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Old 01-05-2010, 02:53 AM   #1
Want2Brew
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Default First Stuck Sparge, Help?

Hey Guys and Gals, had my first stuck sparge and was wondering what went wrong. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

First off I batch sparge in a 10 gal igloo with a braid and the recipe was BierMunchers Ode To Arthur Irish Stout (Guinness Clone) adapted for 5.25 gal and I left out the acid malt.

Grain bill:

6.5 lbs Pale malt 65%
2.5 lbs Flaked Barley 25%
1 lbs Roasted Barley 10%

Mashed with 3-1/8 gal of water for 1.5 hrs @150 deg then added 1-5/8 gal of boiling water for a mash out. Let it stand for 15 min and tried to sparge. No go. Stirred and let settle and still no go. Blew back through the drain on the mash tun and still no go, added the sparge water 3-3/4 gal @ 170 deg stirred and let settle for a few and still no go. So I placed my big grain bag into the brew kettle and dumped the mash tun into it and pulled the grain out and let it drip for awhile. Any idea why the major failure here? Is 25% flaked barley too much? The crush on the pale malt was a little coarser than usual and I have never had a problem before but this was the stuck sparge from hell.....lol Please let me know what you all think. Thanks, AL

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Old 01-05-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
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I've never worked with flaked barley but assuming the husk is gone therein lies the problem. Add half a pound of rice hulls next time and you'll be golden.

I also use rice hulls anytime I use Maris Otter. Anytime I don't I get dough balls and once had a stuck sparge.

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Old 01-05-2010, 04:08 AM   #3
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Did you notice if the braid was collapsed after you dumped out the grains? Braids work very well as long as the grains don't compact on the braid and collapse it. If you are using a straight braid down the center of the cooler, you may want to try a slightly longer one that can go around the outside edge of the cooler. This may lower your efficiency slightly but it will help prevent grain compaction and a collapsed braid.

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:44 AM   #4
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joety, you are correct in saying that the husk is gone. Flaked barley looks like rolled oats. I will have to give the rice hulls a try and see if that helps.

oceanselv, I didn't notice that the braid was collapsed but i didn't look at it that close either. I will have to take another look at it. I have seen where people put a coiled up copper wire in there braid for this purpose, maybe I need to do that to. A longer braid wrapped around the inside of the cooler sounds like a good idea to.

Thank you both for the suggestions.

I wonder if I would have had the same problem if I were using a false bottom? Any one know if false bottoms are more or less prone to stuck sparges than a braid?

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Old 01-05-2010, 08:17 AM   #5
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I had a stuck sparge a couple of weeks ago with 10% flaked barley (.35 kg?). For me, it was all about the mash getting too cool. I heated it back up to mash out temp, as it *had* cooled down to the 150s. I stirred it up well and held it at 168 for 5 minutes or so, then started run off again. The second time I put insulation on my mash tun (it's a keg) and actually ran it off a little bit faster and it worked better. Illogical in some ways, I know. But for me, once that flaked barley started to cool, it turned into concrete. So running off just a little bit faster allowed me to get through the process before any cooling occurred. Sparge water was at 170 for me. Anyway, it worked for me fine the this second time.

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:19 PM   #6
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Add a stainless steel spring inside of your braid, this way it cannot collapse.

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Old 01-05-2010, 07:08 PM   #7
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Flaked Barley will do it......I had a bear of a time until I started using rice hulls they will help a great deal

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Old 01-05-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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I use rice hulls and only add a couple of pounds of grain at a time, stirring it in well before adding more.

Only time I had a stuck sparge was once when I dumped in the grain too fast. That was a NASTY batch.

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Old 01-06-2010, 01:37 AM   #9
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Thank You all for the suggestions, if this stout turns out as good as I think its going to i'm sure I will be making it again. I will try the things you all have suggested and see if I can do a little better the next time.

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Old 01-06-2010, 01:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2Brew View Post
I wonder if I would have had the same problem if I were using a false bottom? Any one know if false bottoms are more or less prone to stuck sparges than a braid?
In my semi limited experience, false bottoms are better in almost every way (except price!) than braids. I get better efficiency due to lower chance of sparge water channeling (more filtering surface area), clearer running's, and faster sparges without sticking.

Just my $0.02

Good luck on the next batch!
-ZB
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