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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Going to build a MLT. What to use for sparging?

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Old 04-30-2012, 02:00 PM   #11
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+1. Your goal is just to not disturb the grain bed. You don't want to creat a channel for water to drain without filtering through the grain. By sparge time there's a top blanket of water. I place a piece of Tin foil on top of the water and with my pitcher pour on top of the foil. I'm no pro (far from it) but when I asked the guru at my homebrew store your same question he said there's no need for a fly spargeing if not commercially brewing. I guess based on prior post it's not necessary there either.
Right, more or less. In a smaller commercial system, let's say Nano sized, which is how I learned it (in 1989 Bell's was brewing on a 1bbl brewhouse) you can use a food grade hose to get the water in. We had a bucket to run off into, would get a certain volume out as we ran water of the top. Once we had runoff X amount, we filled the MLT to the top with sparge water and let it go. I have done a similar technique on larger systems that use spray balls or rotating arms to sparge. Once a predetermined amount of runoff (depending on MLT capacity) was reached.. maybe 10% of total runoff volume... I would turn the flow rate up on the sparge, getting the rest of the water in the mlt in a matter of a couple minutes. Then let gravity do it's thing. One less thing to worry about!


OH! The tin foil thing is a great idea to keep the grain from getting disturbed at all. I Generally pour mine over a spoon, but your method is even less work
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:19 PM   #12
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I don't know exactly what you mean by "traditional situation" but I assume you mean continuous sparging. I just observed that someone asked a question that skipped over some important info and the half dozen follow-up answers continued to ignore that important info. If he's putting a small braid in the bottom of the cooler, I'd lead him to batch sparging which REALLY doesn't need any fancy sparge delivery method. If he'd go with a manifold or false bottom, then we talk about fly sparging and all that goes with that.

It's the same conversation that should be had when someone asks "what kind of mashtun should I build?" and similar. It's more important to understand some of the fundamentals of all grain brewing before you can really go there. I understand it's probably easier to just ask ONE person how to do it because then you'd probably get one answer.

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Old 04-30-2012, 03:24 PM   #13
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I don't know exactly what you mean by "traditional situation" but I assume you mean continuous sparging. I just observed that someone asked a question that skipped over some important info and the half dozen follow-up answers continued to ignore that important info. If he's putting a small braid in the bottom of the cooler, I'd lead him to batch sparging which REALLY doesn't need any fancy sparge delivery method. If he'd go with a manifold or false bottom, then we talk about fly sparging and all that goes with that.

It's the same conversation that should be had when someone asks "what kind of mashtun should I build?" and similar. It's more important to understand some of the fundamentals of all grain brewing before you can really go there. I understand it's probably easier to just ask ONE person how to do it because then you'd probably get one answer.
This is what I was talking about. You don't need to run a continuous sparge when using a false bottom or manifold. It really isn't necessary. Get your run off started, establish an inch or two of water above the grain and then get the rest of the water in as fast as possible. Once it is all in, run off as normal.

One post suggested putting tin foil over the top to prevent digging into the grain bed, I run mine over a spoon which gives an effect similar to a spray ball on a commercial system.

I get all my sparge water in in 5-10 minutes, after which I run off for another 50 minutes +/- This differs from "batch sparging" in that the sparge water isn't stirred into the grain, it sits on top and feeds slowly through via gravity.

Have been doing this for 23 years, learned it in a commercial setting. For home use I have never even bothered to make a sparge attachment for my mlt, and have used the same method (adjusted to scale/system of course) in 6 or 7 commercial breweries.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:46 PM   #14
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I'm not actually arguing with you on any of those points. How fast you put the water on top of the grain bed is irrelevant to whether you call it a fly sparge in my opinion. The ONLY requirement is that the bed remains undisturbed and that the volume of sparge that you do add is allowed to filter down through the grain in a controlled manor.. How fast, or rather how much water you can add to the tun is more determined by how big that tun is and that's where metering it in would be extremely important to avoid overflowing. In other words, if your mash is already leaving a 3" headspace in the tun you're not going to be able to put the entire sparge volume in quickly.

Of course, this discussion could easily tangent into the benefits of oversizing your tun, and on and on, but I still argue that the OP's questing skipped over some other questions that should be asked first. Determining whether you intend to batch or fly is the first step in deciding how to construct a mash tun in my humble opinion. The reason is more related to what separation medium you install and then potentially in determining how you get the sparge in (not how much exactly, or how fast unless limited by headspace).

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:08 PM   #15
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I should have been more specific, it is a 10 gallon cooler with a false bottom. I think the sparge-o-matic in the lid is going to be the route I take. It easily keeps continuous flow over the whole grain bed at a low pressure so it shouldn't disturb the bed. I have been doing more reading and it seems to be a good, cheap way to sparge and I can just hook it up right to my sparge cooler and open that valve.

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