Author Topic: Upgrading from a Cooler to a Stainless Steel Mash Tun  (Read 11035 times)

Offline kpfoley

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Upgrading from a Cooler to a Stainless Steel Mash Tun
« on: June 13, 2015, 10:30:56 PM »
First post for me.  I've been brewing for about a year, having done 5 extract with specialty grain batches and 2 all-grain.  I like it a lot.

I've done a couple of 5-gallon all-grain batches using a Home Depot 10-gallon cooler that i made into a mash tun, and want to upgrade to a stainless steel mash tun.  The temperatures are not always easy to hit with the add-water method, and at times I've gotten frustrated.  So I checked into various stainless steel mash tuns and decided that the MoreBeer 8-gallon mash tun with the Blichmann thermometer and SS valve would be a good one.  From looking at the reviews, I decided that it would work well for me and my 5-gallon batches.

I thought it would be a lot easier to just heat my strike water to the desired temperature in the SS mash tun and then add my grain.  Even better, to raise the temperature to mash out, I think all I'll have to do is turn on the burner, and stir the mixture as it rises up to the mash out temp.  If I needed to do more than those two steps (mashing and then mash out), it would be a lot easier too.  Much better than calculating and adding water to the old Home Depot cooler to raise the temperature.

Am I right about this?  Am I missing something?  Any precautions (I know that I'd have to be careful about scorching the grain)?  I keep building on my previous stuff, and this looked to be a good next step for all grain.  Thanks, Ken

Offline haerbob3

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Re: Upgrading from a Cooler to a Stainless Steel Mash Tun
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 06:49:25 PM »
are you using a false bottom or a snake.  With direct heating I would go with the false bottom to keep the mash up and away from the heat source.

Offline jomebrew

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Re: Upgrading from a Cooler to a Stainless Steel Mash Tun
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2015, 09:23:08 AM »
I use both and found it to be challenging to direct fire the mash tun.  I use the cooler 100% of the time.  Once you understand the temp drop moving hot water to the mash tun, you can better hit your strike temp by adjusting the hot water temp.  I lose 13 F degrees between the hot liquor tank and the cooler.  I fill my cooler with water first, verify my strike temp and mix in the grains.

With the direct fired kettle mash tun, the head is slow to transfer from the bottom to the thermometer.  I usually over shoot my target.  I have scorched the grains, turned the flame the e wrong way and even forgot to turn off the heat.  A false bottom is a very good idea.

RIMS is a much better way to go but costs more and has more moving parts.  I have RIMS too but found the cooler is still what I prefer to use.

Offline Slobrew

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Re: Upgrading from a Cooler to a Stainless Steel Mash Tun
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 01:02:11 PM »
I went from a plastic mash/lauder tun to a seperate SS mash pot. I'm glad I did, I have a false bottom in the mash tub and add heat as needed while going through the mash process. As mentioned by Haerbob3, you have to be careful and go slow with the heating process because it is easy to shoot right past your target temperature. I stir a lot while heating and use a number of thermometers to keep track of what is going on. BS might give you 15 mins to heat up to a certain level, but I've come to ignor that and take as long as needed to not overshoot.