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Old 10-06-2007, 10:27 PM   #1
GrundleCruncher
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Default MLT woes

I have found myself in this position too many times; after an hour or so of mashing I go to drain my wort and its non-stop cloudy or won't drain at all.
I have a 5 gal rubbermaid MLT with a ball valve, standard stuff.
I started off with a false bottom from Phils mashing equip but every time I used it it would get a huge plug of grain in it over and over.
I thought if I put a coiled plastic tube under it with a bunch of holes in it my cloging problem would be resolved but the wort ran cloudy after 1.5 gal, it was never going to clear up.
This is the third batch I've had f*cked up from this kind of problem, I need some serious help before I go back to drinking wild turkey and Jameson
What would you recommend for a rubbermaid MLT, I know lots of people use it.
Please help.

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Old 10-06-2007, 10:30 PM   #2
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Go with a stainless braid. It works great with batch sparging!!!

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Old 10-06-2007, 10:30 PM   #3
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I use a copper manifold myself, but have you thought about using a stainless steel braid? They work extremely well and I doubt you could get a sticky enough mash to clog one.

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Old 10-06-2007, 10:31 PM   #4
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Hmmmm. The only thing that comes to mind for me right away is the crush. Is your crush too fine? That's what it sounds like. I've been using a 10 gallon rubbermaid with a false bottom and I've never had a wort that didn't clear up in a couple of quarts, and I've never had a stuck sparge.

If it's not the crush, I'm fresh out of ideas. But someone smarter than I am will be along shortly.

Edit- two of them beat me!

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Old 10-06-2007, 10:48 PM   #5
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They are nice enough to mill the grain at my local brew store, I trust that it is of good consistency; that store rocks.
I should have started with the braid but I thought the false bottom would be better.
Is there any defense for Phils false bottoms, because I declare they blow and suck at the same time, and hard.

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Old 10-06-2007, 11:21 PM   #6
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I've heard good things about them, but have not used them myself. Given that I would think the crush is the culprit. Maybe you could ask your LHBS to crush a little less fine next time and see if that makes a difference.

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Old 10-07-2007, 02:16 PM   #7
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are you opening the ball valve all the way when you drain? cuz, at least on my cooler MLT's using SS braids...I can't. I can go about 60% open before its too much and I'm sucking grain bits out of my grain bed.

if i only go a little past half open, I get my clear runnings in about 2 quarts.

Just a thought.

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Old 10-07-2007, 08:54 PM   #8
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It sounds like the FB is floating up and not sealing around the sides, allowing grain to get by. It seems like there have been some posts on how people have tried to solve that problem. Have you tried a search to see?

I use a SS FB in a keg and had that problem until I secured it tight against the bottom with a hose clamp on my pickup tube. I don't think there's any way you can do that in the cooler, though.

If you can't figure it out, I'd go the SS braid route. A lot of guys have had success with it in the cooler.

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Old 10-07-2007, 09:10 PM   #9
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I've only used the false bottom, so I can't comment on a braid. Still, I love using the false bottom and never had any issues at all.

One thing I read somewhere was to add some of the strike water first to cover the spigot and then to open the ball valve to let some water through. Then close it again and add some grain, stir, more water, grain, etc. The reason you open the ball valve first is to avoid a vacuum which can cause a stuck sparge. I never thought about it, just did it like that because that's what the "instructions" said to do when I read that. Since I was new, I just did it that way and never changed it since then. Maybe that will work for you?

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