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Old 02-05-2013, 06:37 PM   #1
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Default A few questions

Hey guys,

Just did my first all grain brew last week and am preparing to bottle it sometime next week. It went well, but there were some difficulties I encountered.

After the mash was complete, I turned the lever on the kettlevalve to let the wort run out, but it wasn't coming out very well, just a few drops a second, not sure why. After letting it sit that way for a few minutes I got impatient and started messing around with the spoon inside the tun (Link) and moving the false bottom around a little helped it flow, but it stopped flowing right after I stopped playing with it. I got impatient again and lifted it slightly which caused it to gush out. I let it down again and the flow kept up just fine. I guess I had a clog somewhere? Or did my false bottom get too mucked up to allow the wort through?


After the 4 hour cooling period (tun is too big to fit in the sink, didn't have any ice, and couldn't leave it sit outside in the freezing cold with the lid off), I transferred it into my betterbottle and pitched the yeast. I noticed when I moved the bb to where I was going to leave it to ferment that the bottom bulged out a little when I lifted it up, which caused it to suck in a little sterilized water from the airlock. I'd prefer to avoid that when I go to bottle. Any suggestions on how to move a BB without leaking the airlock water into the wort/beer?

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Old 02-05-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
did my false bottom get too mucked up to allow the wort through?
This is pretty common during the collection phase. What was your first brew recipe? Did it have any wheat malt in it? Did you happen to crush the grain very finely? A typical grain crush is too large to clog a good false bottom, but a fine crush, wheat malt or any additives that are smaller than typical crushed grains pretty easily gunk up the false bottom.

If you put about 1-2 lbs of rice hulls in your brews where you know you are using finer particulates, they act as a more course filter in your wort that frees up the wort flow. You just throw them in some water to condition them for about 5-10 minutes prior to using them, then mix them up randomly in the grain right before you mash. A 1lb bag of rice hulls is like $1.50.

As far as your airlock problem, there is always definitely a suckback when the pressure of lifting the wort contracts the air below the airlock. It's not a big deal if a bit of airlock water gets in the wort, but if you want to prevent it, just don't plug the airlock bung until after you move the airlock/take the airlock off before you move it to bottle. As long as the airlock/bung isn't off for an extended period of time, you're kosher.

Good luck!
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:30 PM   #3
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+1 to topher

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Old 02-05-2013, 08:39 PM   #4
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Another option is to use the S-shaped airlocks instead of the three piece. With the S-shape you are protected from air flowing either direction.

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Old 02-05-2013, 08:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
This is pretty common during the collection phase. What was your first brew recipe? Did it have any wheat malt in it? Did you happen to crush the grain very finely? A typical grain crush is too large to clog a good false bottom, but a fine crush, wheat malt or any additives that are smaller than typical crushed grains pretty easily gunk up the false bottom.

If you put about 1-2 lbs of rice hulls in your brews where you know you are using finer particulates, they act as a more course filter in your wort that frees up the wort flow. You just throw them in some water to condition them for about 5-10 minutes prior to using them, then mix them up randomly in the grain right before you mash. A 1lb bag of rice hulls is like $1.50.

As far as your airlock problem, there is always definitely a suckback when the pressure of lifting the wort contracts the air below the airlock. It's not a big deal if a bit of airlock water gets in the wort, but if you want to prevent it, just don't plug the airlock bung until after you move the airlock/take the airlock off before you move it to bottle. As long as the airlock/bung isn't off for an extended period of time, you're kosher.

Good luck!
It was a chocolate milk stout. Perhaps it was too fine, not sure. Don't really remember it too well .

I thought rice hulls were used to alter the beer somehow. Interesting idea using them to help act as a filter. I don't think there was any wheat in the recipe. Could have been too finely milled though, I had AHS mill it for me. Who knows..

I think what I'll do is remove the airlock before I move it to bottle and replace it with a balloon to keep things from being sucked in. I don't much like the idea of the BB sucking in a bunch of air right before I bottle it.


Thank you!
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
I thought rice hulls were used to alter the beer somehow. Interesting idea using them to help act as a filter.
Rice hulls don't add any characteristics to the beer. They just act as a filter. It isn't uncommon for the collection phase to take a good 45-60 minutes, so you may just have been a bit impatient with it. If you want it to flow faster, the rice hulls will accomplish that. If it starts to stick, a good trick is to attach an auto-siphon to the barb valve and pump some air bubbles into the mash tun. A few pumps will usually speed things up.

Quote:
Could have been too finely milled though, I had AHS mill it for me.
AHS would have a standard mill that should be fine without rice hulls. It shouldn't have been too fine. They are a VERY good operation.

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I think what I'll do is remove the airlock before I move it to bottle and replace it with a balloon to keep things from being sucked in. I don't much like the idea of the BB sucking in a bunch of air right before I bottle it.
This isn't really necessary, but you can do it if it makes you feel better. CO2 is more dense than air, and the amount of air that's sucked in is pretty negligable. Any air that is sucked in is pretty rapidly displaced by the denser CO2, and won't affect the beer.

Good luck!
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Primary #1 - Oktoberfest
Primary #2 - Chamomile Honey Wheat
Primary #3 - EMPTY!
Secondary #1 - Downtown Flanders Brown (brewed August 2012)
Keg #1 - Coffee Vanilla Stout
Keg #2 - Fall of the Ukraine Baltic Porter (lagering in keg)
Keg #3 - EMPTY!
Bottled - NONE!

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
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Never would have thought to use the siphon like that. Not a bad idea. I'll have to try that next time if its necessary. I wasn't exaggerating when I said that it was a few drops a minute, it was really that slow. Thank you for all the useful information

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