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Old 09-15-2008, 03:45 AM   #1
talleym0nster
 
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I'm looking at building my MLT and HLT next weekend. I'm trying to decide on a cooler. Right now I've narrowed it to two:


50 qt Igloo Ice Cube


or




Igloo 60 Qt. Ice Cube Roller Cooler




I like the 50 qt better for it's design and price.(I'll be buying two of them) I'm not crazy about the wheels on the other one because they put the drain opening higher up from the bottom of the cooler. I don't need the wheels or the pull handle.

I'm torn between the two. I guess it really comes down to capacity.

12.5 gallons or 15 gallons.

Can I get by with the 12.5 gallon cooler? Will I be able to brew bigger beers with it later on?

Please chime in with your experiences with either of these coolers, or any advise you may have.
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Old 09-15-2008, 03:52 AM   #2
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What is your intended brew length? 5 gallons? 10? Even for a 10-gallon brew length the 12.5-gallon tun should suffice for all but the biggest beers. A mash tun and kettle evenly matched according to size max out at ~1.070, in my experience. If you want to go bigger than that, I recommend a double batch brew day or - better yet - brewing 5-gallon batches two days in a row. Let your previous day's batch get a nice, strong start to fermentation, then cast a fresh bitter wort right on top of it. Commercial breweries do that all the time with big beers.

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Old 09-15-2008, 03:57 AM   #3
talleym0nster
 
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5 gallon batches.....but in the future I could possibly do 10 gallon batches and split the wort between 2 fermenters.
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Old 09-15-2008, 04:13 AM   #4
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I use a 10 gallon Igloo cooler. I brewed a 1.110 Wee Heavy without any problems whatsoever. I even had a 2 gallon Mashout and still had no troubles. This was for a 5 gallon batch. If you want to do 10 gallon batches in the future I am not sure that a 15 gallon vs a 12.5 gallon would be significant enough to compensate for a higher drain spout and the inconvenience it causes as you are already willing to split the mash. This comes from a person who brews at least once a week. I know that tilting my tun every weekend would just become annoying. If you brew once a month or so maybe it wouldn't be as annoying.

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Old 09-15-2008, 04:18 AM   #5
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LOOK inside that dang 60 QT!
Make sure it doesn't have a drain valve that goes in at a 45 Degree angle. I can't think that would be anything other than a pain in the ass to build a manifold for, and if you bazooka it, you'll have like 4" of dead space in the bottom.
I was so depressed...they were on sale at WalMart today
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Old 09-15-2008, 04:30 AM   #6
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DON'T DO IT. The 60qt as BigK said, will leave you with a TON of deadspace in the bottom, killing your efficiency. I have the 50qt, and it sucks. It was a waste of money because it can't hold temp for sh!t. I lost 8 degrees during my mash earlier this week, and that was outside in 90 degree weather, and I had to add some boiling water half way through to not lose any more heat.

The lids on those coolers aren't insulated either, and they will lose their ability to seal very tightly after a few batches, I can see a little steam coming out of mine with the lid closed. I have had mine for about 15ish batches now, and it is worthless. It used to only lose maybe 4 degrees brand new, which still sucks but is usable. I will be getting a new MLT before my next batch.
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Old 09-15-2008, 04:35 AM   #7
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Regardless of what cooler you use, I recommend drilling a few small holes in the lid and spraying Great Stuff in it. I consistently have a 60 to 90 minute mash and have never lost an entire degree to it once (Don't have decimals on my digital therm). In fact, once, I had a two hour rest and I didn't lose anything. I can't speak to the loss of seal on the square coolers as I don't have one. My friend has lost 1 to 2 degrees of heat consistantly on his cylindrical 5 gallon cooler and he has not insulated the lid as I have.

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Old 09-15-2008, 04:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devaspawn View Post
Great Stuff
Great Idea.
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Old 09-15-2008, 04:43 AM   #9
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I actually used the product that they have in the plumbing aisle at Home Depot. It's fire retardent and at the time in my excitement to go AG I equated that with better insulation for heat and my purposes. It's like $3 more a can than the regular Great Stuff you can buy in the paint area. I suspect the insulation factor for both products is roughly equal. I am glad you replied to my response or otherwise I might not have remembered to mention that. I felt stupid after I calmed down about switching to AG and have intended to mention it everytime I mention the product so as to help people save $3 to $6 for the project.

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Old 09-15-2008, 10:44 AM   #10
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I convereted a 52 qt coleman extreme...only used it once and I think I only lost like 2 degrees....held without any loss for the last 1/2hr when I put a couple of weights and a blanket over it.

It converts fairly nicely too as the spigot comes up at an angle and I didn't have to use any 45's to get up to the cooler bottom with my manifold
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