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Old 03-20-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default Mash Tun Round vs Rectangle?

Hello, Im going to start my Brew Stand Build soon and would like input on the pros and cons on both a round water cooler and a rectangle ice chest converted into a mash tun.
I want to be able to do 10 gal batches, and I think it might be nice to be able to do a single step mash, so maybe that will be the deciding factor right off the bat, being that ice chest come in 70qt=17.5gal and I
believe that the round ones are 40qt=10gal.

Any advice pros and would be great.

Cheers


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Old 03-20-2013, 03:29 PM   #2
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a large square tun means more dead space during a smaller mash, difficult to get into corners, and the need to build a mash tun manifold to fit your cooler.

A round cooler is limited in size but also has a smaller footprint to accommodate on your stand.

sounds like you already want a bigger mash tun, so buy what you want for what you want to brew.


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Old 03-20-2013, 03:32 PM   #3
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I've been using a round 10 gal cooler - and quite honestly I've considered getting a smaller one for the lighter gravity brews. When it's full to the top with grain and water I'm losing .3-.7 degrees over 60 minutes. When it's half full it's more like 1.2-2.5 degrees. Both are workable - but obviously the less air space the better your temperature control.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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I use a keg with a keg koozie and it works great. I can hold a mash for an hour or more without loosing a degree.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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If you are batch sparging then ease of stirring is about the only consideration, and round ones don't have corners as previously mentioned.

Round ones have a deeper grain bed for small brews, and are a better shape for a false bottom.

Rectangular ones come in bigger sizes, are easier to DIY a manifold, and the Coleman Xtreme range at least has low dead space because of the recessed drain.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:22 PM   #6
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Thank You Everyone, Dang It now I think its even harder for me to decide lol, very good points made by you guys.

Do I need 2 different mash tuns ? one for 5 gal and one for 10 gal batches ? or ?.
The Coleman Xtreme compared to the round 10gal Home Depot one was what I was looking at.

More input would be great.

Cheers
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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I didn't see this pointed out by anyone. I have not seen any commercial accessories for square coolers. Not saying there aren't any, but there are way more options for round.

You should be able to make a 5 gallon batch in the larger tun. I don't know what the effect on the temperature will be with the increased head space, but it should be minimal.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WileECoyote View Post
Do I need 2 different mash tuns ? one for 5 gal and one for 10 gal batches ? or ?.
No, certainly not. That's why I got the 10 gallon cooler. I can make strong or weak 5 gallon batches and reasonable strength larger batches.

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Originally Posted by PJoyce85 View Post
You should be able to make a 5 gallon batch in the larger tun. I don't know what the effect on the temperature will be with the increased head space, but it should be minimal.
You will lose a few extra degrees.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brycelarson

You will lose a few extra degrees.
Ah, a fellow Minnesotan.

Thanks for answering. I tried to leave my response a bit open ended as I have not tested this.

To the OP, I used to use a rectangular cooler with great success. I have since switched to a stainless MT and if you can afford it, it is the way to go.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:51 PM   #10
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It just really all depends on what your typical brew is going to be. Granted, there are going to be times when you do something different that is maybe not optimal for your tun, but I wouldn't really consider those in your decision. If you want to brew larger batches (10 gal) then I would go with the rectangular cooler. Doing 5 gal batches in the same cooler shouldn't be an issue. As an example, I have a 48 qt. cooler that I use for 5 gallon batches. I also use the same cooler to mash starter wort for pressure canning. Sometimes I make 3 gallons of starter wort, which is a lot less than a normal brewday because I don't have to add extra water that will be boiled off. Temperature is a little less stable with smaller batches in a larger tun, but not enough to warrant having two mash tuns IMO. You also don't need a fancy manifold, a simple stainless steel braid off of a water supply hose works just fine.


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