How big a mash tun is too big

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Basquebrewing, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    Looking to go all grain soon so looking into buying mash tuns. I currently have a kettle that is only big enough for 5 or 6 gallon batches but would be interested in scaling up to 10 gallons in the future. The question I want to ask is should I buy a mash tun/ hot liquor tank for the bigger size to save money in the future. The problem I is would mashing a smaller batch in a big mash tun cause problems, I am guessing mainly with maintaining a temperature.

    Any help would be appreciated
     
  2. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    I love my 48 qt Igloo square cooler mash tun. It works well for 5 and 10 gallon batches.
    Always pre-heat the tun with your strike water and you shouldn't have trouble maintaining temperature.
    I like the square or rectangular coolers because u can easily make a manifold out of CPVC. With the round ones you either use a false bottom (expensive) or a bazooka screen( prone to clog).
    You can make a mash tun out of a number of vessels and they all have pluses and minuses.
    Good luck
    Brian
     
  3. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    Thanks that fits with other info I read. I think I will definitely go with the bigger option.

    On a related note, A home brew shop here in Spain sell a 70 litre (about 74 quarts) stainless steell insulated cooler. Thinking of getting two of these for mash tun and hot liquor tank with the idea that the HLT could have a heating element put in at a later date. Anybody have any experience with the stainless steel cooler and or converting them to electrical heaters?
     
  4. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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  5. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    Thanks Surfmase. Do you know if that is used to bring the water to temperature, or to maintain temp?
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That might be used to maintain temperature but it would take forever to heat a mash with it.
     
  7. TheZel66

    TheZel66 Member

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    I've been grain brewing now for about 18 years. Always used a 5 gallon igloo cooler for my mash tun. I never had a problem keeping the temperature constant. Recently, I picked up a 10 gallon cooler (from northern brewer - not igloo brand). I have noticed that the temperature does drop for small batches. More airspace is the issue, especially if you uncover to stir the mash every so often. (15 minutes is what I do).

    So if you're just starting out, and you want to make beers no bigger than 1.065 to start, I would go with a 5 gallon.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I've found that stirring the mash for single-infusion mashes is mostly unnecessary. I add grain to my water, stir until the grain is wetted and there are no dough balls, take a temperature and pH reading, cover the tun and do something else for an hour. My conversion efficiency ranges in the mid-70 percent range.
     
  9. GernBlanston

    GernBlanston New Member

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    I hate those doughy balls.
     

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