My First Attempt at AG - And Questions

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freyguy

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So after a loooonng brewday yesterday (10am - 6pm), my first all grain batch is under my belt. Whew. :cross: My major issue is that I had a major stuck sparge. I was using my new AG kit from Northern Brewer. 10gal round rubbermaid cooler with their stainless false bottom. Somehow, a crapload of grains got under the false bottom. In the end, we had to use a sanitized piece of wire to keep unclogging the hose the entire time! Had to do it for the first runnings, and for the entire sparge! And it wasn't a fast flow either. It took forever. I suppose I could have transfered everything, cleaned it, and tried again, but I didn't want to risk messing it up too much. I don't think we stirred hard enough to lift the false bottom, but maybe we did. What are some pointers so I can be sure not to run into this problem again? The connection from the nipple to the false bottom is high temp vinyl hose. If I made it out of copper, it might hold down the bottom better. Is this reccomended? This was also a 5lb 2-row, 5lb wheat grain bill, but I added 8oz rice hulls to help the sparge. I don't think that compaction was the problem, just all the grains under the false bottom were i believe.

Otherwise, everything went good. I got about 67% effeciency with all the troubles I had. I used a corona grain mill and figured on 68% eff on BeerSmith. I used 5.2 in the mash so it was good. With about a quart of boiling water, I hit my 153 temp, hit my 6.5gal pre-boil amount spot on, and my finaly gravity was only 0.001 off, but that was after I added 1/2gal of water along with blood oranges and some grated peels. I need to figure out temperatures better, but now I have an idea of what it will take. Also I was shooting for 5gal post boil before adding the 1/2gal with the oranges, so I know I need to figure in on 7gal pre-boil instead of 6.5 because I boil pretty agressively I suppose. Just so happened to work out that I did end up with 5gal thanks to the oranges. :mug:

Recipe:
5lbs 2-row
5lbs Wheat
8oz Rice Hulls
.5oz Hallertauer 60min
.5oz Saaz 20min
.5pz Hallertauer 10min

Grated peels of 2 blood oranges, and the meat of 4 blood oranges cut up in a separate pot. Add 1/2gal of water and bring mixture up to 160. Allow to steep about 20mins as they cool. Add to primary before pitching yeast.

WL380 with starter.

I'm open to all suggestions. I searched around but couldn't find much on getting grains under the false bottom. Thanks in advance for any input. I'm off to plan my next batch! :D
 

david_42

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I'd agree with excessive force while stirring. Even though a SS false bottom doesn't have the floating problems of a plastic one, stirring can make it shift back & forth letting grain get under the mesh. I've seen mash tuns with clips to hold the false bottom in place.

Try to minimize the depth of stirring next time.
 

bobwantbeer

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I've been using a bucket with a bunch of holes, and a basket made of ten feet of screen I bought for 5 bucks. boil the basket for an hour before the first time you use it. Multiple layers of screen do a good job of keeping the grains in. It's been working for me since my first experience using a false bottom which was very similar to yours.
 

abracadabra

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freyguy said:
. In the end, we had to use a sanitized piece of wire to keep unclogging the hose the entire time!

No need to use sanitized equipment until after the boil.

I have the same setup and have never had that problem so I think it must have been something you did. Such as use excessive force stiring.
 
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freyguy

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Just did my second AG yesterday. MUCH, MUCH better! :rockin:

An Amarillo Pale with 11.5lbs grain. I used the same setup since I was having trouble bending copper to replace the vinyl. Made sure to stir gently, and was excited to see there were no clogs. My only issue is that there were a good bit of grains coming out, and I had to vorlauf about 6 quarts each time just to get it relatively clear. I'm thinking maybe my crush was too fine. I used a Corona mill, as I don't have a Barley crusher yet.....soon hopefully. I did get 74% effeciency, so I was excited!!!

Thanks to everyone for all their help and info. :mug:
 
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