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Old 02-22-2010, 01:52 PM   #1001
baron
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Thanks again Flyguy for the post and excellent details for assembly.

I finally assembled mine yesterday and it looks/works great.

The only thing I did different was use a false bottom (from Northern Brewer) instead of the SS braid. Other than that -- it is identical.

I went ahead and built two (2) of them -- one as a MLT and the other as a HLT.

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:42 PM   #1002
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I got mine assembled yesterday as well, but have a small problem.

I had a VERY slow sparge during my first brew yesterday. I purchased a domed stainless false bottom, but the bottom of the cooler is domed as well, and it just about matches exactly the dome of the false bottom.

I guess I wonder if EVERY 10-gal rubbermaid has a domed bottom like this, or if it's just me?

I attribute this to the fact that I'm at about 6700 ft above sea level, and assume some air is trapped under the bottom that is causing it to "balloon" up. Has anyone else experienced this? I plan to try to surgically drill from the bottom up to release the pressure, but was wondering if anyone else has a similar issue. I've searched the forums and found someone else who had a slow sparge for what appeared to be similar reasons but didn't see anything in this thread yet.

Thanks!

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:07 PM   #1003
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What kind of efficiency are people seeing with their Rubbermaid MLT? I can't seem to get above a 65% with mine?

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:19 PM   #1004
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To pkphy39, I too live at 6700 ft and have not seen the bottom of my rubbermaid ballon up. Though I have heard of stories of people adding really hot strike/sparge water to their coolers and getting some warping of the liner. I would be VERY careful drilling up from the bottom b/c it would really be a bummer if you pierced the internal liner. Besides, drilling a hole in the bottom may not cure the problem, if the problem is warped plastic and not an air bubble. You may consider that your slow sparge was due to grain bed compaction; next time try slowing the rate of initial drain/vorlauf until your bed is set.

To Beernip, I'm getting 65 to 75% efficiency on my SS-braided Rubbermaid MLT for lower gravity beers, and 60 to 70% efficiency on higher gravity beers. After draining my initial mash I split the sparge into 2 equal volumes and sparge twice, draining between each one.

Cheers

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:39 PM   #1005
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KingKeg - thanks for the reply.

I should have noted - both of my rubbermaid coolers (MLT and HLT) have a ballooned bottom, and arrived in that condition (new).

The grain bed seemed fluffy, and during vorlauf I didn't open the ball valve fully until I saw I wasn't getting much flow - though it's entirely possible I did compact the bed; I will pay closer attention to the process next brew day.

I will drill VERY carefully (with a dremel, over which I'll have finer control) - the last thing I want to do is ruin my new equipment! But after springing for the false bottom I'd like the stuff to perform as intended.

I suppose I was hopeful that the addition of water and grain would push down the bubble, but obviously that didn't happen.

Thanks again for your response. Any other tips/experience with this problem would be welcome.

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:41 PM   #1006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkphy39 View Post
I got mine assembled yesterday as well, but have a small problem.

I had a VERY slow sparge during my first brew yesterday. I purchased a domed stainless false bottom, but the bottom of the cooler is domed as well, and it just about matches exactly the dome of the false bottom.
Are you batch sparging or fly sparging? And no, the coolers should have a flat bottom, unless it got warped from hot water.

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 07:42 PM   #1007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beernip View Post
What kind of efficiency are people seeing with their Rubbermaid MLT? I can't seem to get above a 65% with mine?
80 - 85% with a fine crush, typically.

See my signature below for some efficiency tips if you are batch sparging.

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #1008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy View Post
Are you batch sparging or fly sparging? And no, the coolers should have a flat bottom, unless it got warped from hot water.
Fly sparging. And thanks for the info, it lends some credence to my assumption that altitude may be a factor.

 
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:08 PM   #1009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkphy39 View Post
Fly sparging. And thanks for the info, it lends some credence to my assumption that altitude may be a factor.
If you dumped some boiling water in it and set something inside (e.g., a full corny keg), then let it cool, it might flatten out again. Hope you get it fixed without too much difficulty.


 
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:10 PM   #1010
ReverseApacheMaster
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I just built this as my first DIY project. It was actually much easier than I was expecting. I'm not very mechanically-savvy, but I can follow directions... No leaks, drains perfectly.

I picked up a 10gal cooler at home depot. It has a big home depot logo on it instead of the usual rubbermaid one, but it was only $40 (I saw them elsewhere for $60-70). The parts were about $35, maybe $40. (When shipping is factored in, it was about as expensive as buying a kit from bargain fittings.)

I had difficulty finding the 5/8 SS fender washers -- actually I had difficulty finding 5/8 fender washers period. I did some substitution. I found 5/8 neoprene washers that are both waterproof and heat resistant. I used one on the inside in place of the SS washer. On the outside of the cooler, I used two neoprene fender washers with a 5/8 zinc cut washer in place of three fender washers. It isn't as steady as going all metal and twists a little in the rubber fitting on the inside when you turn it on and off, but there's no leaking after letting water sit for 30 min and not a drop when I turned it on and off.

Thanks a million to the OP and the clear directions and pictures on this!!

 
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