Similar occurrence with a couple of batches where I used a yeast starter. I couldn't use the airlock....switched to a blow off tube as it was like a volcano.
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Lately, I've been doing single infusion mashing with a fly sparge. It works well on my single tier brewstand. My efficiency has improved from batch sparging, and I don't have to drain the first runnings. When the mash is converted, I immediately start the fly sparge. I like to split the volume between the mash/sparge. The sparge takes about 20min for a 5 gallon batch.
Using my big spoon. I guess I'm not doing it right then if it takes 30 minutes. Wow!
10 min probably isn't long enough settle time (especially if after being chilled) I do 15-20 min hot and 30 after chilled. Were you whirlpooling with a spoon or a pump?
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Do you use findings like Irish moss? They help coagulate the proteins so they clump up and fall out during the whirlpool.
Also, when siphoning be sure you are not sucking up the trub, keep the end slightly above the bottom of the kettle. You can also use a hop sack as a filter on the end of the cane
Mind you, you won't get it all but a great deal better
You'll be fine leaving your kettle partially covered as long as there's enough of an opening for steam to escape. The ROT is to leave at least 15% of the kettle uncovered.