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Avoiding Stuck Wheat Sparges

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grunter

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I have been brewing belgian wits with 50% wheat recently and the sparges have been coming out at litle more than drops, ie a very slow trickle.

my local HBS suggested putting the barley at the base of the mash/lauter tun and topping up with the wheat as a means of rectifying as he couldnt supply rice hulls.

He said that a local micro uses this technique successfully

has anyone tried this or know of its likely succes compared to just mixing all the grain together?

would be keen to spend less than half a day lautering
 

Backlane Brewery

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grunter said:
my local HBS ... couldnt supply rice hulls.

[post="50322"][/post]​
Grunter, unsure how effective layering the grains may be (how would you maintain the layering during the dough in stir?) but I see you are in North Sydney- have you tried PMing Gerard M? Unless of course he is your local HBS owner!

no affiliation etc etc.
 

warrenlw63

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Hi Grunter,

What's your liquor/grist ratio? If you're going to be using a lot of wheat and can't get hold of some rice-hulls it may pay to make a rather thinnish mash and lauter slowly with a degree of patience.

Try about 3.5litres per kg. Keep the the temp. of the mash high after mashout and maybe even use slightly hotter than normal sparge water (about 78-80c). Likelihood of tannin extraction should be less due to less barley husks.

Otherwise try and chase up some rice-hulls. They're fairly easy to come by these days. Stock feed vendors should be able to help.

Warren -
 

grunter

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not sure what HBS gerard is with ......... i have been using ESB

can gerard supply rice hulls??
 

crusher

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Grunter,
I spoke to him a few days ago & he was right out of rice hulls. He is Northern District brewers. 0416 107 767 is his mobile
Crusher
 

pint of lager

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Stuck sparges are the pits. Doesn't matter how good the false bottom or manifold is, some brews will stick. Have suffered many of them in the past, and the sight of the sparge runoff slowing to nothing is not nice.

Wheat has no husk, and brewing with a high quantity of wheat means that there are less husks to do the filtering. Most people think that the false bottom or manifold do the filtering. This is untrue, it is the barley husks that do the filtering, the manifold holds back the husks, and the husks then do the filtering. Crushing too fine, or a high wheat content are likely candidates for stuck sparges.

Long term, I think rice hulls are your best option. Try big gardening places, or horsey supply places. Rice hulls are used as animal bedding and for mulch in gardens.

Aim for a shallower grain bed, either by a larger sparge vessel or smaller mash size. Try for a coarser crush, this does not really apply to wheat brews. Use less wheat or sticky adjuncts. Design your lauter vessel so that you control the rate of runoff. Too fast a runoff can cause stuck sparges.

OK, how to deal with a stuck sparge without rice hulls. Get a long knife and "cut" the mash from side to side of the lauter vessel nearly the complete depth of the mashbed in a noughts and crosses pattern. This opens up channels in the bed. You may have to do this a couple of times. As the sparge continues, you will probably find that runoff will start happening of it's own accord as the sugar content of the runoff decreases.

I do not agree with increasing the sparge temperature, this is going to extract tannins.

I solved my stuck sparges by using rice hulls, and then by upgrading the mill to a barleycrusher and changing the lauter vessel.
 

ausdb

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For those using rice hulls what ratio do you go for? by weight or by the handfull?

I am brewing the weizen recipe from the weyermann site this weekend with 60% wheat so for a 40L batch I will have about 5kg of wheat malt. How much rice hulls should I use?

Cheers Ausdb
 

pint of lager

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Use about the same volume of rice hulls as you have wheat grain. If all goes well, then use a bit less next time.
 

warra48

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I know it's a very old thread, but didn't want to start a new one.

I have a hefeweizen in the kettle as type, 2.8 kg wheat out of a total malt bill of 4.8 kg. I used kg rice hulls for the first time.

Can't believe how easy it was to drain and sparge. An amazing difference to my ususal experience of a slow trickle, and a stuck sparge half way.

Highly recommend these for all wheat beers.
 

Fourstar

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you can always rake the mash.

Get yourself a long thin metal spatula and make as many parallel cuts as you can through the mash. If you are fly-sparging your efficiency will suffer. Batch sparging will be less of an issue.
 

Nick JD

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Line your mash tun with some swiss voile ... heh heh HEEH! :D
 

katzke

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I did a 100% Malted Wheat brew with BIAB and not a bit of a problem draining.

In one of the old posts it was claimed that increasing the sparge temp would extract tannins. That just can not be. It is not the temperature that extracts tannins it is the pH. As long as you monitor your sparge to make sure you are not over sparging then the temperature will not increase tannin extraction.
 

jyo

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I know it's a very old thread, but didn't want to start a new one.

I have a hefeweizen in the kettle as type, 2.8 kg wheat out of a total malt bill of 4.8 kg. I used kg rice hulls for the first time.

Can't believe how easy it was to drain and sparge. An amazing difference to my ususal experience of a slow trickle, and a stuck sparge half way.

Highly recommend these for all wheat beers.
I've only brewed one wheaty, which happened to be your fine recipe, warra. About 500gms of rice hulls at mash out, and the sparge flow was just as a non wheat beer. :icon_cheers:
 

hazard

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I did a 100% Malted Wheat brew with BIAB and not a bit of a problem draining.

In one of the old posts it was claimed that increasing the sparge temp would extract tannins. That just can not be. It is not the temperature that extracts tannins it is the pH. As long as you monitor your sparge to make sure you are not over sparging then the temperature will not increase tannin extraction.
Doesn't tannin come from the husk? If so - is it possible to get tannnin extraction from an all-wheat bre?

Quote from Nick JD
Line your mash tun with some swiss voile ... heh heh HEEH!
Unquote

Actually I tried this once with a dry stout that was 20% flaked barley - it still got very stuck, i had to pull out the bag and squeeze out the wort (and hot wort is very hot on the hands!).
 

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