mash tun

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hopsalot

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I am going to build a mash tun, I have all the plans, just one question does it have to be a 10 gallon vessel or will 5 gallons work?
 

Bellybuster

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totally depends on what size batch you plan on and how "big" a beer you plan on brewing. Most...not all...brewers tend to end up going to larger batches, so why not start off with the larger tun?
 

Yooper

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I almost went with the 5 gallon since I never make 10 gallons batches or "big" beers. Well, today, during an Arrogant Bastard clone, I filled up the 10 gallon cooler for a 5 gallon batch! I went from not even imagining that I would ever do a beer with an og higher than 1.050 to trying to clone AB!

Today, I had 14.5 pounds of grain, and then added 4.5 gallons or so strike water, and then did a mashout of about 10 quarts. That baby was pretty full!

so, the short answer (sorry, I'm long winded) is- get the 10 gallon!
 

malkore

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the 5 gallon will work if your grain bill never exceeds 12lbs...however 10lbs is a more comfortable maximum.

I have both sizes, as I foolishly built a 5gallon for PM brews, and after one PM went all grain. two AG batches in the 5gal MLT, and I built a 10gal to replace it 90% of the time.

I had to do 2 batch sparges on my porter cuz it just wouldn't fit in 5gallons.
 

CBBaron

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A 5gal cooler for an MLT work well but is at its limit for many beers. A 10gal MLT should have plenty of room for what ever you want to do with a 5gal brew and you could do 10gal brew also.
I have a 5gal MLT and probably won't change anytime soon but I usually wish I had gotten the 10gal.
Craig
 

Mutilated1

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I built a 5 gallon because 5 gallon was the size of cooler that I found on sale. Its plenty big enough for the beers I want to make, but 10 pounds of grain is sort of approaching the limit of what you can do with it. I did 11 pounds on my last batch and I decided then that 10 pounds was probably realistically all that I should try and put in it in the future.
 

covered95

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If a 10 will work and make it so that you have no regrets later on, why not do it? I don't see a huge downside to going with a 10 gallon, however, there is a big potential downside to going with a five (wishing you had gone with a ten and then buying a ten anyhow). Long run a ten will probably save you money.
 

abracadabra

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Get the biggest best cooler you can afford but get one that's at least 10 Gal.
The rectangular coolers work just as well as the round ones plus you can get something like an Extreme or Max Cold the ones that says it'll keep ice for 5 days they hold heat better too. You'll just have to make a manifold out of CPVC or copper rather than go for a false bottom if you use a rectangular type. Check out the Goodwill or Salvation army stores if you are on a tight budget.

Edit: also you can look for good deals on coolers at yard sales.
 

IowaStateFan

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abracadabra said:
also you can look for good deals on coolers at yard sales.
That's what I (actually SWMBO) did. Got a 36qt square Igloo cooler for a buck. Added a stainless braid attached to short piece of copper tubing that is fixed to the drain hole with a rubber stopper. I use one of those inline vinyl valves to control the flow. Total cost was less than $20. Someday I'll upgrade and put in a real ball valve, but this works great and I've got more money for other cool toys.
 

janzik

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abracadabra said:
Get the biggest best cooler you can afford but get one that's at least 10 Gal.
The rectangular coolers work just as well as the round ones plus you can get something like an Extreme or Max Cold the ones that says it'll keep ice for 5 days they hold heat better too.
Affording the cooler isn't really the issue for me. I'm afraid of getting something too big that won't allow me have a deep enough grain bed for 5 gallon batches.

I'm almost certain that I would like to go to 10 gallon batches as my standard, but maybe lack of in-house-in-stock ingredients, lack of a second empty carboy, or making something I'm not sure I want 10 gallons of would drive me to do a 5 gallon batch.

So I need to find the happy medium for being able to do 5 gallon batches (normal or big) and being able to do standard 10 gallon batches. I think getting something big enough to handle big 10 gallon batches may hinder the ability to do regular 5 gallon batches. Unless there are cooler sizes that keep a similar footprint between capacities.

Some that I've been looking at...
Coleman 52 vs 70 Extreme
Igloo Family 48 vs MaxCold 50

There's a few others with wheels, but I'm not sure I want to deal with the spigot height...
 

FlyGuy

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janzik said:
I'm afraid of getting something too big that won't allow me have a deep enough grain bed for 5 gallon batches.
This is probably only a concern if you are fly sparging and/or using a long, rectangular cooler.

If you are batch sparging, particularly if you use a 'tall' cooler (e.g., round Rubbermaid or tall Igloo cube), you really can't have 'too small' a grainbed. People here have reported that they do partial mashes in a 10 gal Rubbermaid with no problem. Personally, my smallest grainbill was 6.25 pounds (an English mild ale) and there was absolutely no issue with the size of the cooler -- recirc went as normal and it held temps fine.

The general rule of thumb is go BIG, especially if you batch sparge. You will quickly regret going too small.
 

Sea

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janzik said:
Affording the cooler isn't really the issue for me. I'm afraid of getting something too big that won't allow me have a deep enough grain bed for 5 gallon batches.

I'm almost certain that I would like to go to 10 gallon batches as my standard, but maybe lack of in-house-in-stock ingredients, lack of a second empty carboy, or making something I'm not sure I want 10 gallons of would drive me to do a 5 gallon batch.

So I need to find the happy medium for being able to do 5 gallon batches (normal or big) and being able to do standard 10 gallon batches. I think getting something big enough to handle big 10 gallon batches may hinder the ability to do regular 5 gallon batches. Unless there are cooler sizes that keep a similar footprint between capacities.

With this concern, I'd get two coolers. I have the 10 gal rubbermaid, but have foud that it works great for my 5 gal batches, but is often too small for 10 gal batches ( I like big grain bills). So I ended up using like a 14 gal for that. Coolers aren't expensive, so if you have two diff. applications, get two coolers.

5 gal IS pretty dang small though, see if you can find like a 7 gal or so.
 

abracadabra

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janzik said:
Affording the cooler isn't really the issue for me. I'm afraid of getting something too big that won't allow me have a deep enough grain bed for 5 gallon batches.

..
Just like Guy I too think that grain bed depth is pretty much a non issue for batch sparging. Unless you went to say a 120 qt. cooler and did a very small grain bill. And even then I think the main problem would be just trying to drain it.
 

janzik

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abracadabra said:
Just like Guy I too think that grain bed depth is pretty much a non issue for batch sparging. Unless you went to say a 120 qt. cooler and did a very small grain bill. And even then I think the main problem would be just trying to drain it.
That being said, you think the Coleman 70 is safe for 5 gallon normal batches? (Walmart's web site, didn't appear to have the Coleman 50 on it).
 

Onescalerguy

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That'll work.We recently got the 65qt Extreme w/wheels and it handles 20+lbs of grain and 10gals of sparge water no sweat.I was VERY impressed with its insulating capabilities...held temp for 60mins with NO drop.It also drains easily as it has a channel to the drain that the ss braid sits nicely in.I think 5 gal batches would work fine in there.
Cheers:mug:
 

abracadabra

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I agree with Onescalerguy I don't think you'd have any trouble and one day you'll be very glad you have a cooler that large.
 
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