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Old 12-13-2008, 01:49 PM   #1
seewala
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Default 5 gallon mash in 10 gallon rubbermaid?

I am collecting the parts to make my HLT and MLT. I had all intentions on doing a 5 gallon setup, because the coolers are cheap(&30) and easily available to me.

Today I found a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler for free, missing the lid, I figure I can cut down rigid styrofoam or something to make a lid.

If I were to buy another 10 gallon rubbermaid around $80 canadian dollars, could I do 5 gallon mashes in it without too much heat loss? would there be enough of a grain bed?

Or should I just buy a 5 gallon for the MLT and use the lidless 10 gallon for a HLT?

I do plan on doing mostly 5 gallon batches, but it would be nice to have the option of a 10 gallon when I want to.

Thanks guys


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Old 12-13-2008, 01:55 PM   #2
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FWIW, I don't think you can put much more than 12.5 lbs of grain, at a 1.25 qt/lb ratio, in a 5 gallon cooler; perfectly fine for many styles of beer. Why not use the 5 gallon for an HLT and mash in the 10 gallon cooler? I don't believe you would use more than five gallons of sparge water anyhow. You could save yourself some coin. Other more seasoned folks will chime in with info.


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Old 12-13-2008, 02:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete08 View Post
FWIW, I don't think you can put much more than 12.5 lbs of grain, at a 1.25 qt/lb ratio, in a 5 gallon cooler; perfectly fine for many styles of beer. Why not use the 5 gallon for an HLT and mash in the 10 gallon cooler? I don't believe you would use more than five gallons of sparge water anyhow. You could save yourself some coin. Other more seasoned folks will chime in with info.
I've squeezed 14 pounds of grain into a 5 gallon with a bit of difficulty, but still pulled it off.

When some people are doing smaller grain bills with larger coolers they often make a "Floater" insulator out of a piece of 1" styrofoam...Some actually sandwhich it with shiny insulated blanket material or just wrap it in tinfoil. And they set it to float on top of the water/grainbed...that helps keep the heat in even though there is a larger airspace above it.

SO if you have a free 10 gallon, make a lid, make a floater for smaller batches, and do like pete said, use the 5 gal for your water.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:50 PM   #4
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I did my first All Grain batch 2 weeks ago with a new 10 gallon cooler. It was around 12 lbs of grain. What I did was pre-heat the cooler with 120 deg tap water for ~15 min. Once it was heat soaked it held temp just fine with just the top on. Worked just great.
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Old 12-13-2008, 05:52 PM   #5
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Yeap, 10 gallons coolers are great for 5 gallon batches... your mash volume will be 3.5-4 gallons anyway, perfect fit.
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Old 12-13-2008, 05:54 PM   #6
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Have you bought your fittings yet? If not, or if so, Id highly recommend 1/2" instead of 3/8". You will have a much easier time getting fluids to move, the flow rates are a lot faster FWIW
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:06 PM   #7
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I have both 5 and 10g Rubbermaid coolers.
They both work equally well for mashing, and I don't lose any more heat in the 10g cooler than I do in the 5g.
The big difference is in the sparge. It is much easier to batch sparge with the 10g unless I am using a grain bill of less than 10#, but I get much better efficiency with the 5g when fly sparging. I suspect that this is partially because I get channeling with the fly sparge due to the reduced grain bed depth. I haven't yet tried fly sparging with a grain bill > 13#, but I suspect that this would increase my efficiency.

-a.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:27 PM   #8
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I just bought a 10 gallon cooler, as my efficiency was suffering anytime I used more than 11 lbs of grain in my 5 gallon MLT. I was going to simply swap the hardware from the 5 to the 10, but now I'm thinking I'll just buy new and keep the old MLT in operation for smaller beers. Furthermore, should I want to make 10 gallons of a really big beer, I could divide the mash up between the two.


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