5, or 10 gallon rubbermaid circular for 5 gallon batches - Home Brew Forums

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:13 AM   #1
Jul 2008
Posts: 63

so i'm going to be switching from my rectangular coleman cooler to the circular rubbermaid cooler. I feel like I'm loosing to much heat out of the coleman. I can see the steam seeping out from underneath the lid while mashing.

I was wondering if I should go with the 5 or 10 gallon cooler. I will be doing only 5 gallon batches for the forseable future, but heard that bigger grain bills for 5 gallon batches wont fit in a 5 gallon cooler.so my concern is that if I go for the 10 gallon cooler will there be to much head space (heat loss) if say i'm just mashing 12 punds of grain.



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Old 08-25-2009, 04:17 AM   #2
The Pol
Feb 2007
Posts: 11,454
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With first hand knowlege on this, and since this is asked weekly here. 10 gallon cooler for 5 gallon batches.

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:20 AM   #3
cimirie's Avatar
Feb 2009
Orlando, FL
Posts: 800
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For a great reference, go to...

Green Bay Rackers--Mash Calculators

There is a "can I mash it" calculator that will tell you if your particular grainbill + liquor can fit in a given volume mash tun. it's a great site.

For the record, I actually went through the same dilemma this weekend: 5 gallon, 10 gallon, 5 gallon, 10 gallon... I ended up with a 12 gallon (how's that for breaking a tie?).

I like making bigger beers and the truth is, anything over 1.050 is going to be a VERY tight fit in a 5 gallon. But if lower gravity is your thing (or less than 5 gallon batches) the 5 gallon cooler will be fine. Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:03 AM   #4
Jan 2009
P.R., B.C.
Posts: 429

Not really but sort of:

It seems like the cylindrical coolers are preferred over rectangular for MLT. Is there a reason for this?

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:20 AM   #5
May 2008
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It allows for a thicker grain bed, I could not find a 10 gal at a good price so I went with an Ice Cube, not quite as thick on the grain bed, but I can still get a decent bed for a low gravity beer.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:41 AM   #6
rico567's Avatar
Apr 2008
Central IL
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I got the Rubbermaid 10 gal. cylindrical at Home Depot, and am glad I did. My biggest beer so far was around 1.060, and I mash pretty thin, around 1.75 qt. / lb., so my initial mash filled that thing around 3/4 of the way. By all means, unless you're doing nothing but light beers / short batches, get the 10 gallon model.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:02 PM   #7
bad coffee
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Jun 2008
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Sooner or later you'll want the 10. Buy it first and you don't have to get rid of the 5 gal later.

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Old 08-25-2009, 02:06 PM   #8
Mar 2009
Posts: 11

I have the same question, but I am doing partial mash. Would a 5 gallon be sufficient?

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Old 08-25-2009, 02:42 PM   #9
More Humann than human
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Oct 2008
the sun
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Go with the 10G and you won't regret it, no matter what your efficiency and gravity of your brew, I think you can fit it into that 10 gallons.

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Old 08-25-2009, 02:54 PM   #10
May 2009
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 431
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I had the same question several months ago and went with two 10-gallon coolers (one MLT and one hot liquor tank). No regrets at all. It has plenty of space to brew just about any gravity beer. My only concern was whether I'd lose heat during the mash because of the large headspace for lower-gravity 5-gallon batches. Not an issue - I preheat the tun before mashing (or start with hotter strike water), and I might lose a degree over an hour.

You may want to move on the purchase soon. Not certain, but I suspect that places like Home Depot carry those coolers only seasonally (I found them in the nursery section, so . . .). When it gets colder, they may disappear until next year.

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