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New Cooler and 3gal. batch question

Hi All, in the new year, I’m going to attempt AG’s. I recently acquired a new and free cylindrical 10gal rubbermaid cooler. Will this work okay for 3 gallon AG batches? In my short brewing experience, I’ve learned that 5 gallons of any particular beer is almost too much, for example if it’s just okay tasting etc… Also I’m currently not equipped to perform 5+ gallon boils. I assume head space might be a problem when mashing? Any advice on this? Should I acquire a 5 gal cooler?
Thanks, Mike

A 10 gallon cooler for a 3 gallon batch is large and you will lose a lot of heat to the excessive headspace.

I would suggest you get a 2" thick piece of pink foam and cut it to fit nicely inside the 10 gallon cooler. Then place it in a large plastic bag and set it right on top of the mash. This will essentially reduce the headspace above the mash to nothing. Then when you ready to sparge you can just pull out the foam topper.

McGyver’ish. Sounds like a good plan.

I use a 5 gallon cooler (exclusively) for half batches, plus the styrofoam inner lid for over a year now. During a 90min mash, i might lose 1F.

More pics and text here:

The batch at the link was approx 5lbs grain and 9qts water. Note, there’s plenty of head space in the 5 gallon for heat to escape from the grain bed. I push the inner lid down almost all the way down to the top of the grain bed.

cheers.

Thanks. You bag all grain I see. How do you sparge?

I think the normal way. drain off about 1 quart of mash and slowly pour it back in the top. grain bed really settles nicely. then runoff all of first running (7-8qts when starting with 9). Then, add approx 9 qt sparge to cooler, stir grain well, let sit for 15, runoff 1 quart, vorlauf, runoff second running into pot.

I then pull the nylon bag and dump my spent grains in my compost pile.

cheers.

[quote=“StormyBrew”]I use a 5 gallon cooler (exclusively) for half batches, plus the styrofoam inner lid for over a year now. During a 90min mash, i might lose 1F.

[/quote]

How do you get the disc out of the round cooler? I am making something similar for my square Igloo Cube using the pink foam and am looking for a way to easily pull the insulation out when done.

How about augering a small hole or two small holes and fishing a rope/loop through one or both with a simple knot on the bottom side?

I have a 3gal cooler and a 5gal cooler, either one works for my small batches. the larger one does lose a little more heat but I just start it out a llittle warmer and it may drop 5F but who cares it still finishes and I get wort.

[quote=“560sdl”][quote=“StormyBrew”]I use a 5 gallon cooler (exclusively) for half batches, plus the styrofoam inner lid for over a year now. During a 90min mash, i might lose 1F.

[/quote]

How do you get the disc out of the round cooler? I am making something similar for my square Igloo Cube using the pink foam and am looking for a way to easily pull the insulation out when done.[/quote]

Push gently on one side and other side flips up. flip may be easier in my round than your square.

Note the kink on one side in above pic…from not pushing gently.

that seems like it would work, plus add a little silicone maybe to plug/seal holes around rope.

A stainless steel bolt, washers and nut would make a good handle for the foam topper.

That is what I was thinking

That is what I was thinking[/quote]

It will also act as a heat sink to pull heat thru the foam topper to some degree. Maybe plastic/nylon bolt/nutwasher would be better.

:cheers:

That is what I was thinking[/quote]

It will also act as a heat sink to pull heat thru the foam topper to some degree. Maybe plastic/nylon bolt/nutwasher would be better.

:cheers: [/quote]

http://www.plastidip.com/home_solutions/Plasti_Dip

Or put a kitchen towel over the bolt.

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