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Old 09-24-2008, 03:47 PM   #1
Hoosier
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Hello Everyone. I am putting together FlyGuy's DIY mash tun and I found a real good deal on a 5 gallon water cooler. I can order the 10 gallon ones on line but the price is nearly double. Should I get the 5 gallon cooler or will I just want to upgrade right away? Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:50 PM   #2
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Equipment depends on what you are going to be brewing both in batch size and gravity size. A 5 gallon cooler may not hold enough grain to do a barley wine, but... if you are never going to brew 10 gallons of beer and only brew low gravity then you would waste your money on the bigger cooler. You have to think about what you will probably do.
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:07 PM   #3
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I recommend at least a 10 gallon...it just enables you to do more types of beers. The first MLT I had was 5 gallon, and I always had to worry about being able to mash a certain recipe. Now I've got a 10 gallon round cooler I just buy the grain and don't worry. If price is really an issue, you can get a cheap rectangular cooler for much less than the round ones. You can still use the same SS braid filter, or build a solid copper manifold. I prefer the copper!
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:43 PM   #4
wildwest450
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A five gallon cooler would only allow up to 12 pounds of grain @ 1.25qts per pound. Not the best option for a mashtun if you want to make bigger beers. If price is a concern go for the rectangular cooler. I can make the smallest of beers all the way up to a monster barleywine.

 
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:17 PM   #5
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I just found a 5 gallon round just like Flyguys pic for $15 at Mendards. I had to get it since the cheapest 10 gallon i found was $39. But, i am not doing full boils yet, only 3 gallon, so I probably won't even need all the space in a 5 gallon. At least i can mash close to 5 lbs of base grain while steeping any specialty grains, which cuts down on the extract cost a little.
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:45 PM   #6
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10 gallon...not much difference in price and you will eventually use it.
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:54 PM   #7
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one thing to bear in mind is that if your cooler is WAY too big for the batch you're mashing, the small thermal mass and large head space is going to make it cool off faster so it may not maintain temps very well if your cooler insulation isn't great. partial mashes with 5ish pounds of grain are going to be WAY undersized for a 10 gallon cooler.

If you're going to be doing AG batches in the near future and are thinking of doing big beers and/or 10 gallon batches soon, then the 10 gallon cooler isn't a bad idea, but it really doesn't hurt to use a more appropriately sized cooler in the mean time, ESPECIALLY if you can swap the valve/manifold hardware into a bigger cooler later.

I started AG with a 5 gallon rubbermaid and used it for quite a while before getting a 60qt ice cube for 10g batches. The valve/braid swapped directly into the new one, so I can use it on either one - so I keep the 5g around for smaller batches.


 
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:55 PM   #8
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I have a 5 gallon and I'm not really satisfied. I've been getting real good efficiency, but I like bigger beers and the 5 gallon just doesn't hold enough grain. If you don't go over 1.060 OG, you'll be fine.

 
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:35 PM   #9
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I got the 10 gallon and if I was to do it all over again, I probably would have got the 7 gallon. I agree that 5 gallon is a bit small, but 10 gallon is pretty big if you are doing 5 gallon batches. I usually lose a bit of heat during my mash from the head space.

 
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:59 PM   #10
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Well I think that about settles it. I am going to go with a rectangular cooler to save on funds. I also want to be able to do bigger beers so the 5 gallon wont work for my needs. Thanks to all for the input.
-Chris
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