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Stuck mash... again.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:16 pm
by alms66
I've tried everything I can think of to get it to flow and nothing comes out of the tun...

I sitrred the grain to get flow, nothing. I blew through the tube to loosen any clog, nothing. I even tried continuously stirring while opening the valve so that the bed could not get compacted, still nothing.

Any other suggestions on how to fix this?
I could add more rice hulls, but at this point I would think it would just be a waste of rice hulls.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:27 pm
by Imakewort
probably to late now to do anything, I used to have stuck sparges more often than not. I would grind my grain till scared. And another problem of to tight a grind is extraction on tannins, so but next time adjust your grind to not be as tight and use a little more grain to make up the loss in efficiency. Prost

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:53 pm
by alms66
I just bought a new grain mill because I thought I was getting it crushed too fine before. I used it for the first time today and used the default setting. I assumed that since it was the default, it would be good, but when I saw the result it was a little more crushed than I was used to seeing before. Which makes the last stuck mash piss me off even more.

Good news is I've managed to get some flow. WoooHooo!!! At the rate it's flowing, i'll be starting the boil at 6 AM!!!

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:50 pm
by yeastmeister
Any chance you can bring some of your crushed grain to the next meeting for us to look at? How about your tun as well. We would love to help you solve your problem.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:17 pm
by alms66
Sure, I can bring the tun if you want to look at it. I'd have to go to marcello's to buy grain to crush, so I'll just bring the mill too. I went look at the paper I got with the new mill and it's default gap between the rollers is set at .039 of an inch - or at least it's supposed to be. What do you use?

As to the beer, I just took out what I could and have started the boil as of 8. I'd had enough of dealing with it. At least this time it didn't end up as roadkill though.

They should change the name of Malt Extract to "Have more free time and less aggravation"

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:11 pm
by GuitarLord5000
I've never really checked the measurement for my Barley Crusher. When I first got it, I adjusted it by running a few cup fulls of grain through at a time, until nearly all of the barley kernels were crushed. It's a pretty thick crush, but I've never had a stuck sparge, and my efficiency is around 70% which is fine by me. A few extra pounds of grain are well worth the cost, against the headache of a stuck sparge.

I hope you get your problem sorted out!


PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:25 pm
by Mob_Barley
Take a picture of the manifold, its orientation in the tun and a close-up of the slits. Maybe it'll show us something. {Assuming you are fly sparging,) are you floating the grain bed? When you Vorlauf, you say you're recirculating two gallons, how much do you collect before you pour it back in? I'm thinking maybe you may be compacting the grain bed when you vorlauf and any sparge water you add isn't floating it. Try adding a couple of inches of water above the grain bed first, then vorlauf slowly, and make sure you keep liquid above the bed. I'd say you should only try to get two quarts at a time until you get a clear run-off, then proceed with the sparge but make sure you keep a couple of inches of sparge water above the grain bed to "float" it. If you batch sparge, you'll have to ask someone like yeastmeister who batch sparges. I've only had one stuck sparge and it was because I drained too much wort while collecting for the vorlauf and it compacted the bed.

I have the barley crusher which comes with a .039 default gap. I milled some grain this morning with that gap. Seems to work OK for me. I have a false bottom though and not a manifold. Let us take a look at the pics, I just want to make sure you aren't orienting the slits up.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:31 am
by alms66
I can't take a picture at the moment, but I have a false bottom not a manifold. Also, there was absolutely no flow from the start - I didn't collect anything, until I added the whole pound of rice hulls and stirred continuously while slow opening the valve, only then did I get a slight flow. In 30 minutes I got about 2 cups, so I just did what I had to do in order to collect some wort and boiled that. Cloudy as hell, but like I said, at least it wasn't completely wasted.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:11 am
by Imakewort
what are you using as a mash tun, keg? ice chest? other? and what kind of false bottom? I use a keg with a false bottom from Sabco with 40 mesh screen on top of that, I had similar problems and need lots of rice hulls, but opened the gap on my mill. I got lower efficiency but just added more grain to make up for it.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:12 am
by redtail28
More questions what size pick up tube and valve are you using. When I was mashing in a cooler with a Phils false bottom I was using a bottling spigot to drain and that was the problem. Bring it to the next meeting and let's get this thing fix. Brew strong

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:57 am
by aleguy
Too much guessing! Bring your tun and mill to the meeting next week and we'll figure it out. Then invite some of us over when you brew so we can make sure of what's going on. I promise you we will solve the problem. I just can't say when or how.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:06 pm
by alms66
Tun is a cooler, with the 9" false bottom shown here:

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:41 pm
by Imakewort
your choice of false bottom more than likely is your problem, a lot of brewers who use a cooler for a mash tun use a braid instead, see link to Denny's website on how he builds his cooler mash tun. prost

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:39 am
by Mob_Barley
I use the same setup, 10 gallon cooler with stainless false bottom. Check to see that the ball valve has a full port. Since I haven't had any problems, you must have some sort of a restriction which the hydrostatic head of the column of wort can't overcome. The things that come to mind are the ball valve, whether you reduced the barb fitting too small on the ball valve creating a big pressure drop, or you have some sort of a plug in the brass elbow on the false bottom or in the line to the ball valve. That's all it can be if you are not grinding your grains to flour.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:59 pm
by aleguy
Something that came up with my last brew. My manifold developed a clear, hard film over the slots that prevented the wort from flowing. The slots looked open, and air would pass through, but after I took a closer look at the slots, I noticed reflections. A few minutes working the slots with the bristles of a bottle brush, and the wort flowed just fine.
I mention this because I had never heard of anything like this before. I always clean my mash tun and spray out the manifold, but I got some sort of gelatin or mucilage which plugged up my slots. It is virtually invisible, but from now on, I'm going to brush every slot clean before I start my mash as well as after.