Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

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Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby MarvinSutton » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:58 am

Hi all - i have been trying to do all grain mashes for a few months now and really hope there is an easier way to get my wash out of my mash tun. I have a very simple Igloo 10gal Cooler - with a SS false bottom and ball valve attachment. Pretty standard I think.

I add 5+ gallons of water of 185F water and add 12 pounds of flaked maize and 1 pound of flaked rye. I let it get thick as oatmeal - let the temperature drop to 150 +/- and add in 2 pounds of malted barley. Let it sit for an hour to loosen up and transfer to my fermenter.

This is where the problem happens - I open the ball valve and collect the first quart or so and pour that back in the tun. it has a lot of loose corn etc. The wash then starts clearing up, but after a few quarts, the grain plugs up the false bottom and slows the wash flow to a trickle. I have tried to be patient - and build a 'grain bed' for my wash to flow - but my flow rate is about .5gal / hour. So I end up having to use my long spoon to 'scrape' the top of the false bottom to clear an avenue for the wash.

Adding more water doesn't help. The SG in my wash is usually about 1.065 +/- so I am OK with that as the output - but it just seems like there is an easier way to do this.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby jonnys_spirit » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:59 am

Hi, That's also my experience when mashing corn. Barley and some others are no issue in the traditional tun. This weekend I'll be running a corn mash so I'm just going to try mashing straight into the 20 gallon brute. Corn first w/Boiling water. Everything wrapped in packing blankets. Stir every so often and add some HT Enzymes @ 190*F. Pitch the Malt and Gluco Amalyse @ 150*F.

I'll leave some water out in order to have some option to add more water up to temp if I need a boost later in the protocol but really expect it to go fine.

This leaves you with ferment on-grain. I've been separating grain into 5gallon strainer bags after mash and fermenting on-grain but can certainly do that after ferment too. Using the mop bucket to squeeze/separate. It's not that bad but it is another $65 part for the mop bucket.

Cheers!
-j
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby jon1163 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:27 pm

I had an Igloo cooler set up just like yours. Instead of a false bottom however I had a mesh strainer. After messing with it for about a year I finally just took the strainer out and use the ball valve for draining. Instead of trying to clear my Mash through the strainer I line another 10 gallon cooler with a paint straining bag pick up the Igloo cooler with the mash and pour it in to the cooler with the bag.

I tie the bag to a rope and run the Rope to a pulley on the ceiling. I pull the bag up to where it's almost out of the cooler and tie off the rope so I have both hands free then squeeze the grains in the bag. My chickens and goats love the spent grains.

I then pour that cloudy wash antutu 6 gallon buckets or five gallon carboys and put them in the fridge to settle. After about 2 days all the yeast settles to the bottom and I siphon the beer out the top.

I found that so much easier and more enjoyable than messing with false bottoms on Mash tuns.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby Antler24 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:12 pm

jon1163 wrote:I had an Igloo cooler set up just like yours. Instead of a false bottom however I had a mesh strainer. After messing with it for about a year I finally just took the strainer out and use the ball valve for draining. Instead of trying to clear my Mash through the strainer I line another 10 gallon cooler with a paint straining bag pick up the Igloo cooler with the mash and pour it in to the cooler with the bag.

I tie the bag to a rope and run the Rope to a pulley on the ceiling. I pull the bag up to where it's almost out of the cooler and tie off the rope so I have both hands free then squeeze the grains in the bag. My chickens and goats love the spent grains.

I then pour that cloudy wash antutu 6 gallon buckets or five gallon carboys and put them in the fridge to settle. After about 2 days all the yeast settles to the bottom and I siphon the beer out the top.

I found that so much easier and more enjoyable than messing with false bottoms on Mash tuns.


If your gonna do it that way, wouldn't it be easier to mash in a 20 gallon brute and use the grain bag right from the start? You'd save yourself the trouble of washing 2 coolers and multiple buckets.

I'm planning on trying the paint strainer bag, have you done corn in it or just malt? How bout rye?
Swedish Pride wrote:
get a brix reading on said ball bearings and then you can find out how much fermentables are in there
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby StillerBoy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:34 pm

jonnys_spirit wrote:Stir every so often and add some HT Enzymes @ 190*F. Pitch the Malt and Gluco Amalyse @ 150*F.

You done mention which enzymes you are using, liquid or power.. but those temp number are bit high.. the optimum temp Sebstar HTL is 175 - 185*F with a Ph of 6.. and the optimum for Sebamyl GL is 130 - 140*F with Ph of 5..

https://enzymash.biz/download/sebstarhtl.pdf

https://enzymash.biz/download/sebamylgl.pdf

jonnys_spirit wrote:Using the mop bucket to squeeze/separate. It's not that bad but it is another $65 part for the mop bucket.

Why put an apple press together for the same money, with cleaner, less mess, and 95% return vera a mop wringer..

Just some throughts

Mars
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby jonnys_spirit » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:57 pm

StillerBoy wrote:
jonnys_spirit wrote:Stir every so often and add some HT Enzymes @ 190*F. Pitch the Malt and Gluco Amalyse @ 150*F.

You done mention which enzymes you are using, liquid or power.. but those temp number are bit high.. the optimum temp Sebstar HTL is 175 - 185*F with a Ph of 6.. and the optimum for Sebamyl GL is 130 - 140*F with Ph of 5..

https://enzymash.biz/download/sebstarhtl.pdf

https://enzymash.biz/download/sebamylgl.pdf

jonnys_spirit wrote:Using the mop bucket to squeeze/separate. It's not that bad but it is another $65 part for the mop bucket.

Why put an apple press together for the same money, with cleaner, less mess, and 95% return vera a mop wringer..

Just some throughts

Mars


Yes those are the enzymes I use and I should review the datasheets on mash days for best protocol :)

The mop bucket wringer works great for my needs. I have a small grape press but the wringer sits right on the brute and strains the juice right in. Takes very little effort and I’ve had great return of liquids into the wort.

Best luck and Cheers!
J
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby cede » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:39 pm

From my beer background, doing american ale that calls for corn, I always add some rice hulls to the mash and I recirculate slowly the wort before draining, and I drain also slowly.
When I say recirculate, I open the valve 1/4, get 1-2 liters in a bucket, and move it on top of the mash several times.
If you want to go too fast, it might also clog the false bottom.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby TDick » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:42 pm

For what it's worth I was fermenting Jimbos Wheated Bourbon in a 48 quart Igloo on the grain.
Jimbos Mash.jpg

I didn't have time - or TAKE time - to make a true filter.
I replaced the drain with stainless spigot and used a stainless steel lint trap as a filter.
Stainless Steel lint trap.jpg
Stainless Steel lint trap.jpg (21.44 KiB) Viewed 382 times

It cost a few bucks for two.I rolled it lengthways as tight as I could and pushed it as far into the spigot as I could.
It stuck out into the mash probably a couple of inches.
Drained fine, first wash and again when I sparged two gallons more.
Then I added water and sugar let it set for a week again before I drained the gumball.
Sparged again and in running it off 4 times, never had a clogging issue.
Maybe it was dumb beginners luck, and I'll TAKE IT!
:mrgreen:
Last edited by TDick on Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby jon1163 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:42 pm

[/quote] If your gonna do it that way, wouldn't it be easier to mash in a 20 gallon brute and use the grain bag right from the start? You'd save yourself the trouble of washing 2 coolers and multiple buckets.

I'm planning on trying the paint strainer bag, have you done corn in it or just malt? How bout rye?[/quote]

I've moved up to a 30 gallon barrel for fermentation. Yes on the corn : I do bourbon and ryes. Right now I have a 30 gallon Honey Bear Bourbon fermenting.

I don't think fermenting in the bag would save any time and might affect the ferment. I just guessing here but it seems that the grain cap might be affected as well as the movement of the grain throughout the fermentation process.

I have a mop strainer now that I just put on the rim of another barrel and ladle the mash into it with a strainer bag. Ladle, squeeze, repeat until I'm done. Works great.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby firewater69 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:23 am

The biggest problem I can see is flaked corn, I sparge 15/14/5 lbs barley corn and oat, but I use cracked corn.The mesh is 3/32 the size of the screen is 10"x 24"x 1.25" it puts out a stream the size of your finger and allows me to sparge double batches (68lbs of grain). I used to deal with squeezing and straining.....no more.

IMG_20171230_093450371-600x800.jpg
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby MarvinSutton » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:32 am

Thanks firewater - i was thinking that flaked grains was the issue as well. It is just ground too fine and gums up my false bottom. If I use cracked corn I have to boil for an hour first, so I was trying to avoid that extra work. I have been doing all my mashing in my kitchen thus far - but maybe the right answer is a propane boiler and move to cracked corn.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby zapata » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:13 pm

I think I'd put my money and time towards a steam generator, thumper, double boiler or some other way to run on the grain before spending more time and money on straining. Not criticising anyone that has already worked out a system, but if you don't already have a mop strainer, working mash run or whatever you can probably build a thumper to hold the grains for about the same price.

Of course it probably tastes a bit different so if you're already happy straining might not want to change.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby TDick » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:56 pm

MarvinSutton wrote:This is where the problem happens - I open the ball valve and collect the first quart or so and pour that back in the tun. it has a lot of loose corn etc. The wash then starts clearing up, but after a few quarts, the grain plugs up the false bottom and slows the wash flow to a trickle.


Outside the box, but try putting your false bottom in a strainer bag.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby Antler24 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:57 am

jon1163 wrote:
If your gonna do it that way, wouldn't it be easier to mash in a 20 gallon brute and use the grain bag right from the start? You'd save yourself the trouble of washing 2 coolers and multiple buckets.

I'm planning on trying the paint strainer bag, have you done corn in it or just malt? How bout rye?[/quote]

I've moved up to a 30 gallon barrel for fermentation. Yes on the corn : I do bourbon and ryes. Right now I have a 30 gallon Honey Bear Bourbon fermenting.

I don't think fermenting in the bag would save any time and might affect the ferment. I just guessing here but it seems that the grain cap might be affected as well as the movement of the grain throughout the fermentation process.

I have a mop strainer now that I just put on the rim of another barrel and ladle the mash into it with a strainer bag. Ladle, squeeze, repeat until I'm done. Works great.[/quote]


I was asking if you successfully sparge corn bourbon and rye?
Swedish Pride wrote:
get a brix reading on said ball bearings and then you can find out how much fermentables are in there
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby bilgriss » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:50 am

You have a number of options. Squeezing is one that many use, but from your question, I'm going to assume you'd prefer to sparge.

Some possibilities:
Rice hulls help. They create little mini channels near the false bottom and speed things up.
I've had better luck with a stainless braid than with a manifold or false bottom. Your mileage may vary.
Start very slowly. The faster the flow, until the bed is really set, the more likely you will plug things.
Curse a lot.
Become more patient. This is one of the more radical suggestions here. If time ceases to be an issue, the problem has been resolved without any action taken.
Search for geotextile fabric.
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby cede » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:22 am

+1 Bilgriss
I prefer my false bottom over braid, but you're right: TIME is the solution !
( and rice hulls too :) )
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby firewater69 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:49 pm

The braided stuff is never gonna sparge a mash with a lot of corn, but for around 60 bucks you can build a mash tun screen that will do the job. I built mine bigger due to running double batches. I've found that having a large surface area is much better than a tube type screen. It doesn't clog and drains in minutes vs. waiting and scraping it to get flow.
Edit: added pics
mashtun1.jpg

mashtun2.jpg
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Re: Igloo Cooler Mash Tun - HELP

Postby Johnnywhiskey » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:56 pm

+1 on the rice hulls. 5% or more of the mash bill.

I don't know much about flaked corn, but it might be harder to filter than ground corn.

Use a long hose and gravity to create a good siphon out of the mash tun.

Since this is not beer making, no shame in mixing up the grain bed to get the flow going again. You might consider a batch style sparge where you drain all of the beer, and then add hot water to get a bit more sugar out.
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