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Old 01-18-2010, 05:34 PM   #1
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Default Stuck sparges

I've been having problems lately with stuck sparges on my small scale system. I'm not in a huge rush to fix it since I mostly brew on the RIMS, but for smaller experimental batches, I use my old HD 10gallon cooler for a MLT. When I first started brewing AG with the cooler, it was great. The last 4 or 5 batches I've done on it have had stuck sparges though. I've been able to blow into the tubing in order to get it flowing again, but I'd prefer to not have to do this.

I use a homemade copper manifold that's just a circle that sits about 2" above the bottom of the cooler and an 1" or so away from the sides. I have slits cut in it about every 1/4" or so. It doesn't have anything to rest on the one side, so when grains are loaded in, it sits on the bottom of the cooler. It's also not sweat into the ball valve because I wanted it to be easily removable for cleaning. I do protein rests on most of my beers, so can anyone see another reason why this is constantly becoming stuck?

I did notice that the cooler walls have become fairly warped in one spot over the years.... could this be causing issues?



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Old 01-18-2010, 05:54 PM   #2
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Does it sit 2 inches bove the bottom or on the bottom? Or half and halfish? This may be part of the issue. Although I use a false bottom, I think you want your manifold flush on the bottom of the cooler.

How fast do you run off? I am at most about 1/2 open on my valve to keep it from running to quickly and solidifying the grain bed.

Good Luck!



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Old 01-18-2010, 09:28 PM   #3
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It sits 2" above the bottom in the front near the ball valve, and I'm assuming after the weight of the grain is added, it sits on the bottom in the back. Maybe I could try sweating on a piece of copper to hold it above the bottom. I'll check it out.

I run the drain wide open because I batch sparge. I've tried it half open, but haven't had any better luck.

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Old 01-18-2010, 09:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
It sits 2" above the bottom in the front near the ball valve, and I'm assuming after the weight of the grain is added, it sits on the bottom in the back. Maybe I could try sweating on a piece of copper to hold it above the bottom. I'll check it out.

I run the drain wide open because I batch sparge. I've tried it half open, but haven't had any better luck.
  • Make sure your slits are on the underside...not facing up.
  • Try closing down your valve. Too fast of a drain will cause suction and stuck sparges.
  • Toss in a pot full of rice hulls.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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  • Make sure your slits are on the underside...not facing up.
  • Try closing down your valve. Too fast of a drain will cause suction and stuck sparges.
  • Toss in a pot full of rice hulls.
Slits on the underside? Really? I always thought they were supposed to face up.... stupid me. I guess I'll flip it around and see if it helps...quick easy fix hopefully. Thanks BM.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:38 PM   #6
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And you want the whole thing to rest on the bottom or you'll leave wort behind, reducing your efficiency.

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Old 01-18-2010, 11:48 PM   #7
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Yes, slits go under on a manifold.

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Old 01-20-2010, 12:57 AM   #8
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Slits on the underside? Really? I always thought they were supposed to face up.... stupid me. I guess I'll flip it around and see if it helps...quick easy fix hopefully. Thanks BM.
No worries. Thinks of manifold slits like your nostrils. They're pointed down for a reason.


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