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Old 02-27-2006, 02:59 AM   #1
davidkrau
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Hi.
I've been brewing ales from kits for several years and most have turnnd out pretty good. I've decided to run with the big dogs and try my hand at all grain brewing. I've ordered the necessary grains, hops, yeast etc. to brew a 5 gallon batch of Liberty Cream Ale. I first made a mashing tun out of a 48 qt rubbermaid rectangular cooler with 1/2 inch CPVC manafold according to the instructions in Lutzen and Stevens book. I then read that a 48 qt cooler is too large and will result in a too thin grain bed. I had a 5 gallon water cooler in in my basement I tried to make a false bottom out if plastic but it was a disaster. I then made a support to hsupport grain bag, about 2 inches above the drain hole. So, I now have 2 options I can either dump the grains in the 48 qt cooler on top of the Manifold, add the hot water and proceed fron there or I can put the grains in a grain bog and place the bag in the 5 gal coole and add the hot water. I would appreciate responses as to the pros and cons of each option and what you think would be the beat approach

Thanks for any help.

David

 
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:02 AM   #2
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I think the only problem with the 48 would be an even sparge/ drain. Its easier to concentrate an even sparge in a round cooler. Unless you build a specially adapted sparge ring for the 48 q. They should both insulate and hold heat well, so no advantage there. That is a large area, and would prolly be better suited for a 10 gallon batch. There are ways to do a screen mesh tube instead of a false bottom. Just need to make it tough enough not to be crushed under the grain weight. Whatever is easiest for you. There are a lot of ideas here to help you either way.
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:32 AM   #3
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If you wanted to go for something a bit bigger then the 5 gal, but not have the problem that Beermaker said with a 48 you can go with the Igloo Ice Cube cooler. It is a little bigger inside then the 5 gal cooler. Its 48 I believe, but the dimentions are different. More square and less rectangular. I went with the 5 gal because I'm not doing AG yet till I get a biger brew pot. But the Cube did look real good.

Here is a link to a picture of it.
http://www.boscovs.com/StoreFrontWeb...1&type=Product
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:08 PM   #4
drengel
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i use a 48 gallon one and haven't had problems. i read the same thing as you, which made me worry, but its worked ok so far. a 5 galon one seems so small to me, but i know othres use them. i'd start off batch sparging, but if you fly s[arge, the circular cooler might be easier.
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Old 02-27-2006, 03:13 PM   #5
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I can't see any serious disadvantage to batch sparging with the rectangular cooler, so I would go with that. It will certainly serve better for any recipe for >12lbs grains, although the circular cooler will more or less work up to 14lbs or so.

 
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Old 02-27-2006, 04:52 PM   #6
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I used my ice cube 48qt for the first time. I did a test batch 2 lbs 2-row and 2 lbs crystal with the brass valve with SS braid. I wanted to see how much dead space I would have as it does have some and how small a mash you can do in it. I never measured the dead space but preheating, draining and leaving that area filled when adding grain/strike water it won't matter IMO. it worked like a champ and I hit my number dead on for the test.

plus the thing has enough room inside to hold all kinds of brewing stuff when not in use and dried out
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Old 02-27-2006, 05:26 PM   #7
drengel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jldesign
plus the thing has enough room inside to hold all kinds of brewing stuff when not in use and dried out
yes it does...i think my brew cellar has gotten to small.
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Old 03-02-2006, 12:07 AM   #8
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I am getting into this game now, too. question: are the 5 gal rounders (looking at a Rubbermaid right now) sufficient for most brews? Am I going to limit myself with batch/"heavyness" size with this MLT? the price (less than $20) is not bad at all, and I figure I can outfit it with the valve, tubing, and a bazooka T or something similiar for another 25 or 30...
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Old 03-02-2006, 12:53 AM   #9
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The consensus seems to be that 5 gal is a little small to do high gravity beers with...I'm going to go with a ten gallon myself.
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Old 03-02-2006, 12:54 AM   #10
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fair enough. Looks like I will need to get prices on those too.
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