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Old 02-09-2012, 07:50 PM   #11
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You could try a fly sparge. I got around 75% efficiency the first time I did. Doesn't take any special equipment, but a refrac helps tell you when to stop without wasting any wort. Otherwise, just restrict your drain-cock until you have a steady trickle, then observe how fast it's draining and adjust so that you will have your projected volume in 45 min. or an hour. Pour sparge water at a rate that just keeps your grain bed covered, stirring all but the bottom few inches occasionally to prevent channeling. If you have a refractometer, just collect until the gravity drops under 1.010. I don't do it, but if your set-up allows you can have the pot heating while you sparge to cut boil time down.
You fly sparge over the course of 45 minutes? Wow, I didn't realize it takes quite that long. I assumed as fast as the wort ran out, you can run the water in that fast until your sparge volume is done and voila. Shows what I know.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:23 PM   #12
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You could try a fly sparge. ...Doesn't take any special equipment,
Generally disagree. Fly sparging with a small stainless braid is much less efficient than batch sparging as it does encourage channeling. I wouldn't want to stir the mash more than the top inch or so in the middle of a fly sparge. I guess everyone has their own preferred methods though.

Again, I think the OP should explain what HE thinks a batch sparge process is. I find that many people read and read and advice about proper technique gets blurred between fly, batch, hybrid and no sparge BIAB methods.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:34 PM   #13
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You fly sparge over the course of 45 minutes? Wow, I didn't realize it takes quite that long. I assumed as fast as the wort ran out, you can run the water in that fast until your sparge volume is done and voila. Shows what I know.
I don't know if that much time is necessary - I do it as much as anything in order to keep splashing to a minimum to avoid oxidation. Again, don't really know if that is a serious concern - do you get good efficiency with a quick sparge?
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:40 PM   #14
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First off, don't sweat it. Your results sound exactly like mine when I started AG. I was also worried about sparge speed and a lot of other things back then. I have found that sparge speed is a very minor factor in my efficiency if at all. There is a good sticky on this already. The information there is great and I suggest you read it:http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/maxi...parging-77125/

A few minor tweaks helped me go from 50% to 72-74% efficiency (where I'm currently at.)

Measure water volumes accurately
When I first started AG I didn't have a way to measure more than 2 quarts at a time. I guessed at water volumes in the tun and kettle. Turns out I was using way too much water, thus diluting my wort. My efficiency was better than I thought, I was just making a bunch of weak beer.

Get a good grind on your grain
Most folks will say this is _the_ most important factor when improving efficiency. I found that accurately measuring my water helped more, but that's probably because the grind from my LHBS wasn't too bad to begin with. I did end up buying my own mill and get a good -- but more important: consistent -- crush now.

Sparge in two batches
I believe Bobby_M has a post on here about batch sparging in 2 batches. Hopefully someone else can help with a link. The basic point is if you have 4 gallons to sparge with, do 2 sparges with 2 gallons each. The idea being that you'll rinse more sugars off the grains that way. I haven't done extensive testing on this, because I implemented a number of changes to my process and my efficiency numbers started getting good so I kept them all.

Practice
When you first start out, there is a lot going on in an AG brew day. After a while, you get comfortable with the process and are able to focus on smaller details and improve your process. I guarantee that if you follow the guidelines in the sticky post and brew 2-3 more batches your efficiency will be up and you'll be happy with your results.

One other note that I want to put in here for completeness is regarding your brewing water. I started looking into the water chemistry side of AG brewing and found that Calcium is a critical mineral needed during the mash. The water reports from my municipal water supply show that my water is very poor in calcium. I have since started supplementing my mash water with CaCl2 to provide the calcium level needed for proper enzyme activity during the mash. Of course, I know I'm probably an outlier here and most people won't need to do this.

Pretty much this... I just open the valve about half way and let 'er run. I get in the upper 70's usually for efficiency.
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:42 PM   #15
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Generally disagree. Fly sparging with a small stainless braid is much less efficient than batch sparging as it does encourage channeling. I wouldn't want to stir the mash more than the top inch or so in the middle of a fly sparge. I guess everyone has their own preferred methods though.

Again, I think the OP should explain what HE thinks a batch sparge process is. I find that many people read and read and advice about proper technique gets blurred between fly, batch, hybrid and no sparge BIAB methods.
It can't really be MUCH less efficient - I've hit 80% plus regularly. I would like to use something that picks up wort across a broader area though. You're right about being careful in stirring - I haven't noticed that the runoff get's cloudy, so I figure I'm okay.
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:31 PM   #16
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It looks like there's some confusion between batch and fly sparging going on here. My understanding is that when you're fly sparging, you need to run it at a trickle and it can take 45 minutes to over an hour. When you're batch sparging, you can drain the mash tun as fast as it will drain. With a batch sparge (this is what I do) you drain the first runnings, close the valve, pour in sparge water and stir, wait about 10 minutes, then drain. Then repeat if you double-batch sparge.
Draining slowly keeps the grain from channelling, but you don't care about channeling in a batch sparge. The sparge water soaks up all the sugars it's going to during the 10 minute rest, and once that's done you can drain it as fast as your valve will let you.

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Old 02-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #17
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I don't know if that much time is necessary - I do it as much as anything in order to keep splashing to a minimum to avoid oxidation. Again, don't really know if that is a serious concern - do you get good efficiency with a quick sparge?
I'm BIAB right now until I get a larger HLT. Currently only have one 30qt. pot and a 6g. MLT, so I have to use the pot for BK and dunk sparge. I'm interested in fly-sparge, though. Especially if it can be setup to be mostly unattended or just monitored occasionally.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:01 PM   #18
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It looks like there's some confusion between batch and fly sparging going on here. My understanding is that when you're fly sparging, you need to run it at a trickle and it can take 45 minutes to over an hour. When you're batch sparging, you can drain the mash tun as fast as it will drain. With a batch sparge (this is what I do) you drain the first runnings, close the valve, pour in sparge water and stir, wait about 10 minutes, then drain. Then repeat if you double-batch sparge.
Draining slowly keeps the grain from channelling, but you don't care about channeling in a batch sparge. The sparge water soaks up all the sugars it's going to during the 10 minute rest, and once that's done you can drain it as fast as your valve will let you.
See and my buddy batch sparges but doesn't really let it rest, just stirs, vorlaufs twice or three times, then opens her up.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:03 PM   #19
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I would like to use something that picks up wort across a broader area though.
Can't think of his name, but he has a T-fitting with street elbows on either side going to hose-braid that's looped and connected to both sides. Seems like a nice solution to channeling. Oh, and he has a SS spring inside the braid to keep it from collapsing.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:08 AM   #20
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Okay, I've been asked twice so I will gladly oblige. After all, I'm seeking all of your help. I mash my grains in a converted cooler MLT at 152 for 60 minutes, then drain to BK (aluminum turkey fryer). Then drain my HLT into MLT, stir and let rest at 170 for 20 minutes before draining again into BK.

Is this not batch sparging?

Is the wort I'm leaving in the bottom of the MLT what I hear referred to as "dead space"? And am I crazy to think that the heavier sugars may be getting left behind in that space?

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