Whether I am Fly or Batch sparging, the operation and set up are virtually the same. Gravity is used to feed water into the Lauter Tun. An outlet valve on the Hot Liquor Tank controls the flow. The Fly Sparge ring (pictured previously) assures a smooth, uniform spray of water. A Batch Sparge tube delivers water in a hastier fashion. The run-off is pumped into the Brew Kettle. Care is taken not to draw the run-off too quickly. A valve on the pump outlet readily takes care of this. Run-off is pumped into the kettle from the bottom to help prevent any problems with hot-side aeration. The unique design of the Blichmann false bottom allows excellent results for either Fly of Batch sparging.
Wort boil is straight forward. The kettle is 60 gallons and also steam jacketed. A small standpipe in the outlet creates a fine hop and break reservoir in the dish bottom. At the end of the boil the wort is gently whirlpooled enough to get a general settling of hop and break material.
The wort is run out through a two zone, inline filter to remove more of the hop and break material. It is pumped through a two zone plate heat exchanger for cooling. The first zone uses well water to draw the majority of the heat from the wort. A second zone uses chilled glycol, pumped from a Glycol Chiller/Chest Freezer. Inline valves are used to control the flow and regulated the wort temperature going into the fermenter. With this set-up a 20 gallon batch can be chilled from boiling to 35 degrees in 15 minutes.
The wort is pumped into a jacketed, 24-gallon conical fermenter, which is chilled with glycol. The temperature of fermentation is controlled using a glycol circulation pump and a Ranco Digital Controller.
Everything put in its place:
In operation the brewing rig is situated as pictured here. This allows easy access to the counter and equipment needed. Note the conical fermenter in the corner, as well as the Glycol Chiller/Chest Freezer. The whole set-up easily fits in half of the garage.