Round vs Rectangular Coolers

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Round vs Rectangular Coolers

Postby abbiesdad » Wed Dec 04, 2002 10:09 am

I am planning on making the jump from extract and partial-mash to all-grain in the next 4-6 months. I have been looking at some equipment, particularly converted coolers. Basically only 2 types; the round and rectangular.

Some say the rectangular cooler is advantagous as it is easier to clean, easier to store (can stack one on top of the other), and the grain bed is less packed (is this an advantage).

So, what are your opinions? Is there any advantage of one over the other?

Any opinions are appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Round experience

Postby jayhawk » Wed Dec 04, 2002 10:20 am

I use a 6 gal bucket for mashing and lautering and notice that the bed has a tendency to channel down the sides of the bucket (path of least resistance). I imagine this would happen with round coolers as well. I can see the advantage of using rectangular because the grain bed would be spread out over a greater area, thus reducing the tendency for channelling down the sides.
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5 gal Rubbermaid experience

Postby bredmakr » Wed Dec 04, 2002 11:18 am

I have been using a 5 gallon Rubbermaid water cooler as a mash tun for the last year. Reguardless of the shape you are going to have some drainages down the sides of the cooler. if you keep an even head across the grain and recirculate at the proper rate then you will minimize channeling. More important than shape is volume. With my 5 gallon cooler I can mash a max of 12 lbs of grain and maintain a 1" head on top of the grain. This results in a lower ratio lbs grain to qts h20 of 1:1.2 or less but it is working for me right now. If you are going to be making more than 5 gallon batches or plan on brewing big heavy beers then you want a larger capacity cooler.
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rectangle cooler - pros and cons

Postby stumpwater » Wed Dec 04, 2002 5:22 pm

pro-48 litre container holds all my grain for a big 60 litre brew session (even when making my 7% Robust Porter)
con- the seams have come apart at the top of the container thus exposing the insulation - no real biggy if you are planning on monitoring your mash every 1/2 hour for temp. If you can find a rectangular cooler as big as this Coleman 48 litre that does not have a seam between the inside liner and the outside sheathing, you would have a winner.
pro- I have brewed some spectacular tasting beers in this cooler but I haven't tried it out now that the outside temperatures have dropped. It could be that seam bursting could be an issue when I am brewing in -20 C temps and the insulation proves inadequate.

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Postby dartedplus » Thu Dec 05, 2002 7:03 am

I use a 5 gallon round cooler and the only real limitation I have is the size of it. I can only get about 13 1/2 to 14 poounds of grain in it, so I cant make any really high grav beers unless I cut down on my quantity. Other than that it has worked fine. Next time I upgrade, Ithink I amgoing totry to use a SS keg and fit it with a screen and drain valve and maybe some of those heating elements that the guy used in the November issue of BYO (nice set up for INDOOR brewing..its getting kinda cold outside) sorry about that, I was just daydreaming again!!!!

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