Thoughts on coleman xtreme 100qt cooler as a MLT

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
I've read that the coleman 70Qt extreme cooler was a great cooler to convert to a MLT, but wanted a little bit larger one. So I got the 100qt version online thinking it would work out the same. On receiving it I'm second guessing my plan. Take a look at these pictures.

I'm concerned the ridges inside will create a channeling effect when batch sparging. I don't think the 70Qt version has these.

The other thing that seems different from the 70Qt version is the drain channel. Pictures from the 70qt version look like there is a distinctive channel (and the sticker on 100qt version looks like it does too). However, the channel appears non-existent and the bottom looks flat (though I haven't tested to wit the is a slope or not)

What are your thoughts about the 100qt version? Should I keep it or look for a different cooler?

1397438512176.jpg


1397438530946.jpg


1397438550669.jpg
 

IvanTheTerribrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2013
Messages
514
Reaction score
54
Location
Cranston
Def keep it. I mean, for dead space you're probably still looking at < 1 gal most likely. The ridges are there in most of the Coleman coolers. I have the 70 QT and it works great. Build a good manifold to cover all the area and you'll be fine!


- ISM NRP
 
OP
Btaz

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
I ran over to Walmart today to take a look at their large coolers and they have a 120qt coleman 5 day extreme cooler on sale. I forgot to take some pictures, but inside the walls were smooth and the drain notch was much more defined. Another thing I've been thinking about lately is the clean up. I don't know how hard it is to clean an MLT, but I'm thinking that cleaning out the grooves may not be so much fun. Also, from the Coleman site I got the interior dimension as follows:

120qt: 32 x 12.6 x 15 in. = 104.7qt
100qt: 31 x 13 x 11.5 in. = 80.251

I think there is some space in the lid accounted for in the above calculations, but it probably isn't too much. Then from these links (forum and spreadsheet) it seems that either is plenty big enough for 10 gallon batches, but I need to think about this some more for 5 gallon batches. Other posts I've read indicated that the 120qt cooler did fine for 5 gallon batches too. I'm working some excel calculations now to figure out grain depth as I don't want it to be too thin (though I've also read that depth isn't as important when batch sparging which is what I plan to do.) I'll post those when I'm done.

So I'm still thinking about switching up coolers, but in the meantime appreciate any thoughts and comments.
 

Rundownhouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
333
Reaction score
10
Location
Cincinnati
I have a 100qt Coleman. It works fine for most beers. If you're batch sparging you don't need to worry about channeling. The biggest beer I've done in it was 11g of a 1.100 barleywine. Off the top of my head I think the grain bill for that was basically a sack of 2-row and then some specialty grains.

The only trouble I've had with it is doing a 5g batch of a normal strength beer. I got a pretty big temperature drop over the course of an hour, because there was simply not enough thermal mass in the mash and too much air space.
 
OP
Btaz

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
I have a 100qt Coleman. It works fine for most beers. If you're batch sparging you don't need to worry about channeling. The biggest beer I've done in it was 11g of a 1.100 barleywine. Off the top of my head I think the grain bill for that was basically a sack of 2-row and then some specialty grains.

The only trouble I've had with it is doing a 5g batch of a normal strength beer. I got a pretty big temperature drop over the course of an hour, because there was simply not enough thermal mass in the mash and too much air space.
Thanks for the feedback about the channeling. How is the cleanup for the cooler within the ridges?

For 5 gallon batches, I've heard of people pre heating the MLT with hot water and then also covering the grain bed with some ridged foam with some success. Ever tried those techniques?
 

Rundownhouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
333
Reaction score
10
Location
Cincinnati
Clean up is fine, no problem at all. Once every who-knows-how-long I soak it in oxyclean, but in general after I finish running off I just empty the spent grain, hose it out, and wipe it down. It's hot side so it doesn't need to be perfect. The ridges are probably wide enough for two fingers, so it's not like they're tiny cracks you can't get in to, you could get in there to clean it as much as you prefer.

As for putting a piece of foam insulation in there, I hadn't thought of that and it's blindingly simple and obvious. That would probably work great: just cut a piece to fit, snug it in there, and walk away.
 

Rundownhouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
333
Reaction score
10
Location
Cincinnati
Oh, wrt the drain channel: when I'm scooping out the grain it does seem like I have a fair amount of liquid, but I've never used a different cooler so I'm not sure how standard it is. I typically mash at 1.25q/lb and use .16g/lb absorption rate and hit my volumes without any problems. I use a CPVC manifold so I'm sure it's not a problem with a hose braid floating or anything.
 

Photopilot

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
123
Location
Jackson
I used to use a 60 cube I built about 5 years ago and it has worked well but am stepping up in brewing capacity and decided to "go big or go home". My Coleman looks very similar with the exception of the grooved outflow (its hard to see but the is depressed near the drain spout) area on mine which should allow better drainage on my model.

IMG_4949.JPG


IMG_4952.JPG


IMG_4957.JPG
 

Photopilot

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
123
Location
Jackson
As you can see in the previous photo there was only 3 cups of undrained water on the first test. This was during its initial cleaning, I figure with grain it will be less than half of that. One thing to insure adequate siphoning is to have a hose off the valve that extends to lower than the bottom of the MLT. So far I have brewed two batches with it the first one left very little wort in the bottom with the grains but the second batch seemed to leave more, which I blame on slits in the manifold not being positioned at the bottom causing the siphon to break early.

What I really like over my 60liter cube is the wheels are opposite the drain. This allows me to roll the MLT outside when done and empty the spent grain into the compost can.

I can't give you any numbers on efficiency or how it does in sub 10 gallon batches but I am happy with how it works so far. My 12 gallon batches of 1.060 OG have left a lot of room for more grain. Now I am ready for the 30 gallon kettle to arrive.:mug:

IMG_4049.JPG


IMG_4974.JPG


IMG_4975.JPG


IMG_4951.JPG


IMG_5040.JPG
 
OP
Btaz

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
My Coleman looks very similar with the exception of the grooved outflow (its hard to see but the is depressed near the drain spout) area on mine which should allow better drainage on my model.
Your model with the defined groove looks just like what I was expecting my 100 qt version to look like too. I wonder when they changed this and if I can find a version like yours. I'm going to see if I can find any with the same socket that you posted. Thanks.
 

Photopilot

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
123
Location
Jackson
Your model with the defined groove looks just like what I was expecting my 100 qt version to look like too. I wonder when they changed this and if I can find a version like yours. I'm going to see if I can find any with the same socket that you posted. Thanks.
I think the groove is overrated or under-utilized at least I was not impressed. The hole for draining was at the top of the groove so as to not take full advantage of the opportunity to have a lower area to drain. I used the dremel to expand the hole lower to get it as low as possible, but it is still far from optimal, but I had to create an arch in the manifold to accommodate the hoses exit from the MLT. As long as you have a sealed manifold and a hose leading out to a longer hose draining to a lower spot the siphon should pull as much fluid out as if the drain was at a lowest point in the vessel.
 

molson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
118
Reaction score
4
Clean up is fine, no problem at all. Once every who-knows-how-long I soak it in oxyclean, but in general after I finish running off I just empty the spent grain, hose it out, and wipe it down. It's hot side so it doesn't need to be perfect. The ridges are probably wide enough for two fingers, so it's not like they're tiny cracks you can't get in to, you could get in there to clean it as much as you prefer.

As for putting a piece of foam insulation in there, I hadn't thought of that and it's blindingly simple and obvious. That would probably work great: just cut a piece to fit, snug it in there, and walk away.
I have the same cooler and am having trouble with temperature drops due to the head space also. Have you tried the foam yet? Any idea what kind to get or where to get it from?
 
OP
Btaz

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
Get ridged foam, anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 inch thick should be fine. Must hardware stores will have it
 

Esmitee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2011
Messages
760
Reaction score
57
Location
Little Egg Harbor, At the Bay and Ocean
As you can see in the previous photo there was only 3 cups of undrained water on the first test. This was during its initial cleaning, I figure with grain it will be less than half of that. One thing to insure adequate siphoning is to have a hose off the valve that extends to lower than the bottom of the MLT. So far I have brewed two batches with it the first one left very little wort in the bottom with the grains but the second batch seemed to leave more, which I blame on slits in the manifold not being positioned at the bottom causing the siphon to break early.

What I really like over my 60liter cube is the wheels are opposite the drain. This allows me to roll the MLT outside when done and empty the spent grain into the compost can.

I can't give you any numbers on efficiency or how it does in sub 10 gallon batches but I am happy with how it works so far. My 12 gallon batches of 1.060 OG have left a lot of room for more grain. Now I am ready for the 30 gallon kettle to arrive.:mug:
Photopilot, on your 4th picture, at 1st glance it looked like you only had a ball valve mounted up high above the handle on the side. I 1st thought it was for a recirculation port. Ha Ha Ha I thought is was weird that you didn't have a lower valve on the same side. I then seen it was a cooler stacked on top of a cooler LOL I want put a recirculation port through my cooler lid with some kinda of sparge arm under the lid, even though I batch sparge. I have 2 pumps, and I think it it would be easier to verlouf and add my sparge water. and maybe recirculate the mash? Anyone do this with coolers?
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
HBT Sponsor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,264
Reaction score
2,850
Location
New Jersey
I would stick with the 70 qt unless you need the additional room of the 100 qt. Using oversized tools is kind of a pet peeve of mine...

I would rather have the right size cooler 9 times out of 10, and find a workaround for the 10th, then have a cooler that is too large for 9 batches and the right size for the 10th.
 
OP
Btaz

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
While I was planning to stick with the Coleman Extreme that I have I came across another on that I think I like a bite better due to the position of the drain valve. The valve appears to be almost completely equal to the bottom of the main floor as it sits down inside of the small well. Another things is that this appears to have a great depth (i.e. the surface area is smaller) which should allow for smaller batches to still have a decent grain depth. Also, the wheels will be nice to move the cooler around to where I can dispose of the grains. I found this at costco and it is the Igloo Glide Roller Premium. From the looks of it is appears to be about the same as the pro that is on the igloo website.

20140504_111747.jpg


20140504_111814.jpg


20140504_111921.jpg


20140504_111806.jpg
 

JUST_BREW_IT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
486
Reaction score
43
Location
Central IL
I used to use a 60 cube I built about 5 years ago and it has worked well but am stepping up in brewing capacity and decided to "go big or go home". My Coleman looks very similar with the exception of the grooved outflow (its hard to see but the is depressed near the drain spout) area on mine which should allow better drainage on my model.
I like this manifold. are notches or holes better? what did you use to notch?
 

Photopilot

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
123
Location
Jackson
I like this manifold. are notches or holes better? what did you use to notch?
The process is actually a huge PITA. The first one I did was at my home in Wyoming where I have every woodworking tool you can think of. I built a jig and mounted the copper pipe in it and used a hacksaw at first. I think I eventually switched to the dremel tool. On this current one I went all dremel. It works pretty well but the copper eats up the blades and I spent more time changing out the blades then grinding the slots. I think you get just a few slots cut per thin rotary blade before it is too small to cut another.

I think each time I made the manifold I split the work over two days just out of frustration on the effort to change the blades. It was still better than the hacksaw method. Attached is a photo I took after day two of just a few of the blades I had used, as you can see some of them split, wear eye protection.

IMG_4956.jpg
 

Dog House Brew

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2008
Messages
1,792
Reaction score
758
Location
Indiana
I have 3 different MT coolers with manifolds. I used a portable band saw on my last 2 and it worked great. Holes are a PIA! Slots are the way to go. I like the manifold designs in this thread. I made my pipes length ways. I like my Igloo best over the Extreme. It has more insulation in the lid and the lid latches. They all make beer, you just need to get used to your system and input the proper numbers. Nice work!
 
OP
Btaz

Btaz

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
301
Reaction score
34
I have the same cooler and am having trouble with temperature drops due to the head space also. Have you tried the foam yet? Any idea what kind to get or where to get it from?
Old thread, but I have some hands on experience now to comment. I use the Costco cooler that I mentioned in this thread. On a couple of batches I would see the temp drop by up to 8 degrees over the mash period. For the last batch I used 1/4" rigid foam across the grain bed and the temperature held within one degree.
 

Latest posts

Top