# 5 gal deluxe cooler system

What are the restraints on the 5 gallon deluxe cooler systems like the ones that are sold here at NB? How many pounds of grain can you mash in these and what is the limit? I am going to take the leap into all grain soon and i have a couple 5 gallon coolers already that i got for free. Just wondering what my limitations will be while i’m using them.

Thanks!

Rule of thumb is 0.09 gal/lb for grains. So at 1.0 qt/lb (about the max for a mash being workable, IMHO) you’d top out at around 14 lb of grain, enough to brew a 5 gal batch up to about 1.075.

Here’s a calculator: http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

I just mashed 13lb of grain in my 5gal cooler (actually it hold 5.5gal). I think my mash ratio was 1.5 and it all just fit. A 5gal limits you a bit for 5gal batches, but only with the big beers.

I double sparged that batch and got a nice efficiency.

Google Green Bay Rackers, they have a “Can I Mash It?” volume calculator. Play with it and you’ll see what you can do. You can go 1qt/lb but thats pretty darned thick and a pain to stir. I’d definitely mash longer (thick mashes don’t convert quite as fast) and do two small sparges for a batch done that way.

Just playing, you could go 16lb with 1qt/lb (=4gal) and it would just fit. You’d drain off 2gal (1pint sticks to a lb of grain) and if you sparged twice with 2 gal each time, I bet you’d get 75% efficiency at a 6gal preboil volume. Thatd give you the ability to do a 1.086 OG beer.

Another idea. Cheap and big enough for ten gallon batches or really big 5 gallon batches.

I, too, just did a 5 gallon batch in a 5 gallon round rubbermaid cooler, (my first all grain).

11# grain, 1.3 mash ratio, had to sparge twice.
almost hit my target OG, got 1.053 and 70% efficiency.

next time, I’ll go with 1.5 mash ratio, fill to tippy top,
to max out my first mash, but I think I’ll still have to sparge twice.
that’s ok.

I never brew any BIG beers, and I like the smaller cooler, easier to handle.
AND, I get a nice grain depth!

Thanks for your replies. I guess i’ll just roll with the 5gallon coolers i already have and then if i want to i’ll upgrade in the future. That works for me! Happy brewing…

Another advantage of rectangular over round coolers is that rectangular coolers make it much easier to stir the mash due to the larger opening.

My rubbermaid round cooler is great and holds temp like a champ due to little headspace but I have maxed out at 1to1 at 13 lbs.

I had a huge rectangular MLT for a while but it met with an unfortunate accident so I re built with a round 5g

luckily i am a 1.060s beer sort of guy and that was a factor in my decision

In my experience I have to vorlauf MUCH less than I did previously. it has some obvious limitations but my extract efficiency is consistently in the high 70s low 80s and the system was very easy to dial in

best of luck

I started with this system also but later moved to the Denny-style rectangular hose braid & batch sparging and have never looked back. Had many issues with stuck sparges with the false bottom and couldn’t make any recipe I wanted. I also wasn’t getting consistent gravities out of the system. The Denny-style has gotten my consistency where it needs to be for me to focus on getting the results I want from the recipes I want. Still use the 5 gallon HLT, but without the whirlgig sparger.

+1 for the “Denny Style”, I do prefer the silver colored Extreme coolers…

John

[quote=“johnplctech”]+1 for the “Denny Style”, I do prefer the silver colored Extreme coolers…

John[/quote]

That’s because you’re such a stylish dude!

I just joined the ranks of the blue cooler mashers with a Coleman Extreme 70qt. I put it to good use yesterday with 25lb of malt and 2qt/lb, 14.5gal of the 17.5gal volume. We brewed a 15gal batch of best bitter. I still have a 5gal round cooler MLT and a little 3gal cooler MLT, so I’m covered as far as batch size.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“johnplctech”]+1 for the “Denny Style”, I do prefer the silver colored Extreme coolers…

John[/quote]

That’s because you’re such a stylish dude![/quote]

Maybe I should get my hair cut like my Granddaughters, I think that is in style? LOL

John