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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Zapap Brewing
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:37 PM   #1
anbrew7
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Default Zapap Brewing

I've been brewing zapap style for awhile now, but I do not use a sparge arm. Instead, I take my sparge water and gently pour over my bed of grains. I've made some quality brews doing this, and just curious from other all grain brewers the pros and cons to this. The one thing that I can think of is that overall efficiency may be problematic. But as I said, I've been making really good beers doing this. If anyone could throw back some feedback, that would be excellent. Cheers!

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Old 03-02-2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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I also sparge using this method. I've taken to pouring my water through a cheese grater to spread it out across the top of my grain bed as well as to soften its impact. My first few AG brews were with a Zapap but I'm using a converted cooler now because it is better insulated and I can easily pull a decoction when I feel ready for that. (With the Zapap I was mashing with a pot in the oven then sparging through the Zapap only). The biggest pro I saw with that system was that the false bottom allows even drainage. The biggest con for me was all the high gravity wort left in the dead space at the bottom.

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Old 03-02-2009, 03:23 PM   #3
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I'm still using a Zapap and don't have any plans to 'upgrade'. I'm proud I can make great beers with minimal equipment and I'm sure the guys with the elaborate or expensive setups are proud of their rigs and the beers they make with them. Everybody has their own way.

I place a wire-mesh, disk-shaped screen (that's bent to be a little concave) on top of the grain bed...then place a collander on top of that.
EDIT: One thing I see others mentioning but doesn't seem like the best way is to put a plate on top of the grain bed and pour onto the plate (so as not to disturb the grain bed). The problem I see is that there is already some channeling down the sides (down the sides is the path of least resistance) and this will just make it worse. Not only that but a regular plate is a bit heavy and compacts the grain bed. My wire-mesh screen and aluminum collander are very light and don't really 'hold water' which would make them even heavier. I actually LIKE the fact that most of my sparge water gets funneled toward the center by the collander.

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The biggest con for me was all the high gravity wort left in the dead space at the bottom.
When I'm done sparging I tilt the thing a little to get some more clear wort and then there is only about 2 cups after that (not including the slow, steady drip from the grains which I don't use). And it is the lowest gravity wort possible because it's the last water out of the grain bed. How are you getting high-gravity wort left in the dead space?

My crush is not all that fine...I use a Barley Crusher on the factory setting and I do condition my malt. With this crush I've been hitting 84% efficiency into the fermenter.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:52 PM   #4
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I have heard of using a vegetable steamer, ones that can fold out, and place upside down over the grain bed. (If that makes sense). It seems that it's imperative not to disrupt the grain bed. I will have to consider using that method for the time being. I am in the process of converting a keg into a mash/lauter tun. Pretty excited about it, because I didn't have to pay anything for it. It was a nice gift. Anyway, this is great insight, and if anyone else has some thoughts, please share.

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Old 03-02-2009, 05:05 PM   #5
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I brewed Zapap for years & years back in to the late 80s & early 90s. I stop brewing for about 10 years while the kids were small & have now been brewing again for the past 4 years. I still use a Zapap setup & I get great efficiency (72-80%).

To prevent the grainbed getting disturbed I place a large colander over the top to soften the water impact. Luckily my colander has wide handles that fits perfectly on top of the sparge buckets.

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Old 03-02-2009, 07:19 PM   #6
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Being a relatively poor man, its hard for me to upgrade on new equipment. I was lucky to get a gift certificate to a brew shop, which helped out significantly. But the zapap method has been awesome for me, and its great to hear that there are many still out there. I agree with you SpanishCastleAle that even though those expensive setups produce quality brews, our setups may be just as effective. Even though we lack the control that some of these other rigs can do, the product that I have been making is good stuff. Everyone does have there own way...and that's the beauty of brewing. Please share if there is any other insight that I may be forgetting about zapap.

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Old 03-02-2009, 07:57 PM   #7
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I could afford to spend money on a bigger, more elaborate setup. But at my job I design and more importantly...have to refurb, maintain, and sometimes replace these bigger, more elaborate setups (not for brewing). A large portion of these designs just make it easier for the worker (so they can push a button and go read the paper instead of actually doing the work that the 'machine' is now doing). Besides I actually like doing a little work when I brew (and it is minimal work)...gets me off my lazy ass too.

So I have this 'bias' against things being more elaborate than they need to be...especially when doing something so easy. My biggest batches are 6 gallons so I can easily move that around and lift it. If I did any bigger batches I'd def need some equipment to move all that weight around. But that's just what works for me.

The KISS rule...rules with me.

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Old 03-02-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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Ah, the infamous KISS rule. I couldn't agree more.

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