Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway - Enter Now!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > One Simple Change, From 72% to 82% Efficiency

LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-16-2008, 10:11 PM   #1
...My Junk is Ugly...
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
BierMuncher's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 12,158
Liked 577 Times on 339 Posts
Likes Given: 209

Default One Simple Change, From 72% to 82% Efficiency

I'm a batch sparger. I can predict to within 1 point, my gravity based on a 72% efficiency.

This last batch was a three-peat of my Kona Fire Rock, Pale Ale.

But this time I took a page fom the latest BYO issue, discussing a variation of batch sparging that uses the fly sparge "theory" of washing down the grains by continually adding fresh hot water to the top of the tun and letting that water "squeegy" though the grains and rinse the sugars.

My normal batch sparge consists of:
Slowly drain the tun completely.
Fill tun with 180-185 degree sparge water, stir, let sit for 5 minutes...drain the tun.
Repeat until pre-boil volume is achieved.
This process has consistently yielded a 72% efficiency.

This time I:
Slowly drained the tun, and before the water droped enough to reveal the grains, I gently ladled in (with a sauce pan) just enough water to keep the level 2-3 inches above the surface of the grains. I was essentially manually fly sparging.

Once my liquor tank was empty and I needed to refill/reheat, I close the tun valve and let the mash sit with 2 inches of water over the surface of the grains until I could continue. This would normally be about 15 minutes.

I'd repeated the ladling process, careful not to "pour" the hot water into the tun, but lay the pot into the top of the water and tip it so as to "fold" in the water and not create any channels.

This time, my efficency was 82%.

I knew I was on to something when my preboil volume of 13.5 gallons was just a few point off of my target OG.

So anyway. From now on, I'll not be stirring in my sparge water...but taking the kinder, gentler approach.

So technically, I guess I'm now a fly sparge guy.

NOTE: This erases my notion that going from the round rubbermaid to a wider rectangular would be beneficial to my efficiency. I have to believe that the narrower cylinder shape lends itself more to this method.

Last edited by BierMuncher; 03-21-2008 at 03:42 PM.
BierMuncher is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-16-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
EricK The Red
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
EricK The Red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Upstate NY (Southern Quebec)
Posts: 325
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Excellent! I've always been a bit mystified with the sparging process, this sounds like a simple & effective way to go!



Primary 1: Cheesefood's Vanilla Carmel Cream Ale
Primary 2: EdWort's Apfelwein w/Montrachet
Primary 3: EdWort's Apfelwein w/Nottingham
Secondary: IPA
Kegged & Conditioning: Northern Brewer ESB
On tap: I.P.A. (BB Kit)
Bottled & aging: American Nut Brown Ale

On deck: Fat Tyre Clone, Irish Red & More IPA!

"Beer is a vegetable"

EricK The Red is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-16-2008, 10:37 PM   #3
10th-Level Beer Nerd
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
the_bird's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Adams, MA
Posts: 20,491
Liked 361 Times on 297 Posts
Likes Given: 97


I did a similar quasi-fly sparge once. Efficiency still sucked, but it was either the crush or my hydrometer. What made it a little easier was floating a tin pie pan on top of the mash, to disperse the water gently as I was adding it to the mash.

Come join Yankee Ingenuity!

"I'm kind of toasted. But I looked at my watch and it's only 6:30 so I can't stop drinking yet." - Yooper's Bob
"Brown eye finally recovered after the abuse it endured in Ptown last weekend, but it took almost a full week." - Paulie
"no, he just doesn't speak 'stupid'. i, however, am fluent...." - motobrewer
"... I'll go both ways." - Melana

That'll do, Pigley. That'll do.
the_bird is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-16-2008, 11:09 PM   #4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Spyk'd's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Waveland, MS
Posts: 1,017
Liked 9 Times on 9 Posts


Now you're only one step away from a second cooler for HLT, a sparge arm, and a little gravity for an even easier fly sparge.

Welcome to the 80%'s!

American Red
Keg Conditioning:
On Tap:
On Deck:
Porter, Belgian Abbey Ale
Spyk'd is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-16-2008, 11:18 PM   #5
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
LS_Grimmy's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Cold Lake , Alberta
Posts: 297
Liked 3 Times on 1 Posts


Nice thanks for the notes on that experiment... I was thinking about doing the switch but wondered how much it would increase. Downfall is that it does take a little longer eh


LS Grimmy

My Web Site:

LS_Grimmy is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-16-2008, 11:46 PM   #6
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Evets's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
Posts: 1,844
Liked 140 Times on 71 Posts
Likes Given: 88


Eureka! by golly, I think you're onto something!
I've been fly sparging from the beginning and regularly get 80- 85+ %

If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself!
Evets is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-16-2008, 11:52 PM   #7
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
WBC's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: La Puente, CA, California
Posts: 2,175
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts


BierMuncher, You have done the same thing I did but wanted to do it 2 times in a row before telling the group. I did not get as big a jump in efficiency but did get a bit better. Maybe I do not drain as fast as you do when batch sparging and spend a bit more time and that is why I get 80 % when batch sparging but I did get over 80 when using the "Modern Batch sparge" method. Now all us "Die-Hard Batch Spargers" will get hammered about switching.



Fermentor 1: Bill's House Ale II, Fermentor 2: German Helles, Fermentor 3: Bill's Schworzbier (Black Bier)
Tap 1: Bill's House Ale II, Tap 2: German Hefewizen, Tap 3: Nut Brown Ale
Future Brews: Stone IPA Clone, Blonde Ale, Budvar Clone, Newcastle Clone
New toy: Blichmann 27 gallon fermentor

“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment”

WBC is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-17-2008, 12:07 AM   #8
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Landisville, PA
Posts: 171
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 2


Some tips:

--drain very slowly
--place aluminum foil on top of your grain bed, and poke a bunch of holes in it with a stem thermometer, or something of similar size. You then have no need to pour so gently.

I've always used this method, and regularly achieve 90% or better efficiency.

imasickboy is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-17-2008, 12:14 AM   #9
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Rochester, MN
Posts: 645
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts


I jumped from 72% to 80% this weekend for the first time (on your Nierra Sevada recipe). The way I got there was to realize during my second batch sparge that morebeer.com sent me liberty hops instead of perle, so I ran to the LHBS to get some perle, so instead of leaving the second runnings in the MLT for 10 min, it was closer to 30 min.

drunkatuw is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-17-2008, 12:38 AM   #10
Vendor and Brewer
Vendor Ads 
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
Bobby_M's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 21,904
Liked 940 Times on 626 Posts
Likes Given: 28


You might as well fly sparge at that point because manually adding sparge water seems like a waste. It takes the same time as true fly, but with the added incremental intervention. I wish I understood why some people (me) get 90% on a regular basis and other batch sparger can't break 80. I've tried running off slower and it gains me nothing. So far, temperature is the only variable that changes my efficiency. If letting your sparge water sit in the grain longer yields higher efficiency, my logic tells me you have a much coarser crush than I'm running.

As an advocate of batch sparging, I don't have anything against fly...In fact there's a certain aura of purity that surrounds it. I might try it in the future but it's hard to justify changing anything with 90% batch sparging. Have you tried the double sparge method?

Sightglass, Refractometer, Ball Valve, Weldless bulkhead, Thermometer, Decals, Stainless Steel Fittings, Compression Fittings, Camlock Quick Disconnects, Scale, RIMS tube, Plate Chiller, Chugger Pump, Super Clear Silicone Tubing, and more!

New Stuff?
Bobby_M is offline
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Quick Reply
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Does beer color change with efficiency? goswell All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 4 03-23-2008 02:57 PM
Simple Way to Check Efficiency? RLinNH All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 16 02-07-2008 01:13 AM
Simple efficiency tips? loneoak All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 16 09-28-2007 01:51 PM