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More stupid mashtun issues

So kinda tossing the idea of using a bag instead of a hose braid. I have a rectangular hinged cooler (blue of course). It’s a 72 qt colemann xtreme so I assume I will probably need to have something custom made. Will I still be able to close the cooler without damaging the bag?

The other option is to figure out what’s going on with your current system. The braid obviously works well for me and thousands of others, so why not for you? To me, that’s the real question.

The other option is to figure out what’s going on with your current system. The braid obviously works well for me and thousands of others, so why not for you? To me, that’s the real question.[/quote]

Well at this point I’m just looking for a cheap solution. I’m wondering if the cooler is just too big so the grain bed isn’t thick enough? I bought it thinking it would accommodate larger batches if I ever considering moving to 10gal but that won’t be happening anytime soon. maybe a smaller cooler to allow a deeper grain bed might help?

The grain bed when its completely drained is usually about 3-4" thick.

You had trouble with this setup before right? Had a bazooka tube in it that didn’t drain properly?

Yeah I made a number of changes and it definitely improved but I still feel like I’m leaving more water than i should in the mashtun. There is visible pooling of water. When adding sparge water im getting less out than i put in which only resolves itself when i scrape around and dig through the grain bed to give the water a path to the hose braid.

Leave the braid and add a bag. It will make things much easier, seriously. You’ll never ever have to worry about a stuck run off, you can lift the bag out and put in a bucket for later disposal, rinse the bag off (doesn’t need to be super clean) and hang dry. After it’s dried, you can shake off all the rest of the grain particles and whatnot. Also, I found you don’t need to vorlauf, it runs clean right away. It’s one more thing to clean, sure, but for the benefits it adds, it’s worth it, in my opinion.

Any companies that I should take a look at for custom bags?

The other option is to figure out what’s going on with your current system. The braid obviously works well for me and thousands of others, so why not for you? To me, that’s the real question.[/quote]

Well at this point I’m just looking for a cheap solution. I’m wondering if the cooler is just too big so the grain bed isn’t thick enough? I bought it thinking it would accommodate larger batches if I ever considering moving to 10gal but that won’t be happening anytime soon. maybe a smaller cooler to allow a deeper grain bed might help?

The grain bed when its completely drained is usually about 3-4" thick.[/quote]
I’m in the same boat, and if I could find one here, I’d buy a new cooler that is around 50 qts. I think that would be perfect size for 5 gallon batches. That said, I agree with Denny; figure out what the problem is then address it.
Just as a guess, I’d have to say you are likely draining too fast at the start. Once the grain bed is set around the hose, it is OK to turn the spigot on full and drain as fast as you can, but you can create a jam if you try to drain too fast before it is set.
Also, you need to stir everything up and recirculate again when you pour in the sparge water. The grain bed can get compacted when it is drained, and without that stir you could again be packing the grain too tight around the braid.

Any companies that I should take a look at for custom bags?[/quote]
This is the one I see most often over on HomeBrewTalk. Seems like a good dude. http://biabbags.webs.com/

If you know someone who can sew, you can do it that way…I had my mom, a long time seamstress, make a couple for me. You just have to buy the voile. That’s available in multiple places…curtains from walmart I think is one.

Personally I’d do whatever got me brewing without a headache fastest. Especially after your multiple attempts with that setup.

Couple guys in my homebrew club just went to a fabric store and got pieces of viole cut to size and burned the edges so they won’t fray.

I have two bags for two different size kettles. They’re reinforced with webbing and have nice loops at the top for hooks/ropes or whatnot for hoisting. Got them both from brewinabag.com. Here’s a link to his bag for a cooler.

http://www.brewinabag.com/collections/f ... or-coolers

Sounds to me like the crush is producing too much flour. Feeler gauges are helpful for determine your mill’s gap but not for describing the crush. Grain size, roller size, and mill speed are but a few other variables. If you are getting so much flour in your mash that the you are getting a stuck runoff, you have to loosen up the crush a bit.

Maybe I’ll open the gap up a little bit and see if that helps. That seems like the easiest and cheapest attempt to fix the issue. I did start using rice hulls but there is quite a lot of flour. It’s hard to say if its “too much” though. I’ll just have some DME on hand in case I miss my gravity by opening it too much.

Maybe I’ll open the gap up a little bit and see if that helps. That seems like the easiest and cheapest attempt to fix the issue. I did start using rice hulls but there is quite a lot of flour. It’s hard to say if its “too much” though. I’ll just have some DME on hand in case I miss my gravity by opening it too much.[/quote]
Set it to .035". If it’s higher than that and you’re having these issues, then something is definitely up. I guess if it’s at that, try raising it a tad, but it’s going to cost you some efficiency (I don’t know what magic ingredient people, who have their Barley Crushers set at the factory setting of .039" and claiming 80%+ efficiency, are using…but it makes me curious). If that matters to you, the bag is the way to go! You don’t even have to have a bag sewed from what I’ve seen. Some guys will get a big sheet of voile, put it in the mashtun and use it that way. You could use some binder clamps to keep it in place when mashing in, etc. That’s a cheap solution.
What mill do you have?

Using a Cereal Killer from AiH

The other option is to figure out what’s going on with your current system. The braid obviously works well for me and thousands of others, so why not for you? To me, that’s the real question.[/quote]

Well at this point I’m just looking for a cheap solution. I’m wondering if the cooler is just too big so the grain bed isn’t thick enough? I bought it thinking it would accommodate larger batches if I ever considering moving to 10gal but that won’t be happening anytime soon. maybe a smaller cooler to allow a deeper grain bed might help?

The grain bed when its completely drained is usually about 3-4" thick.[/quote]

If anything, a thinner grainbed would help. 3-4" is fine.

Some have hypothesized that their braids are collapsing under the weight of the grain. While I don’t generally believe it’s possible, perhaps you have a cheaper or thinner braid that would be causing this? Just grasping at straws here… Because all else seems right and shouldn’t be giving you problems.
Does your cooler happen to be a color other than blue?

That is blasphemy to even ask that!

Here is your cheapest option…Paint strainer bags. I use them for Hops multiple times, but the same could be done with grain. If your just doing 5 gallon batches the BIAB method is prob your best bet.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_126394-968-1158 ... facetInfo=

[quote=“Beersk”]Some have hypothesized that their braids are collapsing under the weight of the grain. While I don’t generally believe it’s possible, perhaps you have a cheaper or thinner braid that would be causing this? Just grasping at straws here… Because all else seems right and shouldn’t be giving you problems.
Does your cooler happen to be a color other than blue?[/quote]’

Anyone who has braid problems can fix them by using this braid…Lasco brand (part number 10-0121 or 10-0321). That’s what I use in all of my cookers and I have never had a problem. That way you don’t have to mess with reinforcing the braid.

[quote=“Denny”]

If anything, a thinner grainbed would help. 3-4" is fine.[/quote]

I ran into the same issue as Matt: dammed-up liquid on the opposite side of the cooler from the braid. It went away when I switched from a coffin-style cooler to the round one.

The problem wasn’t the braid or the crush, per se–the braid was doing a good job sucking wort from the area immediately around it, but as the cooler drained, the thin grainbed was allowing air to enter the braid. I’d get an air bubble in the hose that would slow the sparge to a trickle. With the round cooler, there’s just a much higher column of wort and the braid stays submerged.

I know it’s a $50 fix, which may not be appealing. I’m not sure a slow sparge would justify going this path on its own. I switched because my original cooler wasn’t well-insulated and I was having trouble holding mash temps. However, that change cut my sparging time roughly in half.

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