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Thread: Help, slow run off

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Hyattsville,MD
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    284

    Help, slow run off

    I just got home from a 15+ hour day in the brewhouse. My runoff today took 5.5 hours(normally it's 60-90 mins). I usually use a Canadian 2-Row, however due to the two new beers I'm brewing, one today and one on Monday I'm using Castle pils from Belgium. Monday's batch is a Belgian white that'll use pils,wheat and oats. I've purchased rice hulls for the Wit, so my questions are
    1) My grainbed today was entirely pils malt, is it normal with pils malt or Castle pils that it gums up and turns into cement?
    2) What techniques other than using the rice hulls could be implemented to avoid such black holes in one's brew day?
    3) I was recommened to use about 25-35 pounds of rice hulls for my Wit but now after see how just the pils malt was sticking I'm fearful with the addition of wheat and oats it might be even worse. Would raising the amount of rice hulls help to say 50 pounds, any thoughts, suggestions,comments?
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklins Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    London, United Kingdom
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    180
    g'day IncrediBREWmike,

    did you notice any difference with your grist - ie. was the mill adjusted by some sick, demented voyeur who enjoyed watching you work for 15hrs???? or did it look like your standard stuff....

    was the grist quantity much larger than other brews you are doing?

    i have had similar run-off problems at one brewery with a beer that was ~25% cara malts (i think in that situation we were milling too fine). also, the grist was approx 25% greater than other beers we brewed. the best we could ever get the run-off for this beer was about 4hrs.

    at the same brewery we also made a hefeweizen that was 60% wheat malt that ran off with no problems at all.

    we used beta glucanase at that brewery in all beers to assist with run-off and filtration (but i don't know if it actually made too much of a difference).

    good luck on monday. at least you will have plent of cool beverages around to soothe your emotions at the end of it all.....

    cheers!

    alex

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,090
    Hiya, IMike!
    Sounds like you had a almost-stuck mash. Do you have the option of slowly running rakes in your mash? I have a beer that uses a majority of Pils malt and if it ever shows signs of approaching sticking (i.e. slow run off, sparge water building on grain bed, cement-like feel with my brew paddle), I stop the run off and give the top 2/3 of the grain bed a health stir to refloat the grain. If it is warrented, I turn my brew paddle on edge and cut slices to the screens throughout the grain bed. Then, I SLOWLY relopen the run off and MONITOR, MONITOR, MONITOR!
    Also, make sure your sparge temp is not TOO hot!
    Good Luck
    Dave

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Ann Arbor
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    19
    There is always the possibility that the malt was undermodified.

    I say this only because I am completely unfamiliar with the malthouse you named. Is it a small or new malthouse?

    I distinctly recall a fellow brewer having this exact problem several years ago, and he sent the malt in for analysis....finding that the specific malt batch he used was way out of spec's.

    Did the malt sound "flinty" when you milled it? Did you have a chance to take a sample from the mill?

    It's a long shot, but man, I'd be awful worried about that Monday brew.

    Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    38
    I have also brewed Wit's and Hefe's and have encountered problems initially.

    First, I always used a beta rest.

    Besides raking the top 2/3's of the grain bed, I found it occasionally necessary to float the grain bed by underletting. After underletting I would rake once or twice and then recirculate for about 5 minutes.

    IMHO Wit's tend to be problematic, but I never used rice hulls. I just found the right technique of raking and underletting for the system.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
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    962
    You may find the Castle Pils malt mills a bit finer. I've used a portion in my grist and perhaps there was a difference. Especially with the basic 2-roll mills most of us work with, different friability or kernel size will give you different mash characteristics. Rice hulls are a great solution, and for Monday with the extra wheat, be liberal with them. (For some reason mice love to nest in them, so protect them as well.) If you notice your grist looking more floury than normal, back off on the roller spacing until it looks more like the fine/medium/course ratio you'd expect.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Hyattsville,MD
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    284
    Thank to everyone for their quick responses.

    I'm going to keep a handful of the pils malt to analize further. I don't mill my own grain however so, I'll be checking in with my supplier with my concerns.

    The quantity in the mash wasn't large at all only 440 pounds for a 15bbl batch.

    I'm going to use my entire bag of rice hulls just to be safe and implement a raking method with my stainless steel measuring stick to cut a line to the plates if needed.

    Question now: As Dave mentioned about sparge temp, what is too hot? What would youi say is a standard temperautre for those of you have brewed beers with high amounts of pils & wheat?
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklins Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Ann Arbor
    Posts
    19

    Sparge temp.

    I use 76.5 C at the sparge nozzles. All of the breweries I have worked at used the same, and they all produced wheat beer.

    My ratio is 70/30 wheat to pils, and I have never had unmanageable problems.

    Sounds to me like Moonlight's post about a finer grind with this preground malt is the most logical source of your problem.

    Is it possible for you to use less oats and wheat for this one brew and then look for another base malt?

    Is it possible to use more water in your grist/water ratio? That could help at least a little in the lauter tun.

    My two cents.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
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    962
    Sparge temp- I've heard never use over 170F (=76.5C) I've always believed this and ignored it... and used 180+F, but you've got to adjust for it later. Sometimes the most fun is choosing which advice to ignore...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    618

    Stiky

    If you can use a protien rest @ 144f then raise to saccrification. I had good results with this on brewhouse with heated tun and mixer. Malty1 might want to tell his temp for "beta rest" that works for him. Unfortunatly I have no mixer or heat here on my tun to help out. Might try underlet w/ boiling water to step mash my wheat for this summer. Stirr like heck by hand......
    Sad to hear another brewer who has no mill! Your crush is probably the fist thing to look at.
    PS if ya really want a stuck mash try a rye beer!!! I used rice hulls but still a 4hr runoff. If your in Philly jump on the train and come to AC and see if the RyeBok was worth the trubble and mess, Ill be bringing it down the week before CBC.
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Hyattsville,MD
    Posts
    284
    Thanks again to everyone who has replied, this site and the user's on it are awesome,what a wealth of brewing knowledge.

    So I brewed the Wit today and used 50 lbs of rice hulls in a mash that consited of about 710 lbs. of pils,wheat and oats. The results were out of this world, I added them in from start as I went bottom up with pils,then wheat ,then oats. The results a 48 min runoff of 16.5 bbls, unbelievable!!!!

    After my experience I know I'll be using them again.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklins Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    387

    runnoff

    Be careful about running off too fast. With a 48 minute run off you are bound to lose quite a bit of gravity. 90 minutes is a good rule of thumb to get max extraction without wasting too much time. You can adjust your run off to match your boil start too, what I mean is on a lot of pub systems you cant get a good boil going very quickly anyway so why not run off a bit longer to pick up better extration and not waste any time.
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6
    keep in mind that you do not wish to pass too many tannins, polyphenols, etc.. from the husks into your wort by sparging your grains too much. Sparging is a matter of getting as much extract as you can without extracting anything else. You would also want to save some energy($$$$$$$$). Cheers!!!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    407

    layering grains?

    Great discussion... I've got my first commercial sized Wit brew coming up in a bit with a similar bill.

    Looking at "Pils->Wheat->Oats" layering that Mike described, is anyone else doing this, and to what end? I've never heard of trying to layer grains in the mash tun before. I plan to mix my rice hulls in with the rest in the grist case.

    I probably have limited control over layering in the mash tun even if I were to consider it with the blending effect from the way my grist case drains to the auger.

    Scott

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Shanghai, P.R. China
    Posts
    158
    Anyone else ever received a complete malt analysis for Flaked Oats? We had a very generic anlysis that was anything but complete. While brewing a beer with a typical inclusion rate of 5% we experienced long runoffs. After getting the flaked oats tested at an independent lab we were told the malt had a beta glucan content of 30,000 ppm. Yes 30,000 ppm, not a typo. Needless to say hulls were ordered and the runoff times were much better but still a little slow due to a fairly large grist for the LT. From our experience beers with flaked oats will always require some hulls to be added to the Mash Tun.

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