Rectangular vs. Round Mash Tuns

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Axegod

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Hello,

I will be attempting a All Grain brew soon and will need to buy all my
equipment.
I have seen various posts and articles on cooler types to use but I still am
unsure about the style that will best suit me.

Here is some background info:
I will make mainly 5-5.5 gallon batches (but have a 12 gallon fermenter as well).
I suspect my first several AG will be 5 gallons for expertimental and variety reasons - and have a pre-boil volume of about 6.5-7 gallons. Based on the recipies and beer styles, I expect to use about 10 lb orf grain. I expect to also use batch sparging method. The cost for me will both be the same..and I am not afraid of making a braid hose/copper tubing and/or buying a false bottom.

Round coolers seem like they basically same 5 gallon size and style.
Rectangular coolers have a variety of sizes...from about 50 -75 qts. I also have noticed that some rect. coolers have lower holes and have a slightly angled floor
to help drainage for "normal" cooler use. I am not sure if this will help or hurt for mashing.


So...to make a long story short..any input will be greatly appreciated !
 

RichBrewer

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My gut feeling is that the round coolers would be more efficient. They create a deeper grain bed which would allow for more fluid to rinse the grains.
Rectangular tuns would be use-full for very large batches because they would hold a higher volume mash.
This is strictly my opinion and I could be way off base.
 

kaptain_karma

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yeah, I agree with all of the above. A tall round lauter tun will create a more effective filter bed for better clarity, and better efficiency because the sparge water will rinse through more of the grains.

I use a 6.5 gallon bucket with a false bottom for a lauter tun. With a sparge arm, it has great efficiency, but it's diffucult to sparge more than 16 lbs of grain in it. I've never used one, but I bet a huge square cooler could be useful for high gravity beers.
 

Blender

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I would recommend a rectangular one. They will make it easier to stir and with batch sparging it doesn't matter much how thick the grain bed is. I have a 52 quart and it works fine but a lot brewers use between 36-46 quart coolers. The lower drain will be a plus with the SS braid. The crush of the grain seems to be the most important thing for efficiency.
 

digdan

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I would go Ice Cube. Its cheap and facilitated my 5gallon and 10gallon batches. Its easy to clean(lid pops off) and it had a neato compartment(I use for my remote thermometer)

The round Igloo's are more expensive and I see no true benefit. Actually I would say that sparging is better the more shallow you go.. just by theroy. IceCubes are more shallow than Igloos
 

cweston

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I don't think it's a decision to tear your hair out over, honestly.

I went with a 34 Qt rectangular, because it what what I already had, and the size seemed just right.

(5 gals is a little restrictive: at typical efficiency levels, a 5 gal tun would be big enough for 5 gal batches of OGs up to about 1.065.)

I agree that the round ones are probably an ideal shape for fly sparging. I'm not sure if it matters or not for batch sparging.

The height of the hole is really not that important, because you will have a siphon going when you drain it anyway.
 

johnoswald

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Blender said:
I would recommend a rectangular one. They will make it easier to stir and with batch sparging it doesn't matter much how thick the grain bed is. I have a 52 quart and it works fine but a lot brewers use between 36-46 quart coolers. The lower drain will be a plus with the SS braid. The crush of the grain seems to be the most important thing for efficiency.
IMO, go with the stainless braided hose, an 18" water supply costs $5 max and a 1/2" copper Tee (for PEX tubing) is 25¢. You can use the plastic insert as your run off from the the Tee. I made one this past weekend and it worked like a charm! My old slotted manifold went back into the spare parts box.
 
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Axegod

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Thanks for all the info.
I am leaning towards the rectanglar one mainly because of size...and there
are a few here on sale. I believe I will go with the SS braid - and the ones I was looking at had a small slot leading to the drain....which-with modification- may be handy to prevent a stuck mash.
Either way, if i decide on a different cooler style, I will still have a cooler for normal use.


I am sure I'll have more questions..and appreciate all the great advice.

Cheers.
 

Spyk'd

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Round coolers are 'sexier' IMHOTY.....but that's just me...



and dark blue is sexier than caution orange......wait......











This just in...
 

Beer Snob

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As I learned in a previous thread, grain beds have no barring since you plan to do batch sparging. I almost got the Igloo Ice Cube which is kinda cool. Maybe later. I have no interest to do 20 lb AGs. Someone... cant' recall if it was Dude, said that you could push the envolope with a 5 gal water cooler and do 12 lbs. For a while, at any rate, that's more then I plan to do.

Whatever you decide.... make the false bottom or copper pipe system BEFORE you buy the cooler. Bring it when you buy the cooler and make sure it all fits. This will save you a heap of challenges.
 

ErikN

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I have an igloo, just did my first all grain two weeks ago. I made the manifold out of CPVC and batch sparged. Worked like a charm.

Hopefully I will start making 10 gal batches once I get a keg set up. Bottling that much brew would just push me over the edge.

The biggest thing I learned about this hobby over the past few months is always plan for what you may eventually do. Otherwise you end up with a bunch of stuff that becomes obsolete as you begin to expand your horizons.:drunk:
 

Beer Snob

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With the AG I did yesterday and finding out the the HWT leaked terribly (it was the cooler I screwed up trying to make a Mash/Tun), I am now back to thiking about that Igloo Ice Cube.... One thing I did notice is that with 9 1/2 pounds of grain I could not get all the Mash Out water in with the grains (5 Gal cooler) and could not get it to the right temp.....
 

MrSaLTy

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I have the 48QT igloo ice cube and it works great. I have only done 5 gal batches but I bet you could do 10 as well. It hold temps great, but I did insulate the top. Plus they were only 19 bux with a small playmate cooler thrown in. There are pics of it and my manifold in my gallery.
 

Bernie Brewer

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ErikN said:
The biggest thing I learned about this hobby over the past few months is always plan for what you may eventually do. Otherwise you end up with a bunch of stuff that becomes obsolete as you begin to expand your horizons.:drunk:

Amen. We preach that a lot here, but a lot of newbies won't listen. They're like my kids that way; they have to find out for themselves.:)
 

Sephro

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Right now I am using 5gal Rubbermaid coolers (blue ;) ) and I was able to do a 13.9lb AG mash in it :eek: It wasn't easy but it was my very first AG batch... It actually worked out perfect! It was a touch cloudy but I was pleased...

But I just did a 10lb batch that had 2lbs of Maize and the thing stuck like no other... I had to go to this old 2bucket lauter tun I had to get it going...

I am thinking about making a square one (larger square cooler is a lot cheaper than a 10 gal Rubbermaid cooler)
 

Bum Fudge

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Hi all. Newbie forum member alert! I've been brewing for a while, took some time off and now I'm back into it and I've bee getting some great ideas from lurking here. I'm interested in a lot of the equipment discussion as my 25 year old son has been helping me brew and wants me to help set him up at his apartment. Hey maybe I can go over there and get some beer for a change :)

I have built and used a zap pap tun for zillions of batches and also a larger 6 gallon white bucket with a phils false bottom when I am mashing less than about 12lbs. For anything bigger or a double batch I have a rectangular 48 quart cooler with a 4 ribbed manifold made out of 1/2 PVC plumbing pipe. It works great but does have a shallow grain bed. Well my cooler is starting to split and I'm looking to upgrade some of my stuff.

I picked up two 5 gallon round coolers at my local true value for $8.99 each. I'm going to convert both of them and give my son one. For that price it was a no brainer. To upgrade my larger tun I'm tron between converting a keg and using one of the 52 to 60 quart 5 day coolers. Maybe I can reuse my manifold too. These coolers are about $30 and seem much sturdier and well insulated than the one I now have.

To maximize my brew day I almost always brew 2 batches when I brew so having 2 tuns is necessary. Having a larger tun is really useful because sometimes I will mash a 10 grain bill and then by using different hops and yeast create 2 different beers.

I think if I could only have one though I would go with a round 10 gallon for maximum flexability and those big beers.

Nice to be here... :mug:
 

jcarson83

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MrSaLTy said:
I have the 48QT igloo ice cube and it works great. I have only done 5 gal batches but I bet you could do 10 as well. It hold temps great, but I did insulate the top. Plus they were only 19 bux with a small playmate cooler thrown in. There are pics of it and my manifold in my gallery.
Why does everyone go through the bottom of the cooler with the manifold. Wouldn't it be easier just to siphon over the top? Reduce chances of leaks.

And has anyone tried to make a manifold out of clear plastic. It would be easier to make sure it was clean.
 

Beer Snob

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jcarson83 said:
Why does everyone go through the bottom of the cooler with the manifold. Wouldn't it be easier just to siphon over the top? Reduce chances of leaks.

And has anyone tried to make a manifold out of clear plastic. It would be easier to make sure it was clean.
How do you start a siphon with a cooler that does not have a spigot? I mean you are right..... the false bottom or whatever is on the bottom... the siphon would need to go up and over the top..... in a batch for instance you would drain evertything...assuming the siphon would stop... then you need to start it again...
 

Bernie Brewer

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jcarson83 said:
Why does everyone go through the bottom of the cooler with the manifold. Wouldn't it be easier just to siphon over the top? Reduce chances of leaks.

And has anyone tried to make a manifold out of clear plastic. It would be easier to make sure it was clean.

You could siphon out the wort, I've seen pics of people doing that, but siphoning sux. I only do it when I have to, like out of my carboy.

Regarding your manifold question- the copper manifolds are not soldered, or at least they shouldn't be. That way you can take them apart for easy inspection and cleaning. Also, cleaning isn't even that much of a concern at this point since the wort hasn't been boiled yet. Granted, you want it to be free of crud, but there's need for concern about sanitation or anything like that.
 

jcarson83

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I use a auto siphon so it's really not that bad.

http://www.homebrewery.com/images/easysiphon.jpg

I'm just trying to kick some ideas around because I'm going to make one this week so I can do another batch this weekend. I hadn't really thought about a false bottom though. I would think that it would have to fit pretty close to the size of the cooler so none of the grains would get by.

What do most people make these out of?
 

RichBrewer

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jcarson83 said:
I use a auto siphon so it's really not that bad.
How do you get an auto siphon to work in a Mash/Lauter Tun? A drain in the bottom of the tun connected to the manifold or false bottom seems much easier to me and if you assemble it correctly, it won't leak. Instead of starting and stopping a siphon all you do is open and close a valve.:mug:
 

Lost

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You can buy zymico kits to convert your cooler but the easiest solution (and one that works) is also the cheapest. Unscrew the drain valve and replace it with a drilled stopper.. push it in from the inside. Then run some copper tubing or cpvc or whatever you make your manifold out of through the stopper. Use a compression fitting to install a threaded end on the outside - thread a ball valve on and be sure to use teflon tape. Screw a barbed end onto the ball valve and you're set. Slip the manifold onto the pipe on the inside of the tun and you're good to go. Don't use a compression fitting on the inside as it's unnecessary.

As for the cooler, I vote for an Ice Cube. It'll hold enough for a 10 gal batch and it's square so you get a better grainbed depth. I think a round rubbermaid/gott works better for 5 gal batches though. The grainbed is a bit shallow in the ice cube with only 12 lbs of grain. The 5 gal rounds will hold about 12 lbs of grain max. I'd suggest starting with a round and a Ice Cube. Build a manifold for the round and use the ice cube as a sparge tank. Then, when you're ready, switch to using the ice cube for the mash and the round for the sparge.

The autosiphon is a great tool to have around but it's a pain sanitizing it and I don't really like pumping the wort to get the siphon started.. but it does work great. The carboy caps are just great and you can easily get a siphon started with a shot of CO2 from your kegging system if you have one. Other's have used a modified turkey baster. I don't think blowing into the thing is that safe and sucking is near impossible, plus I worry that I could slip and let the thing suck some spit from my mouth into the carboy..

A neat trick with the carboy caps that I don't think anyone has mentioned (and this works when you're siphoning from an open container such as a keg or cooler into a carboy with a carboy cap) is to place a vacuum over one of the nipples of the carboy cap on the receiving carboy. I think the chance of infection is minimal this way and you can siphon quite quickly.. it almost works like a pump. The seal, obviously, does not have to to be air tight and should not be since the vacuum will generate more suction than you need.
 

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Lost said:
I'd suggest starting with a round and a Ice Cube. Build a manifold for the round and use the ice cube as a sparge tank. Then, when you're ready, switch to using the ice cube for the mash and the round for the sparge.
This is a great idea - way to build some flexibility into the system. Where were you 4 months ago when I was buying coolers?

Lost said:
A neat trick with the carboy caps ... is to place a vacuum over one of the nipples of the carboy cap on the receiving carboy.
How do you generate said vacuum? I have seen some threads here regarding using "wort wizard" type devices....any other easy way that I am missing?
 

Lost

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By vacuum I mean exactly that.. a household cleaning vac. Place the suction hose over one of the nipples on the carboy cap (the other, obviously, would have the siphon hose attached). I know how unsanitary the vac sounds but no part of it has to actually touch the opening of the cap's nipple..

A shop vac or mityvac would probably work just fine too. Of course the preferred method is, I think, to shoot a bit of CO2 into the carboy you're siphoning from but I know many here don't have CO2 laying around.
 
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