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What size cooler or kettle?

What size would you buy for a mashtun to do all grain 5gl or 10gl batches? I would like to have the capability to do big beers that have large grain bills, so please keep that in mind.

A 45-50 qt cooler will let you do 10 gal batches up to about 1.070. With a 70 qt cooler you can do essentially any 10 gal batch. The downside of something that large is that on a low-gravity 5 gal batch it could be 80% empty, possibly leading to temperature control issues.

I’ve been very pleased with the 60qt Igloo cube that I converted for 10gal batches.

For a 10 gallon batch, I found the 72 quart Coleman Xtreme to be perfect for batch sparging. I replaced with a 20 gallon kettle. The false bottom in the kettle takes up about 2.5 gallons of space by my estimate. So 20 is a good size.

I’ve found that an MT that’s 2x the volume of the kettle covers all options. Get one with thick sides and lid and wrap with a blanket or two, and it won’t lose heat on smaller batches.

Thanks for the input guys. I want to start doing all grain as I’m starting to wonder if partial mash is worth it, especially considering that i lack any real equipment to do mashes. I just did a partial mash where my sparge basically drained out the sides and left the sugars in the middle. Probably operator error, but i feel like better equipment can help make up for some of that.

As long as you can keep it isolated enough from nearby burners to keep it from warping or melting, a cooler with a braid or bazooka screen or the like is a great mash tun for a relatively cheap sum. They hold heat great and are easy to work with. If you go with a kettle, insulating it is key. I used a closed cell foam gym mat and a lot of aluminum tape.

Well here is a crazy update on my kettle decision. It was made for me. A friend of my father had a party where he had a company come in and do the bar tending. Well when the company left they left behind a bunch of empty kegs. That was over a year ago and they have never come back looking for them. Since they can’t be returned, they guy gave them to my father because he heard that i was homebrewing.

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