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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: joemero on August 23, 2010, 12:26:53 PM

Title: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: joemero on August 23, 2010, 12:26:53 PM
I'm a semi-newbie, which has done some extract only batches about 10 years ago.  My interest in homebrewing was rekindled after seeing that my new neighbor is an all grain home brewer.  He uses a rectangular cooler for his mash tun, but I've also seen in numerous videos and magazines where some use the round orange rubbermaid or igloo type coolers.  Is there an advantage to using one over the other?  Which would you recommend?
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: bonjour on August 23, 2010, 12:45:34 PM
The advantage is only when fly or continuous sparging, then the round is better because it is a more uniform shape.  For batch sparging neither has an advantage.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: MDixon on August 23, 2010, 01:08:48 PM
While round would seem to be the best shape, in practice I can take a drilled crappy coil crammed into a stopper and shove into the backside of a valve on a rectangular cooler and get 85%+ efficiency each and every time. I believe the problems with the round are size limitations, costs, and most people end up with some channeling whether they realize it or not.

Go with a rectangular, if the batch gravity and size is small, you can always use a bottling bucket with a coil to achieve an adequate grainbed depth if fly sparging.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: denny on August 23, 2010, 02:31:16 PM
I prefer rectangular for 2 main reasons...you get more volume for your money with a rectangular, and it's easier to use due to the larger opening.  
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Hokerer on August 23, 2010, 03:37:17 PM
I prefer rectangular for 2 main reasons...you get more volume for your money with a rectangular, and it's easier to use due to the larger opening.  

Also a lot of the rectangulars can be had with "drain channels" (the Coleman Xtremes, for example) which, for me at least, works out to practically zero deadspace in the tun.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Kit B on August 23, 2010, 08:06:13 PM
Rectangular coolers give better volume.
I found regrets building with a round cooler, after my first batch.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: saintpierre on August 23, 2010, 08:23:06 PM
Not to thread hyjack but, I was given a 10 gallon round cooler a few years ago and converted that to be my mash tun just before the new year.  I have had problems with thick mashes for higher gravity beers with my current tun and am interested in the rectangular cooler/space issue.

What have people done for the false bottom with a rectangular cooler?   
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Kit B on August 23, 2010, 08:37:09 PM
You may want to consider malt conditioning and/or rice hulls, before you scrap your mash tun.
I have used the 'braided supply hose' approach & had no problems, so far.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: denny on August 23, 2010, 08:37:55 PM
Not to thread hyjack but, I was given a 10 gallon round cooler a few years ago and converted that to be my mash tun just before the new year.  I have had problems with thick mashes for higher gravity beers with my current tun and am interested in the rectangular cooler/space issue.

What have people done for the false bottom with a rectangular cooler?    

Use a SS braid instead of a false bottom.  I've used it for 12+ years and 380 batches.  See www.dennybrew.com for details...

(http://hbd.org/clubs/cascade/public_html/dennybrew/braid.jpg)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Slowbrew on August 23, 2010, 09:48:19 PM
I've had a couple of both types.  All of them worked well.  The rectangular coolers are easier to stir in the mash and will hold larger volumes.  My round coolers seemed to hold the mash temp better but I may don't really have any data to support that.  I've always been a bit lax when it comes to recording details.  YMMV.

Paul
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Dan on August 23, 2010, 10:05:25 PM
I've also noticed that my round cooler holds the temperature better than the rectangular one but I suspect that's only because the rectangular cooler has a larger opening and a cheaper lid.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: piratebrewer on August 24, 2010, 03:31:50 AM
I've used both.  I used a round one for only two years and I've been using the rectangular cooler for several years.  The big advantage I like is the extra capacity with the rectangular and easier stirring.  I've made some barley wines that would not have fit in the round cooler and if it would fit then you get no extra capacity for topping off or stirring and end up with a big mess.  They should be going on sale soon.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: hopaddicted on August 24, 2010, 02:05:39 PM
I use a rectangular cooler with a manifold as my base mash tun (5G batches typically and a couple of Parti-gyle batches making 10G total) and swear by it. No stuck sparges, no channeling (batch sparge). I have noticed slightly better heat retention in the round cooler I have added for a HLT. I do plan to use the HLT with a false bottom to make smaller batches, since the smaller footprint allows for extra grainbed depth for a small batch (2-3G).
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: 1vertical on August 25, 2010, 05:10:30 AM
It does NOT matter as long as it is

are you ready????


BLUE
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: kgs on August 25, 2010, 10:09:03 AM
I started with a round cooler because it was on sale for $12 at Home Depot and I was on a very tight budget at the time and didn't want to overinvest in a hobby that I had been doing a couple of months.I have stuck with it only out of inertia. It holds heat well but I am very short, which means adding hot water to the tun or stirring the mash requires getting on a stepstool, which makes me feel like Stuart Little and doesn't feel safe.

Costco has some really outstanding deals on coolers and my birthday is coming up... I've thought about shoes or a spa treatment... But this chick is probably treating herself to a new mash tun (and a SS kettle) :)   
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: vista on August 25, 2010, 02:22:03 PM
Costco has some really outstanding deals on coolers and my birthday is coming up... I've thought about shoes or a spa treatment... But this chick is probably treating herself to a new mash tun (and a SS kettle) :)   

WOW, I dream of the day my wife says 'what i would do for a new SS kettle as a birthday present'
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: denny on August 25, 2010, 03:54:51 PM
It does NOT matter as long as it is

are you ready????


BLUE

:)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: BrewArk on August 28, 2010, 07:55:46 PM
It does NOT matter as long as it is

are you ready????


BLUE
+1
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: kgs on August 29, 2010, 12:36:41 AM
It does NOT matter as long as it is

are you ready????


BLUE
+1

So many of them are, too! Among the horizontal coolers, Coleman, Igloo, Rubbermaid: nearly all seem to be blue. A few white and red, and even a green cooler. But mostly blue. (With cupholders, even.)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on August 29, 2010, 08:59:02 PM
I prefer rectangular for 2 main reasons...you get more volume for your money with a rectangular, and it's easier to use due to the larger opening.  

+1

I'm with Denny on this one... I bought a round, 10-gal Gott cooler and it was expensive.

My LHBS is now selling 60-Qt mash tun kits for $95 without the cooler and $143 with the cooler:

http://www.greatfermentations.com/All-Grain-Equipment/products/1039/
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Slowbrew on August 30, 2010, 06:32:44 PM
If anyone is looking for a round 10 gallon cooler I noticed the local Home Depot (Urbandale, IA) had some on the shelf for $39 this past weekend.

That's about what my wife said the one she gave me for Fathers Day had cost a few years back.  It worked great but cracked on the inside by the faucet port after 15 or so batches..

Paul
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: 1vertical on September 05, 2010, 09:48:16 PM
If anyone is looking for a round 10 gallon cooler I noticed the local Home Depot (Urbandale, IA) had some on the shelf for $39 this past weekend.

That's about what my wife said the one she gave me for Fathers Day had cost a few years back.  It worked great but cracked on the inside by the faucet port after 15 or so batches..

Paul

Are they This Color?
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: dj99 on September 05, 2010, 10:26:32 PM

My LHBS is now selling 60-Qt mash tun kits for $95 without the cooler and $143 with the cooler:

http://www.greatfermentations.com/All-Grain-Equipment/products/1039/


It's funny that they think they can sell things on the internet for the likes of $85, $95 and $145 without pictures???  I'm sure they are legit, but I like to see what I'm buying.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: kgs on September 06, 2010, 01:49:47 PM
If anyone is looking for a round 10 gallon cooler I noticed the local Home Depot (Urbandale, IA) had some on the shelf for $39 this past weekend.

That's about what my wife said the one she gave me for Fathers Day had cost a few years back.  It worked great but cracked on the inside by the faucet port after 15 or so batches..

Paul

Are they This Color?

Round coolers, by law, are only orange (though once in a great while they are allowed to be yellow).
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Mikey on September 06, 2010, 03:19:44 PM
Quote
Round coolers, by law, are only orange (though once in a great while they are allowed to be yellow).

Somebody should tell these guys they're breaking the law.

http://www.aquasuperstore.com/products/Eagle-One-10-Gallon-Water-Cooler-Igloo---Dark-Green~20931.html?utm_source=GAN%20&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=k232270
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: wfaris on September 06, 2010, 08:09:50 PM
That color is okay as long as you are building one of these.

(http://railroadersbrewclub.com/images/S3500012.JPG)

By the way, if you want to buy one instead of building one, get ahold of the Railroaders Brew Club in Omaha.
http://railroadersbrewclub.com/  No connection other than drinking their great beer.

Wayne
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Kit B on September 07, 2010, 08:23:55 PM

Round coolers, by law, are only orange (though once in a great while they are allowed to be yellow).

Where in the heck did that come from???
I don't believe it, for a second.
Mine's red.
I've seen blue, green, black, white, brown, yellow, orange...I can't imagine there's a color mandate.
I can see maybe a rule within an organization like OSHA, but not a Federal mandate for regular consumers.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Slowbrew on September 07, 2010, 09:15:56 PM

Round coolers, by law, are only orange (though once in a great while they are allowed to be yellow).

Where in the heck did that come from???
I don't believe it, for a second.
Mine's red.
I've seen blue, green, black, white, brown, yellow, orange...I can't imagine there's a color mandate.
I can see maybe a rule within an organization like OSHA, but not a Federal mandate for regular consumers.

I just got back to this one.  They are Orange at Home Depot.

And, not to be a smart a55 but you may have missed the sarcasm in the statement about it being a law.  It is well established on this forum and on Northern Brewer that good beer can only be made using a blue cooler.  That's why I made sure to build my last mash tun using a blue Coleman.   ;D

Paul
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: denny on September 07, 2010, 09:20:29 PM
Using a blue cooler guarantees you 113% efficiency.... ;D  That means that if you brew enough, you'll start gaining grain and eventually you'll never have to buy any more! 
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: kgs on September 07, 2010, 09:38:19 PM

Round coolers, by law, are only orange (though once in a great while they are allowed to be yellow).

Where in the heck did that come from???
I don't believe it, for a second.
Mine's red.
I've seen blue, green, black, white, brown, yellow, orange...I can't imagine there's a color mandate.
I can see maybe a rule within an organization like OSHA, but not a Federal mandate for regular consumers.

Sorry, I was just being silly. (Love that green cooler!)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Kit B on September 07, 2010, 09:40:49 PM
OK...I guess I need to go buy a sense of humor.
Sorry.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: piszkiewiczp on September 07, 2010, 09:45:33 PM
If you can remove the collection plumbing at the bottom of the cooler, or at least protect it, a 10 gallon round can serve double duty as a swamp cooler for the fementation carboy. My 6 gallon PET BetterBottle fits nicely in the round cooler; add ice at the top and drain excess water from the bottom.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: kgs on September 07, 2010, 09:53:58 PM
OK...I guess I need to go buy a sense of humor.
Sorry.

That's ok, I need to go back and work on my comic delivery. :-)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: tygo on September 08, 2010, 01:21:17 AM
That's where the winky emoticon comes in handy.  ;)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: richardt on September 08, 2010, 04:22:43 AM
OK...I guess I need to go buy a sense of humor.
Sorry.

That's ok, I need to go back and work on my comic delivery. :-)

She'll be here all week...
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: 1vertical on September 10, 2010, 12:10:44 PM
Using a blue cooler guarantees you 113% efficiency.... ;D  That means that if you brew enough, you'll start gaining grain and eventually you'll never have to buy any more! 

Denny, you must have several bags around by now, since in the photos I saw your tun was blue from inception....

So that means I can PM you and you could send me a bag of Pils if I cover shipping? 
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: denny on September 10, 2010, 03:57:33 PM
Using a blue cooler guarantees you 113% efficiency.... ;D  That means that if you brew enough, you'll start gaining grain and eventually you'll never have to buy any more! 

Denny, you must have several bags around by now, since in the photos I saw your tun was blue from inception....

So that means I can PM you and you could send me a bag of Pils if I cover shipping? 

Oh yeah, no doubt about it...;)
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: benjammin on September 25, 2010, 04:15:13 PM
Thanks for this post. I'm about to dive into all grain and the first decision I had to make was the style for my mash tun. I now know that I need a blue rectangular cooler.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: 1vertical on September 25, 2010, 06:15:49 PM
Ah yes Grasshoppa   ;)

Not only will you be making beer, you will be making  Great beer all because of your cooler choice.   
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Me on September 29, 2010, 10:04:20 PM
Thanks for this post. I'm about to dive into all grain and the first decision I had to make was the style for my mash tun. I now know that I need a blue rectangular cooler.

I'm a big fan of the blue cooler. I think red is a little too fast looking, you might get pulled over for reckless mashing.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: mozicodo on October 04, 2010, 04:44:58 PM
Thanks for this post. I'm about to dive into all grain and the first decision I had to make was the style for my mash tun. I now know that I need a blue rectangular cooler.

I'm a big fan of the blue cooler. I think red is a little too fast looking, you might get pulled over for reckless mashing.

And not to mention the higher insurance rates.
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on October 08, 2010, 06:10:29 PM
Has anybody noticed if a round versus rectangular cooler has more stuck sparges?
Title: Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
Post by: Mark G on October 08, 2010, 06:58:36 PM
Has anybody noticed if a round versus rectangular cooler has more stuck sparges?
I have both, and pretty much abandoned the round cooler due to slower or stuck sparges. Not that it happened often, but the round just seems more prone to it. The grain bed is a lot deeper with a round cooler, so there's a greater risk of compaction. If you go with round, just start your vorlauf and runoff slow to set the grain bed well, then open it up a bit more. When I use the round cooler, I rarely open the valve more than halfway. With the rectangular cooler, I let 'er rip full blast.