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Old 04-19-2013, 07:59 PM   #1
TMadness1013
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Default Help! Problems Draining Wort from MLT

Just did my first all grain batch & all went well, until I went to vorlauf...

Just had a slight trickle. I'm using a Keggle w/ a Jaybird false bottom & dip tube on a 3-tier gravity fed system.

I figured the dip tube was clogged, so I blew into the tubing & cleared it (mash bubbled up) - went to try vorlauf again, the hazy wort would move down the tubing for a few seconds & then instead of continuing to go down into my pitcher it actually went UP, back into the MLT.

I had to borrow a friend's mash tun & then transferred the mash, was able to transfer my wort, & all went well from that point.

What I'm nervous about is having this problem again. After investigating, there was hardly any grain at all under the false bottom.

I'm thinking that the dip tube was too low & may have been touching the bottom of the keg. Any ideas and suggestions are appreciated!

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Old 04-19-2013, 09:23 PM   #2
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could also be that the crush was too fine and created a kind of flour that sits on the bottom of the keggle.

Fill it up with water and test?

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Old 04-19-2013, 10:30 PM   #3
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What were you brewing? Any adjuncts in the recipe? I use rice hulls whenever I am in doubt.

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Old 04-20-2013, 01:07 PM   #4
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Take a long handled plastic mash paddle, the little thin ones, and gently but continuously cut the top of the grain bed anywhere from a quarter to an inch deep in random directions.

This allows the wort to flow through the grain bed which has suctioned itself tight due to small grain particles laying on the top of the grain bed itself.

A quick test is to gently pull a small amount of grain from the edge of the mash tun using the paddle (of course this isn't good to do in practice because all wort will flow through this point and along the wall of the mash tun instead of through the grain bed itself, but as a quick test it should suffice.)

Rice Hulls do sometimes help with sort of thing, but I've used rice hulls and still had to cut the grain bed.

This generally occurs because of too fine a crush or too much stirring (neither is necessarily wrong, just different and needs to be adapted too).

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Old 04-22-2013, 01:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMadness1013 View Post
Just did my first all grain batch & all went well, until I went to vorlauf...

Just had a slight trickle. I'm using a Keggle w/ a Jaybird false bottom & dip tube on a 3-tier gravity fed system.

I figured the dip tube was clogged, so I blew into the tubing & cleared it (mash bubbled up) - went to try vorlauf again, the hazy wort would move down the tubing for a few seconds & then instead of continuing to go down into my pitcher it actually went UP, back into the MLT.

I had to borrow a friend's mash tun & then transferred the mash, was able to transfer my wort, & all went well from that point.

What I'm nervous about is having this problem again. After investigating, there was hardly any grain at all under the false bottom.

I'm thinking that the dip tube was too low & may have been touching the bottom of the keg. Any ideas and suggestions are appreciated!
It was more than likely the dip tube sealing off the flow. Are you using a welded or weldless connection?
Sorry to hear of the trouble, that is no fun at all.
Jay
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. It was a simple recipe - British Pale Ale - 9.5# Marris Otter, .75# Crystal 60. If anything it was a coarse crush. I definitely may have stirred too much though...I guess I hadn't come across anything in my reading that warned against that.

I'm using the weldless connection. When I did a water test the next day I found that I needed to tighten the dip tube up more to pull it up a bit higher. I'm going to give things another go this Thursday!

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Old 05-27-2013, 05:27 PM   #7
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See Jaybird's comment. Just cut the end of your dip tube off at a 45° (cut-off wheel will work). When the tube is flat the weight of the grain compresses it against the bottom of the keg. You can also try to put something under the dip tube to prop it up, but I didn't have much luck. Simple fix.

Note: Won't fix stuck mashes. . .these still will happen if your recirc rate is too high or you don't wait long enough to establish good grain bed filtration. Might look into rice hulls if this becomes a chronic problem. I recirc throughout mashing (HERMS). When mine mash gets stuck I just stir it up with a paddle, wait 10 min, and restart ciruculation. It re-vorlaufs (if you will) within a couple of minutes. . .

Good luck!

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Old 05-28-2013, 01:48 PM   #8
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No such thing as overstirring.

When you open your valve to start the vorlauf, how much are you opening it up. If you start with a trickle until it is clear then open it up slowly when draining I notice it flows faster once the grain bed is established. This weekend was the first time I managed a well flowing drain though with my bazooka tube. But if it is too low, that can definitely cause it.

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