Anticipating a stuck sparge

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jerrodm

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OK so I'm all set to brew a weizendoppelbock tonight, but just realized that I didn't get any rice hulls at the LHBS when I was there earlier this week, and I don't have any at home. So, here's the question: do I go after work today, which probably means either putting off brewing until tomorrow (grrr...) or do I just chance it? I've never stuck a sparge before, but when I brew wheats I've always used rice hulls to prevent it. The grainbill is as follows:

8 lb. Wheat
2.5 lb. Munich
2.5 lb. Vienna
2 lb Pilsen
4 oz. Chocolate

I'd hate to put off brewing, since my starter is all charged up and ready to go (and so am I), but I'm a little afraid of sticking the sparge...what should I do?
I'll be sure to update on how it turns out either way.
 

Rev2010

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I don't know what system you use but for my cooler mash tun I use a bazooka screen and never use rice hulls for any brew so far other than my Pumpkin Ale. Done plenty of wheats and Weizenbocks and never a stuck sparge. If you're using a bazooka screen or braid I think you should be fine. Can't give an opinion on a false bottom since I only had one for one batch before I returned it and went with the bazooka screen - was a bit warped and grain easily got under.


Rev.
 
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jerrodm

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Using a bazooka--as I said, I've never stuck one either yet, fingers crossed...as long as I sparge really slowly (I usually take more than 30 min. to fly sparge anyway), I think I should be OK?
 

tre9er

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Slow/stuck sparges happen sometimes. I can recommend doing multiple batch sparges to prevent slow/stuck runoff. Generally things get bad the longer the grain bed is compacted and pulled to the bottom. I had this issue yesterday and had to stop, stir, vorlauf, and run off in order to get the last gallon or so of wort. I do a single batch sparge with a lot of water though and have been thinking of some changes to my process to fix this issue. I use a braid loop.

The grain bed seems to compact to the bottom and the liquid can't find it's way down through the cement-like grist. My braid could be getting crushed under there, so I might try the copper wire/spring insert and see how that works.
 

Rev2010

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Yeah I batch sparge as well, I do two sparges. Maybe if you're worried try batch sparging for this one? But I think you should probably be alright. I crush my grains pretty fine and as mentioned with my bazooka screen haven't yet had a stuck sparge with any of my wheats. And being wheat beers are my top favorite I have made very many of them.


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jerrodm

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Yeah I batch sparge as well, I do two sparges. Maybe if you're worried try batch sparging for this one? But I think you should probably be alright. I crush my grains pretty fine and as mentioned with my bazooka screen haven't yet had a stuck sparge with any of my wheats. And being wheat beers are my top favorite I have made very many of them.


Rev.
Thanks for the idea, I was actually thinking the same as well. I'm going to go for it, will let you all know (with an anguished post) if it sticks!
 
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jerrodm

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Sparge didn't stick, so I'm glad I didn't put off brewing...I made sure to sparge really slowly, which I think helped. Only problem was that I somehow lost the 4 oz. of chocolate malt (maybe I left it at the LHBS?), so I ended up brewing a much lighter beer than I was planning...I still think it's going to turn out terrific though.
 
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