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uglygoat

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well it was bound to happen sooner or later.

i have an igloo cooler with a cpvc manifold, basically a frame with holes in it to allow the liquor to flow out, whilst keeping the grains in. i've done about six batches in the cooler and not had a problem.

yesterday, my mother's day mash got stuck while i was sparging. don't know why. prolly some cosmic karma retrobution for brewing when i shoulda been doing something with the family... ;)

i did use a pound of flaked barley as i was trying to reproduce guinness, i was reading that at lower mash temps the flaked barley can turn into a glop like oatmeal, and i was at the lower end of 155 i think.

anyhoo, anybody got any tips for the stuck mash? how do you get it unstuck?

i had a hell of a time and ended up transfering the mash to a bucket, then back and forth, i finally got most of the sweetness out, but ended up about a gallon shy of where i wanted the batch to be... luckily i had a pound or so of dme as insurance.
 

tnlandsailor

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I brew Cream Ale pretty regularly and use flaked corn which stuck on me the first time I tried it. What I do now is mash in with all my other grains and get things settled out, then sprinkle the corn on top and just use a spoon to get it submerged. My thinking here is that the gelatinous mess that forms will stay on top of the filter bed and not down next to the manifold where it could cause problems. I use a recirculating system and this method seems to be working for me so far.

Prosit,
 

DeRoux's Broux

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bummer T1. i've done 5 batches w/ my igloo cooler and my stainless water feed-line rig that i saw on the board. so far i've done a wheat and an amber cerveza w/ flaked maize and i haven't had a problem w/ stuck mash (knock on wood!). glad i brewed saturday instead of Mother's Day!
how did your OG turn out?

DeRoux's Broux
 

Ken Doggett

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Nothing is more frustrating than a stuck mash. I avoid them by putting in the flaked grains the last thing in my mash. Since then, I haven't had a problem. I feel you still achieve the sparge efficiency by doing this. I've actually run flaked barley through the grain mill along with the other grains, but I think the best way to handle it is to add the flaked grains last thing.
I just made an American Brown with Grade A maple syrup and a few cloves in the boil using this method and it sparged out fine. We'll see how the brew turns out. It's looking great.
 
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uglygoat

uglygoat

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i've never used my hydrometer that came with the first kit i received... :D

thing is, i've used the flaked barley before, just not in such a large quantity, and i've put it in the bottom of the tun, with the foundation water, and also in the middle of the grains before and not had a problem.

so i was reviewing my sparging technique and think i may have allowed to much water to collect in the tun before i opened the valve... in other words, i compressed the grain bed with the weight of the water whilst not allowing any to run out soon enough.

fermentation took off without a hitch, it was all swirly and bubbly but there was little or no foam head, weird, but i'll just roll with it and see.

this is my third go at a stout, and each time has been a nightmare (refer you to the disaster averted thread)

so i may give up on stout and stick with the pale ales ;)
 

andre the giant

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I've always thought that allowing too much sparge water to drain out of the mash is what caused grain bed compression. Either that, or sparging/draining too fast. I've always found that having an inch or more water standing on top of the grain bed lets the grain "float" for lack of a better term. Once you remove the water, the grains pack down and can stick the mash.

I could be wrong, I've only done eight all-grain batches, but none of them even came close to being stuck, even the oatmeal stout I was warned about.

I'm glad you were able to save the stout.
 

tnlandsailor

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I believe Andre is correct. Water over the grain bed doesn't "compact" it. It actually adds buoyancy to the individual pieces of grain. The things that compact a mash bed are weight and liquid flow. The weight of the grain bed on itself will actually increase once the water is removed. I think your problem was the adjuncts gelatinizing (which is what they are supposed to do) and then clogging up your false bottom/manifold. I think your best bet is to add the adjuncts after you mash in and try to keep them off the bottom of the mash tun.
 

Ken Doggett

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I would also ditto to take your time sparging and draining the wort. Slow both down and you will probably have better success. It usually takes me about 35 minutes to sparge and about 45 to fully drain the wort. So far, I haven't had a stuck mash ever.....
 

DeRoux's Broux

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i usually recirculate for 20 minutes @ 1.9 L/min, then sparge @ .9 L/min. usually takes me about 1.5-2 hours to sparge. i haven't had any stuck run-off yet?????? maybe that's the trick too?
 

HAZEr

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While I haven't needed to add rice hulls with any of the batches I've done, several members of my club have.

It would seem to make sense that if you can mix your adjuncts evenly with your malt, you'll have more contact with enzymes. If this is true you should get better conversion than by adding them to the top. That's my theory anyway.

If you can find a source other than a homebrew shop they are cheap. I've heard 1.50 a pound from one shop which is silly for something that adds nothing to OG.

< This space under development >
 
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uglygoat

uglygoat

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the stout tasted good when i racked it to the secondary yesterday :) i am mightly pleased, despite the hassle.

my mash yesterday didn't stick (it was only two row malt), so i am gonna rebrew the same stout recipe next week.
 

andre the giant

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When I mash, I usually allow a couple inches of water on top of the grain bed. This way, even when I draw wort off the bottom for the recirc, I still have enough liquid to keep the grain bed from compressing. My system is pretty primitive. I draw off the bottom into a pitcher, then pour back on the top through a slotted spoon. After doing that for a half hour or so, all the grain dust and undesirable "goopy" stuff seems to be locked up in the grain bed. That way, it doesn't make it into my beer. :)

It usually takes about 45-60 min for me to sparge. Then, on to the boil.

Mmmmmm sweet nectar of the gods...
 
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uglygoat

uglygoat

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i rebrewed the same recipe with the flaked barley on the top of the grains in the tun... no problems... i noticed the flaked barley easily doubled in size, so i could see where in the last mash it clogged the manifold.

w00t!
 
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