7 Ways To Avoid A Stuck Sparge

You are ready to collect your wort and as soon as you open up the valve to see the precious gold liquid come out, your vinyl hose collapses and nothing flows…

You opened it slowly, but it still didn’t matter…

… and it really irritates you to read how other brewers claim that they open up their valves fully and the wort flows no problem… what are these guys doing to prevent a stuck sparge?…

Well first off, I don’t know why we call it a stuck sparge, because if you ask “what is sparging?“, it’s just rinsing off the sugars from the grains… lautering is what we are really doing when we collect our wort, but we never hear anyone say “Oh crap, I got a stuck lauter!”…

Or what if you do a no-sparge batch… would you still call it a ‘stuck sparge’ if your wort doesn’t flow?

Anyways…

Here’s the list I’ve come up with:

1. Don’t Let The Temperature Drop
Usually once the mash is complete, maintaining temperature seems to be a low priority, but it shouldn’t. If the temperature drops while you are lautering you start to get this gel-like yucky thingy start to form and it can restrict the flow of your wort…

Keeping your lauter tun insulated is therefore recommended

2. Mash-Out
This kind of goes hand in hand with #1… if your temperature drops too much while lautering, then mashing-out will give you more room to play with… in other words, this keeps your wort liquified a bit longer so you can take your time collecting your wort.

Oh, and not to mention it helps you keep your sugar profile the way you mashed-it…

3. Keep Your Grains Floating
The grains act like a filter, but if you remove all the liquid, the grain bed may compact and create more of a plug than

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2 Comments

  • Nir

    Reply Reply May 27, 2013

    Hey Jorge,

    One thing I would also mention as part of #4 (Coarse grind), is the technique of wetting the grains a few minutes prior to grinding. This causes the husks to become more humid and therefore flexible, and stay whole even through finer grinds.

    Cheers,
    Nir

    • Jorge

      Reply Reply May 27, 2013

      Yes, conditioning grains works well if you crush your own grains at home. I usually buy mine at my LHBS so can’t do that, but thanks for mentioning that.

      Cheers!

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