My friend and I brewed Saturday, it was a 15gal batch of cream ale. I used a grist of 9lb Rahr Old World pils, 16lb Rahr 2row, and 5lb of yellow corn meal. The night before I boiled 3gal of water and added the corn meal to gelatinize it. It sat overnight and was still warm the next morning and had set up to the consistency of corn meal much. It sure looked gelatinized anyway. Actually I initially attempted to adde the meal to water and bring it to a boil and right away it scorched and I had to throw that out and start over. I thought I had the ticket with the second method I used.
In any case I added the corn meal to the crushed malt and mashed in for a single infusion. Unfortunately I missed my temp due to the uncertainty associated with the corn meal, but we went ahead and mashed at 144F for 90min. Things appeared to be converting so we attempted to run off and got stuck right off the bat. I don’t mean a little bit I mean you couldn’t even vorlauf before it quit running. So we pulled a 5gal decoction and boiled that and added back to bring the temp to 153F for another 30min. At that point we got a bed set enough to get maybe 5gal of clear wort off before it stuck again. We couldn’t get it to run after that and ended up using all three of my braid MLTs and some wire mesh colanders to get the wort out. What should have taken 6hrs took 12. We even ran out of propane and couldn’t get my friend’s tank to seal on my regulator so we had to rush out and exchange my tank.
So why did this happen? It wasn’t immediately obvious what was clogging the braids. I have experience with the Old World pils, the stuff drops a lot of protein. Also I used a new drill and crushed slower than normal using my fairly narrow gap, maybe this got things too fine. It didn’t loiok that much different but we didn’t see a whole lot of husks. I also used a lot of rice hulls and that didn’t seem to help. I’m thinking it is some ungelatinized starches from the corn that were clogging the works.
I’m sure this beer will turn out well and in time I’ll be able to look back and laugh, but its going to take months. One lesson learned, buy flaked maize next time.