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Old 08-25-2013, 10:09 PM   #1
farny
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Default Stuck Mash Again!

I've brewed all grain for almost a year now and have been using the 5gal cooler mash tun with stainless braid with no issues. Two brews ago I decided I wanted to squeeze a few more efficiency points out so I switched to the cooler false bottom from morebeer.com I also decided to rig up a gravity system so I could try fly sparging. My first brew ingredients:

7.5 lbs of 2 row
1lb carafoam
1lb crystal 15

I added 12 quarts of water to make a mash temp of 152.

Everything was going fine until I go to vorlauf when I cracked the valve and a little comes out then it stops completely. Not even a drip comes out. I tried everything: mash out, blowing in the tube, stirring, blowing water into the tube nothing would un-stuck the mash. I ended up having to transfer the mash into another cooler then clean the false bottom and it worked the second time.

My second brew was very similar ingedients and the same exact problem. Couldn't unstuck the mash had to transfer into another cooler but even then it didnt un stuck the mash so I pulled out my old stainless braid and that did the trick.

I'm frustrated and put off that spending the extra money to improve my system has led to disaster. Any advice?

The false bottom is connected to the valve with some 3/8" silicone tubing. After the valve I have 3ft of 3/8" tubing into my boil kettle.

Thanks for any advice! Love the forums!

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Old 08-26-2013, 12:02 AM   #2
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Use rice hulls and/or if you are milling your grain, loosen the gap a bit. You may also need to try to raise the temp to 165 for mash out. I never do this but I hear that works good. I would try a pound of rice hulls next brew.

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Old 08-26-2013, 12:43 AM   #3
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I agree with the rice hulls, but I think 1 pound is too much. I usually just throw in a double handful, works for me.

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Old 08-27-2013, 01:27 AM   #4
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I did try probably a quarter pound of rice hulls in my second batch. I also tried not stirring the mash because I was afraid that the first time I may have got some grains under the false bottom and somehow clogged it, I don't it was a guess. I use the mill at the homebrew supply store to mill all the grains so I have trouble thinking that the crush size is the problem.

Maybe next time I try adding a bunch more rice hulls and see if that helps.

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Old 08-27-2013, 03:39 AM   #5
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Yeah the rice hulls help a lot. And. Stir that mash, draw off into a cup slowly and pour back on top of the mash for a while. I have also found if my mash thickness is too thin I have too compact a grain bed by the time i start sparging. That's just me others will disagree.

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Old 08-27-2013, 04:16 AM   #6
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Hate to say it man, but go back to the braid! If it ain't broke don't fix it! But I do understand though, I've certainly lusted after brewery upgrades and been less than impressed. I'm a proud SS braid batch sparger, and I regularly get 90+% efficiency with a tight crush and some rice hulls, and IMHO it's way easier to add a $1 pound of malt to your brew to make up for efficiency than to spend all that time fly sparging and spending good cash on a false bottom. Contact morebeer and tell them their false bottom sucks and you want your money back, and go back to the braid

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Old 08-27-2013, 04:45 AM   #7
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Noting the Obvious aside from rice hulls..
Is the fit for everything correct? Double check its assembled tightly? I know that the spigot for my mash tun likes to wander a little bit if I assemble hoses to it from time to time.

Also as mentioned draw off very slowly and recycle your initial couple of quarts of wort. When I do my initial draw I'm very cautious and let it trickle in for a moment or two before opening it up very gradually to give things a chance to settle properly.

Also what are you mashing? Rye, Flaked anything in large amounts will create messes.

Also from my experience by not having not done so.. I mix up all the crushed grains as evenly as I can in the bucket before I pour them in to my mash tun. I do use rye and flaked grains a lot and I suspect that evenly distributing these items helps with extraction and uniform settling.

Just some thoughts to further muddy the water.

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Old 08-27-2013, 05:22 AM   #8
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I don't use many flaked grains or rye, actually I think I've only used oats in one brew ever. It's a problem in almost any hobby, you buy upgraded equipment to solve a problem and it opens up twice as many more complicated problems!

For my next brew this is what I'll try: 0.5-1lb of rice hulls, no adjuncts, stir well during mash, crack valve very very slowly, add more strike water than normal (maybe 1.5 quarts per lb of grain?)

As for fitment, everything seems snug inside the mash tun. I figure I don't need hose clamps since the tubing seems to hold onto the barbs pretty well. The false bottom does just rest on the bottom there's not really a way to secure it.


Thanks for the input guys!

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Old 08-27-2013, 06:17 PM   #9
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if you don't stir your mash at dough in you WILL get a stuck sparge, it probably has nothing to do with the false bottom vs a braid (unless the FB is plastic and collapsing).
i can't fit a credit card between the rollers of my grain mill and my keggle mash tun with a false bottom has only gotten stuck when i didn't stir well at dough in or let it sit for 10 minutes before recirculating.

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Old 08-27-2013, 06:23 PM   #10
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I always put the hot water in the cooler 1st, then stir in the grain. never a stuck mash drain.

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