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Suggestions for a cooler for "easy mash tun"

Hi All,
I want to make an “easy mash tun”
I’m doing PM now, and wrapping the pot in a blanket is going to get old.

and thought I’d ask before I buy a cooler…

for 5 gallon batches
*is a 36 qt big enough?
being a gal brewer, the smaller the better, because I usually brew alone and I want to be able to handle it.

and I’ve been reading that the Coleman Xtreme is a good cooler?
or does it matter?
can I just use any cooler?

thanks for any advice.

note: never thought when I started this hobby/obsession that I’d be making a mash tun!!!

I have 3 mash tuns and they are 48, 60 and 120 quart. I would recommend the Igloo Ice Cube 48 quart. It will handle up to 29 pounds of grain which should be big enough for anything you want to brew yet not too big. Here are a few pics of the tunand its internals which should help. All 3 of these work for batch sparging as well as fly sparging. Very simple to make and I have made over 466 batches with them and never had a leak or other issue. Efficiencies in the 80-95% range depending upon the grain bill.

I’ve got a 36qt Xtreme that handles beers up to 1.080 or so. I’d go with a 48qt if I were starting again.

I’m still using my 5 gallon rubbermaid drink cooler. Biggest beer I’ve made in it is around 1060. If I ever want bigger, it was only 20 bucks.

Link for you to check out

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

Thanks Denny

I tried using my 52 qt again and I just don’t care for it.
Just an hour ago I swapped off the valve and quick connect on my 28 qt
It was nice but completely unnecessary and the thought of trying to reconnect it while hot mash is coming out makes me nervous.
I threw one of the bulkheads like you’d need to install a valve onto a cooler that doesn’t come with a drain inside to give you an idea.
I really dislike the idea of trying to seal something with washers, o rings and tape like the conversion kits you can buy.

[quote=“Scott Miller”]I really dislike the idea of trying to seal something with washers, o rings and tape like the conversion kits you can buy.[/quote]Me too. That is why I went with the idea of stuffing a drilled stopper in the bunghole. It has never moved nor leaked.

Here’s 9# at 1.25 and then infused with 2.2 to get 3.5 gal first run.
Plenty o room.

I have a standard Coleman 48qt, and I have found that without even removing the spigot, I can just force a standard 1/2" ID (I think…can’t remember the exact diameter that fits like a glove, so double-check if you decide to go this route) hose through the spigot hole, and this has never leaked a drop in several years of use.

So as far as ease of modification, I would definitely recommend it, or anything that has the same diameter spigot-hole (which probably includes all Coleman and maybe many more coolers).

From there, I clamped on a braid from Lowe’s (make sure it’s stainless steel, which in my experience the Home Depot ones were NOT, while most of the Lowe’s were) onto the hose on the inside, a plastic valve similar to this:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/3-8-in-line-valve-green.html
on the outside, and that’s it!

Took about 10 minutes, only tools were a hacksaw to remove the inner tube from the hose braid and a flat-head screwdriver to tighten the worm-gear clamps.

That’s how I did my 52 qt.
Soldered 3/8 soft into a 3/8 male fitting,
Pushed a piece of clear tubing into the drain then pushed the copper through that.
Look at this gem. Wtf? The stainless fitting on the end really sets her off don’t it?
Like a big stainless tip on an import. Bling, all about the bling.
I think I’ll swap that out before I take any more pics of that. :mrgreen:

I use an Igloo Ice Cube 55qt and when I brew 5 gal batches, it doesn’t fill up the whole cooler. So, I tend to see a drop in temperature when I Mash). I might consider using a smaller cooler like the 48 because I normally do 5 gal batches.

Big tip: I made the mistake of drilling the hole in the side so the hole sits right on the bottom of the cooler… which was a problem later. Maybe drill the hole so there is an inch from the bottom of your hole and the bottom of the cooler. (so if you use a large bung that is larger than your hole, or if you use washers on either side to seal it).

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