Author Topic: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun  (Read 9686 times)

Offline joemero

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Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« on: August 23, 2010, 05:26:53 AM »
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?

Offline bonjour

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 05:45:34 AM »
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.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 06:08:48 AM »
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.
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Offline denny

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 07:31:16 AM »
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.  
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 08:37:17 AM »
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.
Joe

Offline Kit B

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 01:06:13 PM »
Rectangular coolers give better volume.
I found regrets building with a round cooler, after my first batch.
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Offline saintpierre

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010, 01:23:06 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?   
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2010, 01:37:09 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.
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Offline denny

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2010, 01:37:55 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...


« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 01:39:45 PM by denny »
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2010, 02:48:19 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.

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Offline Dan

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2010, 03:05:25 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.

Offline piratebrewer

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2010, 08:31:50 PM »
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.

Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2010, 07:05:39 AM »
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).
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2010, 10:10:30 PM »
It does NOT matter as long as it is

are you ready????


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Offline kgs

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Re: Round Igloo or rectangular cooler for mash tun
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2010, 03:09:03 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) :)   
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