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Old 06-08-2007, 12:22 PM   #1
BadKarma
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Just for a reference point:

Whats the max grain bill that a 5 GAL Rubbermaid MLT will hold?

I'm having a real tough time finding a 10 GAL here in these hillbilly stores. But I only brew 5 GAL batches so I'm thinking I'll be okay.

Also considering a rectangular cooler. Any suggestions as to the right size to do 7-12 lb grain bills? I've already got a 60 qt cooler, but I'm thinking that might be a bit too large.

Thanks y'all

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Old 06-08-2007, 12:27 PM   #2

Check this out. This is Palmers info on sizing a mash tun.

http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixD-3.html

If recall correctly a 5gal can do about 12lbs. I think it will be tight.

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Old 06-08-2007, 12:55 PM   #3
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You can get more than 12 pounds in a 5 gallon MLT...I think the most I have done is 14 pounds. Of course this thickens your mash.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:09 PM   #4
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I did a 21lbs. in my 5 gal.

It wasn't fun, and I don't recommend it. I thought a 5 gal. would work for any 5 gal. batch... well it won't work for an American IPA... or will it? The beer actually turned out alright.... proving once again, it's pretty hard to screw up an IPA.

My brewery was an absolute mess....

Did a 10 lb. last week and the 5gal. had plenty of extra capacity.... and it went much smoother....
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfliv
I did a 21lbs. in my 5 gal.

Did a 10 lb. last week and the 5gal. had plenty of extra capacity.... and it went much smoother....
Really? Are you sure of the size of your cooler?

If I put 16 lbs of grain in my 10 gal cooler, it is well beyond half full. I can't imagine how you fit 21 lbs in a 5 gal MLT.

 
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:23 PM   #6
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If you're still looking at coolers, check out the 36-quart Coleman Xtreme. Plenty big for even monster 5-gallon batches, and big enough (I think) for medium-sized 10-gallon batches. Holds temp like a mofo; I typically lose 1 degree over the course of an hour, sometimes not even that (I have witnesses who can attest to my temp appearing to rise from 154° to 156° thirty minutes in ). The drain is also perfect for converting to a MLT; it's set into a channel at the bottom of the cooler, so in effect, there is no dead space. Just hook up a SS braid and go.

Only real downside is that the rectangular design is not ideal if you ever want to fly sparge.
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy
Really? Are you sure of the size of your cooler?

If I put 16 lbs of grain in my 10 gal cooler, it is well beyond half full. I can't imagine how you fit 21 lbs in a 5 gal MLT.

Yep... I'm sure... basically, I did it all wrong. When I saw how much grain there was, I decided I should check to see how it would fit in the cooler dry before I tried to stir it in to mash. It took up almost the whole cooler. Not one to be discouraged easily, I decided to press on, but with a different approach. I added the hot water to the grain, rather than the other way around and made up the mash like a bowl of instant oat meal..... Once the cooler was completely full, I slowly stirred it with a 1 x 2 to get all the mash wet... as I stirred wet grist spilled over the sides of my tun. Very messy... The mash temperature settled in around 148 deg. F, and I could barely get the top on the cooler. I let it sit for 2 hours... I contemplated letting it sit all night... but I pressed on. The sparge went anything but smooth. Again, I did everything wrong... I opened the valve on the tun full and recirculated until it was smooth... as you can probably guess, the mash was stuck in about 10 minutes. The remainder of the time I spent alternating adding hot water and stirring (if you can call it that with oatmeal) to loosen the grain bed enough to let wort run off (all the while with the valve wide open).

I would look at this as a great example of the worst possible way to go. I can't begin to list the mistakes made. But, if we learn from our mistakes, then I learned a lot!!! The crazy thing is, the beer actually turned out alright... (20 lbs. of grain and 7 oz. of hops)... With that much grain, 50% efficiency would produce a usable wort, so I guess that's its saving grace.

I have a 10 gal. now, and I'll try this recipe again "the right way"... I think I'll bottle some from this batch to compare when the new batch is ready.

Always an adventure!
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
If you're still looking at coolers, check out the 36-quart Coleman Xtreme. Plenty big for even monster 5-gallon batches, and big enough (I think) for medium-sized 10-gallon batches. Holds temp like a mofo; I typically lose 1 degree over the course of an hour, sometimes not even that (I have witnesses who can attest to my temp appearing to rise from 154 to 156 thirty minutes in ). The drain is also perfect for converting to a MLT; it's set into a channel at the bottom of the cooler, so in effect, there is no dead space. Just hook up a SS braid and go.

Only real downside is that the rectangular design is not ideal if you ever want to fly sparge.
I kinda already knew this, just needed someone to confirm. I priced one of those yesterday, so they are easy to get.

And fly spargeing is not in the foreseeable future, so thats okay.

Thanks y'all.

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