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Old 12-29-2009, 04:12 PM   #1
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Default Is batch sparge AKA english sparge?

In reading through "How to Brew" by John Palmer, he references three different types of sparge techniques. From Ch 17 I quote:

"In the English method of sparging, the wort is completely drained from the grain bed before more water is added for a second mash and drained again. These worts are then combined. Alternatively, the first and second runnings are often used to make separate beers. The second running is lighter in gravity and was traditionally used for making a Small Beer, a lighter bodied, low alcohol beer suitable for high volume quaffing at mealtimes.

Batch Sparging is a U.S. homebrewing practice where the full volume of sparge water is mixed into the mash. The grain bed is allowed to settle, and then the wort is drained off. The re-circulation step in this process takes place in the first minutes of the sparge. You can use more than one batch of water if you need to. This method differs from the English method in that the mash is not held for any significant time at the saccharification temperature before draining."

To me, it sounds like he is describing something different from the batch sparge that most AG brewers use today, as I understand it. It would seem like most people that "batch" sparge are actually using the English method, whereas a true batch sparge would have you dump all your sparge water into your MLT along with your original strike water and lauter from there. Am I taking crazy pills here or something?

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Old 12-29-2009, 04:16 PM   #2
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What he is calling batch sparging is more commonly called no-sparge. What he calls English sparging is much the way I batch sparge, except I use two sparges.

Making two or more beers from one mash is parti-gyle.

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Old 12-29-2009, 04:18 PM   #3
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I'm with you on this one, I've never heard of a batch sparge being performed in the way he describes. That sounds like more like no-sparge with a huge mash-out.

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Old 12-29-2009, 04:23 PM   #4
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Well, as I understand it, if you dump your full amount of sparge water into your MLT along with your strike water, aren't you essentially getting the same thing done, although I can definitely see where your efficiency might suffer. Adding the sparge water causes saccharification to stop, you just don't get the extra sugars from rinsing the grains twice as you would with the current "batch" sparge technique.

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Old 12-29-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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Palmer's description is way confusing. I don't understand the differences he's describing at all. If you add all the sparge into the mash, it's a no sparge. There are two ways of doing this, one is to strike with enough water that the first runnings are full boil volume. The other way is to mash at a thicker ratio and top it off after the sac rest. The latter would be done in a smaller OG beer where a full volume mash would be too thin/dilute.


Batch sparging is where you add sparge water after the first runnings have been fully separated from the grain. It's marginally more efficient than no sparge, but usually worth it.

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Old 12-29-2009, 05:39 PM   #6
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I guess maybe John Palmer has never batch-sparged, so this is where all this confusion is coming from.

I'm maybe wrong, but I think batch-sparging was not a well known method amongst home brewers decades ago when the hobby was in it's infancy.

As an example, the "first" home brewing book, Papazian's "Joy of Home Brewing" does not mention batch sparge at all. The method of sparging Papazian describes is essentially fly-sparging (although he does not call it by name).

When I batch sparge (only with 5 gal batches), I do 3 runnings, this is the only way you can get a half-decent efficiency out of this method.
But I prefer fly-sparging, especially with 10 gal batches, mainly because there is less work involved and I also get a better efficiency with this method

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Old 12-29-2009, 06:19 PM   #7
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I'm glad I'm not the only one totally confused with the way he explains it.

If you do 3 running, what sort of water/grain ratios are you using for each lauter? What does your pre-boil wort volume usually come out to be?

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Old 12-29-2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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It's quite simple actually: I do the mash, then I lauter the first runnings into a fermenting bucket with the "gallon" marks. This way I can see how much more wort I need for my pre-boil. Then I divide that amount by two and do 2 more batch-sparges of equal size. For example if I shoot for 6 gal pre-boil, and I get 3 gal from my first runnings, I do 2 more sparges with 1.5 gal of sparge water each.

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Old 12-29-2009, 06:40 PM   #9
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Very easy, great idea too. Thanks for the tip.

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Old 12-30-2009, 01:40 PM   #10
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The english style of batch sparging is also known as Parti-Gyle sparging in where you either take the first and second running and combine them, or you use the two different runnings for separate beers. The second running sparge water is stirred then rested like another saach rest. Originally the Kings (noblemen) brews were made of only the first runnings, smaller beers were made for the commoners.

Americans took this method and either added all the brews make up water and ran it through the grist (one big batch), or splitting it into two or three doses (cleaner rinsing= higher efficiencies)without resting for any long period. (just settle, then vorlauf, then rinse).

The book was written before the "No Sparge" name was given to batch sparging with full volume.

George Fix had played with the "no sparge" making maltier beers with a result in having to use too much grain for our common beers. Then a couple brewers around two years later played with the now known "No Sparge" and tried to get the best extraction without compromising the maltier flavors.

The higher the efficiency in No Sparge the more you compromise the quality of the worts maltiness (more total makeup volume, longer boils)

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