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Low OG - Mashtun?

All,

Ok so I built my mashtun has the copper pipe with holes in it to drain out the ball lock spout. Holes are facing the bottom in theory should drain. As you can see my grain bill (below) is not that heavy but still running into “stuck sparage.” I have some questions.

  1. Is it a sin if I put my grains in a paint strainer bag / muslin bag when putting in the cooler? Will that effect my efficiency? I am sure it would help my draining…

  2. Is this stuck sparage the root cause of my low OG? Mash in 90 mins 158. Mash out 175 15 mins.

  3. Any other ideas how to drain more efficiently? Beer smith says 5.7 abv on this one I will at best get 4.0-4.5 abv. :roll:

Thanks!

Tim

7 lbs 9.9 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain
2 lbs CaraMunich II (46.0 SRM) Grain
15.6 oz Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain
4.2 oz Belgian Aromatic Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain
4.2 oz Belgian biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain
1.1 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain
1.1 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) Grain

  1. Is it a sin if I put my grains in a paint strainer bag / muslin bag when putting in the cooler? Will that effect my efficiency? I am sure it would help my draining…

not a sin and it would improve your efficiency. if i were you, though, I’d invest $30 in a false bottom and/or get your system dialed in right from the start. less bs in the long run.

  1. Is this stuck sparage the root cause of my low OG? Mash in 90 mins 158. Mash out 175 15 mins.

possibly, but there’s really not a lot of other info/variables in your post. get it unstuck and then analyze why you’re low.

Beersmith doesn’t know what your system will do so not matching its predictions is not a surprise.

10.5lb of malt in a 5gal batch should put you in the 1.050 OG range. What was your OG? You are mashing at a fairly high temp so you’ll naturally end up with a higher FG and less ABV. 20% crystal malt is also going to contribute to a higher FG. Nobody cares about ABV but you should be able to understand your materials/recipes and system well enough to hit a target OG and FG within a few points once you’ve brewed a few times. A stuck sparge doesn’t affect anything if you get the wort out eventually. You can do BIAB over a manifold but it indicates theres something wrong with your manifold. You might try a slightly coarser crush, or at leasts rake the mash during runoff. I usually have to do this a few times during a runoff.

[quote=“tbilderback”]All,

Ok so I built my mashtun has the copper pipe with holes in it to drain out the ball lock spout. Holes are facing the bottom in theory should drain. [/quote]

Do you have any photos? I have a copper pipe manifold on the bottom of my mashtun and, because I crush like a madman (at 0.026"), I have slow sparges on occasion, but only for the seventh & final gallon of the seven gallons drained into my boil kettle. For the six prior gallons, it usually drains about as fast as a 1/2" ball valve will allow.

You can use a bag if needed. But you may as well skip the mash tun and simply BIAB(brew in a bag.)

Your manifold should work fine if properly designed and placement is right.
When I say placement if it is held tight against the bottom of the cooler/kettle you may actually be blocking half your flow right there. As maybe half or more of the holes aren’t receiving wort. Usually the manifold will float above the bottom a half cm or two when piped to a ball valve. So its a longshot suggestion, but maybe a possibility.

I have used many differing styles of manifold such as cpvc or copper over the years and think they do a tremendous job. Btw, I have seen many people make a drilled type and many times over naught its the fact that it doesn’t have enough holes. Typically its easier to cut slots and you get better flow. But since your at this stage maybe its time to punch a few more.

Like said above photos would help greatly. Both of the design/holes & placement in the tun will give us a better idea to help you.

[attachment=1]download.jpg[/attachment]
[attachment=1]download.jpg[/attachment]

Ok I will try to address some of the questions. My OG was about 1.038 on the recipe listed prior…the OG by beer smith was saying it should have been around 1.054. I tried to upload pictures hopefully they took.

The holes are facing down when in use…I have read on some fourms that rice hulls might help, other say just put a paint strainer bag over the manifold…anyone have any experience using this?

Does anyone make a “factory” false bottom for these rectangle coolers?

I get my grains crushed by NB since I do not have a crusher myself perhaps they are crushed too fine.

Thanks for the suggestions…hopefully this helps!

Additional Info.

The copper pipe is 3/8 around…the holes are drilled on all “trees” about 1/2 inch apart. There is a slight drop the way it is setup. A rubber tube is hooked to the backside of the ball lock then to the copper mash-tun.

There is a possibility I could place the copper pipe directly on the ball lock but this would lead to about an inch or more of dead space b/c it would be off the bottom of the cooler not to mention grain weight might kink it etc.

I have only run one batch though this setup. Prior I had just a stainless steel mesh toilet hose that was also giving me flow problems, and still getting low OG’s. I thought this system would be better.

Maybe my water temp is off…a lot of times its not the guitar its the guitarist!

Thx

Tim

Those pictures are really small? 2kb each? Is there a larger size attached somewhere I can’t see?

I was hoping to see a closeup of your manifold, so I could peek at the holes, see how many there are, how large they are, and how densely they’re spaced. You may not have enough such that you’re restricting the flow.

For your comparison, I used a jigsaw to cut slits in my manifold, deep to about half the diameter of the pipe, and spaced about 1/4" apart.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=114352&hilit=+manifold

I can’t off hand remember the size of the bit I used about the size of the 0 on your keyboard. These are placed every half inch on the bottom side all along the 3/8 pipe that runs in 3 directions. I did not drill holes in any of the T’s. i could go back and cut slots i guess…I have a feeling the grain is getting caught up in the holes…thus the reason why I want to try the muslin bag. I tried to upload a larger picture and said it was too big.

TB

[quote=“Silentknyght”]Those pictures are really small? 2kb each? Is there a larger size attached somewhere I can’t see?

I was hoping to see a closeup of your manifold, so I could peek at the holes, see how many there are, how large they are, and how densely they’re spaced. You may not have enough such that you’re restricting the flow.

For your comparison, I used a jigsaw to cut slits in my manifold, deep to about half the diameter of the pipe, and spaced about 1/4" apart.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=114352&hilit=+manifold[/quote]

If the arms in the “t” are not open in some way that is limiting your potential and flow for sure.

If you were just hoping for the one main pipe to act as the manifold alone I would drill that one pipe all over the place top and bottom and it will act as a long,sturdy “braid of sorts.”

Like the last poster just showed you a manifold needs to have a good surface area to collect wort fast and efficently with no stuck holes/slots as you have tons of them on other arms or other surfaces that if that one area gets grain into a few slots holes it doesn’t gum up the whole works.

I Have used things like the above poster and other designs that haven’t stuck even with close to 50% wheat or rye in the mash. So just pop some more holes and definitely slot those two arms and it will work gravy.

I guess I can continue to drill, not sure about the holes on the top…I had read that if you have them on top then the grain can also come in and block from the top. To be fair both the trees also have holes drilled in them. the only thing I could drill are the caps at the tops of the trees and the end. I likely can drill more holes in between the ones I have already drilled but I still believe that the grain is stopping it up. The manifold that has the slits appears like it does have more surface area than my current system. Let me take a picture and post here in just one min.

Thanks All for the help, Happy brewing!

If anyone can chime in with wrapping a muslin bag around the manifold I would like to hear if that solved your problem.

[quote=“ITsPossible”]If the arms in the “t” are not open in some way that is limiting your potential and flow for sure.

If you were just hoping for the one main pipe to act as the manifold alone I would drill that one pipe all over the place top and bottom and it will act as a long,sturdy “braid of sorts.”

Like the last poster just showed you a manifold needs to have a good surface area to collect wort fast and efficently with no stuck holes/slots as you have tons of them on other arms or other surfaces that if that one area gets grain into a few slots holes it doesn’t gum up the whole works.

I Have used things like the above poster and other designs that haven’t stuck even with close to 50% wheat or rye in the mash. So just pop some more holes and definitely slot those two arms and it will work gravy.[/quote]

Some one has to say it. Spend $6 on a stainless steel braided
http://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-x-3-4-in-x-12-in-Braided-Stainless-Steel-Water-Heater-Supply-Line-FIP-x-FIP-Lead-Free-LFBK-LBF-12/203789991#.Udts9pw0s5s
water line and ditch the copper. :wink:

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

Been that route as well maybe its just plain user error need to ease the flow on the ball lock…[attachment=0]IMAG0405.jpg[/attachment]

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Some one has to say it. Spend $6 on a stainless steel braided
http://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-x-3-4-in-x-12-in-Braided-Stainless-Steel-Water-Heater-Supply-Line-FIP-x-FIP-Lead-Free-LFBK-LBF-12/203789991#.Udts9pw0s5s
water line and ditch the copper. :wink:

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/[/quote]

I did not quite do that particular model…did a SS toilet line took the plastic inner out and rolled with that…that one looks a bit more stout than what I had…So what do we think more holes?

TB

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Some one has to say it. Spend $6 on a stainless steel braided
http://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-x-3-4-in-x-12-in-Braided-Stainless-Steel-Water-Heater-Supply-Line-FIP-x-FIP-Lead-Free-LFBK-LBF-12/203789991#.Udts9pw0s5s
water line and ditch the copper. :wink:

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/[/quote]

[quote=“tbilderback”]I did not quite do that particular model…did a SS toilet line took the plastic inner out and rolled with that…that one looks a bit more stout than what I had…So what do we think more holes?

TB

[/quote]

I use a toilet/sink line myself. What was wrong with the braid you had? Was it actually SS or was it plastic. Some pick up a plastic one and find they do not work. It needs to be SS.

No I used a SS toilet hose but took the plastic pipe out of the middle and just used the braid…

[quote=“Nighthawk”][quote=“tbilderback”]I did not quite do that particular model…did a SS toilet line took the plastic inner out and rolled with that…that one looks a bit more stout than what I had…So what do we think more holes?

TB

[/quote]

I use a toilet/sink line myself. What was wrong with the braid you had? Was it actually SS or was it plastic. Some pick up a plastic one and find they do not work. It needs to be SS.[/quote]

[quote=“tbilderback”]No I used a SS toilet hose but took the plastic pipe out of the middle and just used the braid…

[quote=“Nighthawk”][quote=“tbilderback”]I did not quite do that particular model…did a SS toilet line took the plastic inner out and rolled with that…that one looks a bit more stout than what I had…So what do we think more holes?

TB

[/quote]

I use a toilet/sink line myself. What was wrong with the braid you had? Was it actually SS or was it plastic. Some pick up a plastic one and find they do not work. It needs to be SS.[/quote][/quote]

That how to use it. What issue did you have that you are trying to switch to a copper pipe?

Yup, Thats your problem. You dont need a bag. The simple row of holes you have is not enough. A bag will not solve the issue, you will have the same if not reduced flow. You need to pop some holes on the side or wherever to create way more drainage channels. Or simply slot out the holes you have. That would be easy as you have the holes spaced about the width you would need slots to be spaced apart.

Do you think holes on the sides is OK? I have just read so many comments that say don’t do that…I guess the bag would slow flow, but would it be worse than hanging up? I tried the hack saw to begin with I guess it would be easier now that I have holes to “grip” man I thought that many holes would drain…don’t know if it matters but it drains fine with out grain guessing that’s b/c there is no pressure on it…

Honestly I think you’ll be good with holes on either side and/or on top also as you will never eliminate every parcel of grain entering a hole/slot of some sort and once the bed is set it smooth sailing anyway. Cutting slots is a PITA, I know all to well and used a plain jane hacksaw to do it also. A dremel or cutting tool makes this task a breeze. I can tell you now though that you will have better performance with slots than all kinds of extra holes and in reality cutting the slots will be much easier than popping a bunch of holes. Drilling into round pipe sux’s unless you have an uber sharp/small bit.

Also If you look at most slotted manifolds the slots come halfway up the tube. At least mine did, I would cut the slot halfway through the pipe on every one. I did have the slots facing the bottom btw. Sure a piece of grain lodges into some slots/holes but it doesn’t create an issue for overall efficiency and good flow.

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