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Old 11-09-2009, 12:49 AM   #1
thedisasterparty
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Default Manifold Sparging problems

Beginner AG brewer here. So far, I haven't had too many problems with all grain brewing. Tonight however, it seems the grains are clogging my manifold. I can't drain the wort through it. My only option seems to be to pour the mash through a strainer to separate the grains and the wort. The problem with this is that the wort is super cloudy now.

Should I just ditch this brew and walk away with the supplies I have left? Can I still make an okay beer out of this? Why is the grain clogging my manifold?



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Old 11-09-2009, 01:37 AM   #2
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what type of manifold are you using? Is it slotted or drilled? slots/holes facing up or down?



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Old 11-09-2009, 01:46 AM   #3
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what type of manifold are you using? Is it slotted or drilled? slots/holes facing up or down?
It's a braided manifold. Here's a link to a site with a picture: http://www.mullerbrau.com/PICT0432.JPG

I'm boiling the wort right now. It's got an okay gravity reading, not super efficient, but it should work. The only problem is that the wort is extremely cloudy and has a lot of sediment in it since I just dumped it through a strainer. I'm going to go through with it to see what happens, since my yeast pack has been activated and most of the ingredients already used. Should I expect a bad beer?
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:28 PM   #4
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Maybe try a 1gal paint strainer bags from your local paint/HD store around the braid (I use the 5gal - but I have bigger CPVC manifold). I am new to this - but I recently just brewed my first 2 AG batches, the second one was a Wit - with Flaked Wheat, granted I did use Rice Hulls, but NO stuck sparges at all - and even though I did the 1-2 qt recirculation, it didn't seem necessary.

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Old 11-09-2009, 09:35 PM   #5
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I bet it ends up just fine. Next time try blowing back into the nozzle to see if you can dislodge what is blocking the manifold. You may want to transfer to a secondary and then also a tertiary to clear it, or feel free to use some finings like gelatin if its still cloudy after a tertiary. Did you use irish moss or whirfloc at the end of the boil?

Don't abandon it yet, it will probably be just fine.

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Old 11-10-2009, 01:48 AM   #6
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Is your braid stainless steel. Some braids are actually polymer and look like stainless, but perform poorly. A stainless braid will be vey fine strands.

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Old 11-10-2009, 02:17 AM   #7
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I feel ur pain. It will be good beer in the end.

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Old 11-10-2009, 02:31 AM   #8
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Default Ditto. Kinda

DisasterP -

Had a similar experience the other night too. 2nd AG batch went off the rails bigtime. When i hit my time in the MT I opened the ball valve to start a couple quarts of vorlauf ... got two of em run through before the system jammed up. Blew back into the tube - nada. Tried stirring up the grains. BAD IDEA dont do that too much.

The entire braid pulled off the inside nipple. Game OVER. Adrenaline started to take over. Even with the braid/filter OFF the grain had now clogged the spigot. Panic. Drank a brew.

Had to dump entire tun through a strainer like 3 times before I had a cloudy (not clumpy!) wort. Grains are still petrified to basement floor. It was now 10PM and the kettle wasnt even boiling. Total mash time was trashed - over 90 mins. Temp was too high (ARG) from attempt to unclog with sparge water. Drank another brew.

Boiled, added hops and calmed down. Continue drinking brews.

Midnight.

New CF Chiller hooked up backwards, adjusted. Sprayed water on ceiling, created slippery mess that ended up as glue on floor when mixed with sticky grain.

Note : CF chillers are the bomb. Get one and use. Boil to pail in one run - at a comfy 78 deg.

If this brew doesn't suck, then I doubt I will ever stress over a mid-stream problem again. EVER.

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Old 11-10-2009, 09:44 AM   #9
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EGADS! That's a bad brew day. Good luck next time.

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Old 11-10-2009, 04:31 PM   #10
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A couple years ago, I was doing a DFH indian brown clone all grain, batch sparge.

This was probably my 2nd or 3rd AG brew.

Strike one: First part of the recipe called for caramalizing brown sugar...but I didn't have brown sugar. So I used crappy table sugar and vanilla extract.

Strike two: Get my strike water up and going, and once it got to 170 or whatever, I dumped it in the cooler. Then I start loading grain in, stirring and all the typical all grain duties one does. Let it mash for 60 minutes and then start my sparge.

Except sparge gets all clogged, and chunks of grain are barely coming out. I start looking around, and then realize that I forgot to put the manifold in. I then poured the entire mash into the brew kettle, connected the manifold, and poured the hot mash back into the cooler. Once a big chunk of grain dislodged, was able to sparge like normal.

Pretty crap brew day, but the beer turned out fine. Seems all the crazy bad brew days or where something goes wildly wrong, the beer turns out fine.



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