MLT Cooler selection

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I'b getting ready to build my MLT and am having trouble deciding what type of cooler to buy.

1. On an episode of the Sunday Session on the Brewing network, a brewer suggested using a rectangular cooler to provide a wider shallower grain bed. He said that this would reduce mash time and therefore decrease the chances of extracting off flavors from the husks. But, at the same time, it seems like a shallower bed will decrease the ability for unwanted particles to be filtered. What do you think.

2. I have also heard that rectangular coolers work better for batch sparging. I prefer fly sparging when I have brewed with a friend on his cylindrical cooler.

3. The other consideration is manifold vs. braided stainless pipe. I want to use the braided pipe because the construction is easier and less time consuming. It also seems to me like this might also be more efficient in filtering. However, I have also heard that a manifold works best when fly sparging and the braided pipe could cause channels in the grain bed.

Thoughts?
 

Ceedubya

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I am at this same crossroads as I prepare to go AG.

At this point, I plan on using a rectangular cooler with the braided hose as I am going to batch sparge for now.

I look forward to seeing everyones answers.
 

jspence1

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I thought the same....but then I thought all the people who are thrilled with their 10g rubbermaid can't be wrong

They aren't, its great! It will hold 24# of grain (maybe more that's my biggest yet), holds my temperature like a champ even in my cold canadian climate
 
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Also, I can't seem to find a rectangular cooler that isn't too big, but also has a spigot.
 

DanVader

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Ive got a 10g igloo which is my primary mash tun, I bought at the local ace and converted myself, A 10g rubbermaid I bought pre-built from midwest, and I've used a 70q coleman my friend has. the lowest efficiency I got was the rubbermaid with a 12" domed ss false bottom while fly sparging. Mark has done damn well with the coleman, he bought it off the cmccoffee guy off of ebay, it's got the basic braided stainless setup, and he batch sparges with it, and runs around 70 to 80 % efficiency on a regular basis.
I don't like the plastic line setup he has but it works. My Igloo has been back and forth between a braided line(70 to 85% efficiency) and a slotted copper manifold(70 to 88% efficiency). Batch sparging rocks, save money and go with a homebuilt system, braided or manifold, you're going to hit in the same ballpark. I personally like the round cooler better, but YMMV.
 

hardrain

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Re: no spigot

I had the same issue, I wanted a 10g and decided to just take a chance...drilling the hole is not only really easy (took about 2 minutes) but also allowed me to put it deep enough to minimize that 'dead space' that won't drain.
 

hardrain

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Also, my LHBS sold this, which I bought after spending an hour at home depot looking for a braided hose, finding an employee to help after that hour, who told me without even really looking that there was no way they had what I was looking for.


 

hardrain

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okay, the photo won't load for some reason, it's in the link in my sig.
 

ajf

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The braid is not so good for fly sparging unless it meanders around the bottom of the cooler. See How to Brew - By John Palmer - Building the Manifold
A very shallow grain bed is also not good for fly sparging as it encourages channeling.
The best solution for fly sparging is the smallest cylindrical cooler that will hold the mash with a false bottom. A well designed manifold, or long braid could be nearly as good.
Providing you have a good grain bed depth (~8 inches or greater), a square or rectangular cooler with a good manifold should also work well (I've never tried it, but Palmer says it's good), if you can add the sparge water in a way that doesn't cause channeling.
One advantage of having a large surface area (which also means a large collection area) is that you can fly sparge faster with very little loss in efficiency.

-a.
 

conpewter

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Also, my LHBS sold this, which I bought after spending an hour at home depot looking for a braided hose, finding an employee to help after that hour, who told me without even really looking that there was no way they had what I was looking for.


The home depot guy didn't know his homebrewing gadgetry then ;) Just go to the plumbing section and look for a supply hose for a sink/toilet or water heater. Some will be wrapped in a stainless steel braid (for durability). Make sure they are the metal ones, not ones that look like SS but are plastic. Buy the hose... clip off the ends, push off the braid, throw useless hose at Home depot employee.
 
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