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Old 12-02-2008, 03:49 PM   #1
tonymaud
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Default Is stuck sparge a problem with batch & braid?

I was wondering if stuck sparges are a problem when using the batch sparge method in a cylindrical cooler with a stainless steel braid? I am wondering because I would like to use my Corona grain mill to crush my grains and would like to crush them fine enough to maximize my efficiency. My thinking is, if it does get stuck, you just give it a stir. Am I wrong?

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:02 PM   #2
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I use a corona and I batch sparge in a rectangular cooler....I've done 6 batches so far with no problems....i always add some rice hulls though....a little added insurance for little cost

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:04 PM   #3
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I use a Bazooka screen (essentially a big open weave braid) in my mash tun - I batch sparge - and I have never had a stuck sparge. I'm sure the braid users will chime in as well. Several guys in the local brew club use braids and I have not heard about many stuck sparges from them.

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:16 PM   #4
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I've had a stuck sparge that had me scooping all my grain out with a strainer. They're a pain in the but won't damage you're beer.
+15 on rice hulls. Throw a pound in your mash. The impart no flavor, feel or anything else to the brew. Just give you a nice filter. They're recommended in large wheat% grainbills and extra insurance on others.

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:18 PM   #5
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Since I started using a SS braid instead of the crappy plastic one (dont ask long story) I havent had a stuck sparge yet (knock on wood). Using a braid and 6.5gal round cooler. Seems to work ok for me.




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Old 12-02-2008, 04:21 PM   #6
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I had a few batches where the sparge got stuck or was just extremely slow. Tying a knot in the braid and knotting it up around the inside of the spiggot worked wonders - seems like the metal braid has a tendency to stretch out, the holes get big and it lets grain in and then it clogs up. Tying a knot in it fixed mine just fine.

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:34 PM   #7
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if you use a SS braid, take the inner tube out. I had a big ole stuck sparge trying to use mine cause the mesh just looked too flimsy.

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Old 12-02-2008, 04:37 PM   #8
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I've had one stuck and a few that were slow. The main reason for this is my LHBS ran the wheat through twice to help with my efficiency. BIG mistake. This was not the fault of the braid but mine for letting them do that. I just throw in a bunch of rice hulls for anything with much wheat in it now.

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Old 12-02-2008, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonymaud View Post
I was wondering if stuck sparges are a problem when using the batch sparge method in a cylindrical cooler with a stainless steel braid? I am wondering because I would like to use my Corona grain mill to crush my grains and would like to crush them fine enough to maximize my efficiency. My thinking is, if it does get stuck, you just give it a stir. Am I wrong?
I use this exact set-up and grind pretty fine with my Corona (low-80's efficiency). I have not had a stuck sparge yet, although I did come close once with a hefe that had a lot of wheat.

Just make sure you get a decent SS braid with a tight-knit weave to it, and make sure it isn't plastic (#1 cause of people complaining that their 'SS' braid collapsed/stuck).
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:22 PM   #10
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I made a coil of stiff wire and slipped it inside my braid. That helped a lot- especially when the grain-bed depth is thick.

Another important tool is having really hot sparge water. I mean hot enough to raise the entire mash to around 168F. That'll loosen it up and you should have a worry-free run-off. Rice hulls are good too but an option.

If I encounter a stuck mash I sometimes blow through the tube to 'unstick' it.

Stirring a stuck mash is unlikely to help unfortunately.

Otherwise depending on what equipment you have cobbled together patience is a worthy virtue since a single run can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes IME.

Crush till scared... and beyond.

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