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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Sparging and Draining Times
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:47 PM   #1
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Default Sparging and Draining Times

Hi Everyone,

I keep reading about really slow times for sparging and draining wort into the kettle. When I drain my cooler I can open the valve and drain all the wort in less then 5 minutes. I can fly sparge or batch sparge and also have those high drainage rates. I have not been doing this, however, and instead have been slowly opening my ball valve. I typically fly sparge and the whole process takes about 15 minutes to both drain and sparge my mash tun. Is there any reason for slowing down, and if there is should I slow this process down even further?

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Old 11-30-2012, 05:06 PM   #2
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I've always read that if you are fly sparging you are looking at about 45 minutes to drain and get your pre boil volume. My understanding with that is your efficiency will drop if you sparge too quickly, but I don't fly sparge. I think most people that batch sparge just open the valve and let it drain as fast as it will. I'm a batch sparger and I tend to run it with the valve about 3/4 open.

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Old 11-30-2012, 05:13 PM   #3
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I also fly sparge, and it typically takes me 30 minutes for a 5g batch with an OG ~1.040, to 60 minutes with an OG ~ 1.070. When I used a 5g MLT, the times would vary from 45 minutes (low gravity) to 90 minutes (higher gravity). I cannot do it faster than 30 minutes because that's how long it takes to add the sparge water via my sparge arm.

Fly sparging faster causes channeling (for me), resulting in substantially reduced efficiency.

-a.

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Old 11-30-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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Fly sparging faster causes channeling (for me), resulting in substantially reduced efficiency.

-a.
Yes, me too. Another consideration is that with fly sparging, the principle of diffusion applies. That means that the water actually "pulls" the sugars out as it goes slowly through the grainbed. So that's why fly sparging should be down slowly.

In batch sparging, it's the stirring that "knocks" the sugars into the water, and it can be done extremely quickly, as fast as your ballvalve will allow.

I did a 5 gallon batch yesterday, and batch sparged. It was less than 10 minutes from the time I added my sparge water to the MLT until it was in the boil kettle. The key there is the stirring. Letting it sit would offer no advantages, and channeling isn't a concern at all.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:15 PM   #5
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My only limitation on sparge speed is if I go too fast the grainbed compacts too much, giving me a stuck sparge. I usually go about half to 3/4 open on the ball valve. I use a large ball valve though, I think 3/4 inch. Sometimes I can open it up, in which case it drains very quickly.

I batch sparge btw.

Usually 15 min and I'm done, and that includes the first runnings.

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #6
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In batch sparging, it's the stirring that "knocks" the sugars into the water, and it can be done extremely quickly, as fast as your ballvalve will allow.
With batch sparging, do you stir the grains after the mash and before draining the first runnings or only when adding the sparge water? I have always just stirred the sparge water and grains. (of course stirring everything real well when first adding strike water to mash)
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:46 PM   #7
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With batch sparging, do you stir the grains after the mash and before draining the first runnings or only when adding the sparge water? I have always just stirred the sparge water and grains. (of course stirring everything real well when first adding strike water to mash)
I don't normally stir the mash, after mashing in. But you can if you want.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:01 PM   #8
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Yooper, is that a young Tom Waits as your avatar picture?
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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I did my 3rd all grain batch a few days ago and ill add my input:

First 2 batches went excellent, hit all my gravities and volumes right on the nose. The other day I tended to be a little rushed with my sparging and my efficiency was down to 65%. What I did notice was I did not stir mash prior to lautering my first rubbings and I sparged way too quickly.

So you guys stir mash when sparging and what have your results been like?

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Old 11-30-2012, 11:35 PM   #10
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Yooper, is that a young Tom Waits as your avatar picture?
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