Author Topic: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?  (Read 5157 times)

Offline curtism1234

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5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« on: June 12, 2015, 09:16:03 PM »
I am currently doing BIAB, but my wife was nice enough to get a gift certificate to the homebrew store for my birthday so I'm going to pick a couple things up. They are not particullarly helpful there though...

Presently I'm doing 2.5 gallon batches but would like to increase that to 3-4 gallons to make it more worth my time. It's just me drinking it (giving a few away but it's mainly me) so I don't want to do 5 gallon batches at this time. Never say never to the 5 gallon though.

This all being said, is a 5 gallon cooler large enough to do 3-4 gallons of high gravity beer and 5 gallons of standard gravity?
My reading of websites and reviews show this will probably work just fine for what I'm looking to do.

For giggles, is a 10 gallon way too big to do say a standard gravity 3 gallon batch? Do the cons outweigh the indifferences as far the filtering capabilites?

Thank you

Offline duboman

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 09:23:28 PM »
I am currently doing BIAB, but my wife was nice enough to get a gift certificate to the homebrew store for my birthday so I'm going to pick a couple things up. They are not particullarly helpful there though...

Presently I'm doing 2.5 gallon batches but would like to increase that to 3-4 gallons to make it more worth my time. It's just me drinking it (giving a few away but it's mainly me) so I don't want to do 5 gallon batches at this time. Never say never to the 5 gallon though.

This all being said, is a 5 gallon cooler large enough to do 3-4 gallons of high gravity beer and 5 gallons of standard gravity?
My reading of websites and reviews show this will probably work just fine for what I'm looking to do.

For giggles, is a 10 gallon way too big to do say a standard gravity 3 gallon batch? Do the cons outweigh the indifferences as far the filtering capabilites?

Thank you

a 5 gallon beverage cooler will handle approximately 10-11 pounds of grain, a 10 gallon will handle roughly 20lbs and this is with a standard single infusion mash and batch sparge or fly sparge. If you typically do smaller batches and can accommodate the grain bill in a 5 your set. If you use the larger 10 gallon then heat loss can be an issue due to the amount of empty space in the tun.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 09:25:26 PM »
I am currently doing BIAB, but my wife was nice enough to get a gift certificate to the homebrew store for my birthday so I'm going to pick a couple things up. They are not particullarly helpful there though...

Presently I'm doing 2.5 gallon batches but would like to increase that to 3-4 gallons to make it more worth my time. It's just me drinking it (giving a few away but it's mainly me) so I don't want to do 5 gallon batches at this time. Never say never to the 5 gallon though.

This all being said, is a 5 gallon cooler large enough to do 3-4 gallons of high gravity beer and 5 gallons of standard gravity?
My reading of websites and reviews show this will probably work just fine for what I'm looking to do.

For giggles, is a 10 gallon way too big to do say a standard gravity 3 gallon batch? Do the cons outweigh the indifferences as far the filtering capabilites?

Thank you

a 5 gallon beverage cooler will handle approximately 10-11 pounds of grain, a 10 gallon will handle roughly 20lbs and this is with a standard single infusion mash and batch sparge or fly sparge. If you typically do smaller batches and can accommodate the grain bill in a 5 your set. If you use the larger 10 gallon then heat loss can be an issue due to the amount of empty space in the tun.
+1 to all this
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 11:33:57 PM »
This link will tell you how much grain and strike water can fit in a given cooler. Scroll down to  'Can I Mash It'.

http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
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Offline duboman

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2015, 12:27:21 PM »
This link will tell you how much grain and strike water can fit in a given cooler. Scroll down to  'Can I Mash It'.

http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
+1
That's a great resource!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 01:12:24 PM »
Yup thats pretty cool.

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2015, 12:39:17 AM »
My standard post-boil batch size is approximately 3.66 gallons.  I use a 5-gallon Igloo beverage cooler with room to spare. I can mash up to 13 pounds of grain with my setup.

Offline pete b

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2015, 11:48:12 AM »
I wonder if anyone has experience using a ten gallon. It's possible the heat loss is minimal from the airspace in which case it would be a good option since you sound like the occasion 5 gallon batch is possible. You could also rig up a floating insulation device to eliminate the air space problem. Also don't rule out drinking more.
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Offline duboman

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 12:19:42 PM »
I use a 10 gallon beverage cooler, for 5.5 gallon batches I don't lose heat over an hour. On occasions when I do a smaller batch I have a circle cut out of 2" rigid foam insulation that I place on top of the mash and it retains the heat well, +/- 1 loss of temp over an hour, its a viable option IMO
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2015, 03:17:45 PM »
When I made the jump to all grain everybody insisted I would want to go bigger at some point and I would never have a problem getting rid of beer so I should spend the money once and get a ten gallon cooler. So I did.

Most of my batches are three gallons or less. The largest batch I've done in the five years I've brewed all grain is six gallons. I have a two gallon cooler I use for one and two gallon batches. I can squeeze in a 2.5 gallon batch if the gravity is low enough. Otherwise 2.5 gallons and up go in the ten gallon cooler. Three gallon batches tend to lose several degrees over the mash so I tend not to do a lot of those these days unless I am decoction or infusion mashing in which I am adding more heat to the grain during the mash.

In hindsight I should have gone with a five gallon cooler. Maybe someday I buy that fifteen gallon rye whiskey barrel and need to fill it...
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Offline curtism1234

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 03:29:00 PM »
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.

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 03:31:52 PM »
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.
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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 04:06:23 PM »
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've tried both; when batch sparging there's less grist sloshing out when using a round cooler.

Denny, any advice on how many times a cooler can be used before it needs to be tossed?  Wondering if there's a chemical breakdown going on in the plastic when there's a little warping in the cooler.  Thanks.



Offline denny

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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 04:59:51 PM »
I've tried both; when batch sparging there's less grist sloshing out when using a round cooler.

Denny, any advice on how many times a cooler can be used before it needs to be tossed?  Wondering if there's a chemical breakdown going on in the plastic when there's a little warping in the cooler.  Thanks.

Hmmm...I've tried both and the rectangular was much better in terms of stirring.

I've used the same cooler for 18 years and 484 batches and have no intention of getting a new one. 
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Re: 5 gallon Igloo mash tun is best for me?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2015, 05:26:28 PM »
I'd recommend a rectangular cooler since they're easier to use and less expensive.  A 48 qt. would be perfect for you.

I've tried both; when batch sparging there's less grist sloshing out when using a round cooler.

Denny, any advice on how many times a cooler can be used before it needs to be tossed?  Wondering if there's a chemical breakdown going on in the plastic when there's a little warping in the cooler.  Thanks.

The plastics used are food-safe to 250°F. If it actually splits, I would toss it

I would second Denny's recommendation on a larger, rectangular cooler. Even a 10 gal won't be big enough if you decide you want to do 5 gal of barley wine, or a 10 gal split batch for experimenting, co-brewing with a friend, etc. It's also a lot easier to build a manifold for one if you aren't going the toilet braid route, and they tend to be more durable than the round beverage coolers.
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