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Old 06-30-2008, 04:14 PM   #1
Edcculus
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Default MLT Cooler problems

I recently built a 5 gallon version of flyguy's converted cooler MLT. This thing is a dream for mashing, but sparging is an entire different beast.

When I first built it, I used the stainless steel braid idea. When sparging, it ran fine for about half to a full gallon, then slowed to a trickle. After tinkering for a while, I gave up and transfered to my ghetto Papazian/false bottomed bucket. I figured my braid got crushed.

I did some research to build a manifold out of CPCV. It looks somewhat like this. (Sorry for the bad drawing. I'm at work and don't have a picture. I'll get one later though). I thought the manifold would solve my issues, but the same thing ended up happening.

For reference, the two recipes consisted of:

9# Pale 2 row
1# Crystal 20L
1/4#Black Patent
1/4#Chocolate

and

8#Pale 2 Row
2# Vienna
1/2# Crystal 10L
1/4# Flaked Wheat

I've seen both setups get so much praise, I was wondering if anyone had advice on how to improve the system. Am I simply getting a stuck sparge? Am I creating too much suction by opening the valve all the way? I'd appreciate any help.

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:23 PM   #2
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Do you have a hose on the output valve? If so, how much drop are you giving it to your collection vessel? Are you 100% sure you have a stainless braid and not a silver colored plastic braid?

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:30 PM   #3
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Sometimes the braids collapse due to the weight of the grain on it. One of the modifications on the thread is to take a piece of nylon tubing, put some slits in it and then insert it into the braid. I simply took the hose that I had taken out of the braid, drilled a bunch of holes in it and put it back inside. It works great!

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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I am 100% sure about the braid, but like I said, I ditched it an made a CPVC manifold.

There is no hose on the output valve. I have it dropping maybe a foot into a pitcher to catch the wort and then transfering to the kettle. Do I need hose on the output valve?

Just to make things more clear:

It is made very much like Brewsmith's except it is CPVC. The hose on mine attaches out of a T joint in the middle of a tube on the side, not the middle like the picture. The slits were made with a hack saw, and face down.

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
One of the modifications on the thread is to take a piece of nylon tubing, put some slits in it and then insert it into the braid.
This is really the key to using a braid, I'm surprised it isn't standard operating procedure by now. I've never even had a hint of a stuck sparge, even when using a lot of flaked grains.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
There is no hose on the output valve. I have it dropping maybe a foot into a pitcher to catch the wort and then transfering to the kettle. Do I need hose on the output valve?
Yes you need a hose on the output valve. Your effectively siphoning out and if your output isn't below your going to have issues.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
There is no hose on the output valve. I have it dropping maybe a foot into a pitcher to catch the wort and then transfering to the kettle. Do I need hose on the output valve?
Yeah, you don't want your wort splashing into your kettle or you run the risk of hot side aeration. Plus, it adds to the siphoning action that will help drain your tun as much as possible. I use a piece of heat resistant tubing, as I like to start heating my kettle while I'm still sparging.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BlindLemonLars View Post
This is really the key to using a braid, I'm surprised it isn't standard operating procedure by now. I've never even had a hint of a stuck sparge, even when using a lot of flaked grains.
I've had no problems so far...unless you count yesterday's BAP experiment...but that wasn't normal grain...it was paste...

I think the problem is, if I recall, that particulart modification is so far into the long thread people might miss it...Maybe that should be added into the first post alond with the warning about the use the initial hoseclamps.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:44 PM   #9
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Well that certaintly makes sense. I'm glad I came here and asked. I was going to spend all week tinkering around with the manifold (making slits larger, attaching the hose in a different wat etc).

In response to the tubing. I was about to do that as an initial fix, but decided to use the manifold. Aside from the bad drainage, I got MUCH clearer wort from the manifold than the braid. I like it a bit better despite the stuck sparge.

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