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Old 08-15-2008, 07:02 PM   #21
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Wildwest -- glad to hear this worked out so well for you! I have been toying with the idea of fly sparging again (just for the fun of it to see how I do), but perhaps this is a good compromise since I am always too impatient to spend the extra time doing a full fly sparge.

One question for you, however -- how is it that this method was QUICKER for you than a typical batch sparge? Even doing two sparge infusions shouldn't take very long. Are you resting between sparges or something? For me, two sparges would take about 15 mins tops, but doing a 'partial' continuous sparge like this would definitely take me longer (assuming an equal volume of sparge water). Just curious about your method and where you saved your 10 mins.
No resting, I saved the time by not having to dump in the last sparge, stir it up, then vorlauf. I usually have to run almost a gallon off to get all the junk out.(2 2quart varlouf's). Instead I just slowly poured in the last sparge (I use a pan with a bunch of small holes drilled in it) and let it run through. It only took 3 or 4 minutes.
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:42 PM   #22
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No resting, I saved the time by not having to dump in the last sparge, stir it up, then vorlauf. I usually have to run almost a gallon off to get all the junk out.(2 2quart varlouf's). Instead I just slowly poured in the last sparge (I use a pan with a bunch of small holes drilled in it) and let it run through. It only took 3 or 4 minutes.
Interesting, thanks. I am intrigued that a 3 minute sparge is all it took to see such a big increase in efficiency. It isn't going to save me much time though, unfortunately, because I hardly have to vorlauf at all to clear my runnings with my SS braid. But I am going to play around with this idea nevertheless.
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:50 PM   #23
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OK I did my Christmas barleywine yesterday... planned for 70% mash/lauter efficiency since I typically get 78-82% efficiency with normal gravity beers (yesterday I had 16# of grain in the tun). I used WildWest's method... I did a decoction mashout, ran off all the first runnings, collected about 2.75 gallons first runnings leaving 4.25 gallons for sparge to make a 7gal boil volume. I dumped in 2 gallons of sparge water, vorlaufed, and ran off about 1 quart per minute keeping the grainbed covered and in the mid 160s until I had 7 gallons. After collecting the wort I transferred to the kettle and started heating.. measured the pre-boil gravity and calculated I got 82% efficiency!! After the boil, I collected 5.5 gallons in the fermenter and left .5 gallons in the pot for trub, 83% mash/lauter efficiency!! My best ever, on a freakin' barleywine!!

This method wasn't any harder than a double batch sparge, and didn't take any longer since the long pole in the tent is heating the sparge water... I'll be trying it again on my next batch. I'm really curious how I'll do with a normal gravity beer. OR, maybe I'll just say screw it and do a Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 1.080 instead of what I was planning, and repeat my awesome efficiency.

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Old 08-18-2008, 12:56 AM   #24
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OK I did my Christmas barleywine yesterday... planned for 70% mash/lauter efficiency since I typically get 78-82% efficiency with normal gravity beers (yesterday I had 16# of grain in the tun). I used WildWest's method... I did a decoction mashout, ran off all the first runnings, collected about 2.75 gallons first runnings leaving 4.25 gallons for sparge to make a 7gal boil volume. I dumped in 2 gallons of sparge water, vorlaufed, and ran off about 1 quart per minute keeping the grainbed covered and in the mid 160s until I had 7 gallons. After collecting the wort I transferred to the kettle and started heating.. measured the pre-boil gravity and calculated I got 82% efficiency!! After the boil, I collected 5.5 gallons in the fermenter and left .5 gallons in the pot for trub, 83% mash/lauter efficiency!! My best ever, on a freakin' barleywine!!

This method wasn't any harder than a double batch sparge, and didn't take any longer since the long pole in the tent is heating the sparge water... I'll be trying it again on my next batch. I'm really curious how I'll do with a normal gravity beer. OR, maybe I'll just say screw it and do a Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 1.080 instead of what I was planning, and repeat my awesome efficiency.
You beat me to it! I was going to try this on my next batch.

I was pretty sure that this technique would work especially well for high gravity brews, but your results clearly demonstrate it. Cool stuff. I gotta try this soon, too.
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Old 08-24-2008, 06:22 PM   #25
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Man oh man... another "I screwed up my efficiency" post ...






... I got 86% efficiency on my tripel before adding the sugar (OG 1.090) yesterday, again with this method. I was shooting for 1.085 or so and ended up with extra wort into the fermenter. What a bummer. I guess I'll just have to send my extras to BierMuncher.

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Old 09-10-2008, 11:11 PM   #26
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Nice thread BM. I was always a little intimidated by sparging. I'm a visual learner, and your diagram made sense to me. I'm about to make the jump to AG, I'm just trying to tie up all the loose ends and make sure that I completely understand everything.

A couple questions...

-A sparge arm or similar apparatus is just a method to to "fold" in(or rather, ON) the sparge water in a manner that causes the least amount of splashing and mixing with the wort....correct? You want it to be like two different layers of liquid....concentrated wort on bottom, and water on top (like oil on water) pushing down slowly on the wort. The slower, the better. Am I right?

-I didn't really understand your statement:

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A trick I like to employ is that once the kettle is filled up to my post boil level…I draw a sample…cool it and take a gravity reading. Then I continue to fill the kettle. This gives me a good reading about how aggressive I’m going to need to be with my preboil volume to hit my target OG.
Can you elaborate on this for me?

If your postboil amount (how much wort you want to end up in the fermenter) is running lean, you do a little math and run the appropriate amount of water through the grain bed to give you more initial preboil wort. You crunch the numbers and figure out the boil off rate and what you'll potentially end up with in the end? Now I'm confusing myself....
If it's rich you'll water it down to get to your target concentration?
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:52 AM   #27
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...concentrated wort on bottom, and water on top (like oil on water) pushing down slowly on the wort. The slower, the better. Am I right?
Right. You nailed it.

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-I didn't really understand your statement:
IT was kind of confusing. This is not a necessary step. I'm going to sparge to my designated preboil volume no matter what. I just like to measure the gravity as the kettle fills, to get an idea of how close I'm coming to my targets. This is much more useful for low-med gravity beers, since high gravity beers (1.065 +) require higher preboil volumes.

If my target OG is 1.045, I draw a sample from the kettle as it fills...right when it hits my post boil marker. If the wort going in reads 1.043 then I know I'm golden, since I still have 2+ gallons of wort left to add. If my gravity is 1.035, I know I've got some challenges and may adjust my sparge, or maybe my hops additions, knowing I'm not likely to gain that extra 10 points from the last 2 gallons of runnings.
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:06 AM   #28
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Thank you BM. That makes sense to me now.

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Old 09-11-2008, 10:33 PM   #29
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certainly sounds like fly sparging to me...nothing hybrid about it... just a different way of getting hot water into your mash tun

I've been doing fly sparging this way since I began AG brewing for lack of a three tier setup or a pump (I refer to it as my two tier setup ) This may also be better known as a poor-boy method


I feel like an elitist now knowing I'm using a "hybrid" method

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Old 09-11-2008, 10:53 PM   #30
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certainly sounds like fly sparging to me...nothing hybrid about it... just a different way of getting hot water into your mash tun
Well if you see what WildWest and I did in this thread, we did a true hybrid, running off the first runnings and doing a big infusion before running off. It's quicker than straight fly sparging since you dump the first runnings in a hurry, and allows you to achieve mashout quickly without a special mashout infusion.
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