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Old 12-07-2012, 12:35 PM   #1
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Default Starting Fly Sparge on New Herms

I previously used a cooler and would batch sparge. I built a herms capable of 10 gallon batches and I am going to start fly sparging. I was planning on mashing at 1.5qt/lb to 1.75qt/lb. I know that I need to keep a couple of inches of water above the grain bed during sparging. My question is if I start with several inches of water above the grain bed do I drain the mash tun into the kettle until the water level is a couple if inches above the bed then start the sparge water or do I start the sparge water immediately and just leave the water level several inches above the grain bed?

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Old 12-07-2012, 05:59 PM   #2
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After recirculating, I usually let a quart or so go into boiler then start adding sparge water. By then your grain bed will start to settle in an you can see where it's going to be.
Either way, it's not critical as long as water level is over grain bed.
After 10 minutes I gently stir the top few inches or more to make sure there is no channeling going on.

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Old 12-07-2012, 11:56 PM   #3
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For the best efficiency yes, let the level run down to the grain bed before starting sparge water. In a perfect world you would like to keep the concentration gradient between the first worts in the bed and the sparge water being added.

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Old 12-09-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by beerbeer95648
For the best efficiency yes, let the level run down to the grain bed before starting sparge water. In a perfect world you would like to keep the concentration gradient between the first worts in the bed and the sparge water being added.
What about starting the sparge water and draining the tun at the begining and shutting the sparge water off as soon as i use the calculated sparge volume then draining th tun completely. That way there wouldnt be any leftover water in the tun. What would the difference be
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #5
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That is how most do it. I vorlauf until the bed is set and the wort is relatively clear, then I slowly start running to the kettle. When the level hits the top of the grain bed I start the sparge water. I keep an inch or so on top of the bed until I have added my calculated sparge volume. Then just run it dry or until you reach your target kettle volume. However, If you decided to just heat an abundance of sparge water and sparge until you hit your target kettle volume, the only thing you lose is propane. It makes no difference if you leave water behind. The things that effects your sparge efficiency is things like avoiding channeling, getting a decent first wort gravity (19-21 Plato, mostly determined mostly by your liquor to grist ratio and how much foundation water you add the the LT), running off slow, and doing your best to not mix too much the strong runnings in the bed with the sparge water (meaning lowering the level until you reach the top of the bed before starting the sparge). You want the concentration gradient between the sugary liquid trapped in the grain and the sparge water to be at its greatest to pull those sugers into the runnings.

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Old 12-10-2012, 01:54 PM   #6
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I am guessing that it would be best to leave a couple inches of water above the grain bed the entire time and not empty the tun into the kettle at the end. That way you would not risk a stuck sparge. Is that a correct assumption?

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Old 12-10-2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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I am guessing that it would be best to leave a couple inches of water above the grain bed the entire time and not empty the tun into the kettle at the end. That way you would not risk a stuck sparge. Is that a correct assumption?
It shouldn't make a stuck sparge just by draining the MLT.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #8
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Like Yooper said, it shouldn't result in a stuck lauter. There is very little risk of a stuck run-off as the runnings thin. Most production breweries speedup the run-off as the worts thin to decrease residence time in their LT's. They also try and drain the LT completely into the kettle at the end of the run, so not to put too much last runnings down the drain which leads to higher waste water treatment costs.

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