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Old 10-30-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
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Default False bottoms: explain to me like I'm 5

Can someone explain to me in detail how to avoid stuck mashes / sparges with a false bottom? I do only infusion mashing right now and am considering switching to RIMS, and it seems like a stuck mash could really mess up a pump.

My current setup: I use a 5-gallon round cooler (would consider switching to 10-gal if it really matters, though nearly all of my beers are under 1.065 or so), with a bazooka screen / tube screwed into a threaded connection on the inside of the cooler. Looking back over my notes, I realize about 10% of my mashes get stuck; looking around online I see that people usually recommend bazooka tubes only for filtering hops post-boil and NOT for mashing, precisely because they get stuck so much.

But here's the thing - I actually started with a false bottom first, and it felt like it was getting stuck all the TIME! It has been quite a bit better with the bazooka tube, frankly. So the recommendation that you should switch to a false bottom to prevent that - this does not match my experience.

In particular, it felt like the false bottom was always "flapping" around at the bottom of the mash, if that makes sense... there was clearly grain always getting under it. Like, a lot of grain. One potential problem is that my prior false bottom was plastic; would it really make that much of a difference to get a stainless one?

Generally how do you keep a false bottom stuck to the bottom of your mash tun cooler so that grain doesn't get under it? Or, if this is a dumb approach, please clue me in to what else I should be doing differently. Thanks.

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:40 AM   #2
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You could do a manifold

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Old 10-31-2013, 01:43 AM   #3
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The super short hose helps hold mine down. I used to have a SS one from the store, right now am using a pizza pan false bottom. Lots of rice hulls, and don't go too fast.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:59 AM   #4
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I have THIS one. It's heavy duty
and fits tight. I could never imagine it moving. Looking at the picture it seems they improved it by putting more slots in it. The only drawback to it is there's 2 gallons under it, which really doesn't affect me 'cause I use a bottom drain.
I condition my malt and recirculate through the entire mash and stir occasionally. If it does happen to stick, I just shut the pump off, stir, and keep going.
Hope this helps..
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cyclman
+1 on the copper manifold. I started w/ a SS false bottom and had enough stuck sparges that I moved to a copper manifold. Haven't had an issue since and I've done some high gravity beers w/o issues, too. BTW I did upgrade to a 7.5 gallon round cooler mash tun after starting @ 5 gal. & the same manifold works fine in it as well.

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