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Old 06-22-2008, 11:42 PM   #1
Tankard
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Default Vorlauf question - runnings won't clear?

My first AG had its share of problems, but the biggest one was my inability to get clear runnings from my MLT. I mashed at 150 degrees for one hour. I recirculated about a gallon and a half of wort, and there was still *some* grain getting through. At first there would be a ton of grain coming out, and after a gallon or two, there would be a lot less, but there would still be some grain. After the sparge, the same thing would happen. My boil pot had floating pieces of grain on top when I began the hour long boil.

Is this normal for a false bottom setup? I have a 10 gallon rubbermaid MLT. I think I made the mistake of pouring the wort right back on top of the grain bed, rather than using the coffee lid method that protects the grain bed. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Brew Dude View Post
My first AG had its share of problems, but the biggest one was my inability to get clear runnings from my MLT. I mashed at 150 degrees for one hour. I recirculated about a gallon and a half of wort, and there was still *some* grain getting through. At first there would be a ton of grain coming out, and after a gallon or two, there would be a lot less, but there would still be some grain. After the sparge, the same thing would happen. My boil pot had floating pieces of grain on top when I began the hour long boil.

Is this normal for a false bottom setup? I have a 10 gallon rubbermaid MLT. I think I made the mistake of pouring the wort right back on top of the grain bed, rather than using the coffee lid method that protects the grain bed. Any ideas? Thanks.
I dont use a false bottom I use a SS braid, However I have had brewdays where I would have to vourlof 9-10 times before it would clear.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:50 PM   #3
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If your grain bed is shallow, it can be very difficult to recirculate without disturbing it. Use a perforated pie tin next time. You won't get totally grain-free wort, but it should be better.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:09 PM   #4
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I never really get 100% clear runnings, and I don't really care. As long as you minimize it, you should be fine...little bits of grain won't hurt anything. Now, you don't want the husks in there, but it's usually just bits of the grain itself that get in there.
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:23 PM   #5
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Thanks for asking this question.

I did my first vorlauf last batch, and saw some clarification but never ran clear. At some point I pleaded "diminishing returns" and just let it run off.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:44 PM   #6
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When I brewed my hefeweizen, my wort cleared practically instantly. Other times (like the summer ale I brewed most recently), I couldn't get to clear to save my life.

I'm not really sure why it sometimes clears and sometimes it doesn't, but both the hefeweizen and the summer ale are great ... so I guess I'm not worrying about it too much at this point.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:53 PM   #7
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Ive always recirc'ed until I had clear runnings. And now that i recirculate with a pump, it's unbelievable how crystal clear the wort is. And I don't mean I just get all those little pieces of grain out, but even the cloudiness/haze gets filtered out in the grainbed. It really is a beautiful thing.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:56 PM   #8
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a lot can be said for having a thicker grain bed and letting it compact a little bit. I personally have better clarity on my 10 gallon batches with the thick grain bed than I do with my 5 gallon batches and the shallow bed. Perhaps this is a good excuse for you to jump into ten gallon batches.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:03 PM   #9
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Also, while its fine to drain a batch sparge at full speed, you may still need to close the ball valve a little to get clear runnings.

I'd say mine is about 75-80% open. fast enough to drain quickly but just slow enough to filter grain bits after 2qts of recirculation.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:46 PM   #10
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and when you vorlouf or recirc back on top of the grain bed, a small plastic lid or something will help distribute the runnings evenly without disturbing the bed
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