Wondering why your All-Grain brewed beer tastes so bad? Well, chances are it’s because your wort was botched in its making.
But don’t worry it’s normal, given that even the slightest temperature change can alter the beer’s taste.
So how do you keep the temperature constant for your wort?
The most convenient way of doing so is to use a cooler. However, we know that’s not narrowing anything down for you. Since there are thousands of coolers available on the market.
Chances are if you want to research for yourself, you might end up confusing yourself. Lucky for you, that’s where we come in. More accurately, our post on the best cooler for mash tun comes in.
Trust me, we’ve spent a lot of manhours in writing you this article. While we were out scouring the Internet, we’ve left no stone unturned.
Since we’ve done such thorough research, you can rest assured knowing all the products here are top-notch.
Who knows? You might even learn a thing or two. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it-
Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler (Black)
The “Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler” is the top name on the list. So what makes the “Coleman Xtreme Cooler” so good? Let’s find out-
For starters, the “Coleman Xtreme Cooler” has the largest capacity of the bunch. It has a whopping 70 Quarts worth of storage space, which is leaps and beyond the rest.
This means that Coleman can be used for both large and small batches of beer.
The Coleman can hold a constant temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 days. So, you shouldn’t worry about keeping your wort’s temperature when you’re brewing the all-grain beer.
Speaking of beers, the Coleman Xtreme even has built-in cupholders on its lid. This means you can open a cold one while making a cold one yourself.
Also, this will allow you to completely drain any residual liquid at the bottom, without the need to tip over the entire container.
You’d think the Coleman Xtreme’s convenient cup holder design would compromise its structural integrity. You’d think wrong! The Coleman is very sturdy and its closed lid can support up to 250 pounds!
However, this extra capacity does come at a cost. The Coleman Xtreme does have so quality issues such as the plastic straps. The Coleman is also on the bulky side of things.
Room For Improvement
One of the main issues for the Coleman Xtreme 5 is that its lid’s closing mechanism is flimsy. If you’re looking for a more fit strap we suggest you use the “Yeti Silo Cooler”.
Yeti Silo Cooler
Coming in second is the “Yeti Silo Cooler”. This cooler coming in second on the list is no surprise at all. The Yeti is pretty famous for its coolers as they’ve some impressive products over the years.
Moreover, the Yeti surprisingly comes in second on the list, even though it has the lowest capacity of the bunch (28.82 Quarts).
But “how is that possible?- you might ask yourself?
Well, it’s because of its extremely well-built quality. It’s the only cooler of the 5 that is made with premium quality alloy steel. Its structural integrity is the stuff of God’s due to its Rotomolded Construction.
This means that it can withstand anything and everything its environment can throw at it.
The Yeti also boasts a SurePour Spigot. This ensures a proper flow of water or in this case your beer’s wort, without causing a mess.
Even its handles are cleverly designed because they serve two functions. The more obvious one of the two is that it acts as a holding point. The second feature is that it protects the Spigot from any damage.
However, its weight and capacity seem to be the only two chinks in its armor.
Room For Improvement
The Yeti is the second heaviest on the list and least spacious of the few. If these two attributes cannot be sacrificed at all, we suggest you use the Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler.
Arctic Zone’s Titan Deep Freeze
Next up we have number three on the list; “Arctic Zone’s Titan Deep Freeze”. This cooler coming in third officially ends the top 3 race for the best coolers for the mash tun.
It might now have the best quality build, out of the five. But its Polyeurathane build is extremely tough and gets the job done properly. After all, you don’t become “bear-resistant” if you aren’t one tough cookie.
Moreover, the Titan has the second biggest capacity of the 5 coolers on the list (55 Quarts). This means you can handle making large batches of all-grain beers.
The Arctic Zone has an interesting feature that isn’t present on the other coolers. This is particularly helpful in the case of brewing beers.
Other than that, the Titan has a built-in Micro Ban, which protects its odor-causing bacteria and other microbes. If you know the bare minimum about brewing beers, you know how contamination is a genuine concern for brewers.
It even has a very good temperature retention factor due to its excellent insulation. It can keep temperatures constant for a minimum of 4 days!
Room For Improvement
The Arctic Zone’s Titan issue can be deduced by its name. It’s the heaviest of the bunch. If that’s a problem for you, we suggest you choose the first pick, the “Coleman’s Xtreme 5 Cooler”.
Igloo Industrial Beverage Cooler
Coming in 4th on our coveted list is the “Igloo’s Industrial Beverage Cooler”. This isn’t that big of a shocker because Igloo has always brought its A-game when making coolers.
We’ll be honest, we genuinely had a difficult time placing the Igloo in 4th place. This is quite similar to the 5th seat on our list.
But we ended up putting it on the 4th spot on the list.
Igloo has a Polypropylene built and is quite lightweight. It even has UV inhibitors which provide it extra protection and insulation from the sun.
This is a particularly helpful feature as most rubber or plastic materials are prone to breaking down in the sun.
Other than these, it does have decent durability and a pretty sturdy lid. It can even keep things at a constant temperature for 3 days, at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Room For Improvement
The Igloo’s spigot seems to be its greatest weakness. It’s hard to press down on while draining. If you’re looking for Cooler with an excellent spigot choose the “Rubbermaid Victory Jug”.
Rubbermaid Victory Jug Water Cooler
Last but not least, there’s the “Rubbermaid Victory Jug”. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as it is one of the most common mash tun coolers people use.
The people’s choice weighs in at 2.2 pounds just like Igloo and has the same capacity of 48 Quarts as the former.
What’s interesting about this cooler is that its thick urethane-based foam walls are extremely insulating. This makes it the perfect option for all-grain brewing.
What’s more, is that its easy-to-use Push-button spigot makes the wort extraction process easy for brewers. However, its build quality isn’t that great and its handle could certainly use an upgrade.
Room For Improvement
The Rubbermaid’s shortcomings are its build quality and handle. In that case, we suggest you look at the Yeti Cooler as a substitute.
Things To Know Before Purchasing A Cooler
Thinking about getting a cooler for your all-grain mash tun? Well, we’ve got you covered in that regard.
The main aim of this section is to enable you with the knowledge to determine what works for you. After all, your needs might be different from another’s.
Down below we’ve provided you with a list of the basics of what you need to consider before buying a cooler. So without further ado, let’s get to it-
Capacity Of The Cooler: Why Does It Matter?
One of the most important, if not the most important thing you look for in a Cooler is its size or volume. Normally its capacity is measured in quarts or liters.
Now there are four main types of sizes that we’ll go through in this section. And they are as follows-
This is the size that probably won’t come to your aid when brewing all-grain beer. These coolers are perfect for a day trip because they’re light and compact.
They aren’t very effective at keeping things cool since they aren’t adequately insulated. Small coolers are relatively affordable of the bunch.
These typically vary from 0 to 25 Quarts (about 24 Liters). Small Coolers normally contain 1-12 Cans if the metric system confuses you.
These coolers usually have a capacity of 25 to 50 quarts or around 47 liters. And, they are slightly more effective at controlling temperature and the price isn’t that high either.
These sorts of coolers can be made into mash tun coolers. Since a 5-gallon cooler is the same size as a 50 Quart cooler.
Depending on the can size, they may carry anywhere from 12 to 24 cans. The most popular sort of cooler is a medium-sized one.
Next up, we have the large-sized coolers. These are initially made for camping and long fishing trips. These hold 50 to 75 Quarts ( 71 Liters). For simplicity, they hold around 20-40 cans.
So using this cooler as a mash tun cooler can be quite of an overkill. This is because a normal mash tun cooler usually has a capacity of about 5-gallons (50 Quarts).
Last but not least, we have extra-large coolers. These gargantuan coolers have the biggest capacity a cooler can achieve. In simple terms, it can hold about 46-90 cans. Which roughly equates to 75 to over 100 Quarts (71 to 94.6 liters).
Availability Of Features
Well, coolers might have been primarily made to keep things cool, you should also keep an eye out for its other features. This is especially true when it comes to coolers for a mash tun.
Whether or not your cooler is fit for the job is determined by these features. These are critical when it comes to making all-grain beer. So we’ve done your homework for you and got a list of the features which will aid in your brewing.
Spigots Or Drainage System
This is the most important feature that you need for your mash tun cooler.
A spigot on your mash tun comes in essential because that way the wort may be quickly released and discharged into your next container.
When dealing with large amounts of liquid, a spigot makes the procedure easier. And it even guarantees that very little wort is wasted throughout the transferring process.
A mash tun’s false bottom is another must-have feature. When the mash is ready, the grains must be separated from the wort. Otherwise, the entire batch of beer will be cloudy and distasteful.
This is done using a false bottom which is essentially a strainer. This separates the grains from the wort, by allowing the wort to pass through.
In some mash tun coolers, you also have a series of pipes with tiny holes in them instead of a meshed lid.
Wheels, Handles & Straps
Now, it’s not much of a debate but one of man’s greatest inventions was the wheel. And why wouldn’t it be, it meant you could haul across loads easily. The same principle applies here.
Having wheels, straps, or good-quality handles goes a long way. Especially when you’re using a cooler in your all-grain brewing process.
Having some way of carrying your cooler means that you can easily switch places to account for the perfect environmental conditions required for your beer. This also means you don’t have to center your brewing space around your mash tun cooler.
UV Insulation & Material Quality
UV light from the sun contributes significantly to the degradation of plastic. This is why UV protection is essential in brewing your beer.
Plastic deteriorates with time, becoming yellow and cracked. UV-treated coolers can withstand continuous sun exposure without deterioration, making them a superior long-term option.
There are many different materials available nowadays (plastic, metal, fabric, etc.) that are used to make mash tun coolers.
To guarantee that the process is as risk-free as possible, you want a mash tun that is well-made and won’t leak. A pro tip is to observe the thickness of the walls as well as the material.
A thicker wall means, it’s better insulated. The contents inside a mash tun must be kept at a steady temperature, hence the mash tun must be insulated.
Check how long the mash tun can keep the temperature stable — the mashing process takes around an hour, so make sure it can keep the temperature stable for that long.
Also, investing in a good mash tun pays out in the long term because you’ll be using it for a long time if it’s built well.
Thermometers & Volume Markings
These are options that are available in high-end mash tun coolers and are perfect if you want to go the extra mile.
Installing a thermometer in the mash tun is another useful tool for ensuring the mashing process’ success. With a thermometer inside the mash tun cooler, you can keep an eye on the temperature of the mash within. And you can even ensure that it remains consistent.
Another useful feature that you can have is volume indications carved on the inside of the mash tun cooler.
This will make it easier to measure out the exact amount of liquid and verify that you have the correct water-to-grain ratio before you start mashing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is using a plastic cooler as a mash tun cause problems?
The fundamental point is that, even at high temperatures, exposure to anything harmful in plastic coolers poses relatively little risk. I’d just give it a couple of hot water rinses before using it. Any residues left behind from the production process are water-soluble and simply rinsed away.
How much grain can a 5-gallon cooler hold?
With a conventional single infusion mash and batch sparge or fly sparge, a 5-gallon beverage cooler can handle around 10-11 pounds of grain, while a 10 gallon can take roughly 20 pounds.
What’s the purpose of a false bottom in a cooler?
A false bottom is a sort of screen that helps separate the sweet wort from the mash and grains. A fake bottom is often a circular piece of metal with several small holes punched into it.
What’s the ratio for water and grain for a mash tun?
Its practical range is 2 to 4, with the most common value being 2.5 to 3.2. Most homebrewers are familiar with the quarts per pound ration, which is typically 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain (1.2 liters).
Is the thickness of my mash tun really relevant in brewing?
Yes. The thickness of your mash and the depth of your grain bed both have an influence on your efficiency. One advantage is that you will rinse off less sugar if you use less water. The greatest method to achieve consistency is to limit the number of variables you use.
Well, that’s about all that we could find on the best cooler for mash tun. We sincerely hope that you’re beer tastes and looks top-notch now.
We’re confident that our article covered the basics of what you actually need in a mash tun cooler. But a little extra homework never hurt anyone. After all, you’re the only one that can truly know what “you” want.
Till then, take care and keep cool. Don’t forget to drink responsibly and stay safe!