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Old 07-06-2013, 01:21 AM   #11
Yooper
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Preheat the cooler better! The first hot water addition really gets the heat sucked out of it, and so if you preheat the cooler with a gallon of 180 degree water (any hotter and the cooler will crack and warp), you'll lose almost no heat over the course of the mash.

Just preheat for at least 15 minutes, drain (or let the water go down to your strike temp and use it for your mash) and you'd be all set. A blanket over the top might help not lose so much heat from the top, but I think the cooler is sucking out the heat via the sides/insulation if you're only preheating for a quick 5 minutes. You need to preheat until the temperature stops dropping.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Preheat the cooler better! The first hot water addition really gets the heat sucked out of it, and so if you preheat the cooler with a gallon of 180 degree water (any hotter and the cooler will crack and warp), you'll lose almost no heat over the course of the mash.

Just preheat for at least 15 minutes, drain (or let the water go down to your strike temp and use it for your mash) and you'd be all set. A blanket over the top might help not lose so much heat from the top, but I think the cooler is sucking out the heat via the sides/insulation if you're only preheating for a quick 5 minutes. You need to preheat until the temperature stops dropping.
Been there, done that... No good. I really think the lid is the problem here. It gets quite hot, even with 3 blankets, i can still feel the hear through em, while the sides and bottom do not feel warm. I've wrapped the faucet too, since it got quite hot.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:25 AM   #13
Clonefan94
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This is just a thought, and might be worth trying. I've used a ton of Great Stuff and even bought bottles of the stuff to mix up myself to make a myriad of things.

Take your cooler, close the lid on it, then drape some good vapor barrier plastic over top of it. I've always called the stuff visqueen. Make sure it completely covers the cooler and drapes down and past the cooler. Then use the great stuff (wear rubber gloves) and go all over the plastic, building up a nice solid surface. Let that cure. Because of the plastic underneath, you should be able to lift it off and just use it as a cap to put back on after you mash in. Keep in mind you are going to want to remove it, so be careful around the handle area so you don't permanently encase your cooler.

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Old 07-06-2013, 10:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clonefan94 View Post
This is just a thought, and might be worth trying. I've used a ton of Great Stuff and even bought bottles of the stuff to mix up myself to make a myriad of things.

Take your cooler, close the lid on it, then drape some good vapor barrier plastic over top of it. I've always called the stuff visqueen. Make sure it completely covers the cooler and drapes down and past the cooler. Then use the great stuff (wear rubber gloves) and go all over the plastic, building up a nice solid surface. Let that cure. Because of the plastic underneath, you should be able to lift it off and just use it as a cap to put back on after you mash in. Keep in mind you are going to want to remove it, so be careful around the handle area so you don't permanently encase your cooler.
Very good idea!

I'm trying it as soon as I can and will report! About the handle, I'll just remove it. It's useless anyway.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:41 PM   #15
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You've obviously done a lot of water tests with the cooler. I say just brew something and see what happens. Then, you'll have an understanding of heat loss during a real mash, and you'll have the bonus of making beer. It's a win win.

 
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:03 PM   #16
wilserbrewer
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Testing with water is an invalid test!

Water will not hold heat like a mash.

Stop testing and brew, keep a little boing water handy and work it out if you lose a little temp.

 
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
Testing with water is an invalid test!

Water will not hold heat like a mash.

Stop testing and brew, keep a little boing water handy and work it out if you lose a little temp.
Aaah the mysteries of thermodynamics...

Yes, keeping boiling water and raising the temp when it falls too low is a swell idea too. Although it's a pain having to monitor temp throughout mashing, and this will induce heat loss by itself...

I'll definitely make a foam hat for my cooler (see previous posts). The lid is way too thin. When it's done, I'll simply do a batch and monitor heat at the beginning and at the end of mash. If and only if there is still a problem (temp fluctuation > 5F), I'll be adjusting temp during mash with boiling water for future batches.
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Old 07-06-2013, 03:03 PM   #18
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I don't know exactly what you mean by foam hat, but if you're using spray foam insulation, I'd make sure it's food grade.

Truthfully, I think you're over analyzing the heat loss during the straight water tests. As pointed out, the tests with just water are not an accurate representation of heat loss during an actual mash. Brew a batch of beer and see what happens. We're talking about a one gallon batch in a two gallon cooler, no big deal.

 
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Old 07-06-2013, 03:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Preheat the cooler better! The first hot water addition really gets the heat sucked out of it, and so if you preheat the cooler with a gallon of 180 degree water (any hotter and the cooler will crack and warp), you'll lose almost no heat over the course of the mash.

Just preheat for at least 15 minutes, drain (or let the water go down to your strike temp and use it for your mash) and you'd be all set. A blanket over the top might help not lose so much heat from the top, but I think the cooler is sucking out the heat via the sides/insulation if you're only preheating for a quick 5 minutes. You need to preheat until the temperature stops dropping.
Going to try this "overheat" preheat step when mashing really small grain bills in the 5 gallon cooler.

 
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:15 AM   #20
pwortiz
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I was running into the same problem and was going to check out the "great stuff" solution that others have brought up. But never got around to it....in the meantime I ran into an issue with my "root cellar" in my basement this past winter where I finally decided to try a radiant barrier solution on the door there. A thought occurred to me that perhaps the same thermodynamical (yes, I just made that word up) principles might apply...so I cut a circle out and added it to my lid. I've only used it once (this past weekend in fact) and it worked remarkably well. The super-hot lid you had mentioned earlier is exactly what I had dealt with previously. This time? Couldn't tell I had anything hot inside at all. So, it worked for me.

I attached a pic with the hopes it could help.

It isn't secured with anything. I just made it large enough that it would sit in the lid and stay there; screwed it on the tun, and popped it off when done so it could dry off due to the condensation.

This is what I used: http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/1000208...5#.UdoS3fm1E4o
Click image for larger version

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