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Old 07-06-2012, 02:42 AM   #1
KellyL
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Default Whew! I saved a stuck sparge

I don't post much, but figured this was worth sharing. Yesterday I tried a new Cream Ale (Spotted Cow) clone. Everything went well up to the mash... not that much can go wrong. When the hour was up, my sparge water was heated, I was ready to go and I cracked the valved open. Nothing but a trickle came out.

My problem is that I switched from a bazooka screen to a manifold made of soft copper with slits cut in it. I put a pound of rice hulls in the bottom to keep the corn and flaked barley from sticking, but it didn't help. I've never had a stuck sparge so I panicked a little.

After staring at it for a few minutes, I attached a tube to the nipple and blew into it. I got a little bit of wort out and then it stuck again. I kept blowing into it until it flowed freely. I have to say that I felt like a genius. I had visions of having to transfer the mash into paint strainers and cringed at the thought.

So, to summarize, before stirring your mash, try blowing back into the valve and don't cheap out on a false bottom. Now I have some copper to recycle and a false bottom to order.

Kelly

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Old 07-06-2012, 02:50 AM   #2
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I have a SS braid in my 10 Gallon Rubbermaid water cooler. In 14 batches I have only had one scare. It was actually a layer of fine particles on top of the larger grain. I poked a hole through that layer and it drained easily.

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Old 07-06-2012, 03:29 AM   #3
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Dude that's a great idea! Great work

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Old 07-06-2012, 03:38 AM   #4
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On my third AG my sparge was definitely reduced compared to the first 2 batches so I made sure to stir real well on the last sparge addition, let it sit for 5 mins then cracked open the valve just a bit and the only thing that came out was grain, opened up the cooler and found my manifold had come lose from the back side of the valve. I scooped everything out, cleared the manifold, reinserted it and added the grain/wort back in and it took off like it should.

In my case, the stir was just to vigorous and dislodged the manifold.

Oh well, I hit my numbers pretty well and will bottle it next weekend

Toy4Rick

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Old 07-06-2012, 07:03 PM   #5
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I have used an air compressor to do the same on several (frustrating) occasions.

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Old 07-06-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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I don’t know how you could stick a copper manifold. Mine runs like a cow peein’ on a flat rock. Are you sure you didn’t have a copper flake blocking the valve? Especially since this was the first time you used it.

When I built mine I chamfered all the slots and ends with a triangle file.

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Old 07-06-2012, 09:07 PM   #7
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I also have a 10 gallon rubbermaid with SS braid and have never had issues (even with pumpkin and wheat beers).

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Old 07-06-2012, 11:07 PM   #8
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No need to freak out about a stuck sparge. I just stir well, vorlauf, and continue. Other than additional time, no big whoop.

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Old 07-11-2012, 03:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatulentfox View Post
I have used an air compressor to do the same on several (frustrating) occasions.
I did this 2 weeks ago on a large Tank 7 clone. Felt like a genius when I pulling the air hose out and turning on the air compressor.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynne-R View Post
I don’t know how you could stick a copper manifold. Mine runs like a cow peein’ on a flat rock. Are you sure you didn’t have a copper flake blocking the valve? Especially since this was the first time you used it.

When I built mine I chamfered all the slots and ends with a triangle file.
I built a copper manifold for mine after crushing my braid on several occasions. My problem was a 10 gallon batch that Mr Retard here threw 3# worth of flaked corn and flaked wheat into the tun first. then 30# of malt and wheat on top of that. Stirring didn't help enough.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:41 PM   #10
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Be careful and hold the tube up near 90* when you blow into it. I tried this on my first stuck sparge and was greeted with 160* wort. Burned my tongue and mouth pretty good.

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