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Old 07-19-2007, 01:01 AM   #1
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Default Add rice hulls?

I am brewing with only 6lbs of grain and adding fruit to the boil later. I step mash in my boil kettle and then want to batch sparge in a converted cooler. I have two coolers; one is 28qt w/o drain hole, and one is 38qt w/ drain. I want to use the 38 qt just for the ease of the drain and less chance for liquid to get into the body of the cooler. I was going to replace the drain with a bottling bucket spigot for now and a bulkhead later.Anyways, I read that a minimum grain bed depth should be about 4", and with only 6lbs in a 38qt cooler thats obviously not going to be 4". So my question is can I just add a couple pounds of rice hulls with the grains to bring it up to proper depth for this and future recipes, or should I just drill the 28 and hope for the best? Will the hulls contribute anything to the beer(+ or -)?

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Old 07-19-2007, 01:04 AM   #2
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I wouldn't add the rice hulls. The grain bed depth is just to make a good filter. Don't be in a hurry to sparge and you'll be fine.

Or just double the amount you're brewing...

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Old 07-19-2007, 01:05 AM   #3
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Since you are planning to batch sparge the grain bed depth isn't important since you will add all the sparge water and stir to get the sugars into solution. Unless you're using a high ratio of wheat or rye malt you should be fine without the rice hulls.

Rice hulls don't contribute anything to the beer, they are just for increasing the filter-bed.

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Old 07-19-2007, 01:06 AM   #4
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What is your recipe? 6 lbs. of grain isn't much.

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Old 07-19-2007, 01:09 AM   #5
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The hulls will suck up an astonishing amount of water. If you are batch sparging grain bed depth isn't much of an issue. I say go for it without the hulls.

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Old 07-19-2007, 01:10 AM   #6
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If you are batch sparging, grain bed depth doesn't really matter that much. In fact, shallow grain beds work better for batch sparging.

If you are fly sparging, it will be really difficult to avoid channeling in a bed that shallow. I use rice hulls all the time in beers with a lot of wheat or rye to prevent stuck sparges. Generally, half a pound in a 13 pound grain bill that is 40% wheat or rye is all that is needed. Using a couple pounds in such a small grain bill is messy and expensive. There is no flavor contribution from the rice hulls, just bulk.

For this batch I would advise batch sparging. You will get much better efficiency.

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Old 07-19-2007, 03:28 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the input. I really appreciate it. The recipe has 3lbs of white wheat and probably 4-8oz flaked wheat with 1lb bonlander and 1lb pils as well as a little crystal and dextrine malt. I'll be using the WL Belgian Wit yeast.I'll probably add two lbs pitted fresh cherries(frozen to break cell walls) to the end of the boil, and half lb to secondary.I'm toying with the idea of a little coriander or ginger to add a spicy snap.Tommorrow I make the manifold, hopefully get everything together and if all goes well, brew my first all grain batch(and plunge to a new depth of this obsession....er, I mean HOBBY).Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!

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