Author Topic: Stuck Sparge Questions  (Read 6300 times)

Offline PetenNewburg

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Stuck Sparge Questions
« on: February 01, 2012, 06:53:53 PM »

     I had my first stuck Sparge yesterday.  I think it was in part due to 1 year old, very dry grain.  After grinding 14 lb. of grain, everything within 6 feet had a layer of very fine barley flour.  Q:  Should I have run the grain through a coarse sifter to remove the fine dust.
  At my first decoction, I needed to draw out 7.5 liter; it stopped flowing out of the mash tun at 4 liter.  A layer of flour about an inch thick and a inch below the surface of the grist was broken up with some vigorous stirring.  All went well the next 2 decoctions.  At Mash out I needed 25.5 liter of Wort, first 5 came out fine then nothing.  It took 2 hours of gently scraping the manifold through the grain to get the required amount.  Q:  Should I have not stirred so vigorously?
  I did use rice hulls, about half a cup.  Should I have used more due to the “flour”?
  Is there a proper sequence in adding the rice hulls, water,  grain to the mash tun?  Is there a grain to rice hull ratio?

Several meads ageing.
IPA kegged, 2/9/14
R. Porter in Secondary, 2/9/14
Next up, Vienna Lager, Pale Ale

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2012, 08:06:30 PM »
The only time I've had a stuck sparge I had just got my Corona mill and set it too tight.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Myk

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2012, 11:45:24 PM »
Without knowing your manifold and seeing the reason for the stuck sparge it's hard to accurately answer. My manifold is rare to get a completely stuck sparge with. I did manage this weekend, it was from a compacted grain bed. All it took was to stir it up.
I learned to not run my batch sparges off too fast or it plugs too many of my holes.

I've heard a couple handfuls of rice hulls. It's not exact science.

You could try conditioning your malt. Spritz it with water. It keeps your hulls intact. Although when I tried it this year I took a 5% efficiency hit because I didn't adjust my gap smaller. That was with year old dry grain.

For decoctions you pull out the grain to boil, not the liquid. As the decoctions approach mash out it does switch from thick decoctions with mostly grain to thin with mostly liquid.

Offline PetenNewburg

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 05:49:50 AM »
Without knowing your manifold and seeing the reason for the stuck sparge it's hard to accurately answer. My manifold is rare to get a completely stuck sparge with. I did manage this weekend, it was from a compacted grain bed. All it took was to stir it up.
I learned to not run my batch sparges off too fast or it plugs too many of my holes.

I've heard a couple handfuls of rice hulls. It's not exact science.

You could try conditioning your malt. Spritz it with water. It keeps your hulls intact. Although when I tried it this year I took a 5% efficiency hit because I didn't adjust my gap smaller. That was with year old dry grain.


  OK, this all makes sense.  I went back to the Kindle and reread the chapter on decoction masing, rereading it, it's still kinda vague on the method of removeing decoctions, but I'll give this a whirl!  I also read that John Palmer recomended a 1% rice hulls on brews with wheat or oats, guess it would not hurt to apply this ratio to the rest of my year old grains.

  Thank You!!

Cheers

For decoctions you pull out the grain to boil, not the liquid. As the decoctions approach mash out it does switch from thick decoctions with mostly grain to thin with mostly liquid.
Several meads ageing.
IPA kegged, 2/9/14
R. Porter in Secondary, 2/9/14
Next up, Vienna Lager, Pale Ale

Offline Myk

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 12:37:29 PM »
More than you probably want to know about decoctions, http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Decoction_Mashing

When I did a decoction I put my grain in a large grain bag in my tun. That way I could lift the bag to drain most of the water off the decoction, or take the wort from outside the bag for the mash out decoction. It also served to avoid a stuck sparge because it was a high rye content roggenbier.

The malt conditioning worked great on the dry grain. I think the reason I took the efficiency hit was the husks were so well intact that they held a lot of the sugar inside. I'll probably start doing it on all batches once I have some other things worked out with BeerSmith2's set up. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Malt_Conditioning

Offline PetenNewburg

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 08:01:38 AM »
  Excellnt links!!  I think I'll try a different style of mashing! LOL

Cheers!
Several meads ageing.
IPA kegged, 2/9/14
R. Porter in Secondary, 2/9/14
Next up, Vienna Lager, Pale Ale

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 07:06:57 PM »
When did you guy start straining out liquid for decoction?  I just scoop out mash, grain and all, and bring it to a full boil before mixing it back in.  The caramelization seems to add to the flavor.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Myk

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2012, 09:01:21 PM »
My adventure in decocting was a German style so I figured The Brew Kaiser was the place to learn the authentic way. Although the Brew Strong on decocting also says you boil the grain not the liquid.

I think the idea of decocting is once it's been at rest most of the enzymes are in the wort so you're not denaturing many by boiling the grain and you're trying to get unmodified grain to release more goodness to the wort. If you're not boiling the grain you're not doing that.
Although if you're using a highly modified grain you wouldn't need to.

Offline PetenNewburg

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Re: Stuck Sparge Questions
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 11:30:54 AM »
 
A little follow up...
  After rereading some material, watching a video or so on YouTube and checking the links provided I think I have found a successful procedure.  I had not been doing a real decoction mash.
  I tried a batch sparge, but my efficiency dropped a lot.  The last few brews made I did a single decoction mash.  I pulled the decoction from the thickest part of the mash, being careful not to disturb the lower portion of the grain bed.  I heated this very thick amount of mash to 165, and then held that for 15 minutes before boiling and returning it to the mash tun.
 On my second attempt I hit all my temperature marks almost perfectly.  At mash out my wort ran very clear after just a few liters.  I drained wort and recirculated/ heated until the wort draining was 170.  Iodine tests confirmed conversion.  I averaged 79% efficiency over the last 5 brews!
  The best part is the beer tastes great!!
 
Thank You!!
Several meads ageing.
IPA kegged, 2/9/14
R. Porter in Secondary, 2/9/14
Next up, Vienna Lager, Pale Ale

 

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