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Old 12-17-2009, 06:08 PM   #1
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Default Quick hybrid fly sparge question

I read the thread about hybrid fly sparge but its still a bit unclear to me. Do you drain the MLT before you sparge?

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Old 04-25-2010, 09:17 PM   #2
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Bumping this because I have the same question as I prepare to move to all grain. From my reading, it appears that some people are doing fly sparging without ever letting the grain bed go dry, and calling it a hybrid method because they don't use a sparge arm and just manually add the sparge water, keeping a constant level over the grain bed; others actually completely drain the first runnings (after vorlauf), then add a batch of hot (180-185 degrees F) water to cover the grain bed, stir, vorlauf, and commence fly sparging. The latter method interests me because I could drain the first runnings quickly and let the hot sparge addition perform the mash out - also it seems that dead space in the MLT would not be as much of a problem fly sparging as compared to batch. Any reason not to do it this way?

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Old 04-26-2010, 12:59 AM   #3
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In fly sparging, you do not want to run the grain bed dry-at least not until the very end if you can calculate your sparge water that well. If you let it run dry, then add water, you are batch sparging. You can add the sparge water via pump, gravity or by hand - it's still a fly, or continuous sparge.

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Old 04-26-2010, 01:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelly_belly View Post
In fly sparging, you do not want to run the grain bed dry-at least not until the very end if you can calculate your sparge water that well. If you let it run dry, then add water, you are batch sparging. You can add the sparge water via pump, gravity or by hand - it's still a fly, or continuous sparge.
I know the difference between fly and batch sparging - I thought that the reason the above method is called a hybrid was because you do the first part like batch sparging, then the second like fly sparging. I've read some posts where people have said they used the method I described successfully and want to get some more opinions on whether or not this is a viable method.
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:53 AM   #5
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Humm ? I drain completely after mashing and then I sparge with my sparge arm trying to keep the grain under 1'' of water .

Am I doing it wrong?

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Old 04-26-2010, 02:14 AM   #6
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Sorry, didn't read that very well. I did this on my last batch. I found that the temperature dropped rapidly on the grain bed once drained (8.75 pounds of grain). I added 200F water and the temp recovered to 160. 2 gallons later I finally hit 170 only as I finished sparging. I have a 5 gallon cooler and was making a 2.5 gallon batch. I've never lost temperature this fast doing 5 gallon batches. I don't know if that's because of all the deadspace I had (cooler half full) or because of the smaller thermal mass.

Also, I've done the same recipe on my system as a batch sparge and a fly sparge. The batch eff. was 80% and the fly eff. was 87%. The fly sparge took a little longer, but was less work. If I had an extra pot I could start boiling as soon as I drained a gallon or so and could probably gain back the time lost to fly sparging

The hybrid method is viable and will give you an eff. somewhere between batch and sparge. Seems like the hybrid method was the most work though.

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Old 04-26-2010, 02:16 AM   #7
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I'm sure you will get many different answers. Personally I raise the temp during the last ten minutes of voraluf to simulate mash out. Then I fly sparge keeping the grain bed under water. Since my sparge volume is previously calculated the grain bed runs dry about the same time I have preboil volume.
As for first runnings and such, to me it it a waste of time. If your system is balanced and you are not trying to get fancy, you can make award winning beer. RDWHAHB. If you make good beer and it pleases you then copy it! You are the most important factor of your beer.
I don't compete, I don't care what three strangers say. What I know is that my kegs float before others at a party. That is all I need to know that I'm doing something right, and I like my beer. This hobby is all about you. Don't bend to others expectations.

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Old 04-26-2010, 03:21 AM   #8
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OK, here's the thread where I saw this described:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/hybr...chnique-75454/

It seems that BierMuncher is describing a regular fly sparge (not draining the first runnings before sparging) except that he doesn't use a sparge arm, then later there are a couple of posts (#19 and #23 in the thread) where the posters say they drained the first runnings before starting the sparge. I'm just trying to figure out the advantages/disadvantages of the two methods. So far, I've only batch sparged on a few mini-mashes and now trying to decide whether to batch, fly, or hybrid when I go all-grain. Thanks for the comments so far.

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Old 04-27-2010, 12:11 AM   #9
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In my mind by draining the grain bed you lower the temp of the grain bed causing you to use hotter water to get a proper sparge. hotter water means more tanin extraction along with the sweet wort. Sugar water being more dense then clear water will stay below a clear water addition. The grain will be kept wet so you get very little trapped sugar in the grain and the grain bed stays at a constant temp. Just my opinion.

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Old 04-27-2010, 01:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerthirty View Post
In my mind by draining the grain bed you lower the temp of the grain bed causing you to use hotter water to get a proper sparge. hotter water means more tanin extraction along with the sweet wort. Sugar water being more dense then clear water will stay below a clear water addition. The grain will be kept wet so you get very little trapped sugar in the grain and the grain bed stays at a constant temp. Just my opinion.
But offsetting the greater temp. drop is the fact that you have a lot less thermal mass to heat up when you add the infusion. And isn't that part of the process just like batch sparging, and I don't hear complaints about tannin extraction from the batch spargers. And then on the second part (the fly sparge), the grain bed is kept wet. The advantage I can see with the hybrid technique is that maybe you could do a mash-out with less water because you only have to heat up the grain and its retained water instead of that plus the first runnings - but that depends on how much the grain bed temperature drops after draining, which I don't know.
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