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Old 12-28-2011, 08:24 PM   #1
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Default SS false bottom or SS braid

I am looking into building myself a mash tun so that I can start all grain brewing. I am wondering if buying a false bottom would do a better job than using the SS braid method. Has any one on here had experience with both?

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:30 PM   #2
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As long as you use something in the ss braid to keep it from colapsing it works great. You can use wire wound around a pen for that. Make sure the wire is stainless.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #3
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I use both lol.

I have a home made false bottom in my keggle MLT and braids in my 2 round 5 - 10 gallon round rubbermaid coolers. The end result is pretty much the same.

With a false bottom it is easier to get a stuck sparge, once stuck it becomes a major PITA to deal with. With a braid you can just stick your mash paddle in and move the grain bed a little to unstick it in most cases.

The false bottom is more durable for sure. I replace the braid in the small cooler 1 time per year and the big cooler I think would do better with a FB than the braid. For whatever reason my braid in my larger cooler gets the %#*)@ kicked out of it and looks in bad shape pretty quickly.

Starting out I would say go with a braid. You can always change it over at a later time. This will also open up some extra cash for other equipment as FB are not exactly cheap to buy.

FWIW there are also manifolds. These are normally pipes with slits in the bottom. I always forget about these but these also will work great and are inbetween the cost of a braid and a FB. Search for it I am sure you will find a bunch of DIY ones here on HBT.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:39 PM   #4
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I have never had my braided line collapse using it in a 36qt Coleman xtreme cooler.
If my sparge were to ever stick I would blow compressed air back through the ball lock valve

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfraier View Post
As long as you use something in the ss braid to keep it from colapsing it works great. You can use wire wound around a pen for that. Make sure the wire is stainless or at least galvanized.
I do not suggest stuffing things into the braid and anything galvinized will almost instantly corrode when exposed to the wort. I have never had one colapse.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:48 PM   #6
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Braid is much cheaper than false bottom, but won't last as long.
Braid works fine for batch sparging, but not for fly sparging.
Braid fits round, square or rectangular coolers. False bottom only fits round.
I tried both while playing with batch sparging, and they both worked equally well; but I found fly sparging to be easier (because I'm used to it) so I use the false bottom.

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Old 12-28-2011, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Braid is much cheaper than false bottom, but won't last as long.
Braid works fine for batch sparging, but not for fly sparging.
Braid fits round, square or rectangular coolers. False bottom only fits round.
I tried both while playing with batch sparging, and they both worked equally well; but I found fly sparging to be easier (because I'm used to it) so I use the false bottom.

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Why will a braid not work for fly sparging?
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:39 PM   #8
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Channeling. (Uneven flow of the sparge water through the grain bed, where some parts of the grain bed get rinsed well, and other parts hardly get rinsed at all.)
See How to Brew - By John Palmer - Appendix D - Building a Mash/Lauter Tun for details.
Palmer is talking about manifolds, but a braid can be thought of as a manifold consisting of a single pipe.

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Old 12-29-2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Why will a braid not work for fly sparging?
FWIW, I used a SS braid in my 5 gallon Rubbermaid MLT and on my very first all grain I hit 76% efficiency right off the bat (with 11 pounds of grain and fly sparging).

I'm not about to argue "which is better" - it's really up to you to decide what works best for you. Most of the topics in any of the hobby forums can be likened to the ole "Ford -vs- Chevy -vs- Dodge" debate....
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:38 PM   #10
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I've had the same ss braid in my 12 gallon mlt for 4 years, hitting 75-80% efficiency. Never did it get crushed or compressed (and that mlt has been filled to the brim) and the only time it ever gets stuck is when I use pumpkin.

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