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Old 07-29-2008, 06:43 PM   #21
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My concern has more to do with pulling it off of the barb, really... and draining directly from grain bed into the valve. Which I suppose wouldn't be the end of the world, as long as I get a decent vorlauf (I vorlauf 2 quarts each time I drain).

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:53 PM   #22
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The first step is to accept your current efficiency and factor that into your next batches…until you can start making improvements. In most cases, we’re only talking another pound or two of grain to get your desired OG.

I picked up about 8 points in efficiency when I moved from a standard (double) batch sparge to a hybrid fly sparge.

The process is very similar, but the results are quite different:

Do everything you normally do, up until it’s time to sparge.

  • Stir your mash thoroughly.
  • Go ahead and vorlauf several quarts to clear your wort (make sure to do this very slowly as to not create suction and develop a stuck sparge).
  • Heat your sparge water to 185 degrees.
  • Open your valve slightly and begin draining slowly to your kettle.
  • Begin ladling in your sparge water very slowly and gently to the top of your mash water.
  • Only ladle as much water as is required to keep 2-3 inches of water over the top of the grain bed.
(Many people will use a plate or something to prevent the water from disturbing the grain bed).
  • Continue slowly. If you need to pause to heat more water…simply shut off your valve.
  • Sparge until you hit your desired pre-boil volume.

See if this helps. The idea is that instead of stirring up your grain bed several times and re-suspending sugar throughout the bed…you are slowly adding hot water that acts as a squeegee and pushed the sugar water down through the grain bed…plunger style.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
The idea is that instead of stirring up your grain bed several times and re-suspending sugar throughout the bed…you are slowly adding hot water that acts as a squeegee and pushed the sugar water down through the grain bed…plunger style.
In this case, if I understand correctly, the circular braid configuration would be preferrable? What I might do is to try this ladle-fly sparge on my next batch, and if it doesn't agree with me, I might then try reworking my braid and going back to batch sparging.

Also... thanks for all the recipes I've been brewing! They're all hits so far!
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:59 PM   #24
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One other thing that might be affecting your effiency... and this might solve two problems for you is this. If your braid looks like this...



... half of your grainbed is probably rinsing better than the other half because the liquid will naturally want to take the path of least resistance to the drain meaning that a lot of the liquid is running down the side of the mash tun that is closest to the drain. This is what I rigged up. You want to use some high temp hose to get you a little extension to get the braid into the center of the tun to allow for more even draining. This may give you two spots to get a good clamp as well.



These are not actually my images I found them in the "equipment gallery" (my god this forum is awesome). I used more conventional hose clamps on mine. This seems to use some kind of nut to fasten them. If you would like I can snap a quick pic of my setup when I get home from work later today.

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Old 07-29-2008, 07:52 PM   #25
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I'm just a tidge off-center...

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Old 08-04-2008, 12:15 PM   #26
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In the way of update:

I brewed a new batch yesterday, and did an iodine test on the first runnings. I appear to have a full conversion.

I ended up swapping out my braid with a straight one, hose clamping it to the barb of the valve, and stirring the bottom of the MLT like an insane person.

This wasn't the same recipe, so the results aren't entirely analogous. According to Beersmith, this recipe's OG should have been around 1.065. I ended up with 1.052. That's pretty close to the same differential, despite being a higher gravity. Which could mean that I made modest improvements, or that there's something wrong with the way I'm measuring the gravity.

In any event, I feel good about my method, and until I can make major changes (like getting my own mill), I'm just going to start upping my base grains to improve on the gravity, and start R'ing, DW'in, and most of all, HAHB'ing.

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Old 08-04-2008, 01:25 PM   #27
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If you are measuring the wort preboil then your OG will be different then what it will be after hops and boil occur. Remember you boil off water making it more concentrated, so a lower OG preboil means nothing. All you can do is calculate your efficiency off of that.

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Old 08-04-2008, 01:42 PM   #28
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That gravity measurement was after chilling, before pitching.

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Old 08-04-2008, 01:44 PM   #29
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Hmm, I am surprised that you missed it by that much.

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Old 08-04-2008, 06:50 PM   #30
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Uh... hold the phone...

I just double-checked BierMuncher's recipe post, and he's got it listed as an anticipated gravity of 1.051.

So...

Nevermind.

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