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Old 01-20-2013, 08:56 PM   #1
Frenchtom
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Default Stir grain bed while sparging?

Hi guys - when I am sparging my mash I use a continuous sparge - I add 170F water on top of my grain bed and draw from the bottom of the grain bed at the same slow rate that I am adding my 170F water. My question is, should I stop intermittently and stir up the grain bed? I have a feeling that I am not getting all of the sugars out of my wort due to my sparge water making channels through my grain bed thus leaving sections of the gain bed stagnant. This stagnant grain, in my opinion, is holding back a lot more sugar. If routine stirring is not the answer do you have any other advice?

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Frenchtom


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Old 01-20-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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I stir during mash a few times to make sure no pockets but after that I do not as it disturbs my nicely packed grain bed and causes the wort to come out cloudy with particles in it again.


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Old 01-20-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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I always vorlauf, take my first runnings, then add sparge water and stir like hell for a few minutes and repeat the vorlauf cycle to reset the grain bed before collecting the second runnings. It seems to help with my effiency numbers so i think you are correct when assuming that sugars could be left behin otherwise.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenchtom View Post
Hi guys - when I am sparging my mash I use a continuous sparge - I add 170F water on top of my grain bed and draw from the bottom of the grain bed at the same slow rate that I am adding my 170F water. My question is, should I stop intermittently and stir up the grain bed? I have a feeling that I am not getting all of the sugars out of my wort due to my sparge water making channels through my grain bed thus leaving sections of the gain bed stagnant. This stagnant grain, in my opinion, is holding back a lot more sugar. If routine stirring is not the answer do you have any other advice?

Thanks,
Frenchtom
Sounds like you are fly sparging. In that case you do not stir once you begin to sparge. Try to keep a couple inches of water on top of the grain bed. Add the sparge water so it does not disturb the grain (I use a tin pie pan with holes). Sparge slower if you think you are not getting enough of the sugars.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:04 PM   #5
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Good point Bigcorona, I was referring to my method of choice and I batch sparge.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:01 AM   #6
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Try to keep a couple inches of water on top of the grain bed.
Assuming you have a well designed manifold, I think keeping the grain bed flooded is the most important thing when fly sparging. By keeping the grain bed flooded, it is harder to get channeling through the grain bed as all of the grain is in constant contact with sparge water. If you cannot maintain a couple of inches of water on the top, slow down the speed you are draining. Slow and steady is the key.

Trying to maintain the balance between how fast I was draining and how fast I was sparging was the reason why I switched to batch sparging. It was faster and easier to just dump in all of the sparge water, stir the grain, then drain a couple of minutes later. For me it was just as efficient, possibly because I made the switch before I really got good at fly sparging.


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