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Old 06-30-2010, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default No sparge vs batch sparge vs hybrid ?

This has probably been discussed before, but I haven't found it, so apologies if I'm rehashing an old subject.

I've been reading some claims that the no-sparge method produces better beers from higher quality wort (no low gravity runoff) as opposed to normal batch sparging. I haven't tried this myself, but if it's true, I am interested in trying it. The disadvantage, of course, is the loss of efficiency because you're leaving a lot of sugar behind in the MLT.

Looking at Kai's analysis here:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Batch_Sparging_Analysis
under "Last running gravity", it seems that you have a choice to have a high last running gravity (approx. 1.040+ with 10-12 pounds of grain) with a no-sparge, or a lower (approx. 1.015 for 10-12 pounds of grain) last running gravity with a batch sparge, regardless of the number of batches used. If no-sparge really produces better beer, I wonder if you really need as high a value of last running gravity as you get from no-sparge in order to get this quality improvement.

So I got to wondering, could you do a hybrid of no-sparge and single batch sparge?
1. Mash
2. Vorlauf
3. Drain only a part of the first runnings (say, for the sake of argument, half)
3. Stop the runoff and add all the sparge water and stir.
4. Vorlauf
5. Drain the MLT dry.
It seems to me this would produce higher gravity last runnings than a batch sparge, but lower than no-sparge, and better efficiency than no-sparge (though not as good as batch sparge).

Surely someone has tried this before - I'd like to know if it's worth considering.



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Old 06-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by DeafSmith View Post
This has probably been discussed before, but I haven't found it, so apologies if I'm rehashing an old subject.

I've been reading some claims that the no-sparge method produces better beers from higher quality wort (no low gravity runoff) as opposed to normal batch sparging. I haven't tried this myself, but if it's true, I am interested in trying it. The disadvantage, of course, is the loss of efficiency because you're leaving a lot of sugar behind in the MLT.

Looking at Kai's analysis here:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Batch_Sparging_Analysis
under "Last running gravity", it seems that you have a choice to have a high last running gravity (approx. 1.040+ with 10-12 pounds of grain) with a no-sparge, or a lower (approx. 1.015 for 10-12 pounds of grain) last running gravity with a batch sparge, regardless of the number of batches used. If no-sparge really produces better beer, I wonder if you really need as high a value of last running gravity as you get from no-sparge in order to get this quality improvement.

So I got to wondering, could you do a hybrid of no-sparge and single batch sparge?
1. Mash
2. Vorlauf
3. Drain only a part of the first runnings (say, for the sake of argument, half)
3. Stop the runoff and add all the sparge water and stir.
4. Vorlauf
5. Drain the MLT dry.
It seems to me this would produce higher gravity last runnings than a batch sparge, but lower than no-sparge, and better efficiency than no-sparge (though not as good as batch sparge).

Surely someone has tried this before - I'd like to know if it's worth considering.
Interesting. But I can't wrap my head around the mash/vorlauf steps. I no-sparge, and the process I use is to recirculate all of the wort during the mash. Is this what you are describing:

1. Mash (traditional grain/water ratio)
2. Vorlauf (traditional)
3. Drain only a part of the first runnings (say, for the sake of argument, half)
3. Stop the runoff and add all the sparge water and stir. (add the remaining pre-boil volume)
4. Vorlauf (recirculate)
5. Drain the MLT dry.

I guess you could do that with a 3 vessels system, but the beauty of no-sparge is you don't need an HLT nor do you need a separate vessel to drain your MLT into. All of the wort is transferred between the BK and MLT. Still an interesting concept. Subscribed.


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Old 06-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #3
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I see no reason why no sparge brewing would produce a higher quality wort unless you do something wrong with fly or batch sparging, although I will concede that it is harder to do something wrong with no sparge.

That being said, your hybrid method should work fine, although it would probably take just as long as batch sparging and would have lower efficiency. I also don't see why the efficiency would be any different from just stirring before you leak any out and not sparging.

Sparging is a method of rinsing the grain, so it is actually more important to introduce new water than it is to just swirl things up. A more effective method of increasing efficiency without sparging would be to recirculate IMO.

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Old 06-30-2010, 07:42 PM   #4
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In
3. Stop the runoff and add all the sparge water and stir. (add the remaining pre-boil volume)
This isn't how I read it, but I guess what you describe would be batch sparging without fully draining the first runnings. I don't know what effect this would have exactly, but I cant imagine much improvement. I can, however, imagine ways this would decrease efficiency.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Reelale View Post
Interesting. But I can't wrap my head around the mash/vorlauf steps. I no-sparge, and the process I use is to recirculate all of the wort during the mash. Is this what you are describing:

1. Mash (traditional grain/water ratio)
2. Vorlauf (traditional)
3. Drain only a part of the first runnings (say, for the sake of argument, half)
3. Stop the runoff and add all the sparge water and stir. (add the remaining pre-boil volume)
4. Vorlauf (recirculate)
5. Drain the MLT dry.

I guess you could do that with a 3 vessels system, but the beauty of no-sparge is you don't need an HLT nor do you need a separate vessel to drain your MLT into. All of the wort is transferred between the BK and MLT. Still an interesting concept. Subscribed.
What I mean in steps 2 and 4 is recirculate a couple of quarts to set the grain bed. Otherwise, your comments in red are what I intended to say.
I agree that no-sparge is simpler - in fact, the method I described is really just a batch sparge without completely draining the first runnings. I was just trying to find a way to mitigate a part of the efficiency hit of no-sparge while still retaining higher last running gravity than batch sparge.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:18 PM   #6
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I see no reason why no sparge brewing would produce a higher quality wort unless you do something wrong with fly or batch sparging, although I will concede that it is harder to do something wrong with no sparge.

That being said, your hybrid method should work fine, although it would probably take just as long as batch sparging and would have lower efficiency. I also don't see why the efficiency would be any different from just stirring before you leak any out and not sparging.

Sparging is a method of rinsing the grain, so it is actually more important to introduce new water than it is to just swirl things up. A more effective method of increasing efficiency without sparging would be to recirculate IMO.

I'm not saying that no-sparge does produce higher quality wort or better beer - I haven't tried it, so I don't know. But I have read some posts where people do claim that, which is why I am interested in exploring this.
Of course this method will take as long as batch sparging, because it really is batch sparging, just without draining all the first runnings. The efficiency should be better than no-sparge because instead of leaving a really high gravity wort behind absorbed in the grain, you leave behind a wort which is diluted to a gravity in between the initial runnings (no-sparge) gravity and the batch sparge (second runnings) gravity. With less sugar left behind, you have captured more than you would have with no-sparge.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:19 PM   #7
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What I mean in steps 2 and 4 is recirculate a couple of quarts to set the grain bed. Otherwise, your comments in red are what I intended to say.
I agree that no-sparge is simpler - in fact, the method I described is really just a batch sparge without completely draining the first runnings. I was just trying to find a way to mitigate a part of the efficiency hit of no-sparge while still retaining higher last running gravity than batch sparge.
Give it a try and see how it works out. I'm all for increasing efficiency and high quality wort. I'm kinda used to increasing my grain bill to compensate. I'm routinely getting a BH efficiency of 62-64 percent with no-sparge.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:35 PM   #8
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The concept is intentionally dropping your efficiency to avoid over sparging and pulling more than just sugar from the grain. Lower efficiency (specifically due to lauter/sparge method) MAY produce better wort IF your traditional high efficiency process includes really bad pH swings. What is your normal efficiency? If it's under 85%, I can't see any benefit at all to crushing it. If you're talking about a small grain bill beer where you typically get near 95%, that's where you start looking for ways to reduce it.

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Old 06-30-2010, 09:39 PM   #9
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The concept is intentionally dropping your efficiency to avoid over sparging and pulling more than just sugar from the grain. Lower efficiency (specifically due to lauter/sparge method) MAY produce better wort IF your traditional high efficiency process includes really bad pH swings. What is your normal efficiency? If it's under 85%, I can't see any benefit at all to crushing it. If you're talking about a small grain bill beer where you typically get near 95%, that's where you start looking for ways to reduce it.
I don't know what my efficiency will be, as I have yet to do my first all-grain (very soon - finishing up my equipment). I was simply interested in this because I got the impression from some posts I have seen (for example, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/i-love-no-sparge-brewing-140972/ ) that some people think they get better tasting beer from using no-sparge over normal batch sparge, even though the batch sparges they are comparing it to have last run gravities that are in the "normal" range for batch sparging. At least, that's the impression I got. I'll be interested in experimenting with this, but just thought maybe I could find a compromise between no-sparge and batch sparge to slightly increase the gravity of the final runnings to reap the (perceived ?) benefits of no-sparge without taking the total efficiency hit. I thought someone has probably tried this before and wanted to see if there is really any benefit.


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