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Old 04-28-2009, 02:20 AM   #21
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I'd be interested in hearing more from the guys who have had stuck sparges with braids. Specifically:

What type of recipe? Lots of adjuncts? Huge grain bill?

How long was your braid, and in what configuration? (straight, circular, etc.)

If straight, was the end weighted with a plug?

Was it reinforced with a piece of perforated tubing?

I've done about 45 batches with the same circular, reinforced braid and have never had a stuck or slow sparge...the wort drains as fast as the ball valve allows. And honestly, I could probably get away with no vorlaufing...I do a few quarts, just on principle. So I'm just wondering what I'm doing right!

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:48 AM   #22
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My braid was big enough to clamp onto a 1/2" connection on the inside of my MLT. The end was plugged using a 3/8" capped tube. As I stated before, I had semi-stuck sparges because I (knew) had stirred too much causing the braid to kink near the outlet. I saw this after I dumped the grain and took a GOOD look at the braid.

Since then I've built a "ridgid" 1/2 " copper manifold for my MLT. I will be using it on it's inaugural run soon, very soon. I'll report on it's efficiency, and how well it works versus the "Braid".


I hope this helps from my stand point. I understand if someone can use a certain system like the "braided" version, and cannot have any problems associated with sparging like you have. To me that depends on if you have modified the braid, at all even a little bit after your next brew. But I suppose with anything there are a certain amount of variables to contend with.

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Old 04-28-2009, 12:06 PM   #23
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I have never "stuck" a sparge w/ my braided mash tun, but I think I have come close a few times w/ a slow runoff. I've even run out of rice hulls and haven't bothered getting more. Once I think I blew some air back through the braid...stirred a bit. Usually when using wheat and oats. I think this results due to the very fine crush on my base grains in addition to the sticky wheat and oats more than anything else.

I agree w/ you, at times I feel like I'm vorlaufing just to do it as there is minimal debris in the first runnings. I mentioned not vorlaufing to the board here as I felt it was questionable the amount of stuff I was eliminating from the boil, the responses were all firm that, vorlaufing is REQUIRED, that's the way it's done. Maybe I'll skip it next bath, hah.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:48 PM   #24
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I had a stuck sparge with the braid on my last batch. Combination of many factors. It was a 10 gallon batch of oatmeal stout, tun was way full and had a crapload of oats, no rice hulls. The braid is also somewhat stretched out. I didn't have the end weighted, I think I'm going to put a perforated copper tube through it, or some copper wire so I can form it's shape better.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:58 PM   #25
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For what it's worth, the best performance I've ever gotten out of a braid was the version I used on my keg MLT before I put a false bottom in it.

The basic idea is, attach a copper tube to the bulkhead and have it run down to the bottom of the MLT and lay flat. Put a cap on the end, but don't solder it. Drill a few holes in the copper tube just on the bottom, maybe six 1/4" holes. Remove the tube from the cooler and wrap either stainless or copper wiring around the tube spacing each coil by about an inch. Cover that with 3/4" diameter stainless braid from a water heater hookup hose.

This works really well because it supports the braid and holds it down really well. The copper tube also acts as a dip tube if your bulkhead is high off the bottom. The copper/stainless coil keep the braid from sitting flat against the copper tube which would normally block off a ton of open braid area. In a cooler, this is easily done with a single piece of flexible tubing rather than with all the rigid pipe and fittings.

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Old 04-28-2009, 02:26 PM   #26
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Never used a braid. I had some fun building a copper manifold and the cost isn't really that much more. I used a CNC mill to drill holes at specific spacings and then reamed the copper with drill bits to tear out the torn metal. Then I filed the inside and outside to smooth and then scrubbed the outside with sandpaper to improve it. Oh, and I used a dremel with a drill bit to ream the drilled holes to help clear the torn copper.

Yeah, it was a hassle, but the tubes are smooth now and clean.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:16 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
Those who fly sparge use a manifold to avoid channeling (almost a requirement).

Glad I read this. I tried my first fly sparge on Saturday and got 62% efficiency when I normally get 70-74%

I bought a SS false bottom but I haven't installed it yet. Those whole 5 minutes are just too much.
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:25 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
I went with a CPVC manifold...
Same here, and I batch sparge. Easy and fun to build. I've used it since my 1st AG and have never looked back. No concerns on the plastic in coolers creating any off-flavors or any other such problems.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:59 PM   #29
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manifold you can batch sparge OR fly sparge

Braid your are just batch sparging

People have done great with both methods

I had a braid found out I was WAY to ham handed and crushed it 3 out of the 4 times I tried using it and had to replace it twice..... so went with a false bottom no more crushed braids...

If your NOT an idiot like myself then have fun with a braid its much cheaper and will get you started just fine untill if/when you decide you want a false bottom/manifold......

So to give you a direct answere.....Whichever...
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:51 PM   #30
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Good info in here already, but I might as well give my 2 cents. I batch sparge fwiw.

I have a bazooka screen (braid) and false bottom in a cooler. I've done several batches on each and personally like the braid quite a bit better because: a)it flows much better b) it was cheap (even cheaper if you make your own) and c)leaves less wort behind. It's also a little easier to clean which is nice after a long brew day.

The only thing I like better about the false bottom is that I don't worry as much about damaging it when stirring. The braid seems like it could get messed up if I hit it too hard, although this hasn't been an issue so far.

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