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"Stuck" in AG He11

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Teddi Brewski

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Experienced extract brewer tempted fate last night and went all grain. Think I managed to salvage something but after a bitter battle with a stuck/semi stuck mash.

Recipe:

Grain bill:

10lbs. Muntons 2row Pale
1lb. Muntons 49-60L Crystal
1lb. Flaked Maize

Mash:
Dough in to 4 gal. room temp H20, raise temp to 159
dump into water cooler/mash tun
mash 90 min.

This is where it all went bad. Could never get the mash to run off. dribbled, dripped stopped ad absurdem. Got down and dirty with a kitchen strainer and tried to salvage something. Managed to collect about 3 gal. clear(ish) runnings. Proceeded withboil.
If the Dr. Gregory House of Homebrewing is out there, try to diagnose any of my numerous screw ups that you choose. Would appreciate it. Will it ferment?be beer?taste like crap?
 

Bobby_M

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We can't help until you describe your mash tun's filter design. A picture would be best.

You didn't pour any sparge water through the grain?
 

wilserbrewer

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How are you attempting to lauter...manifold? braid? The flaked maize could make the mash a little sticky?? How crushed were the grains?? The problem must either be the crush or the tuns straining ability.

Did you add water to grain ar grain to water??

If it make you feel any better...you most likely have made beer and some pretty strong stuff, let it ride and see how it tastes.

This guide by Denny might help

Cheap 'n' Easy Batch Sparge Brewing
http://www.tastybrew.com/articles/dennyconn001

Mike
 
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Teddi Brewski

Teddi Brewski

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Sorry, I thought I might have been getting wordy for my first posting, so here's the rest of the info:

SS braid on a ball valve (got plans from this site) for sparging

did attempt "batch sparge" with about 3 gals. 170d. h20
 
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Teddi Brewski

Teddi Brewski

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I bought the grains pre crushed from my distributor (Crosby and Baker, Westport, Ma.) and I'm wondering if they were a bit "powdery"? First AG, though, so nothing to compare to.
 

Jekster

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Did you barley open the ball valve or completely open the sucker? You need to just slightly open the valve to let it flow slowly at first then open it a little bit more once you have a decent dribble for a while. You also need to recirculate the first few quarts of wort to get a nice filter bed going before you attempt to drain off.
 
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Teddi Brewski

Teddi Brewski

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When I dug it all out with the strainer, it just seemed that there were particulates fine enough to be pulled right onto the hose, tight enough to completely block the flow. After boiling, my 2 1/2 gals. had a gravity of 1.072??? so I diluted to 5 gal. and got 1.050...and I'm not making any of this up!

Sorry, can't do pics at the moment
 

Bobby_M

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I'm going out on a limb and take a guess that your "stainless" braid is actually a plastic braid. Home Depot? Likely.

If that's not it, I'll ask how much tubing did you have on the output of the ball valve?
 

eviljafar

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It happens to me every now and then and I've got 24" of braid in my cooler. I just blow into the hose on the end of my ball valve for a couple of seconds and all is good. I'm not worried about sanitation problems by putting my mouth on in for because I'll be boiling for an hour.
 

DAAB

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Stainless braids are notorius for blocking, some people manage with them perfectly well, others find them a PITA. It sounds like you might well fall into the second catagory.
 
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Teddi Brewski

Teddi Brewski

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Actual Stainless - True Value Hardware,
Slowly opened the ball valve, but slow being a relative term, guess I wasn't slow enough,

tried blowing back into the barb, didn't solve the problem


Zero tubing on the outflow...I wasn't prepared with the High temp. stuff, only had siphon tubing.
 

Bobby_M

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That's a huge problem Teddi. High temp or not, you need at least 2 feet of tubing drop to pull a siphon. I don't know anyone that has had success without it.
 

buckeyebrewer

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I had a couple semi stuck sparges when I started AG. Now I add a pound of rice hulls into the mash. They lend no flavor and they are really cheap. A pound is only .99 at the LHBS. It seems to work well. Just a thought.
 
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Teddi Brewski

Teddi Brewski

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Bobby and Buckeye, Good lookin out! You both get...a buckeye!
Bobby, Are you saying the mash actually NEEDS a siphon, as in this is not optional?
I thought gravity would cut it. That's what I get for my "fly by the seat of my pants" approach. Think this'll be beer anway?
Buckeye, I think the hulls would have helped out anyway, the mash was almost gelatanous, seemed to have no "structure."
 

Yooper

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Well, I read you to say that you doughed in at room temperature, and then began heating it in a brew pot, and then dumped it all together in the cooler MLT, right?

That would explain the gelatinous mess. You cooked up a cereal, basically, and then dumped into a cooler. Next time, use tubing on your ballvalve for sure. And put a gallon or so of hot water into the cooler, and open the ballvalve so some water fills the tubing. Then close it and add grain. Add more water, more grain, stirring all the while. About 15 minutes before your mash is finished, don't stir it any more or otherwise disturb it. It'll settle with the grain kind of at the bottom, and some liquor on top. Then open the ballvalve gently until the flow starts, then you can open it more.

Also, remember to use about 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain to make a mediumly thick mash.
 
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Teddi Brewski

Teddi Brewski

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Muchos Gracias, Todos!
I'll employ these new techniques on the next batch, but for now, this fiasco of a brew is steadily bubbling away. Can't wait to taste it!

Brewski Out.

Primary: Potentially Poisonous Amber Ale
Secondary: This Bud's For You American Light Lager
Tertiary: Port Barrel Aged Winter Spice Ale
Kegged: Goldfish Head 75 Minute IPA
Bottled: Bubba Braggot
 

wilserbrewer

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Yes!!! you need a length of tubing on the outflow side of the valve...this helps gravity "pull" the wort out of the tun.

Nice job diagnosing the problem Bobby...you went at it like a like an MD at an ER.
 
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