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Old 02-13-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
jcsweat
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Default Did I mess this up? Stuck batch sparge delayed things

I brewed this yesterday
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f126/bla...rter-ag-24243/

Mashed at the prescribed 158F, it dropped maybe to 155 by the end of the mash. I didn't do a mash out. Looking back, I should have. I probably will from now on. I tried to drain the mash at this point, only got about 2 gallons out before the mash stuck completely.

At this point the mash was probably at 150 so I added some near-boiling water, about a gallon. Finally got about 4 gallons out after about 40 minutes, during which time I had to clear a stuck sparge and settle it again twice. I didn't let the grain bed drain completely, would that cause any problem? The mash may have at some point dropped to or below 150 again, don't really know. I didn't want to keep opening the cooler.

I should just get a HLT.

Sparged normally, at about 168-170F. This did not get stuck, I assume because it was hotter. Collected the normal 6.75 Gallons I normally do, with wort to spare in the MLT.

Boiled normally. OG was 1.071.

Does my stuck sparge and falling mash temp indicate any undesirable characteristics in the finished beer? I expect there to have been more fermentable sugars extracted than was intended, but since I mashed at about 158F for an hour before the trouble started, wouldn't those less fermentable sugars also be in solution? What sort of final beer can I expect?

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Old 02-13-2011, 11:04 PM   #2
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What kind of MLT or system are you using? Why did the mash stick?

You were "stuck" with about 2 gallons out of the MLT, then added 1 gallon of water and got 4 gallons?

"I should just get a HLT"

What is that going to do for you?

The more I read your question(s) the confuseder I got.

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Old 02-13-2011, 11:23 PM   #3
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Losing three degrees is not going to make or break a beer, though it is strange that you did in a cooler. It makes me think something is off in your process that you aren't mentioning here.

I can't imagine any problems you would have from not draining the be completely, though I guess it could offset your efficiency slightly if there was a lot of saturated wort already in the tun when you started sparging. The main problem from letting your mash drop low is that some people find their systems more vulnerable to getting stuck if it gets cool.

Quote:
I expect there to have been more fermentable sugars extracted than was intended, but since I mashed at about 158F for an hour before the trouble started, wouldn't those less fermentable sugars also be in solution?
I don't understand this reasoning behind this sentence. You can't have relatively more more-fermentable sugars and relatively more less-fermentable sugars at the same time. One turns into the other, so if you are getting more of one you are getting less of the other.

I doubt the extra time impacted your efficiency much, and the temperature drop is not terribly significant. Your first 15-20 minutes are the most important in a mash, so if you hit 155F very quickly then that would have a more dramatic effect than if you gradually drifted down over the course of an hour.

The extra time very well might have caused some simplification of your sugar profile, which will give you a more fermentable wort, though it is hard to say how much.

A HLT and a mashout are all well and good, but it sounds to me you just need to figure out why you are getting a stuck mash.
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKMO View Post
What kind of MLT or system are you using? Why did the mash stick?

You were "stuck" with about 2 gallons out of the MLT, then added 1 gallon of water and got 4 gallons?

"I should just get a HLT"

What is that going to do for you?

The more I read your question(s) the confuseder I got.
The MLT is a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler, as detailed in the wiki. Not sure why the mash stuck, I brewed a batch just a few days ago with this same system and it didn't stick. Used the same procedure.

I got the 2 gallons out and then added another gallon to keep the temperature up, which had been falling since I kept having to open the cooler and stir it to unstick the mash. It hadn't drained completely at that point.

I figure a HLT will allow me to keep more hot water on hand if I decide to do a mash out and also decrease heat loss when adding water to the MLT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
Losing three degrees is not going to make or break a beer, though it is strange that you did in a cooler. It makes me think something is off in your process that you aren't mentioning here.

I can't imagine any problems you would have from not draining the be completely, though I guess it could offset your efficiency slightly if there was a lot of saturated wort already in the tun when you started sparging. The main problem from letting your mash drop low is that some people find their systems more vulnerable to getting stuck if it gets cool.


I don't understand this reasoning behind this sentence. You can't have relatively more more-fermentable sugars and relatively more less-fermentable sugars at the same time. One turns into the other, so if you are getting more of one you are getting less of the other.

I doubt the extra time impacted your efficiency much, and the temperature drop is not terribly significant. Your first 15-20 minutes are the most important in a mash, so if you hit 155F very quickly then that would have a more dramatic effect than if you gradually drifted down over the course of an hour.

The extra time very well might have caused some simplification of your sugar profile, which will give you a more fermentable wort, though it is hard to say how much.

A HLT and a mashout are all well and good, but it sounds to me you just need to figure out why you are getting a stuck mash.

I don't know why I lost those few degrees either. It happened earlier this week with another batch too. I felt the lid of the cooler during the mash and it felt warm, like it was losing some heat that way. Maybe I should increase the insulation in the lid or something.

I did not know thats how the sugar conversion worked. I understand better now. Please ignore my previous statement.

Efficiency didn't suffer, I calculated it to be about 80%.

We'll see how it tastes. Then I'll have a better idea of where it went wrong, if anywhere.
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