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Grains clogged my sink :/

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FooFighter

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Had my first AG brewday this weekend... brew went pretty well, but a cup or so of spent grains ended up in my sink and without thinking I rinsed down the drain.

Immediate clog. Standing water, not a drop moving. Great.

Apparently my house was plumbed by a bricklayer, because the trap for the kitchen sink is below the kitchen in the basement for some reason and is not removeable!
Also noticed that the drain line in the basement runs for about 6ft perfectly level before entering the main stack. I bet that line is half-full of sludge.

So once I got the boil started, I tried plunging the sink with no luck.
At this point I learned that the tailpipes for the sinks were corroded and leak like a sieve when full. Found two mixing bowls to catch the leaks for now.

I discharged my immersion chiller into the empty mash tun and slugged the water outside in a few batches to dump in the driveway.
Dumped my remaining starsan in the shower and cleaned all the equipment there too.

Ending up buying a drain snake, two new tailpieces/strainers and a big ol' jug of drain opener.
Had to snake about 20' of drain around all kinds of elbows and managed to get it cleared.

All good now, but holy cow grains sure turn into cement in the drains!

TL;DR
Clogged my sink in the middle of brew day, made a mess and then fixed it.
 

daksin

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I did this with my floor drain- a nightmare. Since the floor was bare concrete, I just ran a hose down to the clog and blasted water at it until it broke up. Made a huge mess but I didn't have to buy a snake.
 

kh54s10

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I would guess it was more the crap that was already in there, rather than the small amount of grains that went down. My sink clogs very easily also. I have to plunge regularly and use drain cleaner often. Maybe I had the same bricklaying plumber.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Don't do that! Sorry, I couldn't resist. At least it didn't on a holiday, and you discovered the problems before you are 10 years older and don't want to fix stuff anymore. :tank:
 

Juanroberts

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I clogged my sink good with barley grains on Saturday.

C59E4AD7-AE3A-498C-9CC0-C0820C0E408D.jpeg



I brewed from extract or syrup. I put the contents of the small grain bag, after it was spent, into the garbage disposal or insinkerator. No problems. So on my next batch, it was all grain, I tried to pour it all down the garbage disposal too. Oops. I got about two gallons of grain in there when it backed up. Using a screwdriver to tap on the copper drain pipe down in the crawl space, I realized grains were backing and packing about 12 feet of drain.

0D8D2D98-9764-4737-9D19-0D8197CE894B.jpeg



I snaked it with a cordless drill. The snake went all the way through the clogged area. When I would pull out the snake, the grain would collapse like sludge and the water was still backed up. I worked on it all Sunday. It would not budge. I even tried the hose and putting pressure on it. It was tiring, my back was now sore, and I was starting to feel depressed. In hindsight, pouring grains into the garbage diaposal was a stupid move. I had not done something that stupid in a long time.

I then hired plumbers for Monday afternoon. They used a drain camera to confirm what I knew from tapping the drain with a screwdriver, it was pretty backed up. The plumbers worked various of their snakes for a couple of hours. They left without success. Part of the problem, they said, was that the pipe was 1.5” instead of 2”. They could not get all their tools into it, such as a snake spade. It would not fit through the 90 degree elbow at the very top of the drain.

1ACD93D2-FBF2-4CE4-939D-B9909A038659.jpeg


I went to Home Depot and bought a sawsall to cut the drain as well as a rubber repair section. I was ready for that nuclear option. But before, I thought a little bit, and had some ideas I wanted to try, all at once.

I put trimmed zipties every 18 inches on my drain snake / auger as I fed it in. This way the zipties would create a wider tunnel than the snake itself. After I inserted it all the way in, I pushed and pulled it 24”, back-and-forth, over and over, so that the spinning zip ties would tunnel a wider bore. This allowed the backed up water to finally pass. I then poured drano and waited a bit.

E6B6C6E5-547C-4591-9EEF-8CA446F02470.jpeg


I used water to make the Drano go down. I then ziptied a massager to the pipe. The purpose was for it to send vibrations and loosen the grain so it would slide into the larger toilet drain.

CD72B2CB-6D0E-4CA4-9A81-C2F8967EFC0A.jpeg



BB609B3F-8678-4E57-B958-5CB87F0DD9F0.jpeg


After all of this, I also put water in the drain. It did not take much snaking after that. I heard the drain gargle, much like when a toilet flushes. Finally!

You can learn from other’s mistakes. In this case, hopefully they were mine. The big lesson is this kiddos — do not put anything into the garbage disposal that can instead be put, or scraped off into, the trash can.

Now go unplug your sink (if that is the reason you searched for this thread). And then after achieving glorious victory, celebrate with your favorite brew. In my case, its was a smokey Scotch Ale Wee Heavy, a Belgian Trippel, etc., etc., etc.

Cheers!
 

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day_trippr

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Or get your neighbors to raise chickens. None of the work, all of the easy disposal :D

Cheers!
 

jrgtr42

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HOnestly it never occurred to me to rinse spent grains down the drain - it's always been the compost bin, straight to the garden or occasionally into the trash.
Yeah, there's a little bit that goes down in the final rinse of my mash tun and manifold, but if it ends up being a half cup, I'd be amazed. There's so much water going down that drain that it wouldn't have a chance to get stuck.
 

SanPancho

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@FooFighter maybe fix that now that you’ve got the time? If I understand correctly you’ve actually got a fairly simple job. Rent a pipe breaker from Home Depot or just get an angle grinder with cutting wheels. buy the new iron trap, use it to make cut marks on old solid trap, and swap that bad boy. The rubber ”no hub” sleeves will join the pipes in place but give you enough flex to put a proper slope in the leg after the trap. 1/4“ per foot.
connecting the leg to the main is same thing.

support the trap and laterals with plumbers tape and anchors in the ceiling.

you’ll thank yourself the next time someone clogs the sink. Ask me how I know.
 

Cptblamo

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Better yet, either compost your spent grains or make dog treats with them.

A Dog's Life Is Ruff: Spent Grain Dog Treats - Deschutes Brewery Blog

Lots of ideas/recipes online...above is one I've used before. It obviously adds time to the brew day, but the dog loves it. I compost whatever grains I don't upcycle.
I made dog biscuits for a college class. Had to start a "business". Add peanut butter or chicken livers. Dogs love that stuff and it's pretty cheap.
 

IslandLizard

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I clogged my sink good with barley grains on Saturday.
Wow, man, that really sucks!

Now no-one should ever send larger amounts of solids down a drain. Even garbage disposers are nowadays heavily frowned upon, and not just by your sewer company.

Those 1.5" drain pipes are surely narrow, especially for longer horizontal runs.

In a former house I owned there was a long (nearly) horizontal cast iron pipe from the sink to the main drain. It had so corroded out on the bottom it had started leaked. When I tried to patch it, it totally disintegrated. Now that pipe was nearly 50 years old at that time.
 

Dancy

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The big lesson is this kiddos — do not put anything into the garbage disposal that can instead be put, or scraped off into, the trash can.

Now go unplug your sink (if that is the reason you searched for this thread). And then after achieving glorious victory, celebrate with your favorite brew. In my case, its was a smokey Scotch Ale Wee Heavy, a Belgian Trippel, etc., etc., etc.

Cheers!
Yep. I brew 5 gall batches with induction in my small condo kitchen. A few years back, I clogged the disposal with some chopped up celery. My building has a clogged drain service and a guy came out and unclogged it in about 15 minutes. He said he would not even have a garbage disposal in his own home and that disposals do not chop up stuff into small pieces that are all that small. He went on to say it is different for commercial use because the pipes going out are so much bigger. I haven’t used mine in two years now.
 

ehall

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moving this thread over to a plumbing forum... they're going to love the massager tied to the pipe!
 

kh54s10

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Wow, Just got a like on my reply. April 5, 2016! My clog turned out to be a deteriorating galvanized pipe and years of sediment. It cost $1500. One thing lead to another and the whole stack where all the separate drains leading in had to be replaced. It was about 66 years old by that time. Found that the connection to the toilet was loose also. Moved within a year of that.
 

David Baker

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I clogged my sink good with barley grains on Saturday.

View attachment 686941


I brewed from extract or syrup. I put the contents of the small grain bag, after it was spent, into the garbage disposal or insinkerator. No problems. So on my next batch, it was all grain, I tried to pour it all down the garbage disposal too. Oops. I got about two gallons of grain in there when it backed up. Using a screwdriver to tap on the copper drain pipe down in the crawl space, I realized grains were backing and packing about 12 feet of drain.

View attachment 686942


I snaked it with a cordless drill. The snake went all the way through the clogged area. When I would pull out the snake, the grain would collapse like sludge and the water was still backed up. I worked on it all Sunday. It would not budge. I even tried the hose and putting pressure on it. It was tiring, my back was now sore, and I was starting to feel depressed. In hindsight, pouring grains into the garbage diaposal was a stupid move. I had not done something that stupid in a long time.

I then hired plumbers for Monday afternoon. They used a drain camera to confirm what I knew from tapping the drain with a screwdriver, it was pretty backed up. The plumbers worked various of their snakes for a couple of hours. They left without success. Part of the problem, they said, was that the pipe was 1.5” instead of 2”. They could not get all their tools into it, such as a snake spade. It would not fit through the 90 degree elbow at the very top of the drain.

View attachment 686944

I went to Home Depot and bought a sawsall to cut the drain as well as a rubber repair section. I was ready for that nuclear option. But before, I thought a little bit, and had some ideas I wanted to try, all at once.

I put trimmed zipties every 18 inches on my drain snake / auger as I fed it in. This way the zipties would create a wider tunnel than the snake itself. After I inserted it all the way in, I pushed and pulled it 24”, back-and-forth, over and over, so that the spinning zip ties would tunnel a wider bore. This allowed the backed up water to finally pass. I then poured drano and waited a bit.

View attachment 686943

I used water to make the Drano go down. I then ziptied a massager to the pipe. The purpose was for it to send vibrations and loosen the grain so it would slide into the larger toilet drain.

View attachment 686947


View attachment 686948

After all of this, I also put water in the drain. It did not take much snaking after that. I heard the drain gargle, much like when a toilet flushes. Finally!

You can learn from other’s mistakes. In this case, hopefully they were mine. The big lesson is this kiddos — do not put anything into the garbage disposal that can instead be put, or scraped off into, the trash can.

Now go unplug your sink (if that is the reason you searched for this thread). And then after achieving glorious victory, celebrate with your favorite brew. In my case, its was a smokey Scotch Ale Wee Heavy, a Belgian Trippel, etc., etc., etc.

Cheers!
 
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Just to echo previous posters; I will dry spent grain in the oven at ~250F and then freeze in containers for future batches of bread (1-2 cups per 2 loaf batch) or just throw it in the mulch bin (if the freezer is at capacity). FYI-Rye and Stout beers make better bread than just lagers or pale ales ;).
 

David Baker

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Just to echo previous posters; I will dry spent grain in the oven at ~250F and then freeze in containers for future batches of bread (1-2 cups per 2 loaf batch) or just throw it in the mulch bin (if the freezer is at capacity). FYI-Rye and Stout beers make better bread than just lagers or pale ales ;).
OR- dry as above - grind in your Vitamix - and sprinkle around your growing tomato plants. They'll love it.
 

Brewsncrabs

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Don’t know who invented garbage disposals, but they were an idiot. Won’t ever own one after my last house and the smell. Don’t use them and they are great!
 

markcurry

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Don’t know who invented garbage disposals, but they were an idiot. Won’t ever own one after my last house and the smell. Don’t use them and they are great!
drifting away from homebrewing and into plumbing...

I don't get all the garbage disposal hate. I won't live in a house without one. I've had way more clogs in kitchen sinks without one - those stupid little food strainers miss most the scraps, and lead to much more clogs.

Using a disposal works fine - as long as you don't jam all sorts of improper things down em - anything fiber-y for instance. Potato peels are usually the number one culprit for clogs. But this thread surely represents the worst of the worst - but I've got to think it's the minority case.

Sure, you're on a septic with more limited capacity to deal with bigger solids, a disposal's not a good idea. But piped city sewage - as I said, won't live in a house without a disposal.
 
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