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All Grain systems don't have to be expensive or take up a lot of room. Take for example our B3-250 All Grain system with thermometers installed. We've taken insulated Rubbermaid beverage coolers and transformed them into highly efficient, complete All Grain brewing Mash Tuns with 9" false bottom and Hot Liquor Tanks.
Because coolers are insulated and retain heat very well, they provide an excellent vessel for further modification. We remove the stock spigots and install a stainless bulkhead with ball valve. Ball valves allow for the system to expand with your needs. Later you can add quick disconnects and a pump which allow you to heat water in your kettle and pump hot water into the Mash Tun and Hot Liquor tank. Pumping eliminates lifting and pouring large volumes of hot water. The Mash Tun comes complete with our own domed stainless false bottom and the Hot Liquor Tank comes complete with a sparger (sprinkles hot water onto the top of the mash).
We have been asked many times how many pounds of grains can fit into the 10 gallon cooler. There are many different theories on water to grain ratio, but pretty commonly accepted is anywhere from .9 to 1.1 quarts of water per 1 pound of grain. With that in mind here is what we found.
At 1.1 quarts of water per 1 pound of grain we were able to fit about 30 lbs of grain with our 9" false bottom in place. That correlates to using a 1 to 1 ratio you could fit in 32 lbs and at a .9 to 1 ratio you can fit in over 34 lbs of grain.