1st All Grain done - #$%#@&ing stuck mash

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mkstalen

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So finally gotten around to going all grain. Had some money for my birthday and got the OK from the CFO to spend it on brew gear.
Went ahead and bought one of these:
http://www.thebrewshop.com.au/insulated-mash-tun-36-litre.html
Looks like the SS false bottom included is the 20cm one.

My kettle consists of a 40L Aluminum pot with twin 2200W kettle elements.

First issue I had was over shooting my mash in temp, then under shooting it by adding too much cold water.
Finally got it right with some extra boiling water...

Problem started when I was draining from the mash tun to the kettle.

Started off slow, and re-added to the tun until it was running clear. Then let it drain off slowly to the kettle. At the start it was going at maybe a 2L/min. Then it slowed down to a bare trickle and stopped with only about 3L in the kettle and 20L odd in the tun.

Gave it a stir, same end result. Stirred again. eventually nothing was coming out at all, even after a stir.

$#^@%#$

Had to dump the lot into my fermenter lined with the trusty voile BIAB bag, and finish as per BIAB.

Has anyone else had issues with that mash tun + SS false bottom?

I'm thinking maybe the grain was cracked too fine and clogged up all the holes, or maybe the grain bed hadn't settled enough... Any ideas or tips so I can avoid this for the next batch?

cheers.
 

vortex

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Did you use a lot of wheat? What was the crush size? Too fine of a crush certainly can stick your mash, especially if you're turning everything to flour for BIAB.

1.2mm is a good size mill gap (if a little big) and use rice hulls if you have a large portion of wheat in the grain bill.
 

Crusty

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What was your strike in volume in relation to grain?
My igloo cooler mash tun had one stuck sparge when I used a L/G ratio of 2.6lt/kg. I then changed that to 3L of water to each KG of grain & never had a stuck sparge again. I cracked my grain @0.9mm - 1mm so maybe the shops cracked grain was a bit fine as well.
 

mkstalen

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Grain bill was 4kg ale, 300g wheat and 70g crystal.
L/G ratio was about 2.5L. (Although will all the pissing about adding extra to get the mash-in temp right it was probably closer to 3L)

Don't know what it was cracked at as it came pre-cracked from the same place the mash tun came from.

Will look into adding some rice hulls as well next time.
 

iralosavic

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With element powered HLTs, stir the water to get accurate readings AND take a thermometer reading of the strike water when it is all in the MLT BEFORE doughing in, so that any adjustments made wont affect your beer.
 

Bitches Brew

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+1 for rice hulls. I use them whenever my recipes contains significant amounts of wheat or rolled oats. I have used some pretty sticky mashes, but I've never had a stuck sparge. The underlying problem is hard to address without seeing your milled grain. I have my own mill and set the rollers to ensure that the hulls are largely retained. Once you start draining the mash it is the hulls that act as a natural seive. If the hulls are ground up your sparge will stick. If you are seeing lots of flour and very little in the way of hulls the grind is probably too fine. Some of my mates aim for pretty fine grinds to increase their efficiencies, but I prefer to get 75 - 80% and avoid sparge issues.
 

JDW81

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vortex said:
Did you use a lot of wheat? .
I don't think the amount of wheat has much to do with it. My last beer had 3kg of wheat in it and no stuck sparge. Never really seen the need for rice gulls, irrespective of the recipe. IMHO if you're getting stuck sparges then either your process or equipment is letting you down.

My 2c.

JS
 

MastersBrewery

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I have a similar set up, I aim for HLT temp to be 3 deg above mash in temp, and hit it pretty well bang on, the other thing is I have an over the side element to help if things go off course. The stuck sparge I have been fortunate enough to avoid and perhaps one of the replies above may help. I have fly sparged with this setup with reasonable results (85% eff vs high 70s with batch). Persist with it you will get it sorted. The only other tip I would have would be to open your ball valves slowly and on the mash tun I've never need it more than 50% open. Good luck the curve is rising.
 

Adr_0

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thanks for the post stienberg, and those that followed. I have used a copper tube bottom in the past (without ever sticking a mash) and just went to a SS false - yet to brew. I have a plug in there at the moment and I would say it's marginal to be honest as it -could- move if I were vigorous enough. To make sure, I think I will weight it down and consider using a second mesh screen underneath (I have a conical mash tun).

thanks heaps for the thread, saved me some potential pain no doubt. :)
 

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