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Old 03-09-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default 13 Gallons of Vanished Wort??????

Sorry for the really long email but this is really freaky....

Finally ran my first AG batch on a rig that's been "under construction" for freakin' ever. Quickly... single teir system, HLT= 25 gallons, BK = 25 gallons and MT = 20 gallons. It's all hard-plumbed with solenoids and two March 809's so all transfers through the entire rig are "flip a switch" and two PIDs controling temps.

The way I have it set up is that I actually heat water to temp in the BK, and once at appropriate temp, I pump it into the MT and add my grains. My HLT is already full and up to mashing temp. I then constantly circulate my MT through a heat exchanger mounted inside my HLT to maintain temp without ever applying direct heat to the MT.

So yesterday... I'm doing a 15 gallon honey wheat for the maiden voyage. I put 12 gallons in my BK, bring that up to about 175ish. I put 15 gallons into my HLT and bring that up to 154.

I pump 9 gallons into my MT and due to a cold MT and heat lost in transfer, it's sitting there at 167ish. I then drain off and dump the extra three from the BK. I dump in 27 pounds of grain in (15 2-row Pils and 12 light wheat). I start circulating. whole system maintains temp perfectly... "great... this is going better than I had expected!". I then drain my MT into my BK.

- I did NOT get a stuck mash.
- I'm POSITIVE there was 9 gallons when it went into the MT.
- Nothing was leaking
- I don't have THAT much in plumbing where a ton of liquid was left in the pipes, maybe 1/2 gallon athte absolute most and that's a huge stretch
- my MT drains COMPLETELY as I have a false bottom over a manifold that sits right on the bottom (slits cut on the underside of the manifold)

... I got three gallons out of the MT.

Ok... no biggie... I had a ton of absorbtion. (six freakin gallons worth!! apparently)

I then pump 8 gallons from the HLT (which I had brought up to about 175ish) into the MT to do my first batch sparge. It rests at about 165ish... I stir it a couple of times. Twenty minutes go by. I drain into the BK.

... I got four gallons out of the MT

I then pump the remaining 7 gallons from the HLT (still at about 175ish) into the MT to do my second batch sparge. It rests at about 165ish... I stir it a couple of times. Twenty minutes go by. I drain into the BK.

... I got four gallons out of the MT

So... some quick math...

9 gallons for original mash... 8 for first batch sparge... 7 for second batch sparge. That's TWENTY FOUR gallons.

I ended up with ELEVEN, pre-boil.

I had a bunch of guys from my HBC there and we all stood there completely baffled. 13 gallons of water/wort just up and dissappeared.

I am 99% positive my gallon "markers" on my site gauges are accurate and if they are off a little bit, then we put 24 "units" of water in and get 11 "units" out. That doesn't change the problem.

My temps were off a little bit here or there for my first run and maybe my brewmometers are off a little bit but that would effect efficiency, not make 13 gallons of water dissappear.

When we were done, the MT and HLT were completely empty.

Post boil (because my efficiency was terrible) I only had about 8 gallons since I had to boil way down to hit my OG target. And when we filled the carboys, it LOOKED like exactly 8 gallons so the markers on the site gauges can't be off that much.

I'm not worried about efficiency at this point since I'm pretty sure my temps were all over the road due to badly calibrated thermometers as well as a ridiculous sparge arm I threw together in four seconds prior to the brew.

I just can't, for the life of me, figureout where 12 gallons of water went.

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Old 03-09-2009, 05:39 PM   #2
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My guess?

When you drained the BK, it started a back siphon and pulled wort out of your MT.

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Old 03-09-2009, 05:47 PM   #3
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figure in ~4 for grain absorption, that still leaves 8G.....
How much was left in your BK and HLT after all infusions? Any?

And just to nitpick, I didn't realize this thread was my email address

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Sorry for the really long email but this is really freaky....
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:54 PM   #4
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What strikes me as most odd is that you only got half your sparge volume back each time. If truly there were no leaks, the most likely possibility is that you measured your sparge volumes wrong in the HLT. I'd check that first.

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Old 03-09-2009, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewbish View Post
My guess?

When you drained the BK, it started a back siphon and pulled wort out of your MT.
Impossible... All of the plumbing is controlled through solenoids (nine of them) so the lines shoudl lock down completely but even so... the spout INTO the MT from the BK is above the water line... so there's no way it could pull anything out of the MT.

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figure in ~4 for grain absorption, that still leaves 8G.....
How much was left in your BK and HLT after all infusions? Any?
After my first mash I had 3 in the BK... which remained and 15 in the HLT. I sparged with 8, leaving 7 in the HLT... and was only able to pump 4 into the BK (making a running total of 7). I then batch sparged a second time leaving NOTHING in the HLT... so I sparged with another 7 and only got 4 our of the MT. Pumped 24 in... got 11 out... with the HLY and MT being completely EMPTY when I was done.

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What strikes me as most odd is that you only got half your sparge volume back each time. If truly there were no leaks, the most likely possibility is that you measured your sparge volumes wrong in the HLT. I'd check that first.
Like I was saying... no leaks. it's set up in my garage and I didn't have any drips on the floor, never mind 13 gallons.

And also like I was saying, I'm 99% positive my measurements on the HLT and BK are correct... and if they're not, I pumped in 24 "units" (whether that's 3/4s a gallon, 7/8ths a gallon or a full gallon) and I only got 11 out by using the exact same measuring method.



It's FREAKY!!! It's like the rig ripped a hole into another dimension and 13 gallons dissappeared into thin air. Six or seven guys (three of which had been brewing well over 15 years) stood there totally, completely baffled. For the life of us we can't figure out what happened.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
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And also like I was saying, I'm 99% positive my measurements on the HLT and BK are correct... and if they're not, I pumped in 24 "units" (whether that's 3/4s a gallon, 7/8ths a gallon or a full gallon) and I only got 11 out by using the exact same measuring method.
I don't quite follow when you say they use "the exact same measuring method". You didn't pump your wort into your HLT -- it went into the BK right? They may have the same device for measuring, but that doesn't necessarily mean they measure the same. Quick test -- measure 7gals (units?) of water into the HLT and pump it directly to the BK. Confirm it is also reading 7 gals/units. I am guessing this has to be it.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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Well twilight zone was on TV yesterday, Maybe That's where your water went! Sorry man, that's weird.
Hope you find your water and can use it for your next brew day

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Old 03-09-2009, 06:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy View Post
I don't quite follow when you say they use "the exact same measuring method". You didn't pump your wort into your HLT -- it went into the BK right? They may have the same device for measuring, but that doesn't necessarily mean they measure the same. Quick test -- measure 7gals (units?) of water into the HLT and pump it directly to the BK. Confirm it is also reading 7 gals/units. I am guessing this has to be it.
I'm under the assumption that he uses the same vessel for a BK and HLT.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I'm under the assumption that he uses the same vessel for a BK and HLT.
I was trying to figure that out, too -- but he mentions having separate vessels. What he might have done is heated the water in the BK then pumped it all to the HLT. In that case, then he would be using the same measurement (assuming no leaks or losses).
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:26 PM   #10
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Pictures?
A drawing?

There has to be a logical solution to this.
At a grain absorption of .15 ( mine is .14) you would lose 4 gallons so now you would have 20 gallons into the boil kettle.

You now have to account for 9 gallons of wort

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