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Old 11-04-2008, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default stuck sparge = anger

Today was a test of faith ..Goal was to brew two 5 gal batches, and keg another 2 5 gallons...nice weather so high hopes..

Kegging was fine, and first 5 gallon batch was a success..

Ashamed to admit, but, when attempting the second batch (PaultheNurs's Porter), I could not get the valve to drain anything .... I dumped 12 lbs of grain into a brewpot, and furiously tried to clean out the braid and valve.

Tested with straignt water, and drained fine...

(its a 5 gallon cooler, maybe I should step up to 10 )

Put grain back in, and still stuck !! Very tired. Took cooler and threw it in the woods .. can't remember recently being so pissed off..

Taking a vacation from all grain ... (the first partial mash took under 2.5 hours)...going back to extract and partial mash ..

Has anyone gone through a stuck sparge ? Is there a stick-proof sparging system ??

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:21 PM   #2
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Been there, done that. Sent what had at one time been a domed 12" false bottom flying across the street in a fit of anger. Thankfully missing the New Cooper Mini that was in it's flight path. Of course, I did try to lay 30 pounds + of grain over the top of it.

Most likely, your braid collapsed under pressure. You could try a homemaid copper or plastic manifold.

I have since been using a Sabco false bottom with great success on big grain bills. My last also included about 30 pounds of grain and the FB worked flawlessly.

Good luck.

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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rice hulls....lots of ricehulls

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:25 PM   #4
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Yep, you need to keep a good supply of rice hulls on hand. Also, the design of your drainage system is key. I use a SS false bottom and have never had problems....

except that one time when I used a bunch of pumpkin in the mash.... shudders

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:27 PM   #5
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I use a bazooka tube in my cooler and it has never stuck on me, even with a grain bill that was 50% wheat with no rice hulls. Crush matters also. If you crush too fine, or even too coarse (many uncracked grains) then you are prone to stuck sparges.

BierMuncher recommends a blast of water from a hose directed up into the cooler through the outlet tube to clear stuck sparges.

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:42 PM   #6
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Don't give up on all grain! I had the same thing happen to me while using a SS braid filter. I ended up dumping the grain/wort back and forth between bucket and cooler 3 or 4 times. I figured it would taste like sh$t with all that hot side aeration, but it turned out to be quite a tasty IPA!

Here's the setup I use now, which was cheap, easy to make, and is stuck sparge proof!
(1) 12" x 1/2" copper tubing
(2) 45 deg elbows
(1) 3/8" -> 1/2" FPT reducer (to fit my 1/2" MPT connection to ball valve)

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Old 11-04-2008, 08:57 PM   #7
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Default Stuck Sparge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah my first AG went something like that as well. I tried to Batch Sparge in a 10g Rubbermaid Cooler with a False Bottom as the manifold. It was a Pumpkin Ale, and yes I added 1.5 lbs of Rice Hulls. The Vorlauf went well, well it sorta did. Then I added the sparge water...10 min later stuck sparge. I blew into the hose to agitate it...nothing...still stuck. I wound up with a pitcher scooping the grains and wort out over a kitchen strainer into my boil kettle. It turned out that some grains made it through the False Bottom and into the hose out to the valve... It is in the secondary and I am going to bottle soon. I hope it will be good. I also forgot to clean my new wort chiller before adding it to the boil kettle. More beer said that there might be some residual oil or dirt from the mfr. process. I did not see any oil so I am calling it all good. Despite everything in this fiasco of a brew day I still somehow managed (by the grace of the Beer Gods) to hit a FG of 1.012.
I also got a Coleman Extreme and converted it to be a mash tun with a Bazooka Screen...Things are looking up already...lol

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Old 11-04-2008, 09:10 PM   #8
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Love the manifold .. do you have to solder the 45's ?

Also, how big do u drill the holes in the 12" piece ?

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Old 11-04-2008, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kappclark View Post
Love the manifold .. do you have to solder the 45's ?

Also, how big do u drill the holes in the 12" piece ?
I should solder it, but I've used it for 4-5 batches without any problems, YMMV. I'll be soldering it sometime this weekend, I just need to get some flux and solder. The holes drilled in the manifold are 1/16" on top, and 1/8"(i think, maybe smaller) on the sides and bottom. You could probably do away with the holes on top, but it sure does drain fast with the holes on all sides.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:20 PM   #10
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I wouldn't soldier. No need.

The heat will expand the joints and they'll hold very tight.

Plus, disassembling to clean is easier.

I'm a big fan of the manifold. That and saucepot of rice hulls in every batch make AG life a breeze.

manifold_unfiltered.jpg

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