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2 Gallon Mash Tun?

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bellmtbbq

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Hi,

I brew 1 1/4 gallon batches (I use a used vinegar bottle as my fermenter) and I'm three batches in (A Boston Lager facsimile in the swamp cooler as we speak), and the last two have been AG.

I've been doing ghetto stove top mashing, heating the water to about 170, dough in, and keep the flame very low so the temp stays around 150, stirring constantly (old candy thermometer). I strain the grain in a colander, dump the grain in a bowl, and batch sparge, and put it through the colander again.

The problem is I've been averaging 50-55% efficiency, and that gets expensive quickly. Since I plan on staying around 1 gallon batches, besides maybe special occasions (another thread). I was thinking of buying like a 10 quart cooler for like $10-15 and making a mash tun. Problem is I can't tell if those coleman square 10 qts have a side valve.

How would I go about making one, I've seen a few threads for small partial mashing tuns. Anyone got experience? Got neither the funds nor the space nor the interest in a five gallon mash tun, so please don't try to convince me.

Thanks
 

BrewinHooligan

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To keep the budget down, just use a paint strainer bag in the cooler as your grain filter. Much cheaper than buying hardware to add to the cooler.
 

Calichusetts

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Your system sounds pretty close to mine and I get 70% so something is up. I run the wort through a colander three times...then return the grains to the mash pot, add sparge water and stir. Ten minutes later I run it through again...three times. Make sure your scraping out the grains in your pot into the colander. If your leaving 5% of the grains in the pot, then you'll never get that back in efficiency. Finally, make sure your draining all the liquid through the grains. It takes about ten minutes for me to get it all, every minute I tilt the colander in a different direction to make sure its draining though all areas of the grain bed.
 

StanJohnson

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To keep the budget down, just use a paint strainer bag in the cooler as your grain filter. Much cheaper than buying hardware to add to the cooler.
I do what I call "mash in a bag". I also put my paint strainer bag in the cooler. I changed the valve out because the one that comes with the cooler is the kind that you have to press in and hold to get the liquid to flow out. I installed a valve that I could leave open and then do other things while it drains.
 
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bellmtbbq

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Thanks for the advice, I'll see if I can find a small cooler with a valve thingy so I dont have to drill a hole. Where should I find a paint strainer bag? Hardware store?
 

SpargePervert

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How bigs your pot?
I do stove top 1 or 2 gallon (imperial) Brew In A Bag brews. Similar to you, but using a paint strainer style bag to mash in, then at the end of the mash you pull the bag out and let any wort drip back in before starting the boil. The key is to mash with the full amount of water, so no seperate sparge which would dilute the wort - the Aussies came up with this BIAB technique and call it "passively sparging". I get efficiency in the low 80s doing this.
If your pot is big enough to hold all the grain plus the total volume of water then give this a go, all you'll need to buy is the bag to mash in. :rockin:

Oh and obviously you save the time it would have taken to sparge/lauter etc. Double win.
 

StanJohnson

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You should be able to find paint strainer bags at a hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. I think the last time I bought some, there were two, 5 gallons bags to a package for around $5.
 
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bellmtbbq

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Alright thanks. I gotta convince myself to make another ingredient order... :/
 

JoesInBoston

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I use a 2 gallon mash tun for brewing 1.5 gallon batches.



I followed the instructions for building a 5 gallon rubbermaid one, except I used all 3/8 inch parts instead of 1/2 inch.
 

hafmpty

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Here's the setup I use. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/new-2-gallon-batch-mash-tun-290615/

It didn't come with a hole for a spout like the Rubbermaid drink cooler posted above. It was easy enough to drill through though as it's just a bit of plastic and some foam in between. I like this because the square shape made it easy to put a copper manifold together for sparging. It works well and my efficiency is great. I do have my own mill though and that helps to control the crush.

With the efficiency you're getting, you should check your crush. There are tons of pics where people show the "ideal" crush and the "not-so-ideal" crush. The bag method others are mentioning could help you out too. Hope it goes well.
 

rawkstar320

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The round 2 gallon cooler that I use odd a Coleman stacker (I think] it was only $8. Course, I spent a fortune on hardware.

Ball valve with a barb works great. I used the braided stainless steal toilet tube for a strainer....but I think I'm going to go the paint bag (or a small bucket w holes) method in my cooler. It sucks cleaning this thing in my sink.....

I like using a cooler because I can set it and forget it. :) for an hour....lol
 

Derek1985

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Have you had any issues using hot mash water given the warning on the lid of this cooler?
 

chickypad

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Just as an additional option, I do 2.5-3 gal stovetop batches and used to use a 3 gal cooler with a bag. Now I just mash in the pot in the oven - preheated to 170 then turned off when I put the pot in. Zero loss of temp up to 60 min and no babysitting. Then all you need to buy is the bag. I get 75-79% efficiency depending on the size of the beer and whether I'm going full volume mash or sparging.

edit: just realized the necro thread
 

MrFancyPlants

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edit: just realized the necro thread[/QUOTE]

Necro or not, you just solved my issue of struggling with the 6-qt crockpot. if you were doing straight 2-row, what would the max grain you put in a 3G pot? I've heard 1 to 2 quarts water per pound of grain, but if you already had 3 G of water, it would just overflow if you dropped a 12lb bag in.
 

chickypad

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I use a 5 gal pot. I can only get up to about 4 lbs of grain with a full volume mash but if I sparge I can fit 10 lb of grain at a normal mash ratio, which is a fair amount of grain for a 2.5-3gal batch. Calculators like this onewill usually tell you if your mash will fit, looks like you can fit about 6-7 lbs in a 3 gal pot if you sparge.
 
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