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Old 08-17-2006, 01:36 AM   #1
Trodd
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Default Stuck Sparge

I am in the middle of brewing right now...(boiling, about to add the malt extract in like 10 minutes) and i just tried my new lauder tun / sparger. I have a 5 gal rubbermaide cooler out fitted with a plastic false bottom. I got a little out of the tin, and then it stuck. I had to pour out the tun over cheese cloth and a colinder into the kettle. I beleive that this was caused by the flase bottle floating on me. How do you keep the false bottom on the bottom of the lauder tun? Do you add weights? I added my steeping water then the grains, then mixed and waited 45 minutes. I thought this was the normal practice. I need insite. Thank you.

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Old 08-17-2006, 01:40 AM   #2
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I think most people use a metal false bottom which doesn't float. Perhaps you could seal it down with some food grade silicon, but this would make it practically impossible to clean underneath since removal would be a problem.

Incidentally, how would the false bottom floating create a stuck mash? If it floated it you would have even more deadspace underneath the mash (which in and of itself isn't a great thing), but I don't see how it would stick the mash. If it floats and sticks the mash, it would probably stick it if it didn't float, too.

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Old 08-17-2006, 01:44 AM   #3
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I did find some grains in the elbow attached to the false bottom. But there was no run off into the kettle during sparge. I dont know why else it would have stuck. When i was cleaning the flase bottom, only like 20% of the holes were clogged with grain, so i I dont think that was the issue. any hints? This was teh first time i used this set up.

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Old 08-17-2006, 02:06 AM   #4
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If grains plugged up your runoff than your lauter design is probably inadequate or needs reworking at a minimum. What is the design of your false bottom? I've only used stainless braid and a copper manifold, so I can't really speak to a plastic false bottom (though I hope it is rated for mash temps).

One thing I do to try avoid a stuck mash is to open the valve very slowly before going full on (I batch sparge). This usually prevents the mash from setting too quickly and compacting.

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Old 08-17-2006, 02:09 AM   #5
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It is a store bought Phils Plastic False Bottom, its a thick sheet of plastic that is domed and has holes in it with an elbow in the center.

It stuck almost instantly from when i opened up the hose clip.

Should i just suck it up and buy a Stainless Steel one?

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Old 08-17-2006, 02:16 AM   #6
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What grains were you using? Functionally there isn't much difference between plastic & SS, except the floating part.

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Old 08-17-2006, 02:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trodd
Should i just suck it up and buy a Stainless Steel one?
If you batch sparge, then go for a stainless braid. It works great! Here's one from RichBrewer.

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Old 08-17-2006, 02:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron von BeeGee
I think most people use a metal false bottom which doesn't float. Perhaps you could seal it down with some food grade silicon, but this would make it practically impossible to clean underneath since removal would be a problem.
i found i had to play with the length of tubing that connects the false bottom to the valve to get it to stay down
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Old 08-17-2006, 02:44 AM   #9
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I have the Phil's False Bottom in a 5g cooler, and have never had a problem like yours.
I have had problems stirring the mash, and dislodging the rubber bung that holds the outlet tube in place, but that's not a problem with the false bottom.
I've also had some stuck sparges, but only if I allow the grain bed to get too compacted, and when using a large amount of flaked barley. Again not a fault of the false bottom.

These are the rules that I follow.
1. Always add foundation water before adding grain. (I make sure there is at least 4 inches of water above the bottom before adding any grain.
2. Having added the foundation water, and before adding the grain, bleed a little water out of the outlet to eliminate any air in the outlet. (The air can cause an air lock which could be what happened to you.)
3. If using a large amount of flaked cereal, don't let the sparge water drop too low when sparging, as this can compact the grain bed.
4. Don't screw the elbow all the way in. If you do, it can rest on the bottom of the cooler and not allow wort to drain. (This is another possible cause of your problem.)
5. If you do get a stuck sparge, you can usually start it off again by backfilling with water through the outlet hose to force out any grains or air that are stuck in the elbow.

I've had mine for over 10 years, and am very happy with it.

-a.

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Old 08-20-2006, 01:05 PM   #10
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Just curious- does anyone (besides me) use the grain-bag/ double-bucket set-up anymore?

p

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