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First stuck sparge

Sunday I was brewing an Irish Red and of course was in a hurry. First time ever I was collecting my first runnings and they were super slow and just stopped. Stirred a bit and got a little more and it stopped. No Rye or oats or any type of grain that could normally cause this. I am pretty sure the problem is that the braid I am using just got a kink near the connection to the valve.

Nothing I did would allow proper runoff. I got a 5 gallon paint strainer bag and started putting grains and wort into it using a large measuring cup. What a MESS! When I got enough out, I drained into the pot and then sparged with the brew in bag method, but it was a PIA. Plus, I lost total track of first runnings and what I needed for sparge water and WAY over shot the water quantity.

I was between two different recipes for the Irish Red and one had a OG listed at 1.064 and the other was at 1.044. I ended up at 1.054 with 6.5 gallons in the fermentor instead of my usual 5.3.

Most frustrating brew day in a while. Because I was in a bit of a hurry and lost over an hour dealing with ways to fix things, I ended up doing a “no chill” as the evening air temps dropped pretty cool.

This batch will probably be one of the best ever and I have no way of replicating it exactly, nor would I want to! :cheers:

I had a SS braided line off a Toilet line that many people use on here, but had the same thing happen to me. I switched to a bazooka screen/tube instead and haven’t had a problem since. I like that it holds its shape with all the grain on it.

Boy do I hate a stuck sparge! It happens now and then though. The worst is when you pinch the braid near the valve, nothing to do but pour out the mash and fix it. I did switch to bazookas on my larger tuns and they are nice. I still have a braid in my smaller tuns and I’m more careful not to get my spoon down where the braid is sitting.

I twisted a copper wire around a small dowel making a spiral which I inserted into the braided line. Haven’t had a stuck sparge yet and the spiraled copper makes it almost impossible to collapse the braid.

This worked for me as well. I was the worst at mashing it with my mash paddle.

If you keg, next time try blasting a little CO2 back through the valve to clear the obstruction. All you need is 1-2" of braid, so you might try cutting it off shorter so there’s nothing to catch or crimp.

I know this may not sound kosher to some, but when that happened to me in the past I would open my ball valve all the way, put the vinyl tube (from the mash tun) to my mouth and blow a lot of air back in. Following that I would close my valve to 1/4 open and let it drain a little slower.

I used to have this issue a lot with higher gravity beers; however, when I switched to a larger mash tun the problem has seemed to work itself out. Not too sure if that was an issue, but my thinking was with a smaller surface area the grains would compact too much and stall my runnings.

You can’t fix a collapsed braid by blowing back through, that does work if you just have a fine crush and its sticking for conventional reasons. Probably a larger MLT means a lower liquid height and less pressure pushing down. Also raking the mash is a great way to prevent the protein from covering the top of the grain bed and creating a vacuum underneath. I find this is most helpful during sparge.

I do have a piece of copper tubing inside my braid to maintain it open, I think the spring like insert would work better though.

Mash on!

I don’t see any problem with that, as long as you don’t accidently suck it in and burn your tongue. You are going to boil the wort next, so there is no chance of causing an infection.

The closest I’ve come to a situation like that is a couple times my braid has fallen off the tube I connect to it to drain out. Then it is simply a matter of carefully tilting the cooler back to allow me to expose the problem area, and reconnect it. There are some nice benefits to using an oversized cooler for a mash tun.

I don’t see any problem with that, as long as you don’t accidently suck it in and burn your tongue. You are going to boil the wort next, so there is no chance of causing an infection.

The closest I’ve come to a situation like that is a couple times my braid has fallen off the tube I connect to it to drain out. Then it is simply a matter of carefully tilting the cooler back to allow me to expose the problem area, and reconnect it. There are some nice benefits to using an oversized cooler for a mash tun.[/quote]
Had that happen once too, without the luxury of the oversize part. A mash is too hot to put even a rubber-gloved hand in for any length of time, by the way.

This thread has brought back some decidedly bad memories!

I don’t see any problem with that, as long as you don’t accidently suck it in and burn your tongue. You are going to boil the wort next, so there is no chance of causing an infection.

The closest I’ve come to a situation like that is a couple times my braid has fallen off the tube I connect to it to drain out. Then it is simply a matter of carefully tilting the cooler back to allow me to expose the problem area, and reconnect it. There are some nice benefits to using an oversized cooler for a mash tun.[/quote]

Agree about blowing. It’s on the hot side, so no worries–unless you have a serious buggaboo about HSA.

I’ve also had my braid slip. I solved it by wrapping a towel around my hand for insulation then sticking my hand in a plastic garbage bag to waterproof my sophisticated braid recovery system (BRS). I was able to re-attach the braid without discomfort.

Well, I feel like less of an idiot after hearing others stories, but don’t necessarily feel better :roll:

What I am trying is I got a copper straight (bendable) sink supply line from the hardware store. I took the whole thing apart and I have shortened the braid to about 6" long. One end of the copper supply goes into the nipple that goes through the cooler wall. The other end is held in place by bending the braid over and hose clamping in place. I made sure to leave about an inch beyond the tube that should allow a lot of liquid through the tube. The tube is not so tight against the braid that plenty of wort won’t get in that way as well. The braid is from a water heater line, so it is decent diameter, when it is not crushed. I am thinking this will work well but I will be testing it tonight with water first to see how it works before brewing my next batch.

Thanks for all the ideas.

+1 I use my air compresor

My solution worked pretty well, perfect sparging the last brew. I am not sure that forced air or C02 would have cleared a kinked and collapsed braid. Had I understood my ball valve better, I now realize that I could have pushed something through from the outlet of the valve and made the issue better, but it would have been difficult to do that with hot wort.

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