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Old 08-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #1
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Homercidal's Avatar
Feb 2008
Reed City, MI
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What are the methods used for sparging a RIMS system. One of the big advantages in RIMS, in my mind anyway, is the recirculation of the wort. So it would seem that switching over to some sort of fly sparging method would bother the grain bed the least.

But I am very used to batch sparging and it seems like it could also work, but you'd have to run the pump for several minutes to resettle the grain bed at each sparge.

Am I forgetting something here? I have also thought about simply doing no-sparge. It's not THAT much more money, and would shorten the brew time to boot. And, I've heard that your beer could actually taste better doing a no-sparge (I'd like more proof though).

At the present time, I'd consider running the pump during the mash, then running off and refilling with sparge water. Then mixing up and re-running the pump for several minutes to rinse the grain and draining off again.

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Old 08-24-2010, 09:34 PM   #2
Jan 2009
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1. You can batch sparge, fly sparge or no sparge with a RIMS. I prefer to fly sparge, but I cannot definitively say that any one of these is superior to the other. No need to worry about disturbing the grain bed IMO. You can easily vorlaugh for a few minutes to reset the grain bed. It's not a big deal at all.
2. Yes, but again, vorlaughing is not a big deal at all, and especially so if you are pumping the wort anyway. The wort will clean in a couple of minutes in most cases. Wort clarity has little to do with the clarity of the finished beer. Mostly you just want to keep large particulates (grain husk particles) out of the boil kettle and that's easy enough to do.
3. 3. No, you are not forgetting anything. IMO, you have a good grip on what's going on. I also think that it may be true that a no sparge method may produce a higher quality wort. I've never tried it, so I cannot speak from experience. You are also correct that the additional cost, or reduced efficiency, is not a big deal and it may be worth the trade off. I plan to try it someday, but I'm getting good results with my present method, so I'm not in a big hurry to do so.
4. Running the pump then draining and refilling as you described will work just fine.

I see nothing wrong with any of the methods you have in mind. Do some experimentation with the various methods. Keep good notes and post back with your results. Should be interesting for many of us.

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Old 08-24-2010, 10:47 PM   #3
Aug 2008
Portland OR
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My current RIMS process.

1. Pump water from HLT to MLT
2. Stir in grain (inside of BIAB Voile bag)
3. recirculate 45 minutes
4. raise temp to 168-170
5. pump to BK (wort is see through clear at this point)
6. pump sparge water from HLT to MLT
7. recirc 15 minutes
8. pump to BK
9. pull bag from MLT and dump

BIAB keeps grain out of BK, if you don't recirc the sparge long enough the worst you will get is some cloudy wort from the sparged grains. Makes clean up easier.

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:04 PM   #4
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May 2010
Evanston, Illinois
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I'm currently doing no sparge. So far the beer has been great. I up the grain bill by a pound or so. I mash for 60 minutes, heat sparge water and then recirculate for 45 minutes to reach equilibrium. Beer is great so far.

I'm not sure why no sparge saves time. Instead of sparging I'm recirculating Brutus style for 45 minutes.

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:43 PM   #5
pickles's Avatar
Feb 2008
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I agree all you choices will work. I chose to continue fly sparging and the pumps make it super simple. I have a sight tube and have seen the wort clear in only a few minutes after disturbing the grain bed. I use a Loc-line for a sparge/return line. It works slick as s@*#!
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:00 AM   #6
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Sep 2009
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
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i fly sparge while gravity feeding out of my mash tun. I try to match the wort flow out of the MLT with hot H2O in. Basically keeping the same level until sparge is complete.

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