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10G cooler: To stir or not to stir?

So we use one of the 10 gallon rubbermaid coolers for our mashtun and I was just curious on what other people do in terms of stirring during their mash if they use coolers. Our efficiency runs a bit low and when we pitch in the strike water we just leave it sit until it’s time for sparging.

What is the standard protocol for mashing with a cooler? Do people stir it a bit or not? Would that help to improve our efficiency at all or just drop the temp? Just a random thought I had. Any advice would be great.

I use a 5 gal and never stir once I’ve added my grain and established my mash temp is good. stirring can only "lower’ the temp and that can’t be good.

cheers

I currently use a 10 gal rubbermaid round cooler with a stainless steel braid for my mash tun. Upon initial strike, I stir the mash well to make sure all dough balls are gone, then cover and wait 60 minutes. I batch sparge after draining the wort from the initial mash into the BK and stir the mash vigorusly after the addition of the sparge water. My efficiency averages in the mid 80’s.

I don’t stir the mash after I’ve stirred enough to equilibriate temps. I’ve found that for me, all that happens is I lose temp if I open it to stir. Personally I’ve never seen an efficiency increase from stirring.

Thanks for the input everyone. I should clarify that I stir right away upon adding water to the grain, was just wondering if anyone did it throughout the mash. Sounds like they do not.

Another question: We batch sparge afterwards instead of fly sparging so my question is does the speed at which you lauter affect efficiency in batch sparging as well. I know you are supposed to lauter very slowly for fly sparging in order to get the best extraction possible. Does this apply to batch sparging as well because we have just been opening it up and collecting it as fast as possible into the boil pot.

[quote=“cam0083”] does the speed at which you lauter affect efficiency in batch sparging[/quote]Nope - run off as fast as you wish (the wort is all one gravity with batch-sparging).

I would add that you will want to vorlauf before draining your first runnings into the BK.

That is the common wisdom. A friend and I are doing a non vorlauf experiment to see just how important it is.

+1

I also use a 10 gallon round cooler. I DO stir the mash after 30 minutes into mashing. If I start at 153* and mash for 30 minutes in I’m at 152*, I then stir the mash up good. I put the lid on the mash and after 5 minutes or so the temp equalizes at 150* still plenty of heat to convert what left of the starches. According to what I have read most of the conversion at 153* is done with the first 20 minutes anyway so what’s the big deal about not stirring the mash. My efficiency is between 80 and 85% on most of my brew days! But that is my system with my false bottom; your setup might be different, so don’t get caught up worrying about the question “to stir or not to stir”. Happy Brewing!

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