5 gal cooler-grain capacity

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Mar 5, 2007
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Just started AG brewing and I'd really like to brew some big beers this winter so that they'll be ready in the summer. Is there any standard gauge for gallons/lb. of grain (assuming a standard mash consistency)? I have a 5 gallon cooler MLT and I'd like to figure the maximum I'll be able to fit in there.
For a 5 gallon mash tun, about 12lbs is the comfortable maximum for grain given a standard water/grain ratio. You can get more grain in there with a thicker mash.

You could try the Green Bay Rackers Mash Calculators. Scroll down the page to the "Can I Mash It?" calculator.


ETA: Beaten to the punch by Ed
For some really big beers you may have to scale the batch down to 2.5 or 3 gallons in order to fit all the grain into a 5-gallon MLT. That's what I do, and I have a 7-gallon cooler.

Or do a PM.

Damn, I need a bigger MLT.
I'm having the same sort of question as BrewDey. My 5 gallon cooler is big enough for the mash, but is it big enough to batch sparge? I'm putting calculations into Promash, and it's telling me I'm going to need 5.5 gallons of sparge water. Which seems like it'll be tough to fit that in to a 5 gallon cooler. Does that basically limit me to fly sparging?
I've mashed about 13 to 14 lbs in my 5 gallon mash tun with three batch sparges. To get around a 1070 wort. But that was pretty much maximum capacity. I've since switched to a 10 gallon cooler.;)
I have a 5 and a 10 gal. cooler that is converted for lautering. For the 5, I would put no more than 12# grain in there.

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