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Lesson Learned. Use Rice halls.

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caioz1jp

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Stuck sparge. $25 down the drain. Will always add rice hulls.
9lb grain bill.
2-row
biscuit malt
roasted barley.

We are thinking the biscuit malt, @2.5lb, is the culpret being it is the only malt we have never used before. I never had a stuck sparge before and don't use rice halls. I will always add them becuase not only was it frustrating. It was pretty terrible to watch my brother have something like that fail when he was so excited about his mint stout. Real bummer.
 

stpug

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There's no need to dump a stuck sparge. Just strain it using ANYTHING that can strain (nylon bag, colinder). All you need to do is separate the grain from it's juices and you'll be making beer in no time.

Nothing in your grainbill indicates that it should have stuck. They're all barley with husks. Perhaps the milling pulverized the husks too much and created too much barley flour? I've only ever needed rice hulls with a recipe that called for about 40% wheat and rye (no husks on wheat and rye).
 

Varmintman

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No need to dump it ever. I got a funny look from my wife when she came around the corner and I had the drain hose in my mouth blowing it backwards to clear the stuck sparge.
 

cooper

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Something else to think about too for future reference is to condition your grain before you send it through the mill. Just fill a little spray bottle with around 5 ounces of water, spray the top layer of grain in the bucket some and stir it with your hands and repeat.

Do this till you can see that the grains have been wetted a little bit, not soaking obviously, but wetted some and then send them through the mill. This will make the husks somewhat rubbery and and they'll remain whole a lot easier and help to prevent a stuck sparge. Also get some feeler gauages and set them at .039 and run it through twice and see what works for you. There are folks out there that have their rollers set to .032 and do just fine.
 
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caioz1jp

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I have a 10gallon home depot rubber made with braided steel mesh. I left for the store when my brother decided he was fed up. I did suggest to him to grab a collinder and start straining. I would of tried to blow back but i dont have a tube that would fit over the nozzle of the tun.

We even dumped the tun into the kettle, pulled the ss mesh off and wash it out. I cleared the valve and when we added it all back in, nothing would flow out. I will add that he used european malt as well. Liek I said, I have never had a stuck sparge before and have made a few wheats and stouts with out issue. This was the first time.
 

Dougie63

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also dont drain the first runnings too fast or it will result in a stuck sparge, I only use rice hulls when using wheat malt
 

jmcquesten

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I also just experienced a couple of stuck mashes. The first one wasn't a surprise, since I was using a lot of wheat. I thought 0.75 lbs. of rice hulls was enough, I was wrong. It took about 2 hrs to drain first runnings with several blows back through the valve, not cool. The most recent was this past weekend, which is the one that's bothering me. The grain bill was 22 lbs marris otter, 3 lbs vienna, 1 lb. Chocolate, 14 oz roasted barely (unmalted), 14 oz de-bittered black, 2 lbs. flaked barley (which i milled)...no wheat. After the first stuck mash (witbier), i decided to make rice hulls a regular addition and added a lb. Again not enough, and stuck the mash. I grind my own grain and i'm sure this is the problem. I have a corona grain mill that i run with a drill. My grind is pretty fine, with no whole grains. Husks are all split and "flour" is pretty course. I read on this forum to tighten the grind until you're scared, then tighten a little more, so thats what i did. My efficiency on this particular batch was 79%, which i'm very happy with,but i can't deal with a stuck mash every time. So my questions are: How do i find the perfect grind on my mill? How do people get such high efficiency without sticking their mash? Are there other tricks to preventing this? How often do you use rice hulls to reach high efficiency (other than when using wheat)? And, how much rice hulls is recommended?

I made several batches with a coaser grind and my efficiency suffered, like in the 60s.
 

Varmintman

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Flour will stick a sparge every time and honestly I am not sure that you can get enough rice in to stop it.

I have a corona mill as well and found that it took a whole lot of machining it to get the plates to run square to each other. If the plates are not parallel then you will get flour out one side and course grain out the other. Also try wetting the grain before you mill it.
 

julioardz

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I mash in a 10 gallon water cooler with a SS braided hose, never use rice hulls, do 2 batch sparges, and have never had a stuck sparge. I regularly get 75% efficiency with store milled grains that have all cracked grains and some, but very little flour. Even my basic grain bill for wheat beers, which is 64% wheat and 36% 2-row, drains fine without rice hulls. You can mill too finely, which results in a stuck sparge. I've always understood you want to minimize turning your grains to flour, but then again, I don't do my own milling. I know my efficiency isn't the greatest, but its decent. I achieve that by stirring a lot when I add the grains and then again with every sparge. Maybe the problem is with how fine you are milling and not properly conditioning the gains before milling.
 

Friedclutch

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Try a false bottom if you have a cylindrical mash tun. There could be a problem with your braided mesh being too fine and/or not enough surface area.
 

CityOChampBrew

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Stuck sparge. $25 down the drain. Will always add rice hulls.
9lb grain bill.
2-row
biscuit malt
roasted barley.

We are thinking the biscuit malt, @2.5lb, is the culpret being it is the only malt we have never used before. I never had a stuck sparge before and don't use rice halls. I will always add them becuase not only was it frustrating. It was pretty terrible to watch my brother have something like that fail when he was so excited about his mint stout. Real bummer.

I don't think rice hulls would have helped as all the grain you used would have hulls to filter your grainbed. You should look more at how you filter it out as the culprit. Please say you didn't dump your wort.. if so what a waste.
 

Brewcrew02

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CPVC manifold or spring for some $$copper$$. Stainless braids just don't make sense to me. I know they work for some people and I'm not trying to bash them, just not a fan.
 

cluckk

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I mash in a 10 gallon water cooler with a SS braided hose, never use rice hulls, do 2 batch sparges, and have never had a stuck sparge. I regularly get 75% efficiency with store milled grains that have all cracked grains and some, but very little flour. Even my basic grain bill for wheat beers, which is 64% wheat and 36% 2-row, drains fine without rice hulls. You can mill too finely, which results in a stuck sparge. I've always understood you want to minimize turning your grains to flour, but then again, I don't do my own milling. I know my efficiency isn't the greatest, but its decent. I achieve that by stirring a lot when I add the grains and then again with every sparge. Maybe the problem is with how fine you are milling and not properly conditioning the gains before milling.
I do the exact same thing as you and was getting efficiencies in the low 60's. It was really torquing me of for a while. Stores usually grind too course because they don't want someone to get a stuck sparge--besides with lower efficiency they sell more grain. I started having them double grind the grain--mine does so happily. All they do is dump the ground grain back through the grinder a second time. Next, I got my water report (my water company has it available online) and used the spreadsheet Bru'n Water. I use that to calculate additions to get my Ph into the proper range. In San Antonio, with Edwards Aquifer water, we have a starting Ph of 8.0. The last few batches, since these changes, my efficiency has been in the low to mid 80's.
 

henryred

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I use a stainless braid no issue. Used all wheat no hulls. No issue. But the big difference is I am using a 3/16 hose with rubber grommet up and over the side. Take your braid off tun. Go down to hardware store and find a grommet that will fit inside the braids thread end. This will slow down the flow enough to keep it from stopping the flow
 

julioardz

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I do the exact same thing as you and was getting efficiencies in the low 60's. It was really torquing me of for a while. Stores usually grind too course because they don't want someone to get a stuck sparge--besides with lower efficiency they sell more grain. I started having them double grind the grain--mine does so happily. All they do is dump the ground grain back through the grinder a second time. Next, I got my water report (my water company has it available online) and used the spreadsheet Bru'n Water. I use that to calculate additions to get my Ph into the proper range. In San Antonio, with Edwards Aquifer water, we have a starting Ph of 8.0. The last few batches, since these changes, my efficiency has been in the low to mid 80's.
Yeah, I use to ask for my home brew shop to double mill and they would with no problem. I forgot to ask them to do it on a few occasions and didn't notice a difference in my efficiency. 75% is good enough for me. It's not like an extra half pound or pound of grains is going to break the bank. What I should do though, is start adjusting my water. Not for efficiency so much, but to tweak the taste of some of my beers.
 
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caioz1jp

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For those telling me not to dump. We did have to dump it. We just didnt have enough time to mess around with it and finish the brew. Second, I do think it was the steal mesh pinching down on itself. Last night we brewed this again with a bazooka screen and it worked like a charm. We also tossed in a heaping coffee cup of rice halls for extra protection. The bazooka was $14 at my LHBS and is much less of a pain to take off and clean. I do want to add that i brewed about 20 batches on the steel mesh with out a single problem. I brewed stouts, porters, wheat, IPA, and cream ales with out issue. I think the mesh just crapped out on me from being moved and tugged on so much.
 
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caioz1jp

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I also built another mash tun becuase i found a crack in my 10gal round home depot cooler. really bummed so i had to get a cheap $20 12 gal coleman. Did a great job but it has about 0.25gal dead space on it. compared to the .125gal dead space on the round guy.
 
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