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BeerTools Discussion Forum • View topic - 5 or 10 gallon cooler?

5 or 10 gallon cooler?

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5 or 10 gallon cooler?

Postby cyto » Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:15 pm

After 10 years of extract brewing I have decided to try all grain. I am going to make my own mash tun from a beverage cooler. I wanted to get a ten gallon but no one seems to carry those locally.

Will a 5 gallon cooler do the job for 5 gallon batches of finished beer, mostly stouts?

Any additional advice would also be appreciated.

Thanks

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RE: 5 or 10 gallon cooler?

Postby wottaguy » Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:22 am

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Postby slothrob » Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:37 pm

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Think I'll build a 5 gallon Mash Tun

Postby Bryon » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:16 pm

. My plan is to do a conversion and use it for batch sparging. I've never made an all grain beer, just intermediate recipe kits wuth extract and some grains to steep in a cheese cloth. I'm thinking a 5 gallon will do for my first try at this...

Do you recommend a false bottom or should I go the mesh hose method?
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Think I'll build a 5 gallon Mash Tun

Postby bfabre » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:05 pm

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RE: Think I'll build a 5 gallon Mash Tun...

Postby wottaguy » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:14 pm

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HL Kentucky Common
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Beverage Coolers are only necessary for fly sparging

Postby billvelek » Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:22 pm

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Think I'll build a 5 gallon Mash Tun

Postby bfabre » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:27 pm

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Postby Bryon » Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:28 pm

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false bottom is probably best for circular beverage cooler

Postby billvelek » Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:35 am

Although I have never used one, I would imagine that a false bottom would be best for a circular beverage cooler, especially for fly sparging, although I don't necessary have any strong disagreement with wottaguy; I think he is probably correct that a hose coiled on the bottom will probably be sufficient _enough_, but let me explain my reasoning.

If you fly sparge, it is important that sparge water filter through your grain bed about as evenly as is possible; if you do not drain as equally as possible across the entire bottom of your tun, you will probably experience a degree of channeling, which is where there is more sparge water flowing through a particular section of grains than through others, and the result is that sugars are washed unevenly and some are left behind, thereby lowering efficiency. Because of the risk of channeling, brewers who use manifolds (networks of tubing) should pay special attention to their design to try to drain evenly across the bottom, and I think that this also applies when you use braided hose; it if is not correctly positioned and long enough to coil around enough to spread out evenly enough over the entire bottom of your tun, you are still going to experience channeling. Now, comparing that to a false bottom, when you use a PROPER false bottom -- meaning that the volume beneath it can drain fast enough that the bed can essentially "drip" through the bottom, ideally -- then it should cause drainage from the grain bed to be evenly distributed across the entire bottom of the tun so that if you have an even distribution of sparge water by using a rotating sparge arm, then you shouldn't have any channeling or efficiency problems.

With batch sparging, it doesn't matter what you use on the bottom or how it is positioned, except for the speed with which it will permit drainage and possibly avoid stuck sparges. I think you can _perhaps_ compare the surface area of a braided hose with the surface area of a false bottom to get some rough idea, although I think you need to also consider the degree of permeability of each material. Although I have no idea of how permeable my braid is, it is 1/2" diameter x 10' long which gives it a surface area of 188.5 square inches, which is equal to a simple flat false bottom of equal permeability of 60" in diameter, or ... if the false bottom has a diameter of 12", it would need to be 5 times a permeable.

If you purchase braid reinforced water hose, this is how I removed mine: use a hack saw to cut off both ends. Peel back one end until you have about a half-inch of rubber hose exposed; clamp it to something with a vise-grip or clamp (I used a bench vise). Then, starting at the end closest to the vise, stroke the braid toward the free end. You are trying to create loseness in the braid by pressing on it to expand it's diameter and then spread that expansion along the hose. If you just grab the other end and pull on it, you will NEVER get it off because pulling on it tightens it around the hose. At the very beginning of EACH stroke, tighten your grip to cause compression, but then relax your grip and smoothly stroke the entire length of the hose. I didn't seem to be making a lot of progress at first, but all of a sudden it all loosened up pretty well and came right off. Then I just plugged one end with a piece of wooden dowel.

Cheers.

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RE: Think I'll build a 5 gallon Mash Tun...

Postby wottaguy » Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:46 am

Hi all...

I can only speak of my direct experiences with both setups, and personally, I would go with the SS braided coil. This will allow you the flexibility to perform fly or batch sparges without eating up your hard earned cash. It is only through mine and my circle of local brewers experience with both setups that I pass on our observations. The reader will have to decide for themsleves. The only constant that I have come to know of in the homebrewing world, is that there are many avenues that one can take to obtain a goal, and what ever works for you and makes you happy, must be the correct way. We all have our different styles of brewing, and that is what makes this such a great hobby!

Now...onward to another batch...!! :)

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HL Kentucky Common
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Postby miles » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:33 pm

I personally have had very good luck using the stainless braid for the filter media in my mash tun. Regarding the size of cooler to use, 10 gallon water coolers, or 48 qt or larger cube coolers allow room for high gravity 5 gallon brews but have room for more. In addition, since they are more vertical in nature than the rectangle coolers, they help to keep your grain bed deeper which is recommended for efficient mashes.

I personally use an Igloo Cooler for my mash tun. If interested you can see details of what I built here: [url]http://brewtech.blogspot.com/2007/01/igloo-cube-cooler-mash-tun.html[/url]
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Re: RE: Think I'll build a 5 gallon Mash Tun...

Postby billvelek » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:40 pm

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