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Old 03-28-2008, 03:48 PM   #1
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Default Fly sparge: Importance of maintaining temp?

I was reading an old issue of BYO this morning and I came across an article about Papa Charlie's brew system. He was fly sparging using a simple plastic bucket as the HLT. The picture shows the bucket elevated and sparging a mash. It seems to me like over the time interval of the sparge, the bucket water would lose quite a bit of heat, so my question is, how would this affect the efficiency? I always thought that the sparge water temp had to be kept at/near 170F.


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Old 03-28-2008, 03:54 PM   #2
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I fly sparge and the temp of my water in my HLT will drop during the sparge. Hasn't hurt my efficiency any. Last batch I brewed I hit 91%. I do a mash out though to stop the conversion.

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Old 03-28-2008, 04:02 PM   #3

I'm lightly convinced that sparge temp affects batch sparge efficiency a bit more than fly. I would think it would take a slight hit though if you dropped below like 160F.
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:42 PM   #4
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I'm curious about this too....I mash-out then fly sparge with boiling water (to try to maintain the 165-168 temp) and my mash is always around 145 by the end. I lose more heat because my current setup requires the MLT cooler lid to be open while sparging.

.....I still get around 80% eff though.
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:46 AM   #5
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FWIW, I sparge with 180 deg H20. Because of my system it hits the mash (usually 10 gallon batches) at 172. The temp going into the boiler is about 165. It all depends on the mash-out, which is key to high efficiency. I've skipped the mash-out a couple of times, and my efficiency drops at least 10 %.

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Old 03-29-2008, 03:15 PM   #6
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I used to mash at about 154, then sparge slowly with water that I had heated to 170. I got about 75% efficiency.
Then, on the advice of Greg Noonan, I did a mash out to raise the grain temperature to 168, and increase the temperature of the sparge water to maintain that temperature throughout the sparge (which takes me 60 - 90 minutes). My efficiency consistently increased to 85% with no bad effects. I now keep the grain temperature between 165 and 170 throughout the sparge. I suspect that it's more important to get the right temperature at the start when there is a lot of sugar in the grains, and the higher temperature dissolves the sugar more easily, and also reduces the viscosity of the wort.


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