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cooler mash tun size

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bassriverbrewer:
I've been mashing in my ten gallon brewpot for a while and am tired of fighting the temp drop even with wrapping it in a sleeping bag so I'm going to convert a cooler.  I've read the coleman xtreme is a good one any suggestions would help.  My main question is what  size. Right now I mash anywhere between 8-20 lbs of grain for five gallon batches and I have to add malt extract for my Dopplebocks,Wee Heavy and Barleywines and do a very thick mash at twenty pounds of grain.  Is it possible to have too shallow a grain bed and can I get a cooler that will mash 8-25 lbs of grain or would I need two sizes?

hokerer:
The "Can I mash it?" calculator here http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml will tell you how big a cooler you need.  For your max 20 pounds even at 1.5 qt/lb, it says you'd need a 9.1 gallon cooler.  Drop your water/grain ratio slightly and that'd fit in the 9 gallon Xtreme (which is what I use).  If you want to be able to do 10-gallon batches down the road then a bigger Xtreme would be needed.  Lots of folks on here use the 70-qt.

As for the grain bed being too shallow on smaller gravity batches, as long as you're batch sparging in an Xtreme, there shouldn't be any problem.  Especially if you use a hose braid.  The Xtreme has that nice drain channel into which your hose braid can fit therefore keeping the braid effectively below the "bottom" of the mash.  Even the shallowest mash should work fine with that.

bassriverbrewer:
I still fly sparge but that shouldn't be a problem

theDarkSide:
I have the 70 qt Xtreme cooler and just mashed a brown ale yesterday at 154 F.  It did drop to 153 F...at minute 59 into the mash.  

maxieboy:

--- Quote from: theDarkSide on February 14, 2011, 07:32:49 AM ---I have the 70 qt Xtreme cooler and just mashed a brown ale yesterday at 154 F.  It did drop to 153 F...at minute 59 into the mash.  

--- End quote ---

I get similar performance, even with ambient temps down to 30*F...

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