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Old 12-13-2007, 02:35 AM   #1
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Default Correct direct heat recirculation & sparge question

Can anyone explain in detail the proper way to do this.
A few points to address are:

How fast to recirc and when to start and stop.

Continue to recirc while sparging?

Simple manifold or sprayer type sparge arm.

Why not sparge all at once, beersmith keeps telling me to do say a 6 gallon and then a 3 gallon, why not just do all 9 at once?

Any other tips or tricks

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Old 12-13-2007, 02:48 AM   #2
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Man, I'm not sure there's any one "correct" method. Some things to consider:

Why are you recirculating the mash?
- To raise mash temp? Then you recirculate during the step.
- Maintain even mash temp? Then you constantly recirculate, adding heat as necessary.
- To vorlauf? Then you recirculate before you drain the tun.

Your sparge process isn't necessarily tied to the mash recirculation, unless you're talking about the brutus 20 method (which I tried recently). You can recirculate and either batch or fly sparge.

I've tried a few things and here's what I've done. If I'm doing a single infusion mash, then I don't recirculate during the rest. Recirculating tends to lose some heat and you have to constantly add a little back with the burner. So I'll start recirculating during the mashout, usually with the pump on full flow, with the burner on low, returning the wort back to the mash via a sparge ring (any similar method should work). If batch sparging, then for each batch I add the sparge water, turn on the pump, recirculate for several minutes, then drain the tun.

Did I help at all?

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Old 12-13-2007, 04:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Sparky
Man, I'm not sure there's any one "correct" method. Some things to consider:

Why are you recirculating the mash?
- To raise mash temp? Then you recirculate during the step.
- Maintain even mash temp? Then you constantly recirculate, adding heat as necessary.
- To vorlauf? Then you recirculate before you drain the tun.

Your sparge process isn't necessarily tied to the mash recirculation, unless you're talking about the brutus 20 method (which I tried recently). You can recirculate and either batch or fly sparge.

I've tried a few things and here's what I've done. If I'm doing a single infusion mash, then I don't recirculate during the rest. Recirculating tends to lose some heat and you have to constantly add a little back with the burner. So I'll start recirculating during the mashout, usually with the pump on full flow, with the burner on low, returning the wort back to the mash via a sparge ring (any similar method should work). If batch sparging, then for each batch I add the sparge water, turn on the pump, recirculate for several minutes, then drain the tun.

Did I help at all?
I have a new to me brew rig

that I have done two 10G batches with, I have not been circulating during the mash but I do after it for 20 minutes or so with the burner on low trying to slowly raise the temp. When I hit the mid 160's I start sparging. The first batch I just used a sparge ring that I made. I used all the sparge water at once with some recirculation at the same time. It probably took 15 minutes to get my 13 gallons and I did hit my OG and ended up at 73% effiency.
The second batch I did the same way except I used a spinning sparge arm from NB

and sparged slowly it took about 45 minutes+ to do the 10G of sparge water. I ended up hitting the OG again and got 75%.
(Beersmith said to do a 6G and another 4G)

I guess I was just unsure about after the mash and recirc I was just basically never messing with the grain bed again just rinsing it and or recirculating it more.

I was getting 80-82% with my cooler setup and batch sparging. I am not real concerend with the few % points I have dropped just making sure I am on the right track.
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Old 12-13-2007, 02:12 PM   #4
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Good thread. I wish I already had my rig setup so I could provide some real input here, but I also wonder about constant recirculation. I think it is MOST benefitial if you have some kind of automatic temp control whether it be direct fired (gas solenoid) or HERMS. I suppose you could also trigger the pump with the temp controller as well.

I'm going with single tier, one pump so I plan to either pump recirc and direct fire the mash (during mashout) which is vorlaufing at the same time, then divert the output hose to the kettle to run off. Move the input hose to the HLT, output to the MLT and pump batch sparge water, Stir, Recirc, pump to kettle. I realize it sounds like a lot of clunking with disconnects, but I'll only know how bad it is when I put it to practice.

Sorry, I know I rambled off topic but I'm kinda putting my thoughts down to see if anyone finds big faults with my plans.


Oh, I can suggest that you don't recirculate during the sparge because you'll need to be pumping the runoff into the kettle. Efficiency is always increased when you get the sugary wort out before or during letting the fresh water in. I don't know the entire story but it has to do with soluability equilibrium. It's the same reason by breaking batch sparge infusions into many tiny batches is more efficient than one big one.

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Old 12-13-2007, 02:33 PM   #5
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Bobby, I think your plan is sound.

I also think constant recirculation is best done in some automated fashion, a la Brutus 10 or digital HERMS/RIMS. I don't really have much interest in that right now. Maybe someday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Oh, I can suggest that you don't recirculate during the sparge because you'll need to be pumping the runoff into the kettle. Efficiency is always increased when you get the sugary wort out before or during letting the fresh water in. I don't know the entire story but it has to do with soluability equilibrium. It's the same reason by breaking batch sparge infusions into many tiny batches is more efficient than one big one.
I know what you're saying here, but I just want to clarify. It is OK to drain the tun, add sparge water, recirculate, and drain again.

If you don't drain the tun, add the sparge water while you're recirculating, then it's similar to the brutus 20 method. It's not "bad", but it will result in lower efficiency. With this method you can eliminate the separate HLT if you think about it.
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Old 12-13-2007, 03:31 PM   #6
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Thanks. I'm relatively familiar with the brutus20 process and I have read your thread. Very cool of you to experiment with it. For me, I'm not ready for two pumps so I can't even play with that method now. Being that batch sparging gets me high 80's efficiency, I suspect the reiterative mash/sparge (which is probably the closest thing to describing brutus20) would yield a considerably lower efficiency for me. Probably something like 70% which is close to a single infusion batch sparge. It may eliminate the need for the HLT (which has a capex of about $100 for me) but a 20% increase in efficiency would offset it by probably the 10th batch. Silly math is making my head hurt.

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Old 12-13-2007, 03:33 PM   #7
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I have a 2 pump hard plumbed system. So what you are saying is is should recirculate till im happy then transfer it to the kettle.
Then if i am going to use my sparge ring I should add the sparge water, stir and recirculate and drain.
If I am going to use the sparge arm I should just start sparging on the already compacted grain bed and transfer to the kettle at the same reate as I am sparging?

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Old 12-13-2007, 03:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperiorBrew
I have a 2 pump hard plumbed system. So what you are saying is is should recirculate till im happy then transfer it to the kettle.
Then if i am going to use my sparge ring I should add the sparge water, stir and recirculate and drain.
If I am going to use the sparge arm I should just start sparging on the already compacted grain bed and transfer to the kettle at the same reate as I am sparging?
Kind of. Let's clarify something first. Is your intention to batch or fly sparge?

If fly sparging, you DON'T want to drain the MLT first. It's better to keep the water an inch or so above the grain bet. In this case, your only chance to recirculate is before you begin the sparge.

If batch sparging, you want to drain the MLT, add the sparge water, let it sit, and then drain (and repeat). There's lots of variations here, including stirring and voraufing. If you're going to recirculate, I'd say recirculate during the "let it sit" part. This will allow the sparge water to rinse as much of the sugars as possible.
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Old 12-13-2007, 03:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Sparky
Man, I'm not sure there's any one "correct" method. Some things to consider:

Why are you recirculating the mash?
- To raise mash temp? Then you recirculate during the step.
- Maintain even mash temp? Then you constantly recirculate, adding heat as necessary.
- To vorlauf? Then you recirculate before you drain the tun.
So how fast can you ramp the temperature using a direct-fired recirculation? How high do you keep the flame? How fast do you move wort?

Where do you monitor temperature? In the tun outflow? In the body of the mash?

My tun is a converted keg with a full false bottom in it - I assume I just pump from the bottom of the tun to the top with the flame going?

If I can get a good bulkhead-mounted thermometer for my mash tun, I may just do this instead of building a RIMS/HERMS.
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Thanks. I'm relatively familiar with the brutus20 process and I have read your thread. Very cool of you to experiment with it. For me, I'm not ready for two pumps so I can't even play with that method now. Being that batch sparging gets me high 80's efficiency, I suspect the reiterative mash/sparge (which is probably the closest thing to describing brutus20) would yield a considerably lower efficiency for me. Probably something like 70% which is close to a single infusion batch sparge. It may eliminate the need for the HLT (which has a capex of about $100 for me) but a 20% increase in efficiency would offset it by probably the 10th batch. Silly math is making my head hurt.
I'm with ya. I'm really not a Brutus 20 "advocate", and I don't blame you for wanting to stick with your awesome efficiency. (I hope mine goes up when I start using my new mill) I was mostly trying to address the first line by saying it's OK to recirculate after each sparge addition, before you drain the tun. The process SuperiorBrew described was similar, and I agree, won't be as efficient as other sparge techniques.
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