So I brewed my first all grain batch, it was EdWort's Haus Pale Ale. I filled up my HLT to 6 gallons to heat the strike water.
heated it up to 167F and drained 3.7gal into my mash tun while my friend stirred. Unforunately, I think he accidentally hit my cpvc manifold (that, or the hot water caused it to expand and fall apart). This REALLY sucked, because it dislodged my spigot and I was losing wort (although not at too quick a rate... maybe 1L/30 mins). I put my hand on the spigot and moved it around (ouch!) until there was no leaking. I waited to hour, stirring once or twice. When it was time to vorlauf, I was getting an idea of what was going on down in the manifold...
It took about 2 quarts to get the grain bed set (with many stuck sparges in between... blowing on the end of the tube to release it). It drained very quickly, but I could never get all the grain to stop coming out. I then batch sparged with 4.5 gal and repeated the process, except this time around, I used a strainer to make sure no more husks were getting into my BK.
Once the manifold was revealed, I could finally see what happened. The 'dip tube' connecting the flat manifold to the spigot had come entirely off. This mean there was essentially an open 1/2" tube draining the wort (and so not much filtration!)
Anyways... I carried on, took the hit with the tannins (quite a bit of grain made it in, and the strainer couldn't do much to help).. completed the rest of the brewing with essentially no problems. No boil over, hop additions were on time, IC cooled the wort in less than 10 minutes. I transferred to the sanitized fermenter (where I didn't quite aerate enough, DOH!) via a sanitized siphon and I finally pitched the yeast and put it in the basement where it could sit to ferment with the sanitized airlock and lid in tact.
I have seen no signs of bubbling... which is unfortunate because it has been about 15.5hrs. my OG came in at about 1.048 at 5gal when it should be 1.052 at 5.5 gal. I know this is a BRUTAL efficiency, but considering what happened in the process... I don't think I can really be too hard on myself just yet, I'll wait until I brew a batch without a hiccup to criticize my methodology. Total time was about 4.5 hrs from when I started filling up the HLT to when the fermenter was in the basement. Not bad considering all of the improv. I had to do with the MLT!
I had no leaking in either the BK or HLT, which I'm very pleased about. The only thing I need to take care of now is this problem with the manifold. Personally, I like the manifold because it can drain essentially all of the wort, it gives me the ability to move to fly sparging if I feel like I want another project, and it looks pretty damn cool. So with that said, without anyone telling me "go with a SS braid", what do you think is the best way to solve this problem? I'm thinking of gluing a few crucial parts (such as the 2 fittings which connect the horizontal manifold to the dip tube-like connector). But I'm definitely open to suggestions, so PLEASE let me hear what you have to say!