Mash Tun Cooler Efficiency

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by MrBIP, May 15, 2013.

  1. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Researching buying a cooler and building a mash tun so I can start doing all grain, batch sparging:
    What type of efficiency should I anticipate when starting with this?

    (My current line of thought is a 40-50 qt cooler in which I'll assemble a brass pipe manifold; plan to stick with my 6 gallon batches for the time being; gravities between 1.040 and 1.090 < so any feedback on that plan is also appreciated).

    Thanks,
    MrBIP
     
  2. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    This is where this software really comes in handy. Make up a trial batch with grain and water and the software will tell you if you exceed the size of your mash tun. This is one of the things the software does very well.I use a 40 qt stainless steel for mash tun and can just fit 22 to 25#s of grain in it at a 1.3qts/lb of grain. Puts me in the 1.060's to low 1.070's while in the 70 to 80% brewhouse efficiency range with a 11 gal batch so size should work for 6 gal and if you were to step up to low to mid gravity 10 gal batches will still be useable.
    As far as efficiency for your first batch shoot low as Larry always says and keep your hopes high. Recipe for 60 to 65% and if it comes out better you did a good job (get a little more alcohol :D ) with the process! Concentrate more on proper temps and and times and the overall process and the efficiency will improve with them.
    But most of all have fun, DW-HAHB!
     
  3. TheZel66

    TheZel66 Member

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    I use an igloo cooler (tall round) with a stainless false bottom.. I get brewhouse efficiency hitting around 70-85%. Been using the same equipment now for over 15 years.
     
  4. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    I'd avoid the Brass manifold and build it out of CPVC
    I prefer a taller square cooler as it makes for an easy manifold build and a taller grain bed.
    I don't recall seeing a mash tun volume calculator on BF but I just plug it into another mash calculator to figure out volumes.
    If I think of it today, I'll take a picture of mine and post it.
    Brian
     
  5. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    The water requirements section is where it shows warnings if you exceeded capacity. That is under Recipe Tools -> Water Requirements on the recipe view and edit pages (also a tab in the brew session).

    My 48 quart coleman cooler gives me 'to the kettle' efficiency in the low to mid-70's, the grain bed can be pretty shallow for low OG batches. I am considering upgrading to fly sparging in the near future as I currently still batch sparge. Might just skip straight to fly sparging!

    Oh, and why not copper instead of brass for the manifold?

    Here is some more info on efficiency with a helpful graphic we created:
    http://www.brewersfriend.com/brewing-efficiency-chart/
     
  6. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    ^ Well, that was a typo on me... I meant copper. However, CPVC might be the cheaper way to go...
    Thanks for the feedback on this. I think I'll formulate a recipe at 65% first go and see where it takes me; keep it on the lower gravity side and if I miss high, well good.

    This and the hop spider I really hope to have built in the next couple of weeks so I can take the leap.
     
  7. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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    I converted a 70 quart rectangular Coleman cooler fairly easily. I used the braided stainless steel covering off a 5 ft washing machine hose for my manifold (don't use the smaller supply hoses as they may collapse). To assemble it I got a piece of tubing that was slightly bigger than the drain and worked it through the drain and attached the braiding with a hose clamp. The five ft of braiding provides enough surface area that getting a stuck sparge should rarely happen, and the tubing seals enough to the inside of the drain to prevent leaking. With this setup I got 74% my first time out on a 5.75 gallon batch.
     
    Gerry P likes this.
  8. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Kinda changes the subject of the thread, but...
    Got to second thinking myself. Obviously a guy can't afford to buy every upgrade he wants, so I have a choice right now.

    Do the mash tun cooler or set up a freezer with temp control?

    I've got the giant pot for full boil, doing yeast starters now, glass carboys with blow off tube, I'm now thinking the next best improvement to my beer would actually be to get the temp control and then jump into all grain after I've got all this dialed in nicely.
     
  9. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Fermentation control is sweet because you can do lagers then as well. You'll get there either way, but in the short term the fermentation chamber is an immediate quality boost. Pay attention to pitch rates too and you'll be amazed.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    MrB: Looks like a very sensible progression to me! When changing (hopefully improving) a process, and brewing is definitely a process, changing one factor at a time is generally the best way to do it. Unless you're ready to do Design of Experiments, of course.... :)
     
  11. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Beer DoE... :ugeek: :)
     
  12. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Re: Pitch Rate

    Well, this thread went way off the orginal topic, but since you said it, it does bring a question to mind:
    For starters I'm using a 1 gallon jug with foam stopper, no stir plate, just grab it and swirl it up whenever I walk by. So, for using the calculator, I've been using the C White - Shaking setting. How accurate should I expect to be? In reality it's probably someplace between that and no agitation. (really just need to go get the stuff and build a stir plate and take the question out of it).

    The beer I'm brewing today is relatively low, OG 1047 and calls for 199B using 0.75 Target, I did two steps because the yeast is quite old (Jan 31), no agitation setting in the calculator says I would be at 206B, shaking says I would be at 276B, so I must be there and I don't think over-pitching is really a concern (?), just that you achieve at least the min specified?
     
  13. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I use a clear 1 gallon jug with foil over the lid for my starters.

    Sounds like you are somewhere between agitation and no stirring, so just make sure to pad your numbers a bit and you'll be okay. The key thing is making a starter at all, vs going with that yeast from 4 months ago! I do think the Chris White study is accurate when it comes to no-stir / agitation, I think it is less accurate when it comes to the stir plate setting because his original study did not use stir plates. We went with an anecdotal boost factor that was conservative compared to what some pages on the internet claimed. The documentation on the yeast calc page explains all this in detail.

    Kai's equation is what I use for my starters because I use a stir plate. Normally Kia's reports slightly higher numbers than the Chris White equation C. That is okay though, over pitching a little isn't a big deal.

    Check out this stir plate:
    http://www.brewersfriend.com/2010/01/02 ... nt-review/
     
  14. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Had brew in fermentor at about noon (might have been a few minutes after) ... looked in the brew closet at 2:20 and had bubbles going not more than 2 seconds apart. Lovin' the yeast starter!

    Temp control unit and stire plate is in my near future.
     
  15. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    Back to your original question, If you plan to batch sparge, then the design of your lauder system has little effect. A cheap stainless braid is as effective as a costly stainless false bottom, or copper manifold. As you are draining out all of the fluid from the mash tun, then adding sparge water and draining again, the channeling that effects efficiency in a fly sparge is not a factor. If you were fly sparging, or plan to in the future then a well designed manifold, or false bottom is essential.
    As for the size and shape, I like the round tall coolers, as this gives a smaller footprint at the bottom and allows for a higher grain bed. The smaller footprint, I believe, has less wort loss and can be effectively drained with a stainless braid. The taller grain bed compacts the grain better and filters the fine material effectively. One could conceivably have too tall of a grain bed, but not at the home brew level. Too low a grain bed can lead to ineffective filtering.
     
  16. lilyalvin

    lilyalvin New Member

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    For me Blizzard bar10 is very special one! Have this for quite a while and turns out to be a great cooler.
     

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