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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: hankus on April 25, 2010, 06:29:21 PM

Title: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: hankus on April 25, 2010, 06:29:21 PM
I have always used a false bottom in my 10G cylindrical tun but have been advised by a friend that he substituted SS mesh tube with significant improvement..any experiences?
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 25, 2010, 07:52:56 PM
I've tried false bottoms, manifolds, and the SS screen mesh.  My experience is that the mesh is less prone to stuck or slow runoffs than the other 2 and the wort clears much more quickly during vorlauf.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: skyler on April 25, 2010, 09:30:08 PM
The downside to SS mesh tubes is that the HBS makes a lot of money selling those expensive false bottoms. ;)
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: mnstorm99 on April 26, 2010, 01:13:14 PM
The downside to SS mesh tubes is that the HBS makes a lot of money selling those expensive false bottoms. ;)

But the OP has already purchased one, so go for the ss mesh tube  :P

BTW, I can't speak of the others, but I have only ever used a SS mesh tube and love it.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 28, 2010, 05:02:10 PM
I have always used a false bottom in my 10G cylindrical tun but have been advised by a friend that he substituted SS mesh tube with significant improvement..any experiences?

You can brew great beer with any of those devises.  But a false bottom is the best choice for full efficiency of your grains.  The mesh tube sitting down the middle of your tun will have a hard time sparging the grains to the side of it way at the bottom.  Look to Plamer's "How to brew" for some flow diagrams.  I use a foldable false bottom in a 1/2 gallon keg, with the outlest at the very bottom.  I control mash temp through a RIMS systems.  Never once had a stuck sparge.  Even with an Amber I brew with lots of 6-row. 

But, like I said.  You can make great beers with any of the systems. 
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 28, 2010, 05:12:18 PM
mic, that's true if you're fly sparging, but it doesn't apply to batch sparging.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 28, 2010, 05:35:42 PM
mic, that's true if you're fly sparging, but it doesn't apply to batch sparging.

I do fly sparge.  I can "see" what you're saying.  Good clarification.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: daubon on April 28, 2010, 06:15:26 PM
 Why would you say "Even with an Amber I brew with lots of 6-row."  Is 6-row more likely to casue a stuck sparge?

Pepe
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 28, 2010, 06:20:23 PM
Why would you say "Even with an Amber I brew with lots of 6-row."  Is 6-row more likely to casue a stuck sparge?

Pepe

I'd think it would be the other way around...I may be mistaken, but I thought 6 row had more husk material, which would help prevent a stuck runoff.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 28, 2010, 10:22:00 PM
Why would you say "Even with an Amber I brew with lots of 6-row."  Is 6-row more likely to casue a stuck sparge?

Pepe

I'd think it would be the other way around...I may be mistaken, but I thought 6 row had more husk material, which would help prevent a stuck runoff.

LHBS suggested using rice hulls with 1/2 of grist being 6-row.  I chose not too. 
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 28, 2010, 11:03:43 PM
Why would you say "Even with an Amber I brew with lots of 6-row."  Is 6-row more likely to casue a stuck sparge?

Pepe

I'd think it would be the other way around...I may be mistaken, but I thought 6 row had more husk material, which would help prevent a stuck runoff.

LHBS suggested using rice hulls with 1/2 of grist being 6-row.  I chose not too. 

I don't understand that.  AFAIK, 6 row has more husk material is less prone to sticking than 2 row.  Maybe I'm wrong...
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: kgs on April 29, 2010, 04:07:51 AM
Here is one source about husk content:

http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Malting101/The_Row_Less_Traveled.htm

"Some of the additional protein comes from the higher husk content of 6-Row malting barley. Because it's more plump, 2-Row malt has less husk in relation to its size than 6-Row malt."

Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: IHBHS on April 29, 2010, 04:23:59 AM
I use a false bottom stuck with a stainless screen over it just for added benefit.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: hankus on April 29, 2010, 11:38:52 AM
To clarify,I batch sparge
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 29, 2010, 02:28:07 PM
Why would you say "Even with an Amber I brew with lots of 6-row."  Is 6-row more likely to casue a stuck sparge?

Pepe

I'd think it would be the other way around...I may be mistaken, but I thought 6 row had more husk material, which would help prevent a stuck runoff.

LHBS suggested using rice hulls with 1/2 of grist being 6-row.  I chose not too. 

I don't understand that.  AFAIK, 6 row has more husk material is less prone to sticking than 2 row.  Maybe I'm wrong...

Agreed, I did some research last night, and just as others have already said, 6-row does have more husk material. 

But, I would still recommend to one and all to use a false bottom, regardless of sparging method. 
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 29, 2010, 03:41:43 PM
But, I would still recommend to one and all to use a false bottom, regardless of sparging method. 

What advantages do you think a false bottom has?
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 29, 2010, 08:32:54 PM
But, I would still recommend to one and all to use a false bottom, regardless of sparging method. 

What advantages do you think a false bottom has?

I re-read Palmer's book and I believe him.  Even if batch sparging, the liquid will not flow through the corners of your mash tun with a bazooka screen.  It's plain physics.  He explains much better than I.  Whereas a false bottom drains the entire mast bed equally.

But, that's not to say you can't make good beer unless you have a false bottom.  That would be crazy talk.  But I do beleive it's the best option.   
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 29, 2010, 09:10:21 PM
I re-read Palmer's book and I believe him.  Even if batch sparging, the liquid will not flow through the corners of your mash tun with a bazooka screen.  It's plain physics.  He explains much better than I.  Whereas a false bottom drains the entire mast bed equally.

But, that's not to say you can't make good beer unless you have a false bottom.  That would be crazy talk.  But I do beleive it's the best option.   

I think you're confusing the physics behind fly sparging and batch sparging.  In fly sparging, it is important to get the sparge water evenly distributed over the grain, since you're rinsing the sugars out.  In batch sparging, though, the stirring dissolves the sugars into the sparge water so it's a draining process and even distribution makes no difference.  That's borne out by the fact that I and most other batch spargers get efficiency at least as good as fly spargers.  Both methods of sparging work fine, but in batch sparging you're not dependent on your lauter design to get good efficiency.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 29, 2010, 11:53:52 PM
I re-read Palmer's book and I believe him.  Even if batch sparging, the liquid will not flow through the corners of your mash tun with a bazooka screen.  It's plain physics.  He explains much better than I.  Whereas a false bottom drains the entire mast bed equally.

But, that's not to say you can't make good beer unless you have a false bottom.  That would be crazy talk.  But I do beleive it's the best option.   

I think you're confusing the physics behind fly sparging and batch sparging.  In fly sparging, it is important to get the sparge water evenly distributed over the grain, since you're rinsing the sugars out.  In batch sparging, though, the stirring dissolves the sugars into the sparge water so it's a draining process and even distribution makes no difference.  That's borne out by the fact that I and most other batch spargers get efficiency at least as good as fly spargers.  Both methods of sparging work fine, but in batch sparging you're not dependent on your lauter design to get good efficiency.

But shouldn't you compare batch sparging with a bazooka vs batch sparging with a false bottom?  I fully agree you can get great efficiency with a bazooka screen and batch sparging.  And I have no doubt depending on other factors, even better than a fly sparger.  But my guess is that even a batch sparger, would get increased effiency by using a false bottom.  Because either way, gravity will pull the wort to the opening.  With a false bottom, the whole bottom of the tun is that opening, and liquid on the top and edge of the grain bed will go straight down.  With a bazooka, it will creep towards the center as it falls.  With the less liquid going through the grain at the far edge at the bottom of the tun.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: Hokerer on April 30, 2010, 02:34:31 AM
With a false bottom, the whole bottom of the tun is that opening, and liquid on the top and edge of the grain bed will go straight down.  With a bazooka, it will creep towards the center as it falls.  With the less liquid going through the grain at the far edge at the bottom of the tun.

You're still missing the fact that that doesn't matter with batch sparging.  With fly, the only way you rinse all your grain is to have the water pass through all the grain, hence the need for the false bottom (or manifold or whatever).  With batch, you add all your water at once and then completely stir the mash.  This stirring causes all the grain to get rinsed (even the little bits way down in the corners that fly can't get to).  Now that every bit of grain has been rinsed, all the sugars are in solution and you simply drain off that sugar containing liquid (wort).  At that point it doesn't matter whether/which grain is passes through.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: micsager on April 30, 2010, 03:31:05 PM
With a false bottom, the whole bottom of the tun is that opening, and liquid on the top and edge of the grain bed will go straight down.  With a bazooka, it will creep towards the center as it falls.  With the less liquid going through the grain at the far edge at the bottom of the tun.

You're still missing the fact that that doesn't matter with batch sparging.  With fly, the only way you rinse all your grain is to have the water pass through all the grain, hence the need for the false bottom (or manifold or whatever).  With batch, you add all your water at once and then completely stir the mash.  This stirring causes all the grain to get rinsed (even the little bits way down in the corners that fly can't get to).  Now that every bit of grain has been rinsed, all the sugars are in solution and you simply drain off that sugar containing liquid (wort).  At that point it doesn't matter whether/which grain is passes through.

I understand all that.  And don't really want to get into a big argument.  I believe even with batch sparging, a false bottom is a better option.  Obviously, other do not.  Isn't that the beauty of homebrewing?  Many different opinions on how to pursue this great hobby.  I'll never know for sure, because I will only use a false bottom. 
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: ratcitybrew on April 30, 2010, 03:32:18 PM
Wow! Interesting discussion...with all this talk of batch vs fly and false bottom vs mesh tube, I've come to the conclusion that I must be doing a combination of both. I regularly drain most of the wort from the tun before beginning my fly sparge, add sparge water until I have about a 2" blanket of water over the grist and stir thoroughly before sparging.

I've used false bottom stainless screens, mesh tubing and even a little copper gizmo that I made for myself once; just a 12" long piece of 3/4 inch copper tubing drilled full of holes that screws to the inside of my tun via the outlet coupling. All seem to work well but I went back to the old school method of using a picnic cooler with a CPVC strainer in the bottom and found my efficiency increased over all the other methods. I don't atttribute this to the lautering method, more to the fact that I am dealing with a mash that is wider then it is tall. I never seemed to get such good efficiency from a converted keg where I was dealing with a tall mash.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: denny on April 30, 2010, 03:36:50 PM
I understand all that.  And don't really want to get into a big argument.  I believe even with batch sparging, a false bottom is a better option.  Obviously, other do not.  Isn't that the beauty of homebrewing?  Many different opinions on how to pursue this great hobby.  I'll never know for sure, because I will only use a false bottom. 

No argument, man, but I know people who use a false bottom to batch sparge and it offers no advantages.  In your analysis, though, you still hang on to the "rinsing" theory, even though batch sparging is draining.  Between theory and actual experience, I can assure you that there are no efficiency advantages to using a false bottom.  But neither are there drawbacks.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: piratepointbrewer on May 02, 2010, 03:30:57 PM
We have used a screen tube, and the mesh.  We prefer the mesh for all ofthe reasons stated above.
The best for us how quickly the wort clears when recirculateing and we have never had a stuck lauter.

We do only batch spargeing. We always sparge in two batches. Our 3rd runing is usually 1.014 to 1.015

Preston
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: timo on May 12, 2010, 04:44:43 PM
Great discussion guys, one I've seen and been part of for years.

I batch sparged with the SS mesh tube for years, worked great. I fly sparged for a while, and while a different process between the stirring and draining in batch and simply rinsing in fly.....both worked great and the efficiency difference was so small as to not even worry about arguing about it.

My current brew house has a CPVC manifold, I have the ability to batch and fly due to how I designed it. I did that on purpose to have the ability to demonstrate the two types in brewing classes.

Happy brewing,

TimO
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: bobby_m on June 05, 2010, 08:21:03 PM

I understand all that.  And don't really want to get into a big argument.  I believe even with batch sparging, a false bottom is a better option.  Obviously, other do not.  Isn't that the beauty of homebrewing?  Many different opinions on how to pursue this great hobby.  I'll never know for sure, because I will only use a false bottom. 

Ok, it's not a big argument but you don't explain why you think a false bottom is better for batch sparging. There is no sugar gradient at all when you stir the sparge water in. All you have to do at that point is to get all the wort out. If you're suggesting that a false bottom will reduce dead space, then that would support the argument. However, properly installed, a braid can leave less than a 1/2 quart of wort behind.

Alternatively, you can install a FB poorly with a siphon tube that doesn't go all the way to the bottom, and leave a bunch of wort behind.

Finally, the holes in a FB are really prone to getting clogged with circular bits of grain. I have one.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: tom on June 06, 2010, 12:19:48 AM
I use a false bottom stuck with a stainless screen over it just for added benefit.
How do you keep the screen in place?
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: hankus on June 13, 2010, 03:44:32 PM
A good point about making sure (as I did)to extend the pickup point on the false bottom so as to minimize dead space
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: IHBHS on June 13, 2010, 09:02:34 PM
I use a false bottom stuck with a stainless screen over it just for added benefit.
How do you keep the screen in place?

I fold the screen around edges of the the false bottom.  As soon as I can get a TIG welder I'll end up tacking the screen to the FB.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: tom on June 13, 2010, 10:37:44 PM
Good idea. I tried to fold over the corners, but when I stirred the mash I pulled it up.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: Matt B on June 13, 2010, 11:25:33 PM
A good DIY solution I found was buying one of those OXO splatter screens from Bed Bath Bulls*** and More (or Amazon), removing the handle, covering up the back side of the raised area somehow (I just tack welded a piece of stainless over it, but food grade silicone would work just as fine) and drill a hole in the center just big enough to thread a male 1/2" NPT copper adapter in, and hook that up to the outlet of your kettle. 'unscrewing' the screen forces it further down and makes solid contact with the bottom and doesn't pop out easily. And no matter how hard I try, I haven't gotten a stuck sparge with it. But I do feel that the mesh might not be fine enough, I do have to go reasonably slow or else I get some grain bits floating around. I also use this in my boil kettle (with other copper bits under it to go further to the edges so I don't suck up too much of the break.) But still, not bad for a $20 screen and $1.50 for some copper bits.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: IHBHS on June 14, 2010, 08:23:18 AM
The pipe going from the FB to the thru wall fitting is a 3/8 pipe that has been bent in such a way to keep the FB in contact with the bottom of the MT.

@mattb   pictures?? cause i'm totally lost.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: Matt B on June 14, 2010, 02:35:53 PM
I suppose it may only make sense if you see it. I'll take a few pictures after work.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: mrcceo on June 15, 2010, 12:30:02 AM
FWIW  I had a recent problem with stuck batch sparges after I started grain conditioning.  This is the opposite reaction of what you would expect, but none the less I was blocked up.  I replaced my braid with almost the same exact rig that Matt B described and it worked in that the sparge didn’t get stuck but it was draining much slower than I was used to.  The design that finally solved the problem was to use a longer braid that I insert a heavy gauge copper rod into in order to form it into a circle which covered the perimeter of the tun.  In addition I stretched the braid out slightly which opened it up but not to the point that the finer particles would pass through.  Now that I’m using the redesigned braid the wort is draining clear and quickly again.  In addition I’m getting 86% efficiency with sparge times around 20 minutes. 
What it boils down to, is are a few efficiency points, the cost of a false bottom, and the time involved in fly sparging really worth it?  Not in my opinion.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: Matt B on June 17, 2010, 03:38:10 PM
Sorry for the delay. Here are some pictures, I think you can tell how hooking it all together keeps it fairly rigid so the grains or hops don't get through.

(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6720.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6721.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6722.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6723.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6724.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6725.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6726.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6727.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6728.jpg)
(http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/slides/img_6730.jpg)



http://temporal.shutdown.com/album/beer/false-bottom/index.html
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: IHBHS on June 17, 2010, 07:45:08 PM
Very nice.  What is the second tube running to the FB? Is that for recirc?
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: lazyb34n on June 17, 2010, 09:22:10 PM
The only problem with using the OXO splatter guard is if you use it in your BK  it can scorch the wort(with gas burners).  The space between the holes (% open) is smaller then a true false bottom.  This doesn't allow the work in a BK to circulate fast enough and the sugars burn and stick to the bottom of the BK. 
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: Matt B on June 18, 2010, 02:41:25 PM
The second tube is my home made thermowell, the thermometer is slide into it from the outside so I can see how warm my lovely wort is.

lazyb34n: Interesting hypothesis. I just brewed a blonde, I'll see if I can pick out any extra body and flavor that could be from burned sugars (I believe this would be more of a maillard reaction instead of caramelization which I believe has to be dry to occur.) But I haven't had any issues with any burned wort on the kettle.


Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: richardt on June 18, 2010, 03:01:19 PM
I was tempted earlier this year to do just what you did with the OXO screen.  Glad to see what you did.  How do you keep fluids and grains and hops from bypassing the false bottom by way of the metal "ramp or stairwell" looking thing that used to be a hinge or whatever?
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: lazyb34n on June 18, 2010, 03:16:35 PM
The guy i know that burned his wort has a hurricane burner, and it was brutally obvious he burnt it ( could see a layer of black on the BK in the pics).   just put it out there as a warning, glad to here you haven't had that issue.

The more i think about it i think it might have been a splatter shield from Ikea and not an OXO.  Ill try and get the exact details.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: Matt B on June 18, 2010, 04:09:21 PM
The ramp/stairwell/thing where the handle was attached I tack welded a piece of scrap stainless to the back of it. While most people don't have access to a welder, you could silicone on (food grade silicone) anything you want that could withstand mash or boiling temperatures depending on what you use it for. You could probably pick up some scrap stainless plate from your local metal shop for free, or fine mesh, thin copper plate that you could get from your local hardware store, cut up a silicone hot pad, etc. Just get creative, it's not structural so as long as it keeps the grain/hops out, you should be good to go.

My burner's natural gas, which isn't as hot as propane, so that may be one of the reasons it doesn't scorch? Yeah, if it's one of the splatter screens, I can see things getting clogged up with hop debris especially if using pellets. I'll see if I can check out a false bottom at the LHBS and see how it compares in size to the splatter guard from OXO.
Title: Re: SS mesh vs false bottom
Post by: richardt on June 18, 2010, 06:10:24 PM
What I really want to see is a stainless steel sloted false bottom that is built for the 10 gallon circular Igloo/Gott cooler.