bottoms, theyre readily available, and you can put a ball lock valve on easily.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:39 PM   #3
MgMt_Home_Brew's Avatar
Aug 2008
Burlington, VT
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Yeah I just made the switch myself and I asked a friend of mine what he did and what he would do differently. He said he got a 5 gallon cooler and he is now looking to upgrade to the 10 gallon.

I got a 10 gallon "Home Depot" (rubbermaid) cooler for $38 which I was pretty excited about. I also went with a copper manifold which ended up being a bit expensive but it was fun. I cut slots in it but I have really only made one batch in it and got really poor efficiency. However from what I can tell it was my process not my equipment.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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Oct 2008
the sun
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+1 on the 10 rubbermaid.

Don't get the 5 gallon or you will be disappointed after a few brews even doing 5 gallon batches unless you just do light beers.

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Old 04-08-2009, 05:12 PM   #5
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May 2007
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
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I like the 48 qt rectangular rubbermaid "victory" coolers w/ a braid for batch sparging.

Walmart.com: Rubbermaid 48 Qt. Victory Ice Chest: Camping

Or the coleman 28 qt

I find 28 qt is a convenient size for most five gallon batches. Not the thing for "big" beers though. These are dirt cheap....15 - 20 bucks tops

I like the rectangular for the following reasons:

easier to stir
not as tall...cuts down on overall "height" of brew rig

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Old 04-08-2009, 05:48 PM   #6
janzik's Avatar
Sep 2007
Old Bridge, NJ
Posts: 531
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I have the 70qt (17.5 gallon) Coleman Xtreme. (I use a copper manifold). It gives you enough space to do a decent sized big beer 10 gallon batch and it doesn't take up too much space.

Walmart.com: Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme Cooler: Camping

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Old 04-08-2009, 07:06 PM   #7
Mar 2009
Eau Claire WI
Posts: 73

+1 for at least 10 Gallons
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
Oct 2007
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As big as you can find...
No matter how rich you are, you can still only drink 16 or 17 liters of beer a day.

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Old 04-08-2009, 09:04 PM   #9
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by humann_brewing View Post
Don't get the 5 gallon or you will be disappointed after a few brews even doing 5 gallon batches unless you just do light beers.
depends on your idea of light beers. I've done a 1.062 OG porter in my 5gallon MLT, 5 gallon batch. Sure it was tight, but it wasn't a problem.

I do have a 10gal MLT too, but if I"m not making a big big beer, I lose a lot of strike temp to the excess headspace.

So, if you don't go over 1.060 or 12-13lbs of grain, the 5gal is sufficient. If you do, go with a 10gal, or do both like me
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:17 PM   #10
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May 2006
Adams, MA
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I've been great with a 9-gallon Coleman Xtreme. Just double-checked last weekend, two degrees lost over a sixty-minute mash. Plenty big for almost any beer that I'd make; if you're doing anything HUGE, you might go for bigger but I'm fine with what I've got. I'd almost hesitate on using the 70-qt for 5 gallon batches; the 36-qt "fits" good, I'd be worried that all the extra space in a 70-qt might cause more temperature loss. The 36 gives a nice "mash-mass"-to-cooler-volume ratio.
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