Fourth stuck mash in a row

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Falstaff

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Extremely frustrated with my brews lately and wondering if anyone can help me figure it out.

I have a 5ga cooler with a round false bottom. It connects to the valve with a silicone tube. I wish i could take pictures but my phone is broken and I wont have a new one until tomorrow.

I thought I was overloading the cooler with 10lbs of grain so I brewed a 5ga session batch today and NOTHING came out again. I blow through the tube and nothing happens. I try to slice the grain bed but there isnt one to slice. Nothing is compacted. I empty into the kettle, clean everything, pour it back in. Nothing. Finaly I switched to a collander that I used to use when I first started brewing, and finaly it came out, but the collander doesnt create a good grain bed so now I will probably have a hazy brown, which just looks like mud. I ran it through a hop spider to catch some of the sludge and hulls.

Because it worked after the switch, I'd imagine the valve isn't the culprit.

Could the tube be getting crushed? I opened the valve as soon as I put the water in this time to get water into it, so there would be equal pressure. Also, I've used that silicone many times with no problems

Could it be the crush at my LHBS? I've recently switched to them crushing my grain instead of me, because im lazy. I can't imagine this is the problem either because there was ZERO liquid comming out. Not even a trickle. I'd imagine I'd be able to feel the compaction with my brew spoon.

I've had stuck mashes before but never this many in a row, and never where NOTHING came out of the valve no matter what I did.

Thanks for any help.
 
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Falstaff

Falstaff

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Depends on the crush size. When i was learning to grind my own, I ground so fine, that nothing moved. Do you have any you could post a picture of?

No, sadly I used it all in the batch. I didn't notice any flour when I poured it in. I did notice a lot of sludge in my spider that I filtered through, though.
 

day_trippr

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It connects to the valve with a silicone tube

Unless that's reinforced tubing I agree this is highly suspicious. If changing to a more rigid tubing is difficult, insert a stainless steel spring inside the silicone tubing to keep it from collapsing...

Cheers!
 

Bobby_M

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Most likely your problem is the center fitting on the false bottom is bottoming out on the bottom of the cooler. When that cooler gets hot, the bottom will typically dome upwards. What does the bottom of that fitting look like exactly?
 
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Falstaff

Falstaff

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Most likely your problem is the center fitting on the false bottom is bottoming out on the bottom of the cooler. When that cooler gets hot, the bottom will typically dome upwards. What does the bottom of that fitting look like exactly?

I was wondering exactly that earlier.


Thats the false bottom. It has a nut on the other side about as big. It gets pretty low to the plastic. What can I do about this?
 

PCABrewing

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I was wondering exactly that earlier.


Thats the false bottom. It has a nut on the other side about as big. It gets pretty low to the plastic. What can I do about this?
IF thats the cause maybe you could take a cutoff wheel and cut some slots across the surface of the nut that contacts the plastic bottom. Make it look like a castle-nut. That would not allow normal flow but it would allow some.
 

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Most likely your problem is the center fitting on the false bottom is bottoming out on the bottom of the cooler. When that cooler gets hot, the bottom will typically dome upwards. What does the bottom of that fitting look like exactly?

Wow... good call Bobby... that probably would have never occurred to me....


What can I do about this?

maybe you could take a cutoff wheel and cut some slots across the surface of the nut that contacts the plastic bottom

Or make some kind of spacer that is perforated but supports the center ... maybe out of UPVC? or as small tea strainer... or something like an inch long piece of this:
1637536726691.png
 

Bobby_M

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I was wondering exactly that earlier.


Thats the false bottom. It has a nut on the other side about as big. It gets pretty low to the plastic. What can I do about this?

Make sure the bottom nut is even with the bottom of the fitting. Another way to say it,is make sure the fitting isnt stick pit past the nut.
 

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Make sure the bottom nut is even with the bottom of the fitting. Another way to say it,is make sure the fitting isnt stick pit past the nut.
@Bobby_M, I was thinking about the bottom rising and causing a dome and effectively blocking the flow and I wonder if that might be a good thing?
Here's my thought, Bottom bulges pressing up on the center of the false bottom and effectively lifts an edge or the whole false bottom off the bottom of the tun.
That might allow grain to get under the bottom and out to the kettle. So if that happens, maybe you'd prefer that it stopped the flow and your best remedy is to find another way to get the wort out.
Maybe something like a well-point on the end of a tube that you could use to withdraw the wort from the top.
 

bracconiere

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edit: i never had louck with flase bottoms like that...went to a stainless braid, great luck...until it got old and crushed. now i have a bazooka....been going strong for quite a few years for me.....
 
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Brewer Mike

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I was having the same problem. 3 Stuck in a row. I got rid of the false bottom and made a manifold out of CPVC for under $10 and have been very happy.
 
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Falstaff

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edit: i never had louck with flase bottoms like that...went to a stainless braid, great luck...until it got old and crushed. now i have a bazooka....been going strong for quite a few years for me.....

Any links? Amazon preferable.

Edit:


Like this?

And thanks for the help everyone!
 

Pablo 54

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Your setup is similar to my original one. About every third or fourth brew ended in a stuck sparge. Actually used a can of compressed air to clear one once. Not one of my prouder moments.

In addition to what has been said here, I've had no stuck sparges since doing the following;
  1. Condition your malt at a 2% moisture rate. Let it sit 15 minutes and then crush.
  2. I no longer vorlauf. I simply drain the wort through a BIAB or painter's 5 gallon mesh at the same time I stir the mash vigorously.
Good luck.
 
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Falstaff

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Your setup is similar to my original one. About every third or fourth brew ended in a stuck sparge. Actually used a can of compressed air to clear one once. Not one of my prouder moments.

In addition to what has been said here, I've had no stuck sparges since doing the following;
  1. Condition your malt at a 2% moisture rate. Let it sit 15 minutes and then crush.
  2. I no longer vorlauf. I simply drain the wort through a BIAB or painter's 5 gallon mesh at the same time I stir the mash vigorously.
Good luck.

1. Is my moisture rate by weight? Like 2% of 10lb would be mixing in 3.2oz of water? Does this really help? Ive actually heard of it before, so I know its a thing, but Ive never tried it.

2. I pretty much already do this. I run the tube from my valve through a hop spider. No matter how clear I got the liquid particles always still got through. When I ended up running it through the collander this was the only filtration I got. Is that enough?
 

bracconiere

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Any links? Amazon preferable.

Edit:


Like this?

And thanks for the help everyone!


pretty much exactly what i use....fits my 10 gallon cooler perfect and i can mill at 0.028". sparge like a champ.....

i think mines like 10" long though? and the stainless braid i was using before it, i just boght a washer supply hose and plastic tee, couple hose clamps...stripped the braid off the hose and was off to the races....(but remember to sparge slow kids ;))


i just had an idea for you false bottom though, maybe some SS screen door screen, and some vinyl tubing or something around the outside for a tight seal?


but i'm sticking with my bazooka!
 
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If you are using a domed FB that is being drained form the center. This is likely the culprit. We have seen in our lab the bottom of the cooler get so hot that it will flex upward inside the dome and we have seen the silicone tubing get crushed as well. This is really why we were never a huge fan of the cooler, accept they are such a great cheap solution for a lot of people. They are disposable and certainly do have a lifespan. How long have you had it? It could be that the plastics have reached the end of their lifespan and get to flimsy when adding heat causing you issues. We do still make an affordable cooler False Bottom system but they are all custom cut these days. Let me know if you want to entertain the idea of a False Bottom upgrade. Happy to assist.

Cheers
Jay
 

jtratcliff

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putting a SS, or copper scrunchy scouring pad under it

This might be the cheapest, easiest, and quickest solution...

Put something under it that will flex a little when the bottom domes but will still let liquid flow flow thru...

IF thats the cause maybe you could take a cutoff wheel and cut some slots across the surface of the nut that contacts the plastic bottom. Make it look like a castle-nut. That would not allow normal flow but it would allow some.

I did see that the "Titan" false bottom from Northern Brewer has channels cut into the nut... So maybe this is the 2nd easiest solution...
 

bracconiere

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This might be the cheapest, easiest, and quickest solution...

i actually think this would be....but they colapse after a few years of use....



edit: and LOL, before all of you give me a hard time about it being a toilet supply line, you can get them for washers too! ;) :mug:
 

bracconiere

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1637625147862.png


 

Brewer Mike

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Any pictures?
I just push them together to mash. Stays together and then comes apart easy for cleanup. Of course, the slots face bottom for brewing. You can either cut slots or drill holes. Fortunately, my harbor freight table top band saw made quick work of it. Look for YouTube videos.
PXL_20211123_023743383.jpg
PXL_20211123_023943241.jpg
 

Bobby_M

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@Bobby_M, I was thinking about the bottom rising and causing a dome and effectively blocking the flow and I wonder if that might be a good thing?
Here's my thought, Bottom bulges pressing up on the center of the false bottom and effectively lifts an edge or the whole false bottom off the bottom of the tun.
That might allow grain to get under the bottom and out to the kettle. So if that happens, maybe you'd prefer that it stopped the flow and your best remedy is to find another way to get the wort out.
Maybe something like a well-point on the end of a tube that you could use to withdraw the wort from the top.


No, I dont think so. Any grain that gets though would be vorlaufed out. Stopping flow doesnt seem like any benefit.
 

Pablo 54

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1. Is my moisture rate by weight? Like 2% of 10lb would be mixing in 3.2oz of water? Does this really help? Ive actually heard of it before, so I know its a thing, but Ive never tried it.

2. I pretty much already do this. I run the tube from my valve through a hop spider. No matter how clear I got the liquid particles always still got through. When I ended up running it through the collander this was the only filtration I got. Is that enough?

Yes to number one. I use an old, plastic storage bin and shake the grains as I spray. I'll then stir with my hand. I wish I could find where I got the "waiting for 15 minutes" thing from but I can't locate it. The husks are pretty intact afterwards.

Number 2 - My hop spider clogs constantly. The BIAB filter works well for me. I have used Trimaco 5 gal paint strainers but the last couple have torn on me.
I do have about a 14 inch drop to the brew kettle so I wonder if that has helped? To me, the stir makes the difference. I usually brew around 1.75g/1lb so it is fairly liquid.
 

shawn252

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My old system in cooler style mash tun had a domed false bottom but the bottom nut was quite large with big groves like a castle nut. I had a couple stuck mashes if I got in a hurry. I started using rice hulls and didn't have an issue again.
 
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Falstaff

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I was thinking about cutting rings out of these to raise the center off of the bottom. I was hoping the gummy-ness of silicone would also create a better seal around the edges of the dome. I also may cut groves into the nut with a hack saw, but the nut is stainless. I dont know if I could use the saw blade that came with it or if I'd have to buy something stronger, like diamond?


Again, thanks for all the help. I learned way more than I thought I would by posting this thread.
 
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Falstaff

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I just push them together to mash. Stays together and then comes apart easy for cleanup. Of course, the slots face bottom for brewing. You can either cut slots or drill holes. Fortunately, my harbor freight table top band saw made quick work of it. Look for YouTube videos.View attachment 749893 View attachment 749894

I love the design. Can I get all this stuff at home depot? Is it safe?
 
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View attachment 749861


My buddy did this with his 10G MLT, to add to reliability, he shoe-horned a couple 1" sections of CPVC an inch or so from the T-fitting of the manifold. The were drilled with some 1/4" holes to ensure drainage, and did so with those 1" sections in 2" spacing(roughly, from memory) all the way around. He uses a wooden mash paddle and has never had an issue.
 

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I love the design. Can I get all this stuff at home depot? Is it safe?
I couldn't find it at my local HD, but I got it all at Lowes. You can go to the website and search on cpvc fittings and see if it's available for pick up. Just make sure you get "C"PVC, as it can handle temps up to 200 F.
 

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