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Old 08-17-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
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Default Problems with grain bed not settling.

Okay,

I have brewed two all grain recipes and during both vourlaufing steps, I could NEVER get the bed to settle. My temps were correct, I believe I mixed in well enough and made sure there were no dough balls or clumps and I even let the mash sit longer than required. I am running a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler and a false bottom I received from Northern brewer. I very gently ran a few quarts to vourlauft, returned to cooler and repeated 6 times.

Also, why is it that there should be more water used during the sparge than the initial mash? I would think its better to use more water in the first go through... Am I upsetting the grains when returning sweet wort to the mash tun?

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Old 08-17-2013, 08:04 PM   #2
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What makes you say that the grain bed is not settling?

There is a lot of science between water volume at mash vs. Sparge. Personally I dont think it makes *that* much of a difference. You dont want super thick mash, or super watery. Other than that it should be good IMO

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Old 08-17-2013, 08:55 PM   #3
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It's not going to fully settle to the bottom of the mash tun until you get most of the wort drained off. While there is a decent amount of liquid in the tun you will see some grain floating. As long as you are getting good flow and clear vorlauff don't worry.

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Old 08-18-2013, 02:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
What makes you say that the grain bed is not settling?

There is a lot of science between water volume at mash vs. Sparge. Personally I dont think it makes *that* much of a difference. You dont want super thick mash, or super watery. Other than that it should be good IMO
I am continuously getting a large amount of grain coming through the whole process of draining the wort. It might flow clear for a quart or two then have a large amount of grain come slushing out.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:21 AM   #5
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How hard a pour back into the cooler? Too fast and you will re-suspend grain. Sounds to me like grain is getting under your false bottom or entering the hose connection to the valve. Make sure your false bottom meets the bottom of the cooler uniformly. Maybe you're knocking it out of alignment or knocking the hose loose while stirring in the mash.

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Old 08-18-2013, 07:17 PM   #6
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False bottoms and plastic igloo coolers at 154F bringing you problems in more ways than one. I say ditch the false bottom, and absolutely ditch the cooler approach cause plastic ain't good. Sorry Denny. You got a stainless container, install a braided mesh strainer before your ball valve. Stuck mashes will be a thing of the past. Also strain in the brew kettle, I use a bazooka strainer and also stuff a braided stainless mesh strainer inside of that. If you are getting all this grain obviously the false bottom approach isn't working.

Well best of luck you probably mad now cause you love your Igloo mash tun. Oh and throw a big comforter over that stainless mash tun insulation is easy and mashing doesn't have to be hard.

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Old 08-18-2013, 07:26 PM   #7
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Cover your grain bed with aluminum foil during mashing. Then when vorlaufing, stab a few holes in the foil (I use my thermometer probe) and pour the runnings onto the foil. It prevents the recirculated wort from disturbing your grain bed.

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Old 08-18-2013, 09:36 PM   #8
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I'm with the: either you are pouring back into the mash tun and disturbing the grain bed or grain is getting past your false bottom.

The other question is are you opening the valve wider after you vorlof or are you keeping the same drainage rate? If you get impatient and open the valve more, you can suck more grain through the false bottom.

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Old 08-19-2013, 03:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Cover your grain bed with aluminum foil during mashing. Then when vorlaufing, stab a few holes in the foil (I use my thermometer probe) and pour the runnings onto the foil. It prevents the recirculated wort from disturbing your grain bed.
Interesting concept, thanks for the advice!
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I'm with the: either you are pouring back into the mash tun and disturbing the grain bed or grain is getting past your false bottom.

The other question is are you opening the valve wider after you vorlof or are you keeping the same drainage rate? If you get impatient and open the valve more, you can suck more grain through the false bottom.
I'm going very slow. I never go past a 1/4 of the way open on the valve...

I know its getting past my FB but I'm clueless as to why because I'm not banging it while stirring the grains as far as I can tell.
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