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Old 06-12-2009, 12:37 PM   #1
Dec 2008
Kyle, Texas
Posts: 36

Hi All

I want to get into all-grain brewing and I am trying to decide whether I should but a 5gal or 10gal cooler. For now I will be brewing 5/6 gallon batches at a time but one day I would like to graduate to 10 gallon batches.

I have read that you need to be careful when choosing a cooler size because you need to ensure that you have enough grain bed depth to have an effective lauter.

What experiences have you guys had?


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Old 06-12-2009, 12:52 PM   #2
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May 2007
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Originally Posted by cootr_brn View Post
Hi All

I have read that you need to be careful when choosing a cooler size because you need to ensure that you have enough grain bed depth to have an effective lauter.
Grain bed depth is irrelevant if you are batch sparging, which I would advise for a first timer.

A five gallon cooler will max out at 12 -13 pounds of grain i believe. Any heavy brew will usually require more than a 5 gallon MLT. IMO a cheap 28 qt rectangular can be had for around 15 bucks and will get you started quite nicely. If you have higher aspirations, get a 36 - 48 qt rectangular. Or for 40 bucks you can get a nice ten gallon cylindrical cooler at the depot.

You may already have a picnic cooler that will work well? IMHO a cooler is a cooler is a cooler. No big deal!

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Old 06-12-2009, 01:49 PM   #3
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Aug 2006
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A 52qt "icecube" cooler will get you 10 gallon batches of about 1.060 beer or 5 gallons of 1.100. That's a pretty realistic size.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:04 PM   #4
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Apr 2008
Central IL
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A good rule of thumb is a 10 gal. cooler for 5 gal. batches, a 15 gal cooler for 10 gal. Sooner or later, you're probably going to want to try a beer that's big enough that you'll be sorry if you go smaller.
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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May 2009
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I don't want to hi-jack your thread, but I was looking for an answer to this same question...except I need it for 15 gallon batches. What size cooler? 60qt?

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:09 PM   #6
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Dec 2007
Plymouth, New Hampshire
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I would error on the side of too big. A 10 gallon cooler works great for my 10 gal batches, and allows me to do 5 gal high gravity brews. If you get a 5 gal cooler you will just end up needing to upgrade eventually anyway.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:10 PM   #7
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Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
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A 5 gallon cooler would be a bad idea. You can always make a smaller beer in a big mash tun by minding the temperatures closely, mashing thin, and batch sparging. But, when a small tun is maxed out, it's maxed out. I've got a 48 qt cooler, even though I only make 5 gallon batches and rarely do big beers.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:27 PM   #8
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Jun 2007
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I have both a 5 and 10 gallon MLT cooler. I almost never use the 10gal. In fact I think I've only used it once, and lost a lot more heat than i expected.

but, I don't exceed 1.060 for OG on 5 gallon batches, so I don't have a big use for the 10 gallon setup.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
Mar 2008
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I also have a 5 and a 10. my 10 never gets used anymore. I had it when my efficiency was bad forsome of my higher grav beers, but I can fit mos tof my normal beers into the 5 gal without a prob.
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:08 AM   #10
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Jul 2008
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Using a Coleman X-treme 70qt for 10 gallon batches...
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