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Old 09-08-2010, 10:52 PM   #1
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Default Effeciency and the steel braid???

Ok, so I have a few brewed 4 AG batches thus far, and have gotten the following effeciencies in this order: 58%, 70%, 66%, & 58%.

I've got my process down pretty well now and I've got my volumes/temps figured out with BeerSmith, and my grains look like all the pics I've seen should after being crush, but that still seems a bit low, but I have a theory

I am batch sparging in a cooler with the good old braided stainless steel hose. However, no matter how I try, I can never stir up my mash well without stirring the braided hose up too. So then I wind up pushing the hose back into the mash with my mash paddle(big steel spoon) as far as I can, but every time go to empty the cooler, the hose is always up in the middle of the grain bed somewhere rather than on the bottom. I've been tipping the cooler to get all that delicious wort out, or as much as I can anyway.

So my theory is, a lot of water, and all those fermentables I am extracting from my grain, are sitting on the bottom of the cooler, opposite side of the drain spiggot, with my hose above. Tipping the cooler drains some of it, but it can't all make it through to the drain spout.

Is my thinking correct, because I'm thinking it might be time to make a coppoer or PVC manifold for the bottom of the cooler to fix this, but wanted to get some opinions before doing any shopping.



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Old 09-08-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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After draining the tun, you can part the grain bed witjh your spoon and actually see the wort level. i have never had a braid float up in the mash, might yours be plastic. All of the braids I have used had no trouble draining the tun to the outlet level. I also never stir the up, rather always stiring in the direction of the braid and away from it. Is the run off quite speedy or is it a slow drain?

Part of the braid should be at the drain and the tun should empty to that point.



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Old 09-08-2010, 11:22 PM   #3
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I agree with wilserbrewer, but depending on your cooler the drain may put the braid in a not ideal location, you could try a manifold, cpvc would be pretty cheap to try.

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Old 09-09-2010, 12:03 AM   #4
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If you are leaving wort behind due to a high drain in the tun, a double batch sparge might help your efficiency? Braid or manifold should make no difference in theory, unless the drain is quite high and a siphon to the bottom of the tun is needed. Something must be odd, every braid I have ever used just wanted to suck the tun dry??

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Old 09-09-2010, 12:05 AM   #5
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I don't have this problem on mine but would attaching a couple SS washers on the end of the braid keep it from floating up?

Does it float when you only have water in it?

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Old 09-09-2010, 02:46 AM   #6
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I've never had this issue on my 10 gallon Rubbermaid with a braid. Did you secure a brass head plug to the end? That helps to weigh it down. Otherwise, I try to be careful when stirring and not be too aggressive down near the bottom. I do a double batch sparge so that may help with your efficiency if you are only doing one. I am actually planning to buy a false bottom soon to see how that works compared to the braid but I have had good luck using it on my 20 AG brews.

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Old 09-09-2010, 02:54 AM   #7
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Do you have pictures of your setup? Might clear up some speculation on what type of cooler and how the braid is connected, etc.

I have been using a steel braid in a white marine cooler for several years with no issues.

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Old 09-09-2010, 05:44 AM   #8
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My braid stirs up into the grain often. Doesn't cause a problem at all. I regularly get 80% efficiency (2% variance each way)

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Old 09-10-2010, 02:52 AM   #9
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Ok, finally got a pic of it and I'm thinking I need to cut the braid in half and weight down the ends. They aren't floating up, they are getting stirred up when I stir the mash, and I think my problem with pushing it back down to the bottom is because of the 2 big loops.


h

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Old 09-10-2010, 07:44 AM   #10
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I don't think your problems are due to your braid floating.

Remember you can only drain as much as the two openings on your T-piece (the braid doesn't cause a siphon). Difficult to tell from your picture, how high off the base is that?

What is the actual wort level after you've drained the tun? Have you taken a spoon to see? If it's higher than your T-piece you may just be getting a stuck mash or sparge I suppose.



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