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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: cmuzz on July 22, 2011, 01:25:38 pm

Title: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: cmuzz on July 22, 2011, 01:25:38 pm
Looking to get a 10 gallon cooler to make a mash tun. I've found Both Rubbermaid & Igloo for the same price of $39.95.

So the question is, with cost out of the picture, does one or the other have any drawbacks?
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: bonjour on July 22, 2011, 01:27:41 pm
IMHO thee Igloo has a better insulated lid,  Rubbermaid is a screwed on sheet of plastic.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: richardt on July 22, 2011, 02:21:36 pm
What size batches do you think you'll be brewing?

Igloo 10 gallon round coolers run around $32-39 when I got them at Home Depot a few years ago.
I agree that they're well insulated, especially the lid.
Buy the SS weldless bulkhead/spigots from your LHBS or online. 
Cooler conversions are so ridiculously easy.
The Bazooka braid screen works well for 5 gallon batches.

However, if you're considering 10 gallon batches or high gravity beers or wheat/rye beers, I would recommend you consider using a rectangular 82 Qt (20.5 gallon) cooler as it will make stirring, water/grain ratios, step infusions, and lautering so much easier to achieve with the extra capacity (and less mess).  Also, from personal experience, you want to avoid grain bed compaction which occurs whenever the height begins to exceed the width of the grainbed.  An Igloo cooler is around 12 inches wide and 24 inches tall inside. 

Again, I've had a lot of frustration using the 10 gallon round cooler for 10 gallon batches, high gravity and/or wheat beers--So, if you intend to do those, I would kindly suggest you use the 10 gallon round cooler for a HLT and use a larger rectangular cooler for the MLT.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Denny's website on how to build a great mashtun.  Classic and effectively simple (and I mean that in a good way).  Easy to set up, use, clean, and put away.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: bonjour on July 22, 2011, 02:27:54 pm
I brew 5 gallon batches in my 10 Gallon Igloo, frequently 15-18% brews. 
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: JKL on July 22, 2011, 02:30:05 pm
FWIW, When I recently upgraded to a 15 gal system, I traded in my 10 gal round Igloo for a 70qt rectangular Coleman Extreme.  I picked it up at Academy Sports for $36.95.  I'm a batch sparger so If your fly sparging disregard this because I know nothing about that.  IMO, a rectangular cooler is so much better to work with.  Speciffically more room and more shallow seems to help with stirring when doughing in. Plus, this one I got holds temps better than my Igloo did, and my efficiency has increased.  Probably due to the addition of a grain mill to my brewery but it was a sizeable increase nonetheless.  64%-77%.

-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: cmuzz on July 22, 2011, 02:34:55 pm
Been only doing 5 gallon batches up until now. Doing partial mash and also extract with specialty malts for a few years now. Figured it is time I move up and try all grain.

I have been reading all the resources on the web and am ready to jump. Was going to get the Home Depot $39.95 10 gal round rubbermaid until I found the Igloo at the same price. Richardt you now have me thinking about a rectangular one.

Too many considerations. ???

I do have a 72qt coleman, but I figured with my batch sizes I'd wouldn't have the grains to be deep enough.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: theDarkSide on July 22, 2011, 02:44:03 pm
I do have a 72qt coleman, but I figured with my batch sizes I'd wouldn't have the grains to be deep enough.

I have this cooler ( the blue one of course  ;D ) and it works great for my 5 gallon recipes.  I routinely do 12-15 lb grain bills and there's plenty of room left over.  I did a mild once and was thinking I didn't put in enough grain because the bed was so shallow, but it turned out fine.

The best thing about this cooler is it's big enough to do a huge beer.  I'm going to do a RIS soon that has 25 lbs. of base and specialty grain.  I can't wait to see that in the mash tun!
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: Kit B on July 22, 2011, 02:44:35 pm
Looking to get a 10 gallon cooler to make a mash tun. I've found Both Rubbermaid & Igloo for the same price of $39.95.

So the question is, with cost out of the picture, does one or the other have any drawbacks?

I have 2 Rubbermaid cylindrical tuns & love them.
The cover doesn't appear to be problematic, at all.
But, if I had to do it over...I'd go with a larger cube tun.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: denny on July 22, 2011, 02:57:44 pm
I do have a 72qt coleman, but I figured with my batch sizes I'd wouldn't have the grains to be deep enough.

It depends...if you fly sparge, it might not be.  If you batch sparge, it'll be fine.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: Slowbrew on July 22, 2011, 03:19:38 pm
I've used both round coolers (Rubbermaid, 5 and 10 gal) and rectangular coolers.  My experience: Round holds temp better (than standard rectangular cooler), rectangular coolers are easier to work in (the max-cold, eXtreme types hold temps very well.  The only note I'll make on the 10 gal rubbermaid is the inner wall of mine cracked after 12 or 13 batches.  It may not be a common problem but it was disappointing.

Paul
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: richardt on July 22, 2011, 06:53:19 pm
Good points by everyone.  It all depends on your batch sizes, grain bill, and brewing techniques--cmuzz, you'll have to figure it out for yourself as to what would work best for you.  Some good rule-of-thumbs would be: 1.)  for efficient grain bed lautering, the width should exceed the height, and 2.)  a MLT that is approximately "double the volume" of your batch size is ideal, i.e., a 10 gallon round Igloo cooler for a 5 gallon batch size, or a 20.5 (82 Qt.) rectangular cooler for a 10 gallon batch size.  The "double the volume" ROT also applies to BK size, as well.

I batch sparge.  Almost always do single infusion or progressive (step) infusions like mash-in and mash-out.  I don't usually fly sparge and I rarely cereal mash or decoct.  One of the reasons was the limited capacity of my 10 gallon Igloo cooler when doing 10 gallon batch sizes.  I did a weizenbock last month in the Igloo; I think the OG was around 1.090.  Recipe used 33 lbs grain--filled it up to the 8.5 gallon mark when dry).  Talk about a thick mash.  Couldn't hardly stir the mash w/o making a mess. Lautering sucked (2+ hours) even with 1 lb of rice hulls.  Mistake.  Still turned out very well--but I can't get back the 2+ hours I wasted waiting for the lauter to finish.

I don't pour boiling water into my Igloo coolers--which might be stressing the plastic and causing the crack.  My strike water usually is around 165F and it goes into the MLT (whether Igloo or Coleman cooler), then grist gets added and drops the temps down to the low 150F range.  Hottest temp for sparge water might be 180 to 185 F when I'm transferring from the BK into the Igloo (HLT) in order to free up the BK for receiving the first runnings from the MLT. Nothiing hotter goes in the Igloo.  I also don't use bleach or strong chemicals on the plastic coolers--just water from the hose.  They are"pre-boil" equipment, so there's no need for the harsh chemicals.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: Tony H. on July 24, 2011, 01:05:50 am
I bought a regular 52qt rectangular Coleman cooler with the drain for $19 at Target and couldn't be happier.  I added a ball valve and built a two channel manifold out of CPVC.  I batch sparge and get great efficiency. 


The above is super descriptive, just giving my $.75 worth :)
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: Malticulous on July 24, 2011, 06:42:31 am
I had a Rubbermaid (5gal) and it cracked, possibly from the heat. My Igloo (2gal)  has warped, so has my Coleman (Extreme 52qt.)
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: dllipe on July 29, 2011, 08:34:40 pm
Recipe used 33 lbs grain--filled it up to the 8.5 gallon mark when dry).  Talk about a thick mash.


I'm glad I read this.  I am doing my second AG brew this weekend with a 10 gallon round Igloo and have a 21.5 lb grain bill.  Did you add the grains first and then the water on this one?
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: Will's Swill on July 31, 2011, 02:05:05 pm
I prefer to add both grain and water at the same time.  It just seems to make it easier to mix in the grain and avoid dough balls.  I underlet the mash tun and as the water is rising I gradually stir in grain.  I have filled with water first and then added grain, once, but I went back to underletting just becuase it is so much easier.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: richardt on August 01, 2011, 01:58:40 am
Recipe used 33 lbs grain--filled it up to the 8.5 gallon mark when dry).  Talk about a thick mash.


I'm glad I read this.  I am doing my second AG brew this weekend with a 10 gallon round Igloo and have a 21.5 lb grain bill.  Did you add the grains first and then the water on this one?

I usually do.  If for no other reason to make sure that I can get all the grains in the 10 gallon Igloo mash tun before adding water.  You'll find there's more than one way to do this step and they all have their pro's and con's.

You'll be fine with a 21.5 lb grain bill, just don't have the mash go above the 9 gallon mark in order to make it easier for you to stir w/o making a mess
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: cmuzz on August 01, 2011, 09:28:57 pm
Thanks so much for all the feedback. Decided to convert my 70qt Coleman rectangle. Figure, not only does that give me all the options, but I already have 2. One I'll keep as my cigar Coolador, but I will never again be filling 2 coolers with cigar boxes. All my cigar collecting money is now devoted to malt & grains. After all beer is much healthier than smoking.  ;D
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: dak0415 on August 01, 2011, 09:47:35 pm
THAT's the spirit!
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: dllipe on August 01, 2011, 10:43:37 pm
Recipe used 33 lbs grain--filled it up to the 8.5 gallon mark when dry).  Talk about a thick mash.


I'm glad I read this.  I am doing my second AG brew this weekend with a 10 gallon round Igloo and have a 21.5 lb grain bill.  Did you add the grains first and then the water on this one?

I usually do.  If for no other reason to make sure that I can get all the grains in the 10 gallon Igloo mash tun before adding water.  You'll find there's more than one way to do this step and they all have their pro's and con's.

You'll be fine with a 21.5 lb grain bill, just don't have the mash go above the 9 gallon mark in order to make it easier for you to stir w/o making a mess

That's good to know.  I did 1.25/lb which was 6.75 and everything worked out great.  It's good to know the 9 gallon mark is the max.  Now, I just need (learned the hardway) that I needed a blow off tube.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: 56-desoto on August 18, 2011, 08:35:20 pm
Good points by everyone.  It all depends on your batch sizes, grain bill, and brewing techniques--cmuzz, you'll have to figure it out for yourself as to what would work best for you.  Some good rule-of-thumbs would be: 1.)  for efficient grain bed lautering, the width should exceed the height, and 2.)  a MLT that is approximately "double the volume" of your batch size is ideal, i.e., a 10 gallon round Igloo cooler for a 5 gallon batch size, or a 20.5 (82 Qt.) rectangular cooler for a 10 gallon batch size.  The "double the volume" ROT also applies to BK size, as well.

I batch sparge.  Almost always do single infusion or progressive (step) infusions like mash-in and mash-out.  I don't usually fly sparge and I rarely cereal mash or decoct.  One of the reasons was the limited capacity of my 10 gallon Igloo cooler when doing 10 gallon batch sizes.  I did a weizenbock last month in the Igloo; I think the OG was around 1.090.  Recipe used 33 lbs grain--filled it up to the 8.5 gallon mark when dry).  Talk about a thick mash.  Couldn't hardly stir the mash w/o making a mess. Lautering sucked (2+ hours) even with 1 lb of rice hulls.  Mistake.  Still turned out very well--but I can't get back the 2+ hours I wasted waiting for the lauter to finish.

I don't pour boiling water into my Igloo coolers--which might be stressing the plastic and causing the crack.  My strike water usually is around 165F and it goes into the MLT (whether Igloo or Coleman cooler), then grist gets added and drops the temps down to the low 150F range.  Hottest temp for sparge water might be 180 to 185 F when I'm transferring from the BK into the Igloo (HLT) in order to free up the BK for receiving the first runnings from the MLT. Nothiing hotter goes in the Igloo.  I also don't use bleach or strong chemicals on the plastic coolers--just water from the hose.  They are"pre-boil" equipment, so there's no need for the harsh chemicals.

I have a similar problem. I wanted to replace my 3 Gal Igloo Lauter Tun with a 10 Gal as I'm planning to go all grain. I'm buying 1 piece at a time & the Lauter Tun seems the place to start. I was researching prices & comparing the Rubbermaid to the Igloo. I noticed a disclaimer on the Rubbermaid, "Not Suitable for Hot Liquids."
I switch to the Igloo, same price & ordered it from an On-Line Store. I went to the Igloo Mfgr Site & used the Contact Us to ask if there was a problem with 160 Deg Liquids in the Igloo Cooler. 2 days later, after I had ordered the Igloo, I recieved an e-mail from Igloo Support saying that the Igloo Coolers were not suitable for Hot Liquids, That I would void my 1 year warranty & that the Liner or Shell would split because the Foam would expand with the Heat.
While I don't care much about the 1 year warranty, what good are they ayway, I'd rather not have the Liner split a spoil my Batch or the Shell split & be unsightly.
I've seen this same cooler (Yellow with Red Igloo & Red Trim) in many System Pics so how bad could it be? Then I saw at least 1 post here saying that there had been splits.
So, what say you all? Is there an issue with Igloo & Liner/Shell Splits if I am using Strike Water at 170 or less?
One other thing: I hate this Reply Editor. The screen jumps around the entire time I'm typing. Good thing I don't look at the screen until I'm done typing. :o
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: richardt on August 19, 2011, 12:11:44 am
Some of us compose our longer comments on Word or similar word processing program, and then cut and paste into our reply for that very reason.

Back on topic:
I've used the 10 gallon orange Igloo coolers with white lids (bought at Home Depot). 
I have two of them:  one is the HLT, and the other is the MLT.
I don't know if they're made any differently than the yellow and red coolers.
After 1.5 years, I've encountered no splits in the lining, and I've put water as hot as 185 to 190 F in the HLT.

I usually just use the HLT for my sparge water (initially around 175 F when it goes into the HLT, and when it stabilizes, it settles around 170 F by the time I use it within an hour of pouring it into the HLT).

Using two coolers allows me to more quickly heat up the mash in water in the BK and get the mash started by pouring the water and grains into one cooler (the MLT).  Then, about half-way through the mash, I heat up the sparge water portion and pour it into the second cooler (the HLT), so it is ready to go.  The remaining mash-out water is then quickly heated to near boiling temps and added to the mash at mash-out.  This frees up the boil kettle to be moved into position (gravity system) and receive the first runnings right after vorlauf is completed.

Probably just as importantly is the fact that I only use water to rinse out and clean the coolers when the brew day is over.  No harsh chemicals are necessary.

Having said all that.  I've switched to using a rectangular 82 qt (20.5 gallon) cooler as my MLT. 
Lautering/sparging is so much easier (i.e., faster) now.
You should be able to acquire one this size for cheap (maybe even "free") as everyone seems to have one of these.
Title: Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
Post by: ynotbrusum on August 27, 2011, 06:12:16 pm
I have all three typical MLT's - the 5 and 10 gallon cylinder, the rectangular cooler, and the converted keg with false bottom.  I get my best efficiency from the rectangular one, but I like to use the converted keg in the summer when temperature drop is less of a problem, since hosing it out and treating it a little rougher is no cause for concern.  I use the rectangular one in the late fall and winter when holding temp is tougher with the uninsulated keg (though I have rigged up an insulated jacket to velcro fasten around it and I can always fire up the burner and stir....).  Just my 2 Lincolns.