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I switched from using a five gallon round to a large rectangular cooler.
The larger rectanglar cooler didn't drain near as well. It just seemed like over kill to me. Plus the smaller one is easier to tote to the compost pile.
I went back to the round one unless I'm doing a high gravity batch that won't fit in the 5 gallon.
How large? I respect your experience, but mine was different.
Thanks for the replies, I think I'm going with a 5 gallon cooler. If I want to make a big beer, I may have to scale back down to 2.5 or 3 gallon. But I think the 5 gallon cooler will be serviceable as I learn more.
I'd recommend a rectangular cooler since they're easier to use and less expensive. A 48 qt. would be perfect for you.
I vote Mt. hood, Glacier, or Goldings. Out of those three, I would probably use Mt. Hood as it has a nice floral slightly spicy aroma/flavor. Sounds like you are looking for a clean ale and this would give you what you want.
I'd pair the pilgrims with goldings.