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Old 03-02-2011, 01:53 AM   #1
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Default Question about the necessity of the manifold

So here's the gist. I've brewed all grain about two or three times before using a cooler one of my guys converted to a tun. I was then showing it to my dad so he could help build me one, since my know how in handyman work is severly lacking. However, he said that since the manifold is acting primarily as a filter, I could just use a nylon mesh thread to collect my grains and just sprage that way, letting the wort drain out my bottling bucket back into the brewpot. He suggests this rather than going through the process of building a manifold, via copper or a stainless braid.

I wonder if any of you have ever tried such a procedure or can list any potential pros or cons with experimenting with a new way to filter the grains that doesn't rely on the mainfold or braid. Thanks.

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:00 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what you mean by using nylon mesh thread, but your father is correct that the only real purpose of the manifold in a batch sparging system is to keep the spent grain in and to let the liquid out. Many people use a nylon bag instead. Search for "brew in a bag".

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:05 AM   #3
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I agree: search for BIAB

My own experience has been that BIAB = convenience and good strain but low efficiency; manifold = not always the best strain but very good efficiency

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:06 AM   #4
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You are also trying to spread out the "input points" to the drain system to avoid channeling.

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:09 AM   #5
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I do smaller 3 to 5 gallon batches and use a 5 gallon igloo MLT. I use a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer from lowes rather than a manifold but you do need to create a fluid channel/resevoir at your outlet or else it can very easily slow and block. I bought one of those stainless sink drain screens that look like a small mesh dome when upside down for a couple of bucks from the hardware and put a small hole in it and enclose my outflow. I place the nylon bag in the tun and mash and sparge as everone else. works great and everything cleans up well.

with the MLT bought it at low cost at walmart I did add some expanding foam insulation to the lid and it holds temps easily for an hour and many times to 90 min losing only 2 to 4 degrees over that time at most
I did buy the parts to change the spigot to a valve with barb/nipple so that I can adjust the flow rate. whole system works great without me having to lift out the bag hold it up to drain etc like the BIAB method. this is more like using a manifold or false bottom that lines the entire tun

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:15 AM   #6
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Not sure if it's in the online version of How to Brew or not, but Palmer has a whole section of the book dedicated to different manifold designs vs false bottom vs nothing but a single line of exit for the wort. He's got an awful lot of science backing up the utility of using a false bottom or well designed manifold to get maximum efficiency and minimize the chances of blocking things up and producing stuck sparges.

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joety View Post
You are also trying to spread out the "input points" to the drain system to avoid channeling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
Not sure if it's in the online version of How to Brew or not, but Palmer has a whole section of the book dedicated to different manifold designs vs false bottom vs nothing but a single line of exit for the wort. He's got an awful lot of science backing up the utility of using a false bottom or well designed manifold to get maximum efficiency and minimize the chances of blocking things up and producing stuck sparges.
Are you guys having problems with channeling and efficiency with batch sparging? Those seem like fly sparging concerns to me.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:52 AM   #8
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I batch sparge so have not had any problem with channeling etc esp with the resevoir I now have
my efficiency is usually in the low to mid 70's(i think from my crush using a corona mill) but one batch did get as high as 83%.

with the nylon bag in the tun if there is any concern or problem with a stuck batch sparge it can be lifted up and out just like BIAB and drained. I added the small resevoir to avert this and have not had a stuck sparge since the first time when the nylon covered the valve opening and did slow things up. I originally had a SS braid befor this but this is much better for me

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Old 03-02-2011, 03:05 AM   #9
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Are you guys having problems with channeling and efficiency with batch sparging? Those seem like fly sparging concerns to me.
I have no problems with efficiency or channeling with my manifold setup and I do batch sparge. I regularly get 80-87% BHE depending on the grain bill.

Here's my opinion on the situation:

I keep reading people suggest that when batch sparging a manifold is unnecessary because we just want to be able to get the liquid out of the tun. I don't believe that. The key to getting all available sugars out of the grist (in my opinion) is to realize that the grain will always have more sugar in it than the water. As such, you will always benefit from evenly lautering throughout the WHOLE grain bed (not just the part of the bed surrounding the braid) and lautering at a slower rate.

Again, my opinion....and I'm certainly willing to admit that I'm wrong.
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Old 03-02-2011, 03:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkynathan View Post
I keep reading people suggest that when batch sparging a manifold is unnecessary because we just want to be able to get the liquid out of the tun. I don't believe that. The key to getting all available sugars out of the grist (in my opinion) is to realize that the grain will always have more sugar in it than the water. As such, you will always benefit from evenly lautering throughout the WHOLE grain bed (not just the part of the bed surrounding the braid) and lautering at a slower rate.
I'll admit to being skeptical, but if it works for you than I've got no gripes. Wouldn't an infusion with a proper stir be lautering throughout the whole grain bed, as you say? It seems like sugar equilibrium is more a function of proportional mathematics than of mash tun design.
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