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Brass vs. Stainless

I’m trying to figure out the most economical way to get into a AG system…Once I acquire my own 10 gal Rubbermaid drink coolers for MT and Sparge Water, I’ll need to get the valve assemblies for each. I see the NB site has a brass option and a stainless option.

Any opinions on the brass/stainless choice?

Brass is fine, IMO. That’s what I use. If you really want to save some money, forget the round coolers and batch sparge with a rectangular cooler. See www.dennybrew for details.

I went with stainless mainly because brass contains lead–albeit a very small amount. I didn’t mind paying a little extra, because I view a durable component like this as a one-time investment that should last my lifetime.

The other thing, which is probably more important: if you pick one material over the other it would technically be best to use the same material for all connections. From what I’ve read (I think it was in How to Brew) corrosion tends to accelerate if two different metals are in contact over time.

It seems I’m in a minority around here, but for what it’s worth I like using a 10 gallon cooler. Can get them for a reasonable price at HD. I could see the rectangular cooler being easier to work with, though, if you plan to brew high gravity beers.

Check out bargainfittings.com, they have stainless for a very reasonable price. I use a round 12 gal rubbermaid cooler for a mashtun, other than losing around 5 degrees/hour it works pretty well. You might look into a rectangular cooler, I’ve seen them a lot cheaper than the round coolers, I think they may hold their temperature better too.

Thanks guys, appreciate the tips.

One related question…regardless of whether you use round or rectangular, do you typically take the valve out and clean/sanitize between batches as a best practice, or are the parts sufficiently snug that you just clean everything up while its still assembled and all in place in the cooler?

I do nothing more than hose my cooler out when I’m done. Once every few years, maybe a hot Oxiclean soak. I’ve used the same cooler for 417 batches now, and while it’s not the best looking thing around, it still makes great beer.

I just clean mine in place.

One nice thing about rectangular coolers, other than being larger and cheaper, it is easier to stir the mash since it’s not as deep, especially with a large grain bill.

417 Batches? Holy Hannah!

That’s a few interesting/compelling votes for a rectangular cooler and batch sparge approach (cost and ease of stirring the mash).

Who leans the other way, toward round? And why?

The Cube - best of both worlds! All the thermal retention of a round cooler with the easy mash stirring of a rectangular one.

Whichever cooler you have is the cheapest.

I started with a 5 Gallon Igloo, then Home Depot had the 10 Gallon Rubbermaid on sale. Now, I use my Igloo as my HLT when I’m fly sparging. More than likely, I’ll get a big rectangular one in the future.

Paul

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