Anvil Foundry sparge or no sparge?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
356
I love my foundry but have noticed a drop in my efficiency and not hitting my Sg. Could be my crush, too much strike water and not enough boil off. I just run it 120 for the 6.5 gallon and there’s not a ton of boil off.

Have you seen an increase in efficiency when you sparge vs no sparge?and how much? I’m not recirculating either - don’t have or want the pump.

Thx.
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
966
Location
Minnesota
5 - 10%, recipe dependent. Sparge rinses more sugar from the grains, which bumps efficiency (efficiency is how much you extract from them).

There are a ton of small things that could be at play. The recipe included - the ingredients and amount, both.

You don't have to recirculate, but do be sure to occasionally stir the mash and lift and lower the basket to mix all that dead space into where the grains are.
 

Brewdog80

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
183
Reaction score
140
If you end up with more wort after boil, you need to cut back on water, or boil longer. If you hit target volume, then for sure lift the basket several times to circulate the water under and around the basket. There is 2 gallons of dead water there. You have to mix a bit.
 

myndflyte

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
1,335
Reaction score
600
Location
Lake Mills
I initially didn't sparge with the foundry but I've found that I get better efficiency if I sparge with 2 gallons. That being said, I don't use the basket and instead have a false bottom and bag so I have very little dead space. Sparging with 2 gallons in the basket might be a pretty thick mash.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
799
Location
The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
I said this somewhere else I think, I use the basket and don't really sparge but what I do is recirculate over the mash after the basket is raised with the perforated disc very slow, doing this pulls grain pieces off the bottom to the top and also increases efficiency roughly 80 to 85%
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
966
Location
Minnesota
It's a huge "it depends". If you have a bag and false bottom (no pipe), a normal gravity beer, then you might not gain a lot by sparging (at or under even 5%). If you use the pipe, if you are on the 6.5 system where that gallon of dead space under the pipe is a huge percent of the total, have a higher gravity beer... sparging could net you 10% easily (it does for me).

The basics of sparging, obviously, is rinsing the grains. If the wort in them isn't so dense to start with, then the benefit of sparging isn't as great either.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
799
Location
The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
sorry I don't mean to be negative but to me sparging with 2 gallons over a dry grain bad does nothing, it's going to channel every time, you need more liquid that's why recirculating works if you can, when we fly sparge with 25 or 30 gallons its always over liquid slow
 

doug293cz

BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
12,939
Reaction score
9,560
Location
Renton
sorry I don't mean to be negative but to me sparging with 2 gallons over a dry grain bad does nothing, it's going to channel every time, you need more liquid that's why recirculating works if you can, when we fly sparge with 25 or 30 gallons its always over liquid slow
Can you prove it "does nothing"? If you are careful, and distribute the sparge water slowly and carefully over the surface of the grain bed, you will rinse some additional sugar out of the grain, thus increasing lauter efficiency. It will not be anywhere near as effective as a well conducted fly sparge, and probably not as effective as a single batch sparge, but it is not useless.

Recirculating might improve conversion efficiency some, if and only if, you are not already at 100% conversion, but it does nothing for lauter efficiency.

Brew on :mug:
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
799
Location
The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
experience, over 30 years of brewing but when I say efficiency; its brew house not mash, if you were to use enough to form a pool over the top that would help, say 5 or 10 gallons but 2 is not enough, the recirculation rinses the grain not because it's recirculating but because its pooling constantly and reaching all cavities, volume matters, I'm sure some will wash with the 2 gallons but not enough to really make a difference in the gravity
 
OP
OP
shoreman

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
356
Thanks for the comments.

Lots of factors in play, but I did hit my numbers this past weekend with a sparge. I did follow the exact strike water and sparge water volumes which probably had an impact.

I brew mostly session beers, so stirring the mash isn’t a problem - I didn’t think about the space under the basket and I’m using the 6.5.

Probably will just sparge moving forward and add an extra lb of base malt (which cost me $1) to my recipes.
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
966
Location
Minnesota
I’m using the 6.5.

We have it a little rough. I've detailed it elsewhere, maybe here a while back, but we are almost a full gallon under the basket and yet another 30% of the water still remaining is outside of it. Well it's true for all Anvils but for us it's an even larger percentage of what we are starting with. Recirculating combined with lifting / lowering the basket a few times is a huge benefit to get all that dead space mixed in. Keeps what's in the basket itself from getting somewhat saturated and not pulling any more sugar out of the grain.

There's a false bottom mentioned around here too, fits perfectly with big open spaces. But a bag is required. It gets rid of that 30% or so around the side. You still have what's underneath and ought to recirculate but even if you don't it helps a lot. Of course the process can get a little harder. since the bag wants to drip everywhere. I've started doing this with my "bigger beers" other wise the grain bed is quite dry, or I have to add a lot of water and spend like 2 full hours boiling it back off.

If you're doing more session stuff you can probably stick with the basket. Going no sparge will keep the grain wet. Recirculate and lift / lower and you'll probably be around 70% with a good grain crush. I find this to be really repeatable and I know how to scale my recipes around that. You might find the same.

In the end... it's super true and often repeated - find a good method that works for you, get a consistent efficiency, and just roll with it. Tweak your grain bill accordingly.
 
OP
OP
shoreman

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
356
Thanks for the note - at this small volume I’m fine with upping the grain bill - a batch of session beer costs me about $10.

I would like to get that consistency going with the 6.5, so I’m going to stick with the sparge for a bit and lift & stir as you mentioned.

My crush is decent, but I have an ugly junk corona mill that I made - still get better crush than ordering crushed grains.

I totally dig the system and I’ve been brewing for 20 years, have tried a bunch of setups and the Anvil is by far my favorite.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
26,073
Reaction score
5,731
Location
Whitehouse Station
sorry I don't mean to be negative but to me sparging with 2 gallons over a dry grain bad does nothing, it's going to channel every time, you need more liquid that's why recirculating works if you can, when we fly sparge with 25 or 30 gallons its always over liquid slow

I think the better way to say it is that it is "not ideal" but a pour over sparge is going to beat a full volume mash by a few efficiency points at least. I personally don't care about a few points and I would be much more concerned about high pH oversparging with a channeled pour over sparge. I'm just saying a half assed sparge is still more efficient than no sparge in a pure gravity measurement.

One could simulate a more ideal fly sparge in a malt pipe like the Foundry by hooking the basket to a hoist and slowly lifting the basket as you dole in sparge water. That would still keep the grain bed fluid.
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
1,129
Reaction score
966
Location
Minnesota
When I sparge I do a dunk sparge. I'm using a bag of course. Pipe comes up, the grain drains, then is moved to a pot of sparge water. Things sit for a bit and then basically the process is repeated - bag goes back to the pipe to drain more and anything collected gets pitched in with the rest.
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
1,747
Reaction score
2,967
Location
Oxford, PA
I have the 6.5. I use it for 3 gallon batches. calculate all my recipes as 3.5 gallons. Collect 4 gallons out of the Foundry and boil down to 3.5. 3.5 goes into the fermenter so that I actually get 3 gallons of finished beer after all losses when all is said and done.

As tracer bullet said, there is just about a gallon of dead space under the basket. So I calculate mash water at 1.5 qts per pound and add a gallon for the space under the basket. I have their pump and I recirculate the mash. When I calculate the sparge water, I subtract that extra gallon back out. I do not boil in the Foundry. I drain in into my kettle and boil on the stove. I wait for about the first gallon to run off and then I just pour sparge water in bursts over the metal plate that sits on top of the basket, much as will fit each time and wait for it to drain.

So for example if my recipe was 7 lbs of grain, then 7 * 1.5 = 10.5 / 4 = about 2.6 + 1 gallon = mash in with about 3.6 gallons. Then I calculate water loss to grain as half, so 3.5 qts loss for 7 pounds. 7 * 1.5 = 10.5 - 3.5 = 7 qts that I expect to run off and I want 16 so my sparge water is 9 qts but minus that extra gallon so 5 qts.

This has been working pretty well for me. I also got a nice bump in efficiency after I started adjusting my mash ph with a couple ounces of acid malt where its needed.
 
Last edited:

bwible

I drink, and I know things
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
1,747
Reaction score
2,967
Location
Oxford, PA
It's a huge "it depends". If you have a bag and false bottom (no pipe), a normal gravity beer, then you might not gain a lot by sparging (at or under even 5%). If you use the pipe, if you are on the 6.5 system where that gallon of dead space under the pipe is a huge percent of the total, have a higher gravity beer... sparging could net you 10% easily (it does for me).

The basics of sparging, obviously, is rinsing the grains. If the wort in them isn't so dense to start with, then the benefit of sparging isn't as great either.
This is why I believe using the pump to recirculate on the 6.5 makes a big difference. Get that extra gallon moving.
 

kevin58

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
1,240
Reaction score
829
There is a conversation in the American Homebrewers Association forum by user @Oginme about pressure differential in the Anvil Foundry that prevents the water between the malt pipe and the outer wall of the Foundry from being mixed with the water in the malt pipe. That water never comes into contact with the grain until the end of the mash when you lift the malt pipe which in effect dilutes your wort. The solution is lift the malt pipe once or twice during the mash. I use a full volume mash in a Foundry 10.5 and have seen a mash efficiency bump from 78% - 79%% range to around 83% by lifting the pipe.
 

doug293cz

BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
12,939
Reaction score
9,560
Location
Renton
There is a conversation in the American Homebrewers Association forum by user @Oginme about pressure differential in the Anvil Foundry that prevents the water between the malt pipe and the outer wall of the Foundry from being mixed with the water in the malt pipe. That water never comes into contact with the grain until the end of the mash when you lift the malt pipe which in effect dilutes your wort. The solution is lift the malt pipe once or twice during the mash. I use a full volume mash in a Foundry 10.5 and have seen a mash efficiency bump from 78% - 79%% range to around 83% by lifting the pipe.
No need to invoke a pressure differential to explain the lack of mixing of the water outside the malt pipe. Unless you direct some of the recirc flow between the pipe and vessel wall, that area is a total flow dead zone. Extract only gets into that area by diffusion.

Brew on :mug:
 

Brooothru

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
2,135
Reaction score
1,935
Location
Either in the brewery or on the road
No need to invoke a pressure differential to explain the lack of mixing of the water outside the malt pipe. Unless you direct some of the recirc flow between the pipe and vessel wall, that area is a total flow dead zone. Extract only gets into that area by diffusion.

Brew on :mug:
These are all very interesting descriptions of how and why all-in-ones can be less efficient. And I have never experienced any of them.

My system is an ancient, non-trendy 'mature' Braumeister all-in-one. My average mash efficiencies are always at least 83% or higher, pretty much independent of grain bill size, water volume and grist:water ratio. As improbable as that seems, I assume it is because of the bottom-up recirculation flow path of the wort during mash. Bottom-up means the grain bed is constantly being floated. Any 'compaction' takes place at the top plate 'false bottom', and decompresses with every periodic pump rest. It's a remarkably efficient system.

I got away from sparing a couple of years ago as an adaptation to low-oxygen techniques, avoiding splashing and O2 pickup from sparge water dripping from the suspended malt pipe into the wort after mashing. As @Bobby_M said, I only loose a point or two, which for me isn't a deal breaker if I get less oxidation from HSA. I still rinse the grains with 1½~2 gallons water @ 170F (treated with sulfites) and collect the run-off in a separate bucket for use in yeast starters. If I'm too far off on final boil volume, I can add a small amount to top off. Gravity of the run-off is usually around 1.020 and alkalinity 6.0 pH or less which can be corrected with lactic acid.
 
Top