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Old 05-29-2012, 08:16 PM   #11
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Small batch (3.5-4 gallons), split boil, stove-top brewing. Makes the brew day a litle more complicated, but it let me upgrade to all-grain without much added equipment (just a converted cooler for a mash tun)
I do the same via BIAB partial mash. I mash in one kettle and heat up the rest of the water in the second. I end up splitting the mashed wort, adding DME to both kettles, and boiling the final wort in two kettles at 3.5-4 full volume boils each. Afterward, I'll chill one in the sink with an ice-bath, and the other with a wort chiller. Lastly, I combine them into one 6.5 gallon carboy... or change-up the recipes a bit and ferment them seperately in two, 5 gallon carboys.

The whole process gives me versatility and a greater capacity to do smaller full volume boils indoors since I can straddle two gas burners per kettle. I'm a chef so I already had the kettles on hand. Worked out for me!
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Old 05-29-2012, 08:25 PM   #12
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When "fly sparging" (a term which I HATE, for a very long time it was the conventional sparge method and still is commercially... If I say "sparging" that is what I mean, if I have to be more specific I will refer to it as continuous sparge... I digress!)... When sparging conventional wisdom says that you maintain sparge flow throughout the runoff, maintaining a small amount of water above the grain bed. Speed of sparge in should match speed of runoff. This really isn't necessary....

After my mash rest, I will vorlauf briefly to clear wort, then begin runoff. As soon as runoff starts I will begin adding sparge water over the top of the grain bed. I get it in as quickly as possible without disturbing the bed (5-10 minutes pouring over a wooden spoon) then close up the MLT and let gravity do it's thing over the next 50 minutes or so. In an insulated MLT you aren't going to loose heat, since the water is floating above the mash you don't have to worry about pH issues from dilution, etc. Works like a charm then you don't have to babysit it trying to be certain that flow rates are consistent... set and forget!

I learned this method on my first brewing job and have used it in at least three (i'm thinking maybe five) other breweries... obviously the method varies with equipment, but the effect is the same.

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Old 05-29-2012, 09:04 PM   #13
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When "fly sparging" (a term which I HATE, for a very long time it was the conventional sparge method and still is commercially... If I say "sparging" that is what I mean, if I have to be more specific I will refer to it as continuous sparge... I digress!)... When sparging conventional wisdom says that you maintain sparge flow throughout the runoff, maintaining a small amount of water above the grain bed. Speed of sparge in should match speed of runoff. This really isn't necessary....

After my mash rest, I will vorlauf briefly to clear wort, then begin runoff. As soon as runoff starts I will begin adding sparge water over the top of the grain bed. I get it in as quickly as possible without disturbing the bed (5-10 minutes pouring over a wooden spoon) then close up the MLT and let gravity do it's thing over the next 50 minutes or so. In an insulated MLT you aren't going to loose heat, since the water is floating above the mash you don't have to worry about pH issues from dilution, etc. Works like a charm then you don't have to babysit it trying to be certain that flow rates are consistent... set and forget!

I learned this method on my first brewing job and have used it in at least three (i'm thinking maybe five) other breweries... obviously the method varies with equipment, but the effect is the same.
I see no problem with this. If you can carefully lay the sparge water on top with minimal mixing there really is no drawback to doing it this way.

I used to do a LOT of chromatography using columns and this is basically what a sparge is. In the lab, we even do batch processesing versus continuous flow, both valid methods, each with their pluses and minuses.

In fact, I see no problem with doing a vorlauf, then DRAINING, and then adding all of the sparge water. This is becoming more common in labs when using smaller columns. We load a sample (your conversion is complete, the husk, etc. are the column) then the column is spun (runoff) then the new buffer (all of it) is added (sparge water) and the column is spun again to elute your sample (wash out the sugars). It used to be conventional wisdom that you didn't want you column to go dry, but that has changed - for some types of columns it is OK to let them go dry. The big danger there is channeling. If you can avoid channeling, I see no problems with this.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:47 PM   #14
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I see no problem with this. If you can carefully lay the sparge water on top with minimal mixing there really is no drawback to doing it this way.

I used to do a LOT of chromatography using columns and this is basically what a sparge is. In the lab, we even do batch processesing versus continuous flow, both valid methods, each with their pluses and minuses.

In fact, I see no problem with doing a vorlauf, then DRAINING, and then adding all of the sparge water. This is becoming more common in labs when using smaller columns. We load a sample (your conversion is complete, the husk, etc. are the column) then the column is spun (runoff) then the new buffer (all of it) is added (sparge water) and the column is spun again to elute your sample (wash out the sugars). It used to be conventional wisdom that you didn't want you column to go dry, but that has changed - for some types of columns it is OK to let them go dry. The big danger there is channeling. If you can avoid channeling, I see no problems with this.

Right, the key is not to disturb the top of the grain bed... if you hit it hard in one place it's going to dig in then channel, mix or both... I diffuse over a wooden spoon currently... have used spray balls and rotating arms on commercial systems (it's funny as hell to see a 6 foot rotating arm going full tilt Just keep your hands out of the way!)... even a simple food-grade garden hose with the end cut off did the trick on the 1bbl system I learned on LOL

The only problem I could see with a 'full drain first' is the possibility of causing a stuck runoff. In a perfect world it shouldn't happen but there are a lot of factors at work. Still the theory is sound and providing a system which would minimize the risk of stuck runoff, should work just fine. Since the purpose of the method I use is to simplify matters, adding the additional steps (minor though they be) required in the full-drain then sparge method make it counter-productive for me.

Apples-Oranges-Bananas... in the end all that matters is what hits the glass!
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by duckredbeard

Do you do a starch conversion test (dot plate and tincture of idoine)?
I had stopped a couple years ago. When we asked the brewmaster that day he looked at us quizzically. Then said no. his reason I adopted for my own, I just never have a problem. But he tried to show every one what a positive vs a negative test looks like.
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:58 PM   #16
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Double_D, do you stir at all during the mash? I'd be very interested in shortening my brew day so long as I'm not losing efficiency (or by much)

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:20 AM   #17
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Double-D, what kind of efficiency are you getting from a 15-20 min mash? The way I understand it is that you can in fact get full conversion of the dissolved starches, but not everything is gelatinized by that point? I've often thought about this, as a 15 min mash would be AWESOME for the brew day.
It would be different if I were doing mashes with adjuncts or wheat and I'll admit I was really generalizing but for the most part, with respect to the majority of my brewing, all of my efficiency falls about the 60-65% range. And I've tried everything from single batch, double batch, triple batch, and fly sparging. I've also used a bazooka screen and copper manifold (which is why my efficiency is where it is) as well as a few different grinds on my mm3 and 5.2 mash stabilizer with spring water, RO, and that water from the mill, and settled on the hard water from the hose. I stir when I dough in and my mash isn't long enough to need it now. I stir between batches of sparging but that's it.

Even through all this I never had one mash that wasn't converted fully regardless of a 15 minute mash, a 60 or a 90.

Oh, and my efficiency is poor because I'm doing 10 gallon batches is a 62 quart pot and don't have enough room for all the water unless I'm doing a session. I also have a 30 gal mash tun on the way from Stout Tanks so that problem is out of the way.
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:39 AM   #18
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I mill a lot finer than most people and use rice hulls. I don't vorlauf and I only fly sparge for 20 minutes or so.

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Old 05-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #19
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I don't drink after starch conversion.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:29 PM   #20
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I use urine to adjust the mash ph.

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