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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > sparge for time or gravity?
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Old 08-06-2013, 01:26 AM   #1
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Default sparge for time or gravity?

should i ideally be sparging for an amount of time (i.e. 60 minute sparge) or taking gravity readings and sparging to a specific gravity? if the recipe does not specify what gravity should i be shooting for? thanx!

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Old 08-06-2013, 01:30 AM   #2
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The time is a guideline. As in, it usually takes about 60 minutes to sparge. If you're done in 10 minutes, you did something wrong.

I sparge until I have enough wort in the kettle to start boiling. I try to shoot for around 0.5 gallons left over in the tun.

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Old 08-06-2013, 02:05 AM   #3
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I mash for sometimes 90-120 minutes*. Sparge takes a hour or longer*.
been doing 70-80% brewhouse efficiency with OG's in the .070's. turns out good and some kegs don't last a week.

*good beer makes nap time a anytime moment

pete

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Old 08-06-2013, 02:21 AM   #4
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I'm not really sure time is a factor in sparging. If you can sparge in 5 minutes and hit your preboil gravity and volume, why would you ever slow it down. In such a case, you could be leaving a lot of sugar behind and might raise your mash efficiency when formulating recipes.

I myself sparge in about 20 minutes and have no troubles hitting my preboil gravity. I suppose it depends what kind of sparge arm you're using as some really don't allow for quick flow. Your crush would factor in as well as too fine of a crush could leave you with a stuck sparge. That's never fun.

Moral of the story is that your sparge time will depend on your system and your process. Just like all other parts of brewing, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer.

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Old 08-06-2013, 02:55 AM   #5
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Agree with the mgohring above. Depends on your methods. Batch sparging can take significantly less time than with a traditional sparge arm. I have hit 80-85% efficiency with my last few brews with batch sparging. Seems to work for me. Do what works best for you. If it takes a little longer then so be it. In the end we're all after good beer, just many ways to get there.

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Old 08-06-2013, 03:19 AM   #6
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My experience has been that if sparge time seems to be affecting your efficiency, it's not about the sparge itself, but rather an incomplete conversion that is getting more time to complete due to the longer sparge. I agree with the above posts. For batch sparging, just let-er-rip!

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Old 08-06-2013, 03:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsratso View Post
should i ideally be sparging for an amount of time (i.e. 60 minute sparge) or taking gravity readings and sparging to a specific gravity? if the recipe does not specify what gravity should i be shooting for? thanx!
Do you mean the recipe does not state an OG? I guess that would not be too surprising as it would need to be stated with an assumed efficiency. The recipe author cannot tell you what efficiency you should expect to get. But often with an AG recipe an expected OG is stated with a presumed efficiency. E.g. in BCS, all recipes assume 70%. It would be a good idea to record your pre-boil gravity and volume, then calculate what efficiency you get so that you can dial-in your process over time. Anywhere between 70% to 80% efficiency is pretty decent.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hex23 View Post
Do you mean the recipe does not state an OG? I guess that would not be too surprising as it would need to be stated with an assumed efficiency. The recipe author cannot tell you what efficiency you should expect to get. But often with an AG recipe an expected OG is stated with a presumed efficiency. E.g. in BCS, all recipes assume 70%. It would be a good idea to record your pre-boil gravity and volume, then calculate what efficiency you get so that you can dial-in your process over time. Anywhere between 70% to 80% efficiency is pretty decent.
actually being new to this i don't really know if there is a difference between the pre-boil gravity and the OG. so are they the same? most recipes i have seen have the OG listed. so if i have a similar assumed efficiency then the OG is the target gravity (if not just using the time method)?
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsratso

actually being new to this i don't really know if there is a difference between the pre-boil gravity and the OG. so are they the same? most recipes i have seen have the OG listed. so if i have a similar assumed efficiency then the OG is the target gravity (if not just using the time method)?
Preboil gravity will always be lower than your final gravity. The total amount of sugar in your wort will be the same, but more concentrated after your boil due to evaporation. That is, unless you add sugar, honey or some other kind of sucrose to the boil. Until you know what the evaporation rate of your system is, it's harder to know how your preboil gravity will compare to your original gravity. Strength of your boil and the surface area of your boiling wort will all play a factor in your evaporation rate. It's something that you'll figure out the more you brew if you take good notes. I like to measure my gravity as soon as I've hit my preboil gravity and mark the volume I'm at. Do the same once you're in the fermenter and you'll have your gravity difference due to evaporation as well as your evaporation rate.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:03 AM   #10
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Oops! Meant to say that I take a preboil gravity reading after I've hit my preboil volume, not gravity.

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