Effeciency and the steel braid???

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dummkauf

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Ok, so I have a few brewed 4 AG batches thus far, and have gotten the following effeciencies in this order: 58%, 70%, 66%, & 58%.

I've got my process down pretty well now and I've got my volumes/temps figured out with BeerSmith, and my grains look like all the pics I've seen should after being crush, but that still seems a bit low, but I have a theory :D

I am batch sparging in a cooler with the good old braided stainless steel hose. However, no matter how I try, I can never stir up my mash well without stirring the braided hose up too. So then I wind up pushing the hose back into the mash with my mash paddle(big steel spoon) as far as I can, but every time go to empty the cooler, the hose is always up in the middle of the grain bed somewhere rather than on the bottom. I've been tipping the cooler to get all that delicious wort out, or as much as I can anyway.

So my theory is, a lot of water, and all those fermentables I am extracting from my grain, are sitting on the bottom of the cooler, opposite side of the drain spiggot, with my hose above. Tipping the cooler drains some of it, but it can't all make it through to the drain spout.

Is my thinking correct, because I'm thinking it might be time to make a coppoer or PVC manifold for the bottom of the cooler to fix this, but wanted to get some opinions before doing any shopping.
 

wilserbrewer

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After draining the tun, you can part the grain bed witjh your spoon and actually see the wort level. i have never had a braid float up in the mash, might yours be plastic. All of the braids I have used had no trouble draining the tun to the outlet level. I also never stir the up, rather always stiring in the direction of the braid and away from it. Is the run off quite speedy or is it a slow drain?

Part of the braid should be at the drain and the tun should empty to that point.
 

300RUM

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I agree with wilserbrewer, but depending on your cooler the drain may put the braid in a not ideal location, you could try a manifold, cpvc would be pretty cheap to try.
 

wilserbrewer

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If you are leaving wort behind due to a high drain in the tun, a double batch sparge might help your efficiency? Braid or manifold should make no difference in theory, unless the drain is quite high and a siphon to the bottom of the tun is needed. Something must be odd, every braid I have ever used just wanted to suck the tun dry??
 

RogueVassar

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I don't have this problem on mine but would attaching a couple SS washers on the end of the braid keep it from floating up?

Does it float when you only have water in it?
 

Flic

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I've never had this issue on my 10 gallon Rubbermaid with a braid. Did you secure a brass head plug to the end? That helps to weigh it down. Otherwise, I try to be careful when stirring and not be too aggressive down near the bottom. I do a double batch sparge so that may help with your efficiency if you are only doing one. I am actually planning to buy a false bottom soon to see how that works compared to the braid but I have had good luck using it on my 20 AG brews.
 

ian-atx

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Do you have pictures of your setup? Might clear up some speculation on what type of cooler and how the braid is connected, etc.

I have been using a steel braid in a white marine cooler for several years with no issues.
 
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D

dummkauf

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Ok, finally got a pic of it and I'm thinking I need to cut the braid in half and weight down the ends. They aren't floating up, they are getting stirred up when I stir the mash, and I think my problem with pushing it back down to the bottom is because of the 2 big loops.


h
 

CalmYourself

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I don't think your problems are due to your braid floating.

Remember you can only drain as much as the two openings on your T-piece (the braid doesn't cause a siphon). Difficult to tell from your picture, how high off the base is that?

What is the actual wort level after you've drained the tun? Have you taken a spoon to see? If it's higher than your T-piece you may just be getting a stuck mash or sparge I suppose.
 

brewingkitty

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i put a 1/2 copper cap filled to the rim with silver bearing solder in the end of my stainless braid with a stainless hose clamp to prevent the floating action; and hopefully resolve my stuck mashes i have been falling victim to.
 

Sean

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That is a long braided section. I used to have the issue with the braid comming up into the grains. I cut it off and it is only about 8 inches. I have gotten the same efficiency with both the long braid and the short. 75-80%. Luck!
 

johnodon

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Another thought...are you sure the braid is not being crushed under the weight of the grain bed? Have you added any kind of structural integrity to the inside of the braid? I (and a lot of others) have used a section of copper wire. You wrap it around a pencil to form it and then insert inside the braid. This adds some rigidity.

The 3:00 minute mark of thsi video shows what I am talking about:


I had a hard time finding any copper wire at the local home improvement stores so I just bought a length of 10-2 electrical wire, split the casing and ripped out the ground wire. This has proven to work exceptionally well for me.

John
 
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Northcalais40

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maybe reundant, but put a short hose or line from the spout down to the bottom and then attach the braid so you siphon off the bottom, reducing dead space
 

Pilgarlic

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I have a short hose (pun intended) and nothing inside of it to keep its shape (double entendre intendred). No problems with floating or efficiency. Think about it. All of that hose doesn't increase the diameter of the outlets at all. I suspect that beyond 6-8 inches you're likely to have rapidly diminshing marginal utility, and an increasing likelihood, certainly, of the hose floating.
 

HopheadNJ

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I have a short hose (pun intended) and nothing inside of it to keep its shape (double entendre intendred). No problems with floating or efficiency. Think about it. All of that hose doesn't increase the diameter of the outlets at all. I suspect that beyond 6-8 inches you're likely to have rapidly diminshing marginal utility, and an increasing likelihood, certainly, of the hose floating.
I can attest to this as well. My braid is probably 8-10 inches, with a square plug in the end. I've had no issues with the braid floating and have been getting crazy efficiency (87% according to BS). Only issue I've seen approaching is the braid slightly collapsing and/or stretching. Oh well, i guess thats a sign for an upgrade in the future!
 

johnodon

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I can attest to this as well. My braid is probably 8-10 inches, with a square plug in the end. I've had no issues with the braid floating and have been getting crazy efficiency (87% according to BS). Only issue I've seen approaching is the braid slightly collapsing and/or stretching. Oh well, i guess thats a sign for an upgrade in the future!
I do exactly the same thing...square brass plug in the end like this one:

http://www.lowes.com/pd_92576-104-LFA773_0_?productId=3135917&Ntt=square+brass+plug&Ntk=i_products&pl=1&currentURL=/pl__0__s?newSearch=true$Ntt=square brass plug
 

Bobby_M

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Unscrew that tee and put a 45 degree elbow, then a hose barb. Hopefully that combo will put the end of the barb very close to the bottom of the cooler. Then slide on a 10" piece of braid and clamp it. Then clamp on a 1/4" NPT pipe plug to the open end.

I was getting high 80's to low 90's % efficiency in a cooler with a braid. You have too much deadspace.
 

JJL

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I doubt the braid is the issue. Whether it floats or not doesn't really matter. The wort doesn't travel through the length of the braid like it would with a manifold system. The braid isn't solid at any. The reality is that the wort enters the braid at the point where it connects with your brass "T" fitting. You could actually achieve the same results if you just put a piece of fine mesh screen over the openings of the fitting. If you are having issues, it's likely due to the height of the drain in the cooler itself, or the height of the "T" fitting. Bobby M actually probably has the best suggestion. Replace the "T" with an elbow to lower the drain height. Or at least attach a barb straight to the nipple and attach your braid to that.
 

rj0715

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my 2 cents worth..... looks like you cant stir up the bottom of the mash therefore you leave a bunch of sugar content in the bottom of your tun hence the 10 to 20 point drop in efficiency as compared to others with braid....... ;)
 

blackwaterbrewer

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consider a copper tube manifold. no problem with cleaning, floating, crushing the braid or stirring worries. i switched a few months ago. world of difference.
 

RunBikeBrew

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+1 on putting a coil of copper wire inside the braid. I had floating/crushing issues, so I put in a spiral of solid copper wire (12 gauge house electrical wire). No more issues. Also, your braid looks really long.
 

brewingkitty

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+1 on putting a coil of copper wire inside the braid. I had floating/crushing issues, so I put in a spiral of solid copper wire (12 gauge house electrical wire). No more issues. Also, your braid looks really long.
i just stretched mine out from the relaxed state of ~5/8 x 8 to ~1/4 x ~14. good idea on the copper coil inside, i have yet to re mash since i stretched and added my copper cap filled with solder to weigh the end down.
 
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