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Last night I picked up a 10-gallon cooler mash tun. It was supposed to come with a 12" false bottom, but the LHBS was out of those. Instead they offered me a 10" false bottom, saying that it would work just as well but that my efficiency might be a little bit lower.

How would a smaller false bottom affect efficiency? I'm trying to picture how the smaller bottom would leave wort in the mash tun, but I'm not getting it.

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The difference is so small, that I would NOT expect a change in efficiency. Efficiency with a bottom like that is more dependent upon how well your dip tube continues to pull wort off the bottom of the tun. If you are just using a tube connected to a bard on the false bottom then there should really be no noticeable change in efficiency with a false bottom that is only a couple inches smaller all the way around.

You don't even have a base line efficiency with that cooler yet, so the shop people are putting ideas in your head. Just start using it and see what you get.

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Yep, it's a tube connected to an elbow pipe. I'll brew with it tomorrow and see what the efficiency is. –  Hopwise Jun 2 '11 at 15:22
    
Keep in mind that your mash tun will have a very minor effect on your efficiency. Your grain crush is by far the largest variable, with water amounts and mash pH down the line after crush. –  Denny Conn Jun 2 '11 at 17:38
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If anything, I'd expect your efficiency to be a bit higher due to less dead space under the false bottom. In reality, I'd expect the difference to be virtually none.

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Interesting idea. Probably to difficult to actually measure these changes accurately. Now if we were talking a 10 foot false bottom vs 12 foot in a huge commercial type tun... maybe we'd have something to talk about. –  brewchez Jun 2 '11 at 16:43
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Wouldn't the smaller false bottom allow for the outer edges of the grain bed to not be rinsed as well as a larger false bottom?

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