A Damn 49¢ Clamp!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, was sick for awhile, but I’m back and brewing again.  In fact last week I brewed for the first time with my new mash tun.  It took me a while to build my new direct fire recirculating mash tun (RIMS).  My first beer with this new mash tun is fermenting away nicely… well actually it wasn’t my first brew, technically it was my second. My first brew turned into a day that homebrew nightmares are made.

I figured for my first brew, something easy, so I went with a simple oatmeal stout.  I fired up the burner, heated my water, check the pump to make sure there were no leaks with the recirculation, and I was ready to rock and rock!  Added my grain to the strike water, stirred it up with my paddle (remember this), and way we went.  With the pump and hose already primed with water and my outlet value closed, I starter up the chugger pump and everything was well.  Just like running a sparge or vorloff, you don’t want to start fast, you go slow so you don’t suck the grain it the tube and the pump.  With a nice easy recirculation going, I turned away to focus on something else.  A few minutes later I checked back and noticed there was no wort flowing, figuring it was the incline on the in tube to the keggle, I opened the valve a hair more so it was about a 1/3 the way open.

Almost immediately I saw grain fill the tube to the pump and start coming out the other side.  Disaster!  I tried and tried to force the grain out of the dip tube in the keggle.  Nothing worked It kept clogging.  I got so frustrated thinking, “How is it that some many people do this, yet I don’t ready anything about massive grain clogs!  What the F*** am I doing WRONG?!?!?!”  I have a very quick temper, so instead of breaking all my stuff because  I was angry at it for failing me, I walked away and came back 10 minutes later.  (Yes it was the equipments fault not mine!)  I figured this batch was a lost cause, so I started emptying out the mash tun and quickly realized what had caused the colossal break down in my process.  A damn 49¢ clamp!  Yup.  I didn’t clamp the dip tub to the hose in my mash tun.  When I bought the  false bottom, the compression fitting for the tube was not the right size, so it didn’t clamp down. I got a barb and 3/8″ hose to fix the problem.  However in doing this, I neglected to clamp the hose down.

A couple of clamps later I rebrewed the oatmeal stout and the mash tun and recirculation worked beautifully!

I think you know the moral to this story!

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2 Responses to “A Damn 49¢ Clamp!”

  1. Linus Says:

    Yes… Always test your new equipment before you start brewing.
    I built myself a mash tun similar to yours but never though on priming the pump with just water before adding the grains. Will try this next time.

  2. Simply Beer Says:

    I did run a water test to make sure everything worked. Just didn’t account for knocking off the false bottom :-) Priming the pump before with the strike water should help avoid the sudden suction of the pump.


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