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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Giving it a good stir?
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:25 AM   #1
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Default Giving it a good stir?

My first attempt at AG I stirred my mash too much and had a stuck mash. Lost it all and started over. People here have been saying to give your mash a good stir when batch sparging. Won't that mess up the grain bed and possibly get your run off stuck? By the way, I use a false bottom that I'm sure lifts up a bit if stirred too hard. Any thoughts?

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Old 04-05-2009, 12:38 AM   #2
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No, with a batch sparge you must stir and vorlauf again. With a suck sparge you can stir and vorlauf to get it going again as well.

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Old 04-05-2009, 12:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dezul313 View Post
My first attempt at AG I stirred my mash too much and had a stuck mash. Lost it all and started over. People here have been saying to give your mash a good stir when batch sparging. Won't that mess up the grain bed and possibly get your run off stuck? By the way, I use a false bottom that I'm sure lifts up a bit if stirred too hard. Any thoughts?
Check this out.

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We just had a near catastrophe. As I was stirring in my second infusion I noticed my steel braid swimming around freely in the mash. The solution was easy enough though, at the end of the sacc rest I dumped the entire mash into my bottling bucket, fixed the braid back onto the hose barb, and dumped the whole mash back into the MLT. A little extra vorlauf and we're right back on track. I don't really believe in HSA anyway; I use a drill/paint stirrer to stir my mash.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:48 AM   #4
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With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)

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Old 04-05-2009, 12:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Conroe View Post
With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)
Vourlofing won't work if nothing is coming out.
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:13 AM   #6
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But with a good stir it will. Believe me I know. I just mashed with with 42% unmalted wheat (and a false bottom.)

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With a suck sparge you can stir and vorlauf to get it going again.
The mash can get too compacted and stop the flow. Rice hulls could help. I haven't used them. A stir will loosen it up then another vorlauf will be necessary.
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by dezul313 View Post
People here have been saying to give your mash a good stir when batch sparging.

Are you stirring WHILE you sparge/runoff? That can almost guarantee a stuck sparge. My way of doing it is:

1. Add sparge water
2. Mix well for about a minute
3. Slowly open the valve and begin the vorlauf
4. After your wort runs clear, open the valve to full and into the kettle
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:29 AM   #8
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With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)
No matter where the braid is, it doesn't affect the dead space. All the fluid will drain out the outlet.. until it reaches the outlet level.
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:31 AM   #9
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Is your false bottom the right size? It should cover just about all of the bottom of the MLT, leaving just a very narrow band (about 1/4 ") around the perimeter. If it is too small, it will be easy to get grain underneath.
Is it plastic? If so, it is quite easy to get grain underneath. The following procedure helps to overcome this:
1. Use a good stiff tube to connect the false bottom to the MLT outlet. I use copper pipe connected at either end by a short length of braided tube. This helps to keep the bottom in position.
2. Before adding any grain to the MLT add a sufficient foundation of strike water so that the outlet tube is completely submerged. Then draw off a small amount of water to flood the outlet. This prevents air in the outlet from trying to float the bottom.
3. Don't stir too vigorously. If you catch the outlet, you can lift the bottom, and get grain underneath. Stirring a bit more gently for a bit longer works just as well.
4. Alternate between adding small amounts of strike water and malt, making sure that the malt is always suspended by the water, ensuring that the grain is thoroughly wetted after each addition before adding any more grain. This prevents the weight of unsupported grain from plugging the holes in the bottom.
Finally, if you do get a stuck sparge, you can always ladle the entire mash into your kettle or a bucket, clean out the obstruction, reassemble, and ladle it back again. It's a PITA, but still better than dumping a brew.

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Old 04-05-2009, 03:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jolly McStanson View Post
No matter where the braid is, it doesn't affect the dead space. All the fluid will drain out the outlet.. until it reaches the outlet level.
Good point. There is no siphon, just a drain at the outlet. That also suggests that a long braid is of little use and a small screen over the drain hole would do pretty much the same thing. Dip tube FTW. I also use a heat molded pex line in my large cooler (for bigger batches of proven recipes) that has holes drilled in the bottom of it. It siphons nearly everything out of the my MLT and is somewhat immovable (every bit as much as a false bottom is.)
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