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Old 10-26-2009, 05:16 PM   #1
Palefire
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Default Is this a stuck sparge?

I guess this is one of those "never thought it would happen to me" threads...

Did my second AG on Saturday. Made Orfy's Mild. Used the Denny Conn mash+infusion+single sparge method. So I mashed at 1.5qt/lb, infused with boiling water to reach half of my pre-boil amount. Vorlaufed until the wort was clear, then opened the valve all the way and drained. When wort stopped draining out of the cooler, the volume of the kettle didn't quite look right, so I opened up the cooler and saw a nice layer of water sitting on top of the grain bed! Damn! Wasn't sure what to do, so I closed to valve, stirred, vorlaufed again and drained. Got a bunch more water out. Sparged with the remaining water, let sit for 10 minutes, and drained, which went fine.

I didn't monitor water volumes in the kettle so well, so instead of 5.25 in the fermenter I ended up with 4.9 or so (I also whirlpooled for the first time, so that may have had something to do with it - still working out the specifics of my system).

So I'm assuming I had a stuck sparge there? Didn't really seem like I should get one, since there's no wheat or anything like that in the recipe, and my cooler has a big water heater braid in it. Not sure what to do for the future - should I start including rice hulls in all of my recipes?

The other thing is that when I vorlaufed, I used a pot lid to disperse the wort, though in retrospect I should have just poured it back in, since thinking about it, channeling probably helps with lautering when batch sparging.

Not the end of the world - just trying to fix as many elements of my process as I can. Thanks!

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Old 10-26-2009, 05:19 PM   #2
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I'd call it stuck. They can also occur when the crush is a bit too fine.

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Old 10-26-2009, 05:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palefire View Post
Ithen opened the valve all the way and drained.
This was likely the problem. I start the vorlauf/runoff very slowly, with the valve just cracked. Once I return the vorlauf portion to the mash, the grain bed has set and I can open up the valve completely. Try that next time and see if it works better for you.
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Old 10-26-2009, 05:58 PM   #4
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This was likely the problem. I start the vorlauf/runoff very slowly, with the valve just cracked. Once I return the vorlauf portion to the mash, the grain bed has set and I can open up the valve completely. Try that next time and see if it works better for you.
Oh, sorry ... that's what I did do! Just cracked the valve for the vorlauf, kept it cracked until the wort ran clear (about , closed the valve, returned the vorlaufed liquid to the mash, then put the end of the tubing into the kettle and opened the valve completely. It got stuck with about 1/3 of the first runnings still in the cooler.

Man, love how I mention "Denny Conn" in my post and you're the second response! Maybe I should try it with some more people I'd love to hear from...
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:46 PM   #5
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Sure, man, mention God the next time and see what happens!

Hmmmm...seriously, though, I wonder if closing the valve and then reopening it full on could have done it? I usually xfer the hose to the kettle when I return the vorlauf, so it never stops running.

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