Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: bendbrew on February 01, 2010, 12:39:58 AM

Title: Grain Depth
Post by: bendbrew on February 01, 2010, 12:39:58 AM
So I have purchased a 70qt cooler on my journey to all grain.  My latest question has to do with grain depth and its effect on efficiency and clarity.  With dimensions of 17.75 by 36.5 by 17.3 is there an issue with doing a 5 gallon batch?  I have read that you need a depth of 4 inches to act as an effective filter.  Thanks yet once again.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: bluesman on February 01, 2010, 01:46:59 AM
I use a  58qt rectangular cooler and I've done many 5 gallon batches getting 75-80% efficiency and pretty good clarity. I've even made Pilsners that were fairly clear into the primary with my set-up. As long as your making beers in the 1.040ish and up, you should have good results with a 70 quart extreme.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: MDixon on February 01, 2010, 12:44:13 PM
I fly sparge, but it should be noted that grain bed depth really doesn't matter with a batch sparge.

I've never seen an actual depth stated, but 4" seems reasonable. When I do small beers I generally move to a bottling bucked with a copper coil.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: bendbrew on February 01, 2010, 09:53:53 PM
Thanks for the info.  This forum is fantastic.  I have had so many questions answered and as a result feel prepared to take the all grain plunge.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: denny on February 01, 2010, 10:18:10 PM
Once you do it, you'll see that it's a LOT easier than it may sound now.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: jimbo44 on February 03, 2010, 08:07:46 AM
Not that I'm a pro, but we live in the same town so if you ever want someone to look your system over let me know.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: euge on February 17, 2010, 07:17:47 AM
So I have purchased a 70qt cooler on my journey to all grain.  My latest question has to do with grain depth and its effect on efficiency and clarity.  With dimensions of 17.75 by 36.5 by 17.3 is there an issue with doing a 5 gallon batch?  I have read that you need a depth of 4 inches to act as an effective filter.  Thanks yet once again.

You might try tilting the tun steeply if you run into issues to create a deeper bed on those 5 gal batches. I have a Coleman Extreme 70qt. Easy to batch-sparge with. I like it because I can brew big beers or small beers and still fill two 7.9 gal fermenters.  ;D

Grain bed depth might be better described in water/grain ratios- which can affect efficiency. So I've had wort slopping over the rim on a few bigger beers and retained a decent ratio.


Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: tygo on February 17, 2010, 02:57:32 PM
You might try tilting the tun steeply if you run into issues to create a deeper bed on those 5 gal batches. I have a Coleman Extreme 70qt. Easy to batch-sparge with.

+1 I've got the same cooler and always prop up one end to give it as steep a tilt as I'm comfortable with when I'm doing the runoff.
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: hamiltont on February 17, 2010, 04:15:25 PM
I also have a 70 X-treme & batch sparge.  The only drawback I have encountered with a 5 gallon batch is a little more heat loss during the mash.  Maybe a couple degrees more than with a 10 gallon batch so I just up the mash temp a degree or two to compensate. Prolly doesn't matter anyway but it makes me feel better...
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: tygo on February 17, 2010, 05:34:20 PM
Brewing in my garage this winter (where the mash tun lives) I've had to up the strike water temp by about 14 degrees over what I calculate it should be to hit my mash temps for my 5 gallon batches.  Once it starts getting warmer out I'll need to dial that back.  I need to start recording the ambient temperate and comparing it to how much heat it takes to preheat the mashtun so I can predict it better as the season changes.

Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: euge on February 17, 2010, 05:40:39 PM
My experience is that it takes a huge thermal load to warm the CE up. I'm not sure if it can be over-heated, but I damn sure know it can be under-heated easily- resulting in a disappointing drop in mash temps.



Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: bendbrew on February 19, 2010, 02:39:17 AM
Well, here is my status, I received the Coleman Xtreme which I will convert but was also able to get a 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler fully converted with a false bottom and brass ball valve along with a 15 gallon converted keg with a t bazooka and brass ball valve for a great price.  I can therefore do 5 gallon or more in the rubbermaid and higher gravity in the Coleman.

Bill
Title: Re: Grain Depth
Post by: hamiltont on February 22, 2010, 10:12:31 PM
I think you're loaded for BEAR now, I mean BEER!!!   ;D