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Old 12-13-2008, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default fly sparge-braid or false bottom

Which works better the false bottom or braid? Any downfalls to either. I'm new to AG, just three batches under my belt with only one across my tastebuds (it is great!). I batched sparged my first, then used Biermuncher's fly sparge technique on my bw and parti-gyle, and also on last weekend's cream stout (I forgot to take a og on the stout).

I just used a small bucket with several small holes drilled into the bottom to distribute the sparge water from the hlt. I now have the copper tubing and fittings to make a sparge arm of sorts and am curious about the bottom end. BM uses a braid, but others advocate a false bottom. Is this a Barely Crusher vs. Crankandstein thing, or is there some validity to each side?

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Old 12-13-2008, 01:57 PM   #2
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It's not all that controversial. The optimum separation medium for a fly sparge would remove the wort from the bottom of the lautertun as evenly across the area as possible. A full false bottom is ideal, a multi leg manifold adequate, and a single braid not so much.

I do like the simplicity of a braid and if you do to, I'd recommend sticking with batch sparging. Was there something about it that you didn't like?

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Old 12-13-2008, 02:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete08 View Post
Which works better the false bottom or braid? Any downfalls to either. I'm new to AG, just three batches under my belt with only one across my tastebuds (it is great!). I batched sparged my first, then used Biermuncher's fly sparge technique on my bw and parti-gyle, and also on last weekend's cream stout (I forgot to take a og on the stout).

I just used a small bucket with several small holes drilled into the bottom to distribute the sparge water from the hlt. I now have the copper tubing and fittings to make a sparge arm of sorts and am curious about the bottom end. BM uses a braid, but others advocate a false bottom. Is this a Barely Crusher vs. Crankandstein thing, or is there some validity to each side?
I use a manifold. But if I had to choose, I'd go with a false bottom.

The more compact your drain mechanism, the more likely you are to have channeling during the fly sparge process.

A false bottom diffuses the drain stream more so there is less likelihood that the wort will cut channels through the grains to escape.

Imagine watering your yard with either a proper sprinkler that sprays the water evenly, or just dropping a hose with nothing on the end in the middle of your yard.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:08 PM   #4
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It's not all that controversial. The optimum separation medium for a fly sparge would remove the wort from the bottom of the lautertun as evenly across the area as possible. A full false bottom is ideal, a multi leg manifold adequate, and a single braid not so much.

I do like the simplicity of a braid and if you do to, I'd recommend sticking with batch sparging. Was there something about it that you didn't like?
I do like the hands-off approach as I usually juggle many projects while brewing! I have a rather large rectagular braid I made for my 72 qt. cooler I was thinking of coiling up in the bottom of my five gallon igloo, now that I know the reason! Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:11 PM   #5
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One could argue that batch sparging is a relatively quick process so for all the hands on work, you end up starting your boil that much quicker. I'd rather get the brew done and leave time at the end for other projects.

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Old 12-13-2008, 05:29 PM   #6
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IMO, fly sparging is the way to go. It may take a little longer, but it is almost completely hands off, which gives you about 45min to do other things. I keep the burner on my BK while I am sparging, so when I shut the sparge off, i am close to a boil. This saves a lot of time. I have a copper manifold for my MT (rectangular cooler), and I am very happy with it-never had a stuck sparge. Good luck.

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Old 12-13-2008, 05:56 PM   #7
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I fly sparge with a rotating sparge arm, and I have a 12" stainless braid on the bottom of my 10 gal cooler MLT. I've used this for 5 and 10 gallon batches and I average around 70% efficiency.

I think I would get better eff with a false bottom, but it's not high on the priority list right now (actually on the Christmas wish list).

The point is it works fine and I just plan my brews for 70%. No complaints, so it can be done, and it is very cheap.

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Old 12-13-2008, 07:19 PM   #8
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A braid works great for fly sparging. You just need to configure it differently than you would for batch sparging.

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Old 12-13-2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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If you had a way to secure it to the bottom of the tun in some kind of zigzag fashion or have a few of them off a manifold, it would work better but you might as well build a copper manifold in that case.

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Old 12-14-2008, 02:00 PM   #10
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Just one more to chime in.. I use a cooler MLT with a copper manifold, I have a HERMS system so at some point I'll get a third kettle and directly heat the strike water and dump the grain in and use a false bottom. False bottom is best if you can swing it, but a decent manifold will work quite well. I routinely get 85%+ efficiency and have gotten 90%+ more than once. The real key to fly sparging in my opinion is go very slow, literally a trickle going in and coming out, go fairly hot (185 degrees at least, I go closer to a boil) and have at least 1" of sparge water above your grain bed to prevent channeling. I also heat the boil kettle as soon as I have a couple inches of wort drained into it to save time. I have 20+ gallons to heat so it takes as long as the sparge usually to get it to a boil anyway. The jump in efficiency going to fly sparge is worth the effort, it saves a lot of grain due to the improved efficiency.

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