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Old 11-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
Rich_S
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Default Mash tun - brew kettle vs rubbermaid cooler

Thoughts on this?

I guess the key advantages of using a stainless steel brew kettle as a mash tun and hot liquor tank are it's more durable and you can mount a thermometer in it and put the HLT on a burner to get exactly the temps you want. Cost is the downside, but given what some charge for a rubbermaid with the plumbing, the cost difference is only moderate.

Am I missing anything?
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:31 PM   #2
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Heat retention is the biggest difference. I highly suggest a cooler for your first mash tun.
Where in NJ are you?
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:39 PM   #3
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If you meant you can put the mash tun on a burner and get the exact temps you want.... I would be careful. Adding direct heat to a system manually can be harder than you think in terms of hitting a precise degree.

I started with a rubbermaid and have no regrets. It is very flexible and reasonably forgiving.

And I can purchase and plumb one for $50 to $60.
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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I used a pot in insulated box for many many batches because of the "I can put it on the heat and raise the mash temp if I need to" thought. It worked fine, but here is why I can't wait to build my 10 gallon round MLT (I just got the cooler....):

1. It is easier to control temp by adding boiling water.
2. (as mentioned) less heat loss to begin with)
3. I won't have to transfer to a second unit (sparge bucket) for lauter and sparge
4. I will have 1 less piece of large equipment to wash.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Heat retention is the biggest difference. I highly suggest a cooler for your first mash tun.
Where in NJ are you?
Right off exit 7.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:53 PM   #6
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where in Jersey are you located?

I would suggest you visit a couple brew days and watch each system in action, then you can make an informed decision

if your in south jersey I know a few guys that use keggles and a few that use coolers

PM me if your interested
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefmike View Post
If you meant you can put the mash tun on a burner and get the exact temps you want.... I would be careful. Adding direct heat to a system manually can be harder than you think in terms of hitting a precise degree.

I started with a rubbermaid and have no regrets. It is very flexible and reasonably forgiving.

And I can purchase and plumb one for $50 to $60.
No, I meant putting the HLT on a burner, not the MT. Heat the water in the HLT to the exact temp you want and then lauter/sparge from there.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcycaulkins View Post
I used a pot in insulated box for many many batches because of the "I can put it on the heat and raise the mash temp if I need to" thought. It worked fine, but here is why I can't wait to build my 10 gallon round MLT (I just got the cooler....):

1. It is easier to control temp by adding boiling water.
2. (as mentioned) less heat loss to begin with)
3. I won't have to transfer to a second unit (sparge bucket) for lauter and sparge
4. I will have 1 less piece of large equipment to wash.
What I was thinking of was getting two stainless brew kettles and using one as a hot liquor tank and one as a mash tun. The burner would go under the HLT. Both would have temp gauges and ball valves. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:59 PM   #9
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I did a lot of research on this and the cheapest and most proven route was to buy a 62-qt Coleman Xtreme from Wal-Mart. I just got it delivered to the house today. I'm looking to do my conversion today. I'm heading up to the 'depot here soon as I stop reading the forum!
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infection View Post
where in Jersey are you located?

I would suggest you visit a couple brew days and watch each system in action, then you can make an informed decision

if your in south jersey I know a few guys that use keggles and a few that use coolers

PM me if your interested
Sure, how do I find out about these brew days?

I was looking at keggles on eBay and they all seemed to be going for $200-$250, which is about the same as a stainless brew pot with plumbing.
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