Author Topic: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler  (Read 22611 times)

Offline cmuzz

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Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« on: July 22, 2011, 06:25:38 AM »
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?
Caesar M.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2011, 06:27:41 AM »
IMHO thee Igloo has a better insulated lid,  Rubbermaid is a screwed on sheet of plastic.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 07:21:36 AM »
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.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2011, 07:27:54 AM »
I brew 5 gallon batches in my 10 Gallon Igloo, frequently 15-18% brews. 
Fred Bonjour
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline JKL

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 07:30:05 AM »
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%.

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Offline cmuzz

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2011, 07:34:55 AM »
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.
Caesar M.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2011, 07:44:03 AM »
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!
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Offline Kit B

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2011, 07:44:35 AM »
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.
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Offline denny

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 07:57:44 AM »
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.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 08:19:38 AM »
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.

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Offline richardt

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 11:53:19 AM »
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.

Offline Tony H.

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2011, 06:05:50 PM »
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 :)
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 11:42:31 PM »
I had a Rubbermaid (5gal) and it cracked, possibly from the heat. My Igloo (2gal)  has warped, so has my Coleman (Extreme 52qt.)

Offline dllipe

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2011, 01:34:40 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?
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Rubbermaid vs. Igloo Cooler
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2011, 07:05:05 AM »
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.
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