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Old 05-13-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
MarkSheffield
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Default I want to graduate to bigger beers

I've been doing AG brews for a while using a 30-quart cooler with a SS braid setup for my MLT and doing boils in a 7-1/2 gallon SS pot on a propane burner. I'd like to graduate to some hardier brews that start off with somewhere between 15 and 20 lbs of grain and higher gravity and still get a 5-gallon batch.

Should I look to get a 15 gallon SS MLT pot with a false bottom for the big bucks and do my mash in that? Or is that the wrong way to go and maybe I should just get a bigger cooler for a MLT and a bigger boiling pot?

I'm looking for feedback here before I go off and spend the cash

thanks - Mark


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Old 05-13-2010, 07:05 PM   #2
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According to this calculator you can fit 19 lbs of grain into your current mash tun mashing at 1.25 qts/lb. You could make up the difference in any of those 20lbs/grain recipes with a bit of DME if you didn't want to get a new mash tun at all.

I'm still in the process of researching for my jump to AG, so I don't really know about other stuff and I may be overlooking things like changing mash thickness for a big beer, but thought I'd share that link with you in case you hadn't seen it before.


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Old 05-13-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
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Amazon has a 10 gal SS pot for $109. You could then use your current 7.5 gal. pot for mashing grains. You could also split recipes between the 7.5 gal pot and your current cooler. You could just add DME at the end of the boil for higher gravity. A larger brew pot, though, would reduce the chance of boil over too. Amazon has a 15 gal. pot for $119 too. Pretty good prices.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, guys.

The problem with shoving all that grain into my current MLT is that there is no space left for mashout (which becomes the first sparge). With all that grain and water in there, I imagine (haven't calculated, though) that the mashout would be somewhere around 2 or 3 gallons. Just for the sake of handling all that grain and water and general futzing around I'm pretty sure I need to go bigger.

Do either of you (or anybody) mash in a standard pot or a false-bottom pot without adding heat during conversion? If that can be done, I'd be ok with going with the bigger pot/false bottom method. I'd hate to invest that money, though, and find out that my conversion sucks because I don't have a heater and pump system set up.

Maybe DME is the way to go. I could mash the specialty/roasted grains and some of the pail and then add enough DME to the boil to bring up the SG. Its not like I'm exclusively AG at all.

If there are more ideas please keep them coming. I'm itching to try something like this after my batch of wheat gets done this next weekend.

thanks - Mark
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSheffield View Post
Do either of you (or anybody) mash in a standard pot or a false-bottom pot without adding heat during conversion? If that can be done, I'd be ok with going with the bigger pot/false bottom method. I'd hate to invest that money, though, and find out that my conversion sucks because I don't have a heater and pump system set up.
You don't necessarily need a pump and a heater. A SS kettle with false bottom can easily be direct fired to maintain mash temperatures. I find that I only have to fire my Sanke MLT, which is wrapped with a surplus wool blanket, once at most during a 60 min conversion. Go with a SS kettle and your brewery will have to room to grow!
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:59 PM   #6
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yeah, I use a 5 gallon igloo cooler to mash and I've decided it's best not to go over 15 lbs of grain in that thing.
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Old 05-14-2010, 05:01 AM   #7
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I use a 10 gallon cooler from home depot with SS braid for mashing. That would allow you to go with the 20 lbs of grain and still get up to about a 2 gallon mash-out/first batch sparge. It's about fifty bucks, as far as I can tell. Works great for me. With about 8 lbs of grain in there it holds temperature for a full 1-hour mash, even with all that dead space.
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:23 PM   #8
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WoweeZowee - How long to you fire-up under the kettle when you do that? Better yet, can you explain your process - you see the temp drop a little, fire it up, hold it for so long, etc?
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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if you want to go cheap, go with a bigger cooler.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowmage36 View Post
I use a 10 gallon cooler from home depot with SS braid for mashing. That would allow you to go with the 20 lbs of grain and still get up to about a 2 gallon mash-out/first batch sparge. It's about fifty bucks, as far as I can tell. Works great for me. With about 8 lbs of grain in there it holds temperature for a full 1-hour mash, even with all that dead space.
Have you actually mashed 20 lbs of grain in your 10 gallon cooler? I put 14 in a few weeks ago and it was damn full. I would hate to try and get anymore grain than 15lbs into mine.


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