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Old 01-13-2008, 09:33 PM   #1
aekdbbop's Avatar
Sep 2006
Nashville, TN
Posts: 2,645
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Im sure there are alot of you out there that use them.. but what are the advantages v. a cooler..

My 10 gallon "speedo" cooler isn't cutting it. and trying to decide it i should go for a keggle mlt or spend 25 bucks for a 60qt ice cube or this


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Old 01-13-2008, 09:36 PM   #2
AGBrewer's Avatar
Feb 2007
Posts: 417
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With direct fired mlt I never miss a mash temp, mash outs and step mashing are a breeze.

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Old 01-13-2008, 11:48 PM   #3
Dec 2007
Cumberland, Maryland
Posts: 44

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Why not direct fire? It seems to me it would be easier to maintain the temperature. Why do people use coolers instead?

I'm getting ready to do my first AG batch. I did a partial mash on my last batch. I used my boil kettle on the electric stove and held the temperature that way. Then I ladled the the grains and water into a bucket with holes in the bottom placed inside another bucket with a spigot. I was careful to keep the grains floating. Then I sparged and collected everything back in the brew pot.

I'm getting a larger pot and an outdoor propane cooker. I plan on using the same technique, i.e. direct fire mash into my double bucket sparging system.

Does this make sense and does it work? What advantages are there to the cooler method?

(sorry to hijack the thread but it's the same question more or less.)

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Old 01-13-2008, 11:50 PM   #4
Aug 2007
Posts: 1,676
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Originally Posted by AGBrewer
With direct fired mlt I never miss a mash temp, mash outs and step mashing are a breeze.
I love it, I have not had a single issue with it. (AKA no scorching)

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Old 01-13-2008, 11:53 PM   #5
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Sea's Avatar
May 2007
Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,478
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Direct firing works great, but I think a lot of us don't mess with it because you have to be very careful not to scorch the bottom of the mash. That being said, I plan on doing it soon.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:25 AM   #6
beeraggie's Avatar
Mar 2007
Posts: 259

I currently use a "cooler" but I am moving to a direct fire. I want to have more control for protein rest ect...
Screw styles...brew what you like!!!

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Old 01-14-2008, 12:50 AM   #7
FlyGuy's Avatar
Jan 2007
Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 3,605
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I think coolers are popular because they are cheap, they don't require a second burner/stand/etc., they hold temps REALLY well, and they are light and easy to move around and store.

I made up a really simple steam injection system for my cooler MLT that gives you all the advantages of direct firing, but you retain all the advantages of the cooler. For me, it is almost necessary because I can't brew outdoors in the winter (feels like 8 months of the year up here in Canada!) and I needed something that I could use in my kitchen. In some ways, it is the best of both worlds, and cost me all of $35 to make. Details are in my signature.

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Old 01-14-2008, 02:28 AM   #8
Kaiser's Avatar
Nov 2005
Pepperell, MA
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Unless, I have a thermostat and automated mixer on a direct fired mash tun, I'm planning to stick with the cooler. I feel that the cooler requires much less attention to keep the rest temperatures and I don't have to worry about stirring.

I can precisely hit my sacc temps if I dough in below that rest and increase the temp with boiling water additions.

But I never mashed direct fired, so you may prove me wrong.


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Old 01-14-2008, 02:35 AM   #9
menschmaschine's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 3,272
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I have a direct-heat MLT (keggle). Overall I like it, but I've overshot my temps a couple times when correcting mash temp or stepping up. I think it's relatively easy to overshoot. It has resulted in high FGs (stuck fermentations) on 2 batches of mine. But I'll still use it. I'll just get better at not overshooting temps.

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Old 01-14-2008, 02:39 AM   #10
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May 2006
Adams, MA
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I've thought about "upgrading" to direct-fired, and if I ever build a sculpture this will be incorporated into the design - but for now, I can usually hit mash temps for single infusion mashed balls-on. I haven't tried step-mashing with the cooler (other than decoctions), but generally step-mashing's unneccesary.
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