Igloo coolers for all grain

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by [email protected], Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Stout@TheDevil

    [email protected] New Member

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    My sister-in-law gave me two 5 gallon orange water coolers she didn't want anymore. Can I make 5 gallon all mash batches with that or will there not be enough room for the water and grain required for a 5 gallon batch?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Fwiw, I used to BIAB in a 5gallong kettle. About 12 lbs of grain at 1.25 qts per lb of water was the max. Like, it almost overflowed and you can barely get a spoon in there to stir.
    And I always had to add water to the fermenter to get back to 5 gallons of beer.
    Maybe if you use them both it'll work, but I think 1 is going to be too small
     
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  3. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    A 5 gallon cylindrical cooler will work for 5 gallon mashes until you get into higher gravity beers. At a water/grain ratio of 1.25gal./lb. the limit is just over 12 lbs.
     
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  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I use the 5-gallon cooler to make 3-gallon batches. There's enough room in it to make very small (low OG) 5-gallon batches. A 10-gallon cooler is better but I've still filled it for really big beers.
     
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  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    With two coolers, you could split your mash and get first runnings and then use your kettle for your dunk sparge and drop both bags in there after mashing. You'd have to be sure to split base malt and adjuncts evenly so you'd get even conversion.
    I'm assuming you have an 8-gallon kettle at least. I've done a lot of 5-gallon batches with a 32 quart stainless turkey fryer pot but 8 is much more comfortable for getting at least 5 gallons into the fermenter.
     
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  6. Stout@TheDevil

    [email protected] New Member

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    thanks, guys. Sounds like I can at least use one for sparge water at the very least.
     
  7. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I used a 5 gallon cooler for 5 gallon batches for about 4 years. The key to making it work for me was to build a manifold that allowed me to do a pretty tight crush, which helped me to get close to 90% efficiency, couple that with the fact I rarely brew beers over 1.055og . I also found that the smaller headspace in the 5 gallon cooler made it easier to maintain mash temps.
     
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  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I had a 10 gallon one I made 5 gallon batches in up to around 1.070. You could easily enough just split the mash into two if you had to and combine for boil. It would just mean 2 mash tuns to clean.

    Get a brew bag though and never look back whatever you do.
     
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