Mash Tun Cooler

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by MrBIP, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Have just purchased a 52 qt coleman xtreme to build a mash tun.
    In double checking calculations, based on actual measurements of the interior of this cooler, I'm finding that I'll probably only be using about 60-70% of the space (excluding the space taken by the manifold I have not yet built and considering ).

    (Looking at what I plan to brew, I'm seeing 12-13 pounds typically, max 15; 1.8 qts/pound)

    So, I'm now wondering if it's too big? Should I be looking for something smaller in attempt to use more of the volume of the cooler? Certainly not a bad thing to have more options for bigger batches or higher gravities, but I'm not sure if using only 60-70% is ok?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  3. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I have a 48qt coleman cooler as a mash tun and I'm getting 70-75% pre boil efficiency batch sparging. Often times it is half full. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Too shallow a grain bed is rumored to lower efficiency... I never seen that problem though on my system. If I do a low gravity batch, say 8 pounds for a 6 gallon 'to the kettle' recipe, the initial strike water plus grains is probably 40% of the total height of the cooler.
     
  4. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Thanks for easing my concern on that one.
    Plan to have this thing ready in the couple weeks and brew my first all grain.
    (Don't think I'm ready to dive in into the RIMS, but it will come ... )
     
  5. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I have yet to make the leap to RIMS/HERMS. Personally don't see much benefit, especially considering the cost and complexity associated. My 3 tier gravity system works every time.
     
  6. brewmer

    brewmer Member

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    so glad you asked this question, i bought a 45 ltr igloo cooler tun and i have yet to fill it over ½ way, wondered if id overdone it after deciding to use the 29 ltr digital brewferm boiler as hlt and bought a 70 ltr gas ss boiler, just wanted to be able to mash & boil 10 /12 gallon batches , not sure how this effects my efficiency on the smaller 5/6 gallon batches, the tun only lost 1 degree or just over in a 70 minute mash so it didnt lose alot of heat because of the extra head space, but i do warm it first
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    the thing that benefits from any rms system or recirculation pump is a higher efficiency in your mash because of the recirculation constantly flowing over the grain which washes off the sugars faster and evens out the temperature in the mash tun and with recirculation comes better filtration of the particles because the wort is always flowing through the grain bed and acts as a filter and creates a clearer beer in the and of course the constant temperature which improves your chances of repeating the same beer over and over.
     
  8. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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    I currently have a 70 quart cooler as my mash tun, and I loose a few degrees every 15 mins when mashing 5 gallon batches. I had always attributed this to the head space. I now currently mash in a my original 7.5 gallon pot wrapped in blanks that hold temp for well over an hour. I then transfer to the cooler and proceed with my batch sparging.

    Based on Brewmer's experience I may have something else going on.
     
  9. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    To say my lid seals the cooler is a real stretch of the word, more like rests on top with gaps everywhere... Check the lid, and wrap it in a blanket.

    The colder the ambient temp, the more heat loss.
     
  10. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Which is why I opted not to buy another kettle for HLT, sparge "arm" for this cooler and build a brew sculpture right now.... Working in an un-heated garage. Taking the next small step will have to wait until spring. Gotta batch sparge in the kitchen thru winter. :(
     
  11. 7 Slot Brewing

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    Thanks for asking this question as I was thinking the same thing after buying my 10 gallon water jug.

    So on my 5 gallon water jug I maybe lost a degree or 2, is it because the lid is a tighter fit that the heat loss is minimized? Just curious as to differnces between square cooler and water jug designs.
     
  12. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Might have ticker walls too. The walls on my cooler are not very thick, an inch maybe? Blanket does help some.
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    My 10-gallon Igloo loses about a degree in 15 minutes. A pint of boiling water adds the degree back. So I start a degree over, let the temperature drift downward over the first half hour, add a quart of boiling water to bring the temp back up to start, let the temp drift downward over the second half hour. That way I'm never off my fermentation temps by more than a degree.
     
  14. 7 Slot Brewing

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    Good point larry. My 5 gallon had really thick walls. The 10 gallon walls are thinner so I will probably see some loss.
     

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