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Old 02-18-2013, 08:53 PM   #1
Ishraider
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Default Cooler MLT Troubles

So i brewed a 30.5 lb grain brew last night and had problems getting the liquid to drain from my 11 gallon rubbermaid cooler MLT. I have the SS braid setup and this is the 2nd time i have used this cooler. Keep in mind i batch sparge. The first time i used it the first run off came out without too much problem. Once i sparged it, it was draining really slow but wasnt too bad. That was with a 25 lb grain bill. This time the first runoff went ok at first but after 3 gallons (out of 7) it came to a really slow pour. Even after stirring and trying to move the grains around it still just was crawling out of the MLT at a rate of MAYBE 1 gallon per 10-15 minutes. I have searched many threads of a solution and the only thing i can think of is that there is not enough surface area of my braid and therefor is taking way to long for the liquid to get to it. I could build a manifold but prefer to use the SS braid. Any suggestions? Is it possible to do some kind of "t" setup with 2 SS braids? Anyways just wanted to get some thoughts and suggestions before I take action. I homebrewed 3 years ago all the time thanks to this website and just recently got back into it. Working out all the kinks takes time and this homebrew nation has always helped me out.

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Old 02-18-2013, 09:20 PM   #2
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This is just my personal experience, but...I've tried using a braid on my mash tun, and I ran into problems more often than not. I ran a coil of copper wire inside of it to keep it from collapsing, but that didn't do anything for me. I eventually abandoned the braid and built a manifold out of CPVC and used my drill press to drill two rows of holes near the bottom sides of each piece of pipe. The new setup works great and I've never had a stuck sparge on it, and I've brewed beers that normally people use rice hulls with, but I've never really needed them.

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Old 02-18-2013, 09:24 PM   #3
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Throw in some rice hulls to help your lautering. When you have that much grain in a small space it tends to compact more causing drainage issues. Throw in a good amount of rice hulls to help that compaction. I'd say 1-2 pounds should do it. It won't change anything with the beer as it adds no color or flavor and only helps draining the grain.

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Old 02-24-2013, 05:20 AM   #4
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Well here it is. Went ahead and took the advice to build a CPVC manifold for my MLT. Here is how it turned out. My cooler is shaped funny but i think i worked it out well. I batch sparge so i should not have to worry about channeling.

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Old 02-24-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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That manifold looks really good and appears to be well constructed. You might also consider drilling a small set of holes near the bottoms of the pipes toward the inside to help speed it up a bit if it is still too slow. Rice hulls are great and are an inexpensive insurance against a stuck sparge. If the temp holds well in the cooler, then a slow sparge should help improve your effiviency a bit too. If the temp drops it is still going to be OK because you are still going to boil it before you pitch yeast abyway. Good luck and nice little mod!!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:17 AM   #6
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Nice job! I bet your efficiency numbers will go up as well.

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Old 02-24-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
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Are you sure that braid was stainless? Many of the people that have trouble with it are buying Home Depot's "Stainless LIKE" toilet connection things and it's braided grey plastic. It never works.

The manifold looks good but the connection to the drain looks a little restrictive. Is that 3/8" tubing?

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Old 02-25-2013, 04:29 AM   #8
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Thanks everybody glad to know all the information i collected on this site worked out. It was a stainless steel braid i made sure of that cause i saw somewhere in one of the post to double check that at purchase. Yeah i think i do need to do some work on the drain. I didnt want to get rid of my ball valve set up cause those things are expensive. That is 3/8 or actually i might have used 5/16th cause it was what i had lying around. Any suggestions at minimal cost to fix that? Also i have not used the manifold for a mash yet.

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Old 03-02-2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishraider View Post
Thanks everybody glad to know all the information i collected on this site worked out. It was a stainless steel braid i made sure of that cause i saw somewhere in one of the post to double check that at purchase. Yeah i think i do need to do some work on the drain. I didnt want to get rid of my ball valve set up cause those things are expensive. That is 3/8 or actually i might have used 5/16th cause it was what i had lying around. Any suggestions at minimal cost to fix that? Also i have not used the manifold for a mash yet.
Hmmm. Well, if this were mine...I'd take that T where you're draining from and remove that one pipe, and then move the T upwards and attach a 90° street elbow to connect a piece of 1/2" ID silicon tube...

Pictures are easier. Here. Here's the one I made for my little 5 gallon cooler. You can't see it, but there's a 1" piece of CPVC pipe that connects the street elbow to the T below it. All three of those pieces should be glued together, or else the street elbow has a nasty habit of popping off while you're stirring. All other pieces can be left unglued to facilitate cleaning. There's no real need for clamps on either end of the tube, since I made the tube a wee bit longer than it needed to be, so it helps to keep the tube in place.



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