Anvil Foundry sparge or no sparge?

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shoreman

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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.
 

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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

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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

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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.
 

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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.
 
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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

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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:
 
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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
 
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shoreman

shoreman

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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.
 

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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.
 
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shoreman

shoreman

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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

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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.
 

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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

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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.
 
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bwible

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 

Niatras

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I know this thread is a few months old but I though I’d add a comment/question. I’ve brewed on the 10.5 about five times. One observation I had from one brew session was what appeared to be a stuck mash recirculating. To correct, I slowed down the flow and stirred mash and that was helpful.

Now I stir 3 or 4 times during the mash and also lift the pipe.

Also once as I lifted the pipe, the wort drained very slowly. Obviously a compacted grain. I was wondering if during mash out if I increased flow to compact the grain bed, would that help with sparging or would that lead to channeling.
 

kevin58

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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.
As I remember it the Braumeister basket is all mesh which would eliminate the issue that the Foundry has. The foundry basket is a solid stainless malt tube except for the bottom and a few inches up the sides that are perforated.
 

Brooothru

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As I remember it the Braumeister basket is all mesh which would eliminate the issue that the Foundry has. The foundry basket is a solid stainless malt tube except for the bottom and a few inches up the sides that are perforated.
No, the Braumeister has a solid SS maltpipe as well. The top and bottom rigid plates that are perforated with fine mesh screens between the to and bottom of the grain bed to prevent grain from clogging the holes. The screens are a tedious pain to clean and have a tendency to unravel around the perimeter edges. There are some aftermarket replacent screens that take care of that issue. I also place a layer of Swiss voile (BIAB type sheer material) that filters exceptionally well and makes cleanup a snap.

I've been a Braumeister fan-boy for more than 10 years, and think it's the best all-in-one system available, except for price, of course.
 

JoeSpartaNJ

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I would inconsistently get between 60% and 72% BHE

For my last beer I was aiming to make and 1.049 OG pale ale (calculated at 65% BH), actually OG was 1.058......so 80% BH efficiency. I'll take the win.

I have never gotten that high before, not even with the old batch sparge setup.


The changes I made:
1. Dunked the grain basket and stirred every 10 minutes instead of 15.
2. made exact water additions according to Brewfather. (to .001)
3. I may have increased the recirculating rate (kind of hard to really judge that one.)
4. While draining the malt pipe, I waited an extra few minutes to start sparging (1.5 Gallons) and did it through a colander to spread the follow more evenly.
5. Squeezed bag pretty heavily.

I'll try this again next time, hopefully with similar results. I calculate all beers with 65% BHE
 

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Just did a saison this morning. Stirred often and picked up the cylinder, ( btw, I've the original with holes on sides, and I added a sheet of aluminum to cover. ) letting it drain most of the liquid 5 times. Sparged with 1 gallon of room temp water and there was practically no sugar I could taste in drippings. Got about 3 points above my 70% that I use to calculate. New mill, got it pretty fine, better than my old mill, but might go one step closer....
 

youngdh

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There are a lot of mentions of Brewhouse Efficiency in this thread but no mention if their BHE is measured “into fermenter” or “into packaging”. BHE can be measured at both end points with entirely different results due to trub loss and/or over production of wort beyond packaging capacity (if kegging. For bottling one grabs more empty bottles :) ).

My BHE into packaging is typically in the 60s due to the aforementioned losses (I keg). My conversion efficiency of the mash prior to boil however is always in the mid 80s. I don’t sparge and I use a bag in the malt pipe. I stir the mash and lift the malt pipe every 15 min. I recirculate at a trickle. This is for session IPAs.
 

jambop

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I use a Grainfather S40 and I get very good conversion, last brew was 89 % mash efficiency, and I do sparge usually with about 18L of liquor.
The problem I have with these systems is getting my head around the probable change in dimensions of the vessel when the temperature changes. I have calibrated the vessel with accurately measured volume. The actual volume very slightly little lower than the marking on the side of the vessel at room temperature... but then on heating it should be good... assuming the vessel itself stays the same dimension... I do not think it can if it is changing temp then surely the metal expands. So for example when measuring the pre boil volume the liquor is going to be at about 70C you are guessing a bit ... the liquor has expanded about 2% but so has the vessel but by how much ?? Then after the boil the liquor is back around room temperature so the volume is slightly less than indicated but that as I have said is predicable because I have measured at that temp. The Grainfather app says there is a 4% wort loss due shrinkage and to be fair I measured almost exactly that difference at room temp but it is not going to be the same at all temperatures is it? Skeptical here 😄
 
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SFC Rudy

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I use a Mash and Boil and I noticed my efficiency was off. My fix is I bought another one, I mash in one and then dunk/recirculate sparge in the other. Been averaging 83% efficiency.
 
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