Giving it a good stir?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

telebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2007
Messages
192
Reaction score
4
Location
Planet Neptune / San Diego
My first attempt at AG I stirred my mash too much and had a stuck mash. Lost it all and started over. People here have been saying to give your mash a good stir when batch sparging. Won't that mess up the grain bed and possibly get your run off stuck? By the way, I use a false bottom that I'm sure lifts up a bit if stirred too hard. Any thoughts?
 

Malticulous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
86
Location
St. George Utah
No, with a batch sparge you must stir and vorlauf again. With a suck sparge you can stir and vorlauf to get it going again as well.
 

RICLARK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
2,532
Reaction score
14
Location
Grand Ledge, Mich
My first attempt at AG I stirred my mash too much and had a stuck mash. Lost it all and started over. People here have been saying to give your mash a good stir when batch sparging. Won't that mess up the grain bed and possibly get your run off stuck? By the way, I use a false bottom that I'm sure lifts up a bit if stirred too hard. Any thoughts?
Check this out.

We just had a near catastrophe. As I was stirring in my second infusion I noticed my steel braid swimming around freely in the mash. The solution was easy enough though, at the end of the sacc rest I dumped the entire mash into my bottling bucket, fixed the braid back onto the hose barb, and dumped the whole mash back into the MLT. A little extra vorlauf and we're right back on track. I don't really believe in HSA anyway; I use a drill/paint stirrer to stir my mash.
 

Malticulous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
86
Location
St. George Utah
With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)
 

RICLARK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
2,532
Reaction score
14
Location
Grand Ledge, Mich
With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)
Vourlofing won't work if nothing is coming out.:confused:
 

Malticulous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
86
Location
St. George Utah
But with a good stir it will. Believe me I know. I just mashed with with 42% unmalted wheat (and a false bottom.)
With a suck sparge you can stir and vorlauf to get it going again.
The mash can get too compacted and stop the flow. Rice hulls could help. I haven't used them. A stir will loosen it up then another vorlauf will be necessary.
 

FishinDave07

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2007
Messages
1,358
Reaction score
4
Location
South Florida
People here have been saying to give your mash a good stir when batch sparging.

Are you stirring WHILE you sparge/runoff? That can almost guarantee a stuck sparge. My way of doing it is:

1. Add sparge water
2. Mix well for about a minute
3. Slowly open the valve and begin the vorlauf
4. After your wort runs clear, open the valve to full and into the kettle
 

Jolly McStanson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Messages
232
Reaction score
2
Location
Newport RI
With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)
No matter where the braid is, it doesn't affect the dead space. All the fluid will drain out the outlet.. until it reaches the outlet level.
 

ajf

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
4,648
Reaction score
119
Location
Long Island
Is your false bottom the right size? It should cover just about all of the bottom of the MLT, leaving just a very narrow band (about 1/4 ") around the perimeter. If it is too small, it will be easy to get grain underneath.
Is it plastic? If so, it is quite easy to get grain underneath. The following procedure helps to overcome this:
1. Use a good stiff tube to connect the false bottom to the MLT outlet. I use copper pipe connected at either end by a short length of braided tube. This helps to keep the bottom in position.
2. Before adding any grain to the MLT add a sufficient foundation of strike water so that the outlet tube is completely submerged. Then draw off a small amount of water to flood the outlet. This prevents air in the outlet from trying to float the bottom.
3. Don't stir too vigorously. If you catch the outlet, you can lift the bottom, and get grain underneath. Stirring a bit more gently for a bit longer works just as well.
4. Alternate between adding small amounts of strike water and malt, making sure that the malt is always suspended by the water, ensuring that the grain is thoroughly wetted after each addition before adding any more grain. This prevents the weight of unsupported grain from plugging the holes in the bottom.
Finally, if you do get a stuck sparge, you can always ladle the entire mash into your kettle or a bucket, clean out the obstruction, reassemble, and ladle it back again. It's a PITA, but still better than dumping a brew.

-a.
 

Malticulous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
86
Location
St. George Utah
No matter where the braid is, it doesn't affect the dead space. All the fluid will drain out the outlet.. until it reaches the outlet level.
Good point. There is no siphon, just a drain at the outlet. That also suggests that a long braid is of little use and a small screen over the drain hole would do pretty much the same thing. Dip tube FTW. I also use a heat molded pex line in my large cooler (for bigger batches of proven recipes) that has holes drilled in the bottom of it. It siphons nearly everything out of the my MLT and is somewhat immovable (every bit as much as a false bottom is.)
 
OP
telebrewer

telebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2007
Messages
192
Reaction score
4
Location
Planet Neptune / San Diego
My false bottom is stainless mesh and is not close to the diameter of the bottom. My mash tun is a Sanke keg. The false bottom is 9" diameter. The diameter of the keg is 15". It works... Should I be thinking about a bigger false bottom?

How much stirring do you do? I give the mash a few gentle stirs and pretty much let it sit. I started the thread referring to batch sparge stirring. I've been reading about giving that a big 'ol stir up. I'll stir it, but like the one guy said; gently and longer.

How much do you guys stir your mash compared to your batch sparge? Or are they about the same? Thanks..
 

Malticulous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
86
Location
St. George Utah
The false bottom is 9" diameter. The diameter of the keg is 15". It works... Should I be thinking about a bigger false bottom?
With batch sparging it's not that important. Stir it well and let it rip. Vorlauf slow and then go wide open.
 

killian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
1,582
Reaction score
57
Location
western/central new york
I use a 12" false bottom and a sanke for my mash, I use the high temp thick hose that keeps the false bottom pushed up against the back of the keg and it holds it down. I stir the chit out of it and I havent had any issues. if you have co2 you could pump a little in if you get a stuck run off.
 

Yooper

Ale's What Cures You!
Staff member
Admin
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
74,940
Reaction score
12,874
Location
UP/Snowbird in Florida
I stir my mash very thoroughly. You need to break up any doughballs, and equalize the temperature. I stir as I add the grain and water, and stir thoroughly after that. I don't usually stir after I set my timer, though. Once my temperature is stable, I cover it up and walk away until it's time to sparge.

I usually batch sparge. Add 1/2 the sparge water, stir like crazy, let it settle a bit, vorlauf and drain. Then repeat.
 

ajf

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
4,648
Reaction score
119
Location
Long Island
Sorry, my previous post was based on my experience with Rubbermaid coolers and both plastic and SS false bottoms. Items 1 - 4 make a lot of sense with a plastic false bottom, but not much sense with SS. I've not used a Sanke keg, so I don't know how a false bottom would work in one. I'd believe those who have used one, rather than me.

-a.
 

Denny

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Messages
5,544
Reaction score
1,073
Location
Eugene
With a false bottom the vorlauf should do the trick. A braid would on the other hand would end up with some serious dead space if it's not down on the bottom (glue?)
My braid often floats and it just doesn't matter. That's because all the draining happens at the cooler outlet. You can prove that by putting some water in the cooler and lifting the end of the braid above the water. Draining speed does not change. That's also the reason that a long braid doesn't work any better than a shorter one.
 

HenryHill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
3,039
Reaction score
13
Location
Perry, MI
I use a plug in the end of my braid made from a short length of 1/2" copper tubing, with one end smashed flat and rolled over on the flat a couple times as a weight. It is held in place by a clamp, which also serves as weight. My braid NEVER rises.

I stir at mash in as Yooper does, leave it be for an hour, and then stir thoroughly again, before I vorlaugh. When the MLT is empty, I pour in first sparge, stir thoroughly, wait 5 minutes, then vorlaugh; and repeat this for the last sparge.
 

Malticulous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
4,136
Reaction score
86
Location
St. George Utah
My braid often floats and it just doesn't matter. That's because all the draining happens at the cooler outlet. You can prove that by putting some water in the cooler and lifting the end of the braid above the water. Draining speed does not change. That's also the reason that a long braid doesn't work any better than a shorter one.
Yeah, that's about what I surmised in a latter post. In my larger MLT I use this length of PEX I molded with a torch and drilled holes in the bottom. It siphons nearly everything and doesn't move easy. It's hard to see but this old Gott cooler is lower down the center. Most of it was free.

 
Top