Double bill Trouble Bill

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Double bill Trouble Bill

Postby jayhawk » Sat Oct 12, 2002 10:48 pm

I got burned tonight - stuck mash. I am trying to fit two batches in tonight. Right now it is 1145pm, I started mashing @ 8pm, and I still haven't collected the wort. I have resorted to sparging through a strainer as I am now at wits end. It took me about 2 hours to collect about 1/2 the wort, and now everything has stopped. I guess this is how I learn to use sparging aids when using wheat malt in any significant amount. It will be a late one tonight. Good thing I have lots of private reserve on hand.
Git brewin
Chris
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Uncoventional remedy

Postby Azorean Brewer » Sun Oct 13, 2002 3:57 am

The two times I ended up with a stuck mash, I shut the exit valve off. I then proceeded to keep the sparge water flowing until I had at least 1-2" of water above the grain bed, then I stirred the entire mashed grain to loosen things up.

Then I allowed everything to settle for about 5 minutes. I took a 2-gallon kitchen pot, and started the sparge process all over again, this time I only opened the exit half of what it was the first time. The big thing here is to keep it very wet, you should always have 1" of clear water ontop of your grain bed.

I then collected about 1 gallon of the newly mixed liquor, and resparged that to filter out any undesirables. Once I had about one gallon filtered through my grain bed I was on my way to completing with a re-established grain bed with no adverse affects.

It bites the big weenie when your grain bed stops up completely, I know I have been there. Remember keep it wet.

Good luck...
Paul.
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Thanks for the tip

Postby jayhawk » Sun Oct 13, 2002 9:45 am

Hey Paul, I appreciate the advice, but I had tried everything to get that sucker going, absoulutely everything. I finally had enough wort collected after 4.5 hours. I am not sure how good this batch will be because a lot of very fine grain matter passed through the screen. Hopefully by transferring the beer of the trub right away I can minimize any impacts. I think my HBS' mill is not running properly. Appartently a couple other customers have run into the same problems recently. Up until now though people have never had problems with grain milled at his place.
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Buy your own mill

Postby Azorean Brewer » Sun Oct 13, 2002 2:27 pm

Chris,

I am going to get some flack over this post but I have NEVER had adverse affects from my Corona grain mill. This investment set me back $37.50 (U.S.) and it was worth every penny. You will have to play with the adjustment but once you get it as coarse as you want it, you can lock down the wing nut and the setting is vertually permanent. I keep my grain in the frezzer until 2 hours before I need it, then I just mill my own. Think about it, cheap investment I'd say. I hope your batch comes out OK.

Paul.
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Corona description please

Postby jayhawk » Sun Oct 13, 2002 10:53 pm

Is the Corona a flour mill, or is it one of the roller kind? I think the guy at the HBS has a flour mill, but I am not sure. He brews his own stuff in store with the same gear and grains, so I would think he would notice if something was off. He is very experienced, and connected with micros in town, so I am pretty sure he knows what is up. But now that I think of it, he was off on holidays for the last week or two, so maybe his temp f***ed up. Maybe the mill will find its way under the Christmas tree.
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Corona is a flour mill

Postby Azorean Brewer » Mon Oct 14, 2002 2:40 am

Chris,

Corona is a two plate system that is completely adjustable to give you from very fine to very coarse. If money is not an issue perhaps you should do some resaerch and purchase a more expensicve roller type mill. If you are looking for the cheap way out with good results Corona in my opnion will give you that. Read, ask, and checkout a few different models OK?

Paul.
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More Remedies

Postby BillyBock » Mon Oct 14, 2002 11:44 am

Chris: You could also add some rice hulls to your mash--they're flavorless and colorless, so the effect on your wort is neutral. However, they provide husk material that the wheat doesn't have to help prevent a stuck sparge. I made a single infusion, 50/50 barley/wheat beer with 1# of rice hulls. No stuck sparge.

Like Paul mentioned you want to refloat the grain bed. One way is as he mentioned, add water and stir. Another way, which I've used alot, is to ensure enough water is on top of the grain bed, open and close the valve of number of times, then blow through your mashtun's valve to help clear any obstructions. Make sure you close the valve before you drop the hose, 'cause the wort will rush out. I don't worry about lactobacillus from my mouth infecting it 'cause i don't feel there's enough time for it to do anything, then shortly they'll be killed in the boil. Lastly, if you runoff too quickly you'll compact the grain bed because of pressure differences--so remember not to go full throttle. Crack it open slowly at first. Then when you feel comfortable the flow is going, increase it slightly.

Hope it helps, I've had my share of stuck sparges.
v/r

Bill
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Duh, why didn't I think of that ? ? ?

Postby Azorean Brewer » Mon Oct 14, 2002 4:30 pm

William, you're a genius, well OK you have a lot of common sense :-) blowing the grain bed in the opposite direction corrects everything wrong with a stuck sparge, no more stirring for me, reverse flow is the wave of the future LOL ...

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Tried 'em too

Postby jayhawk » Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:17 pm

I tried blowing back through the hose. Bubbles came through the grain bed and then I stirred it up. But when I went back to empty to sparge water it stopped after a couple of seconds. The grain bed was not letting any water through. Perhaps I had opened the valve too far, too fast. Oh well, the beer is now fermenting away nicely and I will put this one in the "experience" folder.
Thanks for the tips
Chris
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Doh!

Postby BillyBock » Mon Oct 14, 2002 9:57 pm

I even named a Porter after my first stuck sparge...I called it "Constipation Porter". :-)
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The Experience Folder

Postby BillyBock » Mon Oct 14, 2002 10:03 pm

Nothing like the experience folder, huh? After stirring, let the mash settle and recirculate the first few quarts so you reestablish your filter bed. It's possible the grain was crushed too fine creating a bunch of goo at the bottom. I've learned to keep a stash of rice hulls on hand as insurance for just these emergencies.

What're you gonna name this one?
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Immediate responses..

Postby jayhawk » Mon Oct 14, 2002 10:25 pm

Well, immediate responses were Pain In The A** ale, Wheat Goblin, Hell Batch, etc. I like to right down my thoughts in my brew notes as soon as possible. That way, when I look back, I get a good idea of how the brew went. There are some pretty humorous notes in the book.
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