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Old 03-11-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
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Default Excerpt on Sparge = Really?

"When the `first worts' have been collected and the mash has settled, but before the surface of the grains has become dry, sparging begins, the hot water (usually at about 78 ëC, 172.4 ëF) being sprinkled on from the rotating sparge arms."

- Excerpt from Brewing Science and Practice 2004 (Briggs, Boulton, Brookes, and Stevens)


Am I reading this right?

This suggests that the tun is drained of the first runnings until nearly empty before the sparge is started as in a hybrid fly method.

Isn't this just asking for a stuck sparge when the "mash has settled"?
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Mash has settled means that it has formed a filter bed. It doesn’t mean the mash has “set”. This account sounds about right. sparging begins as the wort level approaches the grain level.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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I do batch sparging, but everything I have ever heard or read clearly says to keep the whole grain bed submerged while fly sparging, that draining the bed compacts it and risks channeling.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:18 PM   #4
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Mash has settled means that it has formed a filter bed. It doesn’t mean the mash has “set”. This account sounds about right. sparging begins as the wort level approaches the grain level.

Kai
Okay. That makes sense and is in kind with what I have always understood.

Please forgive my moment. Nothing to see here.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:29 PM   #5
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I was speaking with the brewmaster at Brewer's Alley at my last HBC meeting and he spoke of a slightly different way of sparging, whereby the wort level is allowed to fall just below the surface of the grain bed before sparging commences. Ostensibly, this is to allow pure water and not diluted wort to sparge the grains, maximizing extract efficiency.

Kai, am I making sense here?

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:38 PM   #6
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whereby the wort level is allowed to fall just below the surface of the grain bed before sparging commences. Ostensibly, this is to allow pure water and not diluted wort to sparge the grains, maximizing extract efficiency.
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It does make some sense. The less wort content the sparge water has, the better it can rinse the grain. But I doubt that there is much difference in efficiency between an inch of wort/water and no wort/water on top.

But it may jave a more important effect. The action of the water falling onto the spent grains may keep the Oberteig from forming. This Oberteig is a rather dense and tight layer of proteins and small starch granules and can lead to channeling if not sufficiently disturbed. Not having water on top of the grains may als reduce the chances of channeling because there won’t be one single pool that feeds a particular channel but many many very little pools.

Not a fly sparger myself, so just speculating here.

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Old 03-11-2009, 08:42 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'm not a fly sparger either so it's all academic as far as I'm concerned. It was an interesting discussion just the same. Tom spoke about having to balance the buffering space between the sparge water and the wort level , which I understood as matching the input with output flow for those who like sprinkling.

I wish I had taken better notes when we spoke so I could more easily communicate them here.

Jason

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Old 03-11-2009, 09:14 PM   #8
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I fly sparge, but don't sprinkle (in the typical sense)... 14.5 gallons in the kettle in 30 min... 90+% efficiency and I never let the grain bed exposed to the air... well, except at the end of the sparge. I don't think the wort quality suffers either. I'm not trying to brag about my efficiency, I'm just stating that it isn't negatively affected.

I guess that doesn't add a whole lot to the discussion, but I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about sparging in general in the homebrew world.

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Old 03-12-2009, 01:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
I was speaking with the brewmaster at Brewer's Alley at my last HBC meeting and he spoke of a slightly different way of sparging, whereby the wort level is allowed to fall just below the surface of the grain bed before sparging commences. Ostensibly, this is to allow pure water and not diluted wort to sparge the grains, maximizing extract efficiency.
That's exactly what I do. Or something very close to it...after recirculating I let the wort get right down to the top before sparging and then start sparging (faster than output rate at first but then slowing to slower than output rate). That causes the level to slowly rise at first and then slowly fall again. Then towards the end I let it go just below the top and then increase the sparge rate to get the top covered with the last bit of sparge water.

I've just sort of intuitively done it that way...creature of habit.
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