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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: hbrewer on January 16, 2011, 01:28:32 AM

Title: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: hbrewer on January 16, 2011, 01:28:32 AM
I am trying to dive in to all grain brewing from extract and I have been looking at coolers to purchase.  Eventuallly I would love to be able to get to a three keg system with pumps but that really is not in my budget at this time.  I am looking in to a gravity fed system and want to use a rectangular cooler as my MLT.  My ultimate goal is to brew 10-12 gallons at a time but will probably start off with 5 gallons.  That being said I have my eye on the Coleman 70 qt Xtreme Cooler.  Walmart and Amazon have this for $40.00.  Does anyone have this one in particular and are there any thoughts on the size of the one I am looking at??  I think the cost is reasonable for the size. . . thoughts?
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Hokerer on January 16, 2011, 01:34:18 AM
Lots of folks use the Coleman Xtreme (myself included) and love them.  The drain channel that's built in is ideal for sparging and you end up with almost zero deadspace.  As for the size, mine is the 36 qt which lets me brew about as high a gravity beer as I want but I only do 5 (actually 5.5) gallon batches.  The 70 qt will give you plenty of room if/when you move to 10 gallon batches and the extra size really won't hurt you with 5 gallons.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Mark G on January 16, 2011, 02:11:01 AM
I use that exact same cooler with a stainless steel braid and couldn't be any happier.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: maxieboy on January 16, 2011, 02:18:16 AM
70 qt. Coleman Extreme w/copper manifold here. Couldn't be happier. It's a MLT marketed as a cooler!
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: hbrewer on January 16, 2011, 02:20:18 AM
Has anyone seen the cooler cheaper than $40 for the 70 qt?
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: maxieboy on January 16, 2011, 02:24:34 AM
Haven't been looking. Got mine around the time they came out. $24.   :P
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Malticulous on January 16, 2011, 03:06:29 AM
Here is my xtreme 52

(http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g153/Conroe278/P1010434.jpg)

I have a 70 but have not needed it yet.I used a 60 qt Gott before and it lost a lot more temp, so did the 20 qt Rubbermaid water jug I used before that. This one drains completely  without siphon too.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: hbrewer on January 16, 2011, 03:39:21 AM
That set up looks nice.  If you dont mind sharing what is that made up of.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: tygo on January 16, 2011, 01:04:13 PM
I use the 70 qt coleman xtreme as well.  I converted it using these instructions:  http://brewing.lustreking.com/gear/mashtun.html

Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Mark G on January 16, 2011, 02:05:43 PM
Has anyone seen the cooler cheaper than $40 for the 70 qt?
I think I paid around $35 with free shipping through Amazon. That was about 6-7 months ago.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: bassriverbrewer on January 16, 2011, 02:53:18 PM
Any Disadvantage to using the 10 gal round Igloo or Rubbermaid water cooler?  Does anyone know how well they hold heat as compared to the colman
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Mark G on January 16, 2011, 03:00:47 PM
Any Disadvantage to using the 10 gal round Igloo or Rubbermaid water cooler?  Does anyone know how well they hold heat as compared to the colman
I have a round cooler in addition to my Coleman Xtreme, but I stopped using it. It holds heat great, I rarely lost more than a degree during an hour mash. I was just tired of running out of room and having to adjust mash thickness to compensate. It was also more prone to stuck mashes due to grain bed depth it seemed. I haven't had that problem with the square cooler.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: pfooti on January 16, 2011, 06:30:31 PM
I use a 10gal rubbermaid round cooler. Didn't particularly choose it over the coleman xtreme for any reason other than random chance, I suppose. I'm quite happy with mine though- I put a braid ring manifold in there (anchor both ends of the braid in a a T junction, basically, it's discussed in How To Brew by Palmer although there's some tweaks to his design that are needed), so I can batch or fly sparge.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: kgs on January 16, 2011, 08:30:40 PM
Has anyone seen the cooler cheaper than $40 for the 70 qt?
I think I paid around $35 with free shipping through Amazon. That was about 6-7 months ago.

Amazon has it right now just under $40 with free shipping. Their prices for items tend to bobble up and down. I saw some on sale at the end of summer... kind of long to wait, though!
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: richardt on January 16, 2011, 10:43:52 PM
The 10 gallon round Rubbermaid/Gott/Igloo coolers hold heat very well and are easy to convert (plastic spigot unscrews and you can then assemble a SS or brass spigot in its place).  10 gallon round cooler costs about 32 bucks at Lowes or Home Depot.

You might be better off with a rectangular cooler if you want to do 10 gallon batches and/or high gravity brews.  The 10 gallon round cooler does suffer mash tun space limitations and grain bed compaction with high gravity brews because the height of the grain bed (12-18 inches) exceeds the width (12 inches).  Result is thicker mashes, and slower lautering times and the occasional stuck mash.

See the "batch sparge theory" thread for more discussion, if interested.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: oscarvan on January 17, 2011, 12:42:16 AM
Along these lines, I am using a (blue) Coleman 48 quart right now, and have brewed one 5G batch in it. Has anyone brewed a 10 G batch in a 48qt cooler? We're talking 22 pounds of grain and 8 gallons of water here......
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Mark G on January 17, 2011, 12:49:54 AM
Along these lines, I am using a (blue) Coleman 48 quart right now, and have brewed one 5G batch in it. Has anyone brewed a 10 G batch in a 48qt cooler? We're talking 22 pounds of grain and 8 gallons of water here......
It should fit as long as your mash thickness is below ~1.8 qt/lb. Check this website out: http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml (http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml)
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: oscarvan on January 17, 2011, 01:40:27 AM
Cool, I have two quarts to spare....... :o Splashomatic.....I think I will order the larger cooler for the 10G batches.....
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Malticulous on January 18, 2011, 04:36:30 AM
That set up looks nice.  If you dont mind sharing what is that made up of.

It's PEX with holes drilled in the bottom. It works very well for batch sparging.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: abraxas on January 18, 2011, 01:14:21 PM
Along these lines, I am using a (blue) Coleman 48 quart right now, and have brewed one 5G batch in it. Has anyone brewed a 10 G batch in a 48qt cooler? We're talking 22 pounds of grain and 8 gallons of water here......

I've got a 50 quart cooler (silver) and I do 10 gallon batches once in a while.  My limit is 25 lbs of grain with a 1.25 quart/lb mash (~7.8 gallons) filled to the rim (70% efficiency).  For batches over 1.056 I need to add extract, I just did a 10 gallon Janet Brown (1.068) which came out perfect with 3 lbs dry light extract.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: euge on January 18, 2011, 06:18:09 PM
I've worn out 4 Igloo 48 qt ice-cubes. Been using the 70 qt Coleman extreme- the conversion was as simple as sliding the tubing through the drain...

I just built an Igloo 2.5 gallon. Water tested it over the weekend. Won't be much use except for those "experimental" batches. Might be able to squeeze a 2.5 gallon batchsparge out of it.

I usually do 12 gallon batches out of the Coleman. No problem but on higher gravity brews the mash has barely left room for the lid to fit! Regardless I start with 19 gallons in my hot-liquor tank and at the end of the session I have 12 gallons in my fermenters.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Kit B on January 19, 2011, 05:03:48 PM
I've worn out 4 Igloo 48 qt ice-cubes.

What do you mean "Worn out"?
How does one actually do that, aside from making a strange costume out of a cooler & sauntering around town?
 ;)
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: euge on January 19, 2011, 06:56:32 PM
Worn out around town? :D

Just that they sustained damage over a succession of batches, so I replaced them. At $14 a pop it was easy to do.
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: richardt on January 19, 2011, 07:32:59 PM
What are you doing to damage them? ???
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: euge on January 19, 2011, 07:39:04 PM
What are you doing to damage them? ???

Was. Was doing... ;)

Boiling wort in them with heatsticks. Using them as fermenters...
Title: Re: Coolers for All Grain Brewing
Post by: Kit B on January 19, 2011, 09:39:19 PM
Awesome!
I love it when folks push the envelope!
 :D