Stuck sparges

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
I've been having problems lately with stuck sparges on my small scale system. I'm not in a huge rush to fix it since I mostly brew on the RIMS, but for smaller experimental batches, I use my old HD 10gallon cooler for a MLT. When I first started brewing AG with the cooler, it was great. The last 4 or 5 batches I've done on it have had stuck sparges though. I've been able to blow into the tubing in order to get it flowing again, but I'd prefer to not have to do this.

I use a homemade copper manifold that's just a circle that sits about 2" above the bottom of the cooler and an 1" or so away from the sides. I have slits cut in it about every 1/4" or so. It doesn't have anything to rest on the one side, so when grains are loaded in, it sits on the bottom of the cooler. It's also not sweat into the ball valve because I wanted it to be easily removable for cleaning. I do protein rests on most of my beers, so can anyone see another reason why this is constantly becoming stuck?

I did notice that the cooler walls have become fairly warped in one spot over the years.... could this be causing issues?
 

riverfrontbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
1,113
Reaction score
38
Location
Denver, CO
Does it sit 2 inches bove the bottom or on the bottom? Or half and halfish? This may be part of the issue. Although I use a false bottom, I think you want your manifold flush on the bottom of the cooler.

How fast do you run off? I am at most about 1/2 open on my valve to keep it from running to quickly and solidifying the grain bed.

Good Luck!
 
OP
Suthrncomfrt1884

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
It sits 2" above the bottom in the front near the ball valve, and I'm assuming after the weight of the grain is added, it sits on the bottom in the back. Maybe I could try sweating on a piece of copper to hold it above the bottom. I'll check it out.

I run the drain wide open because I batch sparge. I've tried it half open, but haven't had any better luck.
 

BierMuncher

...My Junk is Ugly...
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
12,443
Reaction score
929
Location
St. Louis, MO
It sits 2" above the bottom in the front near the ball valve, and I'm assuming after the weight of the grain is added, it sits on the bottom in the back. Maybe I could try sweating on a piece of copper to hold it above the bottom. I'll check it out.

I run the drain wide open because I batch sparge. I've tried it half open, but haven't had any better luck.
  • Make sure your slits are on the underside...not facing up.
  • Try closing down your valve. Too fast of a drain will cause suction and stuck sparges.
  • Toss in a pot full of rice hulls.
 
OP
Suthrncomfrt1884

Suthrncomfrt1884

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
35
Location
Rockford
  • Make sure your slits are on the underside...not facing up.
  • Try closing down your valve. Too fast of a drain will cause suction and stuck sparges.
  • Toss in a pot full of rice hulls.
Slits on the underside? Really? I always thought they were supposed to face up.... stupid me. I guess I'll flip it around and see if it helps...quick easy fix hopefully. Thanks BM.
 

klyph

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
1,792
Reaction score
53
Location
North Pole, Alaska
And you want the whole thing to rest on the bottom or you'll leave wort behind, reducing your efficiency.
 
Top