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Old 12-10-2008, 05:03 AM   #1
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Default Stuck Sparge and the LHBS

Okay, so yesterday/last night I experienced the my first and almost guaranteed not my last stuck sparge. It was a nightmare and I finally finished brewing at around 3AM.

I had bought a batch for a bock and began brewing around 2:30PM. At the shop the owner had checked the grind on my batch because he had had a complaint that the grind was to rough. One of his customers had not been getting the effeciency he was used to so he had adjusted the grind on his mill. He looked at my batch and pronounced it good. I went home and started to brew.

Went to vorlauf and noticed poor flow, then no flow. Called the owner...he said dump mash into a bucket and clear the braid, add more water, put the mash back and start draining agian. That's what I did and same thing, no flow. Called the owner again, took mashtun to the shop where we removed mash, confirmed braid was not clogged, added rice hulls, confirmed flow was good (?) and went home.

At home, and a full length drain of the mash, no flow. I had an indoor soccer game and had to leave the mash draining while I went to get my A$$ handed to me in a game I haven't played since I was 20. When I returned home the mash had drained and when I looked into the mashtun all aI could see was gum. My wife confirmed it...goo.

Well with all of the extra water added throughout the process it looked like I had collected about 7+/- gals of wort for the boil. I was so tired and beat down after the game I thought what the hell I'll just boil. So without a gravity(preboil) I did my boil(outside in the snow). At the end of the boil I had 5.5 gals. Not bad, I thought, but with the cold and long brew day I could not chill completely but I sealed it of to the air and put it in the basement to chill.

Soooooo..... after all the needless explanation and going over the tedium of my brew day the real question is do I continue to purchase ingredients from this brew shop? The Owner never really admitted that it could be the grind but he did try to help me fix the mash and didn't charge me for the rice hulls. Do I risk another stuck sparge or do I go to the other LHBS where the owner doesn't have as much knowledge or ingredients selection. What do you all think.

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Old 12-10-2008, 05:44 AM   #2
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i think that the owner went above and beyond the call to help you. having said that i would watch my next few crushes from him and if they seem to fine buy some hulls and have him open the crush up.

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Old 12-10-2008, 06:29 AM   #3
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Sounds like a very helpful guy to me.

I'd keep going there. Perhaps in the future you could get a barley crusher and crush your own if you keep having trouble?

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Old 12-11-2008, 05:04 PM   #4
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buy a kit online (ie northern brewer) with pre-crushed grains. See if you get the same result. If so go back to using your LHBS and figure out what it is about your system triggering a stuck sparge.

Also how are you sparging? Batch or Fly? Cracking valve completely open to start or slowly opening? what is your manifold made up of? What size valve.

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Old 12-11-2008, 06:05 PM   #5
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Buy some rice hulls from the LHBS if he keeps the same crush. He went above and beyond what my LHBS would do.

Better crush, better efficiency, less money spent on grain. W00T!

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