Stuck mash from hell!

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Stuck mash from hell!

Postby aleguy » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:05 pm

They say it happens to everyone sooner or later. I'm glad mine was later or I might have seriously given up on home brewing.
I brewed my pumpkin ale for Gulf Brew yesterday. Nothing went right from the start. I had problems with propane leaks (My teflon tape has mysteriously vanished. I think one of the cats decided it was a toy and has hidden it underneath something,) I decided to bring the pumpkin up to strike temperature with a portion of the mash water, so i had to get two pots (one on the burner, one on the stove ) to the same temperature at the same time.
I doughed in and everything went well until it came time to sparge. I vorlaufed about two gallons and started collecting crystal clear wort. About a half gallon flowed into the boil kettle, then . . . NOTHING! I cleared the line, I even scooped out the mash tun and cleaned out my manifold. Still nothing. In the end I was reduced to scooping it into a grain bag and draining it in small batches that way. The wort was cloudy as hell, but at least I got my boil volume.
I think the problem is in my slotted-pipe manifold. I cut the slots 0.018" wide and I think the pumpkin made the wort to thick to flow through the slots. It works fine with grain.
The problems didn't end there. An ounce of hops that I bought didn't have a tight vacuum seal when I went to pitch it, so I gave a whiff. EWWW! Sharp, cheesy smell like I never imagined in my wildest dreams. I'm just glad I smelled them before they went in the kettle.
That's it in a nutshell. My worst, and longest brew day yet.
Never trust a skinny chef, a sober brewer, or a cat with thumbs!
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Postby triple-oh_six » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:08 pm

Well now you know how I feel. Sucks doesn't it.
One day I'll get everything straight.
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Postby yeastmeister » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:08 pm

Real fresh pumpkin? Canned puree? I've always made mine fresh, and included lots of rice hulls.
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Postby aleguy » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:36 pm

Canned puree. I like it in my pie, and my beer seemed to do well with it when I made it the first time (extract) so I used it again along with a large quantity of my secret ingredient. cooked and pureed. I added enzyme to help convert everything. It flowed through the grain bag fairly well, so I suspect I just need a separate manifold with wider slots the next time I make this or similar beer.
I'll keep my trusty grain bag handy though. Just in case.
BTW Trip, I've never seen you have any problems like this. (Except for the propane leaks of course. Mine don't even compare to yours.) If you need a hand sorting out your brew sculpture, just give a yell. I'm happy to do anything I can to help.
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