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More stupid mashtun issues

Just when I thought I had everything worked out with my mashtun I’m having another annoying issue. Yesterday this occurred and I remember this occurring at least once before but just thought it was a stuck sparge issue.

I have a 70qt cooler with about a 12" hose braid. When I’m draining, right around 3/4 the cooler length from the valve a pile of grain builds up and creates like a dam and I have a puddle of water build up at the far end of my cooler. I try to lift that end of the cooler to push the water over the “dam” but by that time the grain is too compact and it wont even penetrate through to the bottom to drain.

This ends up leaving about a gallon of water in my mash tun and forces me to scoop grain out of the way so the water can drain so I don’t end up losing sugar. It ends up putting some grain into my boil. Not a lot but still makes me wonder if I’m extracting tannins unnecessarily because of it.

It seems to happen about where the hose braid ends though I can’t be sure that exactly where it happens. I’m wondering if lengthening it would prevent this or if anyone has any experience with this.

[quote=“mattnaik”]Just when I thought I had everything worked out with my mashtun I’m having another annoying issue. Yesterday this occurred and I remember this occurring at least once before but just thought it was a stuck sparge issue.

I have a 70qt cooler with about a 12" hose braid. When I’m draining, right around 3/4 the cooler length from the valve a pile of grain builds up and creates like a dam and I have a puddle of water build up at the far end of my cooler. I try to lift that end of the cooler to push the water over the “dam” but by that time the grain is too compact and it wont even penetrate through to the bottom to drain.

This ends up leaving about a gallon of water in my mash tun and forces me to scoop grain out of the way so the water can drain so I don’t end up losing sugar. It ends up putting some grain into my boil. Not a lot but still makes me wonder if I’m extracting tannins unnecessarily because of it.

It seems to happen about where the hose braid ends though I can’t be sure that exactly where it happens. I’m wondering if lengthening it would prevent this or if anyone has any experience with this.[/quote]

My experience is that length doesn’t make any difference. How about shortening it?

If it was me…and it has been (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=118086) instead of trying to make your equipment something its not just pony up and buy the Round Cooler with a false bottom. In addition I have a “sparage pad” and I never have problems with my new tun.

Just something to think about,

Tim

matt, if you’re saying what I think you’re saying, then all you probably need to do is to lightly scratch the top surface of your mash to let the puddle on top to soak through the dense clay-like flour layer that forms on top of every mash. It happens to me sometimes and this method works every time. Lightly rake it.

Funny you mention the little bit of grain in the pot. I could not sleep last night and was trying to figure out why my IPA’s are just not as good as I think they should be and wondered the same thing about that little bit that gets in the pot from time to time. One thing I’m going to do in my next batch is put a piece of cheese cloth over the pot and drain the wort through it. I myself have a 70 quart and have not had the issue you have and pretty much have the same set up, lucky I guess. Maybe it’s your crush?

No, it’s because he disturbed the grain bed trying to get his tun to drain completely. If you recirculate thoroughly and let the grain bed set properly before draining the tun, very little (if any) grain will escape the mash tun, as long as the bed isn’t disturbed.

That said, I agree with Dave. I’ve had to lightly rake the top of the mash bed on two or three of my recipes because I got the dense layer on top of the bed that he speaks of. Usually, just using a table knife or something similar to rake 8 or 10 lines about 1/2" - 3/4" deep lengthwise through the top of the grain bed is enough to do it. Or, one can just lightly “fluff” the entire surface of the grain bed to break it up enough so the wort will percolate through. Just don’t go any deeper than absolutely necessary so as to not upset the bed around the manifold or braid.

No, it’s because he disturbed the grain bed trying to get his tun to drain completely. If you recirculate thoroughly and let the grain bed set properly before draining the tun, very little (if any) grain will escape the mash tun, as long as the bed isn’t disturbed.

That said, I agree with Dave. I’ve had to lightly rake the top of the mash bed on two or three of my recipes because I got the dense layer on top of the bed that he speaks of. Usually, just using a table knife or something similar to rake 8 or 10 lines about 1/2" - 3/4" deep lengthwise through the top of the grain bed is enough to do it. Or, one can just lightly “fluff” the entire surface of the grain bed to break it up enough so the wort will percolate through. Just don’t go any deeper than absolutely necessary so as to not upset the bed around the manifold or braid.[/quote]

We can agree to disagree here because if he is having issues draining, which is what he said, then maybe his crush is too fine and causing a crust like build up. I have the exact same set up and have never run into this. Like I said, maybe I’m lucky…or maybe…just maybe I don’t crush as fine to cause the issue. Just a thought.

No, it’s because he disturbed the grain bed trying to get his tun to drain completely. If you recirculate thoroughly and let the grain bed set properly before draining the tun, very little (if any) grain will escape the mash tun, as long as the bed isn’t disturbed.

That said, I agree with Dave. I’ve had to lightly rake the top of the mash bed on two or three of my recipes because I got the dense layer on top of the bed that he speaks of. Usually, just using a table knife or something similar to rake 8 or 10 lines about 1/2" - 3/4" deep lengthwise through the top of the grain bed is enough to do it. Or, one can just lightly “fluff” the entire surface of the grain bed to break it up enough so the wort will percolate through. Just don’t go any deeper than absolutely necessary so as to not upset the bed around the manifold or braid.[/quote]

We can agree to disagree here because if he is having issues draining, which is what he said, then maybe his crush is too fine and causing a crust like build up. I have the exact same set up and have never run into this. Like I said, maybe I’m lucky…or maybe…just maybe I don’t crush as fine to cause the issue. Just a thought.[/quote]

No, there’s nothing to “agree to disagree” about here. Here’s what he said:

“This ends up leaving about a gallon of water in my mash tun and forces me to scoop grain out of the way so the water can drain so I don’t end up losing sugar. It ends up putting some grain into my boil. Not a lot but still makes me wonder if I’m extracting tannins unnecessarily because of it.”

He says that he’s getting the grain in the wort because he’s digging some of the mash out to get the tun to drain (and thereby disturbing the part of the grain bed that is filtering the wort). If he is indeed having drainage problems because of a compacted layer on top as Dave originally suggested, raking the top only will likely solve the problem. They make mash rakes specifically for this for commercial brewing.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“mattnaik”]Just when I thought I had everything worked out with my mashtun I’m having another annoying issue. Yesterday this occurred and I remember this occurring at least once before but just thought it was a stuck sparge issue.

I have a 70qt cooler with about a 12" hose braid. When I’m draining, right around 3/4 the cooler length from the valve a pile of grain builds up and creates like a dam and I have a puddle of water build up at the far end of my cooler. I try to lift that end of the cooler to push the water over the “dam” but by that time the grain is too compact and it wont even penetrate through to the bottom to drain.

This ends up leaving about a gallon of water in my mash tun and forces me to scoop grain out of the way so the water can drain so I don’t end up losing sugar. It ends up putting some grain into my boil. Not a lot but still makes me wonder if I’m extracting tannins unnecessarily because of it.

It seems to happen about where the hose braid ends though I can’t be sure that exactly where it happens. I’m wondering if lengthening it would prevent this or if anyone has any experience with this.[/quote]

My experience is that length doesn’t make any difference. How about shortening it?[/quote]
Guys who use a short one always say length doesn’t matter.

I agree with Dave too. On some grain bills (or perhaps with certain mash regiments, I’m not sure which), you can see this skin form, and raking it is an effective way around the problem if you do so before the bed is compacted. I will need to rake only very occasionally, but it is an effective technique to have in your tool box.

Four letters that will fix your ongoing mashtun issues Matt:

BIAB

:smiley:

Yeah I’m pretty sure it’s not the crush as I just increased my mill gap to 0.037" (used feeler gauge) and I use rice hulls.

I haven’t looked too much into BIAB but I may if this still remains an issue. My biggest concern is lifting all that wet grain in the bag. I don’t have the greatest back.

[quote=“mattnaik”]Yeah I’m pretty sure it’s not the crush as I just increased my mill gap to 0.037" (used feeler gauge) and I use rice hulls.

I haven’t looked too much into BIAB but I may if this still remains an issue. My biggest concern is lifting all that wet grain in the bag. I don’t have the greatest back.[/quote]
I hear ya…I have a spot above where I brew that I’m going to put a pulley for when I do bigger grain bills.

If you just get a few small [ieces of grain it will have no impact. You need a fair amount to cause problems.

If you just get a few small [ieces of grain it will have no impact. You need a fair amount to cause problems.[/quote]

Good to know, I just have some floaties sometimes. I have been sucking at the IPA’s and wondered if that was one of the causes.

I use BIAB and absolutely love it. I use a hybrid system. I BIAB in a 10 gallon igloo drink cooler. It is great for keeping my temp consistent throughout the mash. When I drain the wort, I just stick a nylon tube in the spicket and press the button, and wort starts a flowing. I then sparge and repeat. Works perfectly and I have amazing efficiency. Never miss a target OG

Same here. See it more on some beers compared to others but haven’t paid attention to which are more prone to it. My grain bed is around 12" so messing with the top 1" does not impact the clarity of my run off.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“mattnaik”]Just when I thought I had everything worked out with my mashtun I’m having another annoying issue. Yesterday this occurred and I remember this occurring at least once before but just thought it was a stuck sparge issue.

I have a 70qt cooler with about a 12" hose braid. When I’m draining, right around 3/4 the cooler length from the valve a pile of grain builds up and creates like a dam and I have a puddle of water build up at the far end of my cooler. I try to lift that end of the cooler to push the water over the “dam” but by that time the grain is too compact and it wont even penetrate through to the bottom to drain.

This ends up leaving about a gallon of water in my mash tun and forces me to scoop grain out of the way so the water can drain so I don’t end up losing sugar. It ends up putting some grain into my boil. Not a lot but still makes me wonder if I’m extracting tannins unnecessarily because of it.

It seems to happen about where the hose braid ends though I can’t be sure that exactly where it happens. I’m wondering if lengthening it would prevent this or if anyone has any experience with this.[/quote]

My experience is that length doesn’t make any difference. How about shortening it?[/quote]My experience is that it does. But I’ve had this damming effect happen as well. Get a voile bag made for your cooler and all your problems will be solved. Guaranteed.

So I assume if I did go this route I would remove the braid altogether and just leave the open bulkhead on the inside of the cooler?

Yep! I also “Mash in a Bag” using a round 5 gallon drink cooler retrofitted with a stainless steel ball valve/bulkhead fitting cooler valve kit and use the large, course mesh grain bag from Northern Brewer.

It works like a champ…

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