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Mash Tun Cooler Size for 10 Gallon Batches

What would you suggest is an adequate cooler size to construct a mash tun out of? I have a 120 qt. (white!) cooler and was thinking about using that for my mash tun. I figured that it’s a bit large for the job but the cooler could also do 15 gallon batches if I ever wanted to move up to the next level in the future.

Thoughts?

I forgot to mention that I plan on building a sparge arm into the top of the mash tun for recirc. and the mash tun will be part of a HERMS design at some point so the cooler will have to hold more water than the 1.5 qt/ibs.

I use a 120-qt cooler for most batches, 10-20 gallons, and it works great. Plenty of room to stir the grain and good thick walls and lid to help retain heat.

If you’re more concerned with quality over efficiency, you could try a no-sparge batch - mash in with 2/3 of the entire water, then after 60 minutes add the other 1/3, boiling, to boost the heat into the 163-165F range, wait 10 minutes, then drain to the kettle.

Here is a handy calc.

Why is no-sparge considered better quality than batch sparge? Wouldn’t your beer be the same quality, just with a loss of efficiency?

I use a 60qt for 15gal batches and its a tight fit. If you want the option of expanding, a 100 or 120 wouldn’t hurt.

Some people say a no-sparge is better because you aren’t sparging the harsher components since there are more buffering compounds in the first runnings. So you just mash with 3.5qt/lb or add the water after mashing, stir, and run off and be done with it. You get a similar efficiency this way.

[quote=“Gopher Brewmeister”]Why is no-sparge considered better quality than batch sparge? Wouldn’t your beer be the same quality, just with a loss of efficiency?[/quote]Depending on the grist, no-sparge can produce a noticeably richer, maltier wort. Loss of efficiency compared to batch-sparging really only kicks in with bigger beers (the grain traps a higher percentage of the wort relative to the volume going into the kettle).

I do 10 gallon batches in a 48 quart cooler, but those are lower OG beers and I batch sparge. Pushing the limits I may have to do 3 runoffs, but no problems experienced with that so far. I also have a half keg mash tun, though and it gets used the most these days. YMMV!

:cheers:

I use a 60qt for most of my 11gal batches.
Going to have to try a no-sparge one of these days.

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