I am now an all grain brewer (and junior Macgyver)

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GoBrewers

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After mooching off the great information on this site for the past year, I finally did my my first all grain batch / equipment fail / crisis aversion all in the same day.

Brewed a simple ESB with an 11# grain bill - it was all smooth sailing until it was time to collect the runoff from the mash tun. Apparently the holes in the copper manifold I had constructed were too small, because I had the ball valve opened fully and there was nothing coming out. So I dumped the mash into my bottling bucket and drilled larger holes into the manifold (which was hot as a mofo, by the way).

Mash back into the tun, opened it up, and still nothing. Lots of swear words, then I poured the mash back into the bucket, ripped out the manifold, screwed in a hose barb and strapped on a washing machine lint trap. I batch sparged 3 times, and crisis averted.

I probably lost a lot of heat back and forth between the bucket and MLT, but I had done a mashout, so that probably helped a bit. There were a few more grain husks swirling around in the boil than there probably should have been , too, but I hit my OG right on the nose (1.054), and she's bubbling away happily right now

So there it is - one all grain session, and one panicked near-catastrophe in the books.

Anyone else have any Macgyver moments to share? Please, put me in my place. I was way too proud of myself today.
 

BierMuncher

...My Junk is Ugly...
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Congratulations.

I can almost guarantee that your stuck sparge was related to a wide open valve. Open it too far and you create a huge vacuum on your outlet and things clog quickly.

Draining should be done slow and steady...with little pressure on the output opening.
 

Belmont

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I've been very fortunate with my MLT. Bought it off a guy that had been brewing a long time and had to quit. He had a bazooka T installed and I've never had it stick. I plan to challenge it with a barleywine soon though. Congrats on saving your brew and enjoy it. You'll probably come across a situation eventually that you can't resolve. I know I have. :)
 

diatonic

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I was bottling a batch last night and wondered what I would do if my Emily capper broke mid bottling session. A lot of things I buy 2 of - just in case one breaks or gets ruined... no panic. But I only have 1 capper, and don't bottle a whole lot. What would you do if you broke your capper after adding priming sugar. My thought was to put it back in the carboy with a blanket of co2. Let the priming sugar ferment over a couple weeks, then bottle it again with the new capper. :)
 

pompeiisneaks

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my last nite macguyver moment. I have only one blowoff tube, and I did a double batch. I had some dry yeast in one and a reconstituted yeast from a previous batch in the otehr, wanted to see the difference in flavor between nottingham and wyeast american ale. At any rate, the one I thought would be blowing off in the tube wasn't and the other was about to explode. In a panic I open the valve on the one before it pops and foam goes everywhere :O. So I get that mess cleaned up and the hose transferred to the one going berserk and put a normal ferm lock on the slower one... by the time I get that mess clean, the OTHER one starts goign berserk! So I am like... shat what do I do now????? I realize if I put my water bucket up higher I can cut the blowoff tube in half and I'm golden... macguyver moment... and save the day... both are blowing off like a politician in election season, and I'm a beaming beer poppa ;)

Your solution in stressed situation is awesome, and makes you feel like a king eh? :)
 

SumnerH

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I was bottling a batch last night and wondered what I would do if my Emily capper broke mid bottling session. A lot of things I buy 2 of - just in case one breaks or gets ruined... no panic. But I only have 1 capper, and don't bottle a whole lot. What would you do if you broke your capper after adding priming sugar. My thought was to put it back in the carboy with a blanket of co2. Let the priming sugar ferment over a couple weeks, then bottle it again with the new capper. :)
1. I'd see how much I had left to bottle, and how many Grolsch bottles I have laying around (about 15 empty right now)
2. I'd run to the store, grab a bunch of 1-liter PET soda bottles of something that seems easy to clean quickly, and use those.

I'm considering getting the Colonna capper/corker mainly because it caps Europeans and corks Belgians (and is a nicer way to cap in general), but the thought of having a backup has crossed my mind.
 

dutch101st

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Havent had my Macgyver moment quite yet, but I have a feeling I will be more like this guy...God help us all.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiAOLeX8AB8]YouTube - PEPSI MacGruber[/ame]
 

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