# How much grain in a 5 Gallon Mash Tun Converted Cooler?

### Help Support Homebrew Talk:

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
So I just picked up two 5G coolers that I'm converting to mash tun. I'm going to start out with grain bags. Yes.... slippery slope to all grain.

So instead of figuring this out myself, can one of you tell me how much grain I can realistically put into a 5G upright cooler? (the get the football coach a Gatorade shower kind.)
Also it would be great to know how many quarts of water and any practical related advice

OP

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
TY - exactly what I needed. Great tool.

#### wilserbrewer

##### BIAB Expert Tailor
Just be aware Oaky, just cause you can mash it, ya still have to sparge, which will take additional volume.

OP

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
By that you mean I should account for the additional volume from sparging in my total batch calculation? If I use 10 pds of grain it shows that it would be 4 gallon - which I would think leaves me with 1G to spare - which seems like more than enough for sparge and possibly some other stuff (LME/DME etc.) does that seem about right?

#### goose1873

##### Well-Known Member
why would you put DME in your mash??

OP

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
I was trying to see whether I could make a higher gravity beer with one of these 5G - from what I can see I can do about 4G for a 10 pd of grain combo. I'm going to have to add some additional fermentable to reach 6-7% and above... That's why I'm trying to figure out how many pounds of grain. Seeing I have 2 of these coolers I may not need to supplement DME/LME afterwards.

#### Edcculus

##### Well-Known Member
By that you mean I should account for the additional volume from sparging in my total batch calculation? If I use 10 pds of grain it shows that it would be 4 gallon - which I would think leaves me with 1G to spare - which seems like more than enough for sparge and possibly some other stuff (LME/DME etc.) does that seem about right?
Well, kind of. If you batch sparge, you can drain all of the first runnings, which will free up some space. Since you HAVE to have water in the mash, you will never fill the tun to the brim with grain. You may have to double batch sparge, or even triple if you really stuff the thing full. When making a really large batch with my 5 gal tun, I would go for a slightly thicker mash, drain the tun after the rests, then add as much water as I could, drain (repeat) until I used all of my sparge water. If you fly sparge, you will want to account a little bit of dead space so your aren't in fear of overflowing too easily.

OP

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
OK. so I looked up all kind of videos on both fly and batch sparging. So let me make sure I understand this - based on the calculation of grain and water - I get that into the cooler, set the temp say at 150 and close it for an hour seeking to maintain that temp. From there - I drain the running and then sparge (with batch I would just add more hot water - like 185 or so?) until I get to the desired volume? The fly sparge looks a bit freaky. Now - do you recirculate the wort as a sparge? I think I saw that (or is that fly sparging?) Sry.. kind of noobish questions but the videos I saw did not explain fly sparging well.

#### nostalgia

##### Well-Known Member
In addition to the Rackers.org calculator, I wrote a slightly different "how much can I mash" calculator. Instead of putting in the amount of grain you want to mash, you put in the size of your vessel and it tells you how much grain you can fit. Basically it answers your question directly without trial-and-error

You can find it here. At 1.25 qt/lb, you can mash 12.8# of grain in your 5-gallon cooler.

-Joe

#### wilserbrewer

##### BIAB Expert Tailor
check out dennybrew for batch parging info

OP

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
In addition to the Rackers.org calculator, I wrote a slightly different "how much can I mash" calculator. Instead of putting in the amount of grain you want to mash, you put in the size of your vessel and it tells you how much grain you can fit. Basically it answers your question directly without trial-and-error

You can find it here. At 1.25 qt/lb, you can mash 12.8# of grain in your 5-gallon cooler.

-Joe

#### bkirkland

##### Well-Known Member
just did a 10 gallon all grain batch... 27 lbs of grain... mash with 8.63 gallons of water ... filled it to the brim,used 10 gallon coach shower type... lol... sparged with 11.5 gallons. as long as your mash water and grains fit's your good.

#### wetherel

##### Well-Known Member
If you really want to push your gravity limits, then mash with 13lbs of grain, sparge into your kettle, dump the grains, add fresh 13 lbs of grain back into your cooler, the use your first runnings in the kettle for mashing the second time around. There's a podcast on it.

OP

#### Oaky

##### Well-Known Member
If you really want to push your gravity limits, then mash with 13lbs of grain, sparge into your kettle, dump the grains, add fresh 13 lbs of grain back into your cooler, the use your first runnings in the kettle for mashing the second time around. There's a podcast on it.
I've been reading about that concept - and I like the idea of doing a small 1G batch as a test for a big beer off the first runnings and backfill fermentables for a 5G for a "little" beer. Seems like a good way to try out some bigger beers before I throw down a 5G batch and wait 6 months!