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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > batch sparge 10 gal cooler braided hose help!
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:16 PM   #1
barside laundry
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Default batch sparge 10 gal cooler braided hose help!

Is anyone getting decent efficiency by batch sparging in a 10 gallon rubbermaid round cooler? I have about 16 inches of stainless braided hose laying around the perimeter of the cooler instead of a false bottom. I have made about 7 all grain batches (all with this method) and have never really achieved anything over 60-65%. Some of the problem might have to do with kettle volume and boil time (something I have struggled with as I use a keggle with an electric heating element (no whirlpool) and c/f chiller that struggles to drain all the wort due to trub issues therefore adding more volume to compensate for the loss lowers gravity).

Anyway, if you use this set up and have success with it would you please give me some pointers for making my first Oktoberfest. Recipe:
8 lbs. Pilsner Malt
4.5 lbs. Vienna
8 oz. Carapils Malt
8 oz. Caramel 40°L
1 oz. Hallertau
2 oz. Mt. Hood pellet hops

Midwest's Kit directions say mash at 152...thoughts on this?
When should I stir the mash if batch sparging?
If I historically leave behind about 3/4 gallon of wort/trub in the kettle what advice can you offer on pre boil volume?
Do you always chill the wort to 60 to take a gravity reading or just adjust?

Thanks guys

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Old 05-08-2007, 01:38 PM   #2
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I think the problem is that you have the hosing around the perimeter - aparently it creates an easy path for water to exit, so anything that goes down the middle, through most of the grains, don't get out easily.

If you look at howtobrew there's a diagram in there of the best sort of setup - I know if you're in a rectangular box, the manifold should be equally spread out, with a gap to the edges, for this exact reason.

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Old 05-08-2007, 02:09 PM   #3
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He is batch sparging, manifold layout is meaningless to efficiency.

I'd say, first you need to run an iodine test to make sure you are fully converting. Second you should stir your grain bed up when you mash and batch sparge to ensure everything gets in contact with the water. Third I'd do something about the wort part of the 3/4 gallon of wort/trub you are leaving behind (dump it all into a paint strainer works well for me). If you still have a problem I'd check your water chemistry.

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Old 05-08-2007, 02:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
He is batch sparging, manifold layout is meaningless to efficiency.

I'd say, first you need to run an iodine test to make sure you are fully converting. Second you should stir your grain bed up when you mash and batch sparge to ensure everything gets in contact with the water. Third I'd do something about the wort part of the 3/4 gallon of wort/trub you are leaving behind (dump it all into a paint strainer works well for me). If you still have a problem I'd check your water chemistry.
I agree with all of this. Plus, are you using pre-crushed grains? HBSs often crush a little on the coarse side, so 70% may be approximately your efficiency ceiling.

I use crushed grain from AHBS and batch sparge a typically run at around 70-75% efficiency.
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Old 05-08-2007, 02:39 PM   #5
barside laundry
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Thanks, keep the ideas flowing. To clear up a few loose ends, I have the grain crushed my local homebrew shop or in this case Midwest. Should I go over it with rolling pin even more? One possible solution to my chiller/volume loss issue might be to scrap the c/f and go back to my immersion chiller and siphon wort out of keggle. I don't like siphoning at this stage in the game (contaminate) but maybe a mouthfull of vodka first would seal the deal. I could use the copper in my c/f as a prechiller by putting it an ice bath to superchill the water going into the immersion chiller, this might be the best thing for lager anyway. Thoughts? What about the mash schedule for the aforementioned grain?

Also when I batch sparge should I:
stir in water and grain and let sit at desired temp for desired time and then stir, recirculate, and then drain it completely into kettle and then add the proper volume of sparge water and repeat?

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Old 05-08-2007, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barside laundry
I don't like siphoning at this stage in the game (contaminate) but maybe a mouthfull of vodka first would seal the deal.
No one should be starting siphons with there mouth. Between the plethora of cheap siphoning gadgetry around and the very simple "fill it with water/sanitizer" method... there is just no reason to use your mouth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barside laundry
Thoughts? What about the mash schedule for the aforementioned grain?
152f for 60-90 minutes should work. Since you are in a cooler mash tun, you might want to aim for 154f because you will loose a few degrees over the hour. An iodine test is the only practical way to be sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by barside laundry
Also when I batch sparge should I:
stir in water and grain and let sit at desired temp for desired time and then stir, recirculate, and then drain it completely into kettle and then add the proper volume of sparge water and repeat?
Here is what I do (using a cooler):
- Pre-warm the mash tun. (Slosh hot water in it and dump)
- Put in mash water
- Put in grain
- Stir the crap out of it
- Make sure temp is good, adjusting if needed
- Put lid on and let sit for 60 min
- Iodine test every few minutes until full conversion.
- Recirculate until clear
- Drain of first running
- Add sparge water
- Stir
- Let sit for a few minutes
- Recirculate until clear
- Drain off second runnings
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:38 PM   #7
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Something obvious (but perhaps overlooked) is to ensure that your thermometer is accurate. You may be missing your mash temps even though your thermometer says you are spot on. Hot and cold pockets in the mash will also throw you off.

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:13 PM   #8
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It sounds like you are not adding hot water at the end of the mash to compensate for grain absorbtion. My grain will absorb about .15 quarts per pound which I add back to the cooler at the end of the mash. This water is typically around 180 or so to raise the temp a bit. Then I stir well and drain off. It might help.

To clear up the wort at the bottom of the kettle I use a paint strainer inside a 2.5 gallon plastic bucket and it catches a nice amount of the stuff.

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Old 05-08-2007, 09:59 PM   #9
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I just did a brew with a similar setup this past weekend. (My first AG) I mashed at 152 starting temp in 10 gal round Rubbermaid cooler. I didn't even batch sparge, just added the total amount of water needed for runoff at the calculated mashout temp at the end of my approx 1.5 hr mash. Agreed that for this or batch sparge technique, the manifold configuration should not matter. I got a calculated pre-boil efficiency of 71%. Water chemistry might be a place to look. I used 5.2 in my mash and mashout water.

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Old 05-09-2007, 03:02 AM   #10
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I have pretty much the same setup that you describe, a 10 gallon cooler with SS braid, an electric keggle with a plate chiller.

As long as you know you boil off, you should be able to figure out what you need preboil easily. Again, the more you collect preboil, the better your efficiency will be. I typically go with a water to grain ratio of 1.25 - 1 and then make up for the absorption by adding equal amounts of water to equal what I need to make my volume. If I collected 2 gallons from the initial sparge and need 12, I will do two sparges of 5 gallons each.

With my setup I range anywhere from 78% - 82% efficiency with a braid and batch sparging. I would look towards your water report and see what pH you are starting at with your water. Also look at the crush of your grains like cweston suggests. Typically LHBS will not have that nice of a crush, for several reasons. Do you have a brewpal in the area that could crush the grains for you?

There is no reason that you shouldn't be able to get a good efficiency with a batch sparge so check the crush and water and see what you get.

Good luck and cheers,
Jason

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