Anyone using fire sprinklers to sparge?

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krausenmustache

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Noticed some fire sprinklers with NPT male threads on McMaster and thought they would make an excellent fly sparge apparatus. I would assume you would have to use them with a pump to build pressure. Anyone try this or even consider this?
 

Homercidal

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I think you would be pumping too much volume to be an effective sparge arm. At least in order to get the diffusion you'd want. I have seen someone use a cheap plastic round sprinkler though, and it looked like it would work well.

not the best grade of plastic, but the water will not be in contact with the plastic enough to make a difference I think. And I think you could get one in brass or copper if you look.

Or, consider bending some copper tubing and drill a few holes in it. Solder on a fitting and you are GTG!
 

The Pol

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I use LocLine from McMaster to fly sparge. Since fly sparging generally happens with 1" to 2" of water ABOVE the grain bed, I fail to see the reason to "sprinkle" water on. You arent sprinkling on the grain bed, you are sprinkling on water... there is no danger of channeling. The danger from channeling comes from the type of false bottom/manifild you have under the grain bed.

http://www.mcmaster.com/#loc-line-coolant-hose/=22kmqi
 

GilaMinumBeer

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I prefer to NOT set off the Fire Sprinkler systems when brewing but, maybe that's just me. It's such a bother when the police and fire show up I have to do all that explaining.

I have heard of using a lawn sprinkler head for sparging, even as a CIP head too. IIRC, even Zynurgy had a blurb about a LS sparge head build.
 

The Pol

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Can someone enlighten me as to why fly spargers are supposed to sprinkle? I am a fly sparger... I dont, woops.
 

MNBugeater

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Can someone enlighten me as to why fly spargers are supposed to sprinkle? I am a fly sparger... I dont, woops.
Mainly so you dont create channels in your grain bed. And also to get an even distribution of water over and through the grain.
 

BarleyWater

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Can someone enlighten me as to why fly spargers are supposed to sprinkle? I am a fly sparger... I dont, woops.
In commercial brewing, the water is kept only 1cm above the grain bed and there is more surface area, so an even water distribution would be more critical, and most stuff we do as homebrewers we just took from commercial brewing. It's probably not necessary for homebrewers who don't have a huge amount of surface area to cover and use a 1-2" depth of water on the grain bed, but in general we don't have the money for research, so we do as the pros do.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Can someone enlighten me as to why fly spargers are supposed to sprinkle? I am a fly sparger... I dont, woops.
I don't.

I just keep a steady 1 to 2 Inche deep whirlpool above the filter bed. On my worst day evar I got 76% mash eff so, I don't get any channels. Not even the local ones.
 

The Pol

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Well, I dont sprinkle and I get 82% every time I brew with a .038" gap on my mill.

I do leave about 1" of water above the grain bed until the HLT runs dry...

I don't think that if you have 1" of water above the grain bed, that you will have channeling, unless you are dropping your water from 6-12" above the grain bed... which would be silly to do.

I place my LocLine just under the water level and let er rip.

Sprinkle if you wanna, but in my experience, it isnt really necessary to sprinkle water, on top of... water.
 

MNBugeater

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Well, I dont sprinkle and I get 82% every time I brew with a .038" gap on my mill.

I do leave about 1" of water above the grain bed until the HLT runs dry...

I don't think that if you have 1" of water above the grain bed, that you will have channeling, unless you are dropping your water from 6-12" above the grain bed... which would be silly to do.

I place my LocLine just under the water level and let er rip.

Sprinkle if you wanna, but in my experience, it isnt really necessary to sprinkle water, on top of... water.
I completely agree. I don't fly sparge in the sense that i sprinkle water. I tried a few times but it was more hassle that it is worth. I simply add water at the same rate I draw wort off into the boil kettle and maintain about 1-2" above the grain bead. I get between 75%-80% efficiency.
 

Reverend JC

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If you pour your water over the grain bed or onto the water 1 to 2" above the grain bed you will be fine. I often will use a pitcher (at home) to do just that. I have rigged up a sparge arm that uses my pump to provide the water but find it is just as easy to use the pitcher to do this.

Now, if you take the pitcher and just dump it in as fast as you can you run the risk of disturbing the grain bed and getting grain bits and pieces in your boil.

Channeling is not really and issue on the home brew level IMHO.
 

The Pol

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I think the brewing myth about sprinkling water... though it sells sparge arms, is debunked. I used to use a sparge arm, then I realized what I was doing was really silly. SO I sold it... and when I built my HERMS I went the LocLine route. I got 78% when I used a sparge arm... and I am capable on my new system of 82% without sprinkling.

I used to do a lot of things that I read in books, until I started to realize that there was no physical purpose, and it caused me to buy copuois ammounts of equipment.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Same here. Bought the Philswhirlyspargeamajig. Hooked it up and let it rip.

I listened to the rain sound and watched the plumes of steam rise up and away from my MLT and realized, all that heat is leaving my water and why on earth is there so much foam?

Now, I get minimal heat loss at sparge and no foaming whatsoever. After a few minutes of sparging I can see the top of the grain bed through the layer of water.
 

bull8042

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Dang, I screwed up and got something right. I have been a little concerned because I don't have a "sparge arm/sprinkler/magical water transferrerererrrr" and have just been spraying the sparge water through a wide flat line-lok nozzle. All seems perfectly fine, but I still felt like I was doing something wrong because of the big deal in the stuff I have read.
 

The Pol

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Dang, I screwed up and got something right. I have been a little concerned because I don't have a "sparge arm/sprinkler/magical water transferrerererrrr" and have just been spraying the sparge water through a wide flat line-lok nozzle. All seems perfectly fine, but I still felt like I was doing something wrong because of the big deal in the stuff I have read.
Many of the brewing resources are getting dated... homebrewers have moved on and away from what was conventional wisdom.
 

springer

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when I tried fly sparging I just directed the sparge water into a SS bowl on top of the grain it flowed over the top and kept the water 2 or so inches above the grain it worked well
 

Homercidal

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I have not yet fly sparged and my belief was that you only had a thin layer of water on top of the grain bed. If I ever switch, I'll have a better understanding and focus on how it will be easiest to get the water in the MLT.

My plan was to build a sparge arm through the lid of the cooler, and a copper manifold in each direction off that, with holes drilled.
 

Reverend JC

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Again, the purpose of the "sprinkling" is to help those that are less than attentive be sure that they have not disturbed the grain bed. Keeping the water at an inch or two above the grain bed helps keep your grain bed from channeling.

If you have the capacity to gently add the sparge water to your mashtun then you are not the person the sparge arms are intended for and you are a careful brewer, like me.

But you are still fly sparging.
 

The Pol

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I have not yet fly sparged and my belief was that you only had a thin layer of water on top of the grain bed. If I ever switch, I'll have a better understanding and focus on how it will be easiest to get the water in the MLT.

My plan was to build a sparge arm through the lid of the cooler, and a copper manifold in each direction off that, with holes drilled.
Thin layer, 1"-3" or so works well... you can run a LocLine or something through the lid and have it deliver water directly into that 1"-3" on top of the bed. My LocLine is 1/2" dia.

The texts make fly sparging so technical, when it doesnt have to be, and there is no loss of eff.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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I agree...a little common sense can go a long way. I've always fly sparged and never used a sparge arm or anything. Seemed unnecessary for the reason already mentioned. 90% efficiency into-the-fermenter just using a Zapap and adding sparge water with a saucepot seemed acceptable to me...but I purposely backed off on that to try and improve wort quality.

Seems that to some small degree...the whole 'tiered' setup was inspired by HSA fears and that has been pretty much debunked. Turns out using a saucepot to ladle it from one vessel to another wasn't so bad after all.

If a more elaborate system allows for more consistency or tighter control (like Pols setup with it's tight temp control) then all the better but if it's based on old myths then it just seems a step in the wrong direction. KISS-rule fail.;)

FWIW, we use a cheapo lawn sprinkler mounted upside-down in a tank of foamy surfactant at work. But our sprinkler is designed to hit the walls as well as the liquid surface to knock the foam down. If you used a sprinkler of any kind and the sparge water had a long way to fall before it hit the surface, I think you would NOT want it to spray the inner walls. I think under certain conditions it could cause channeling down the walls.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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The loc-line looks great but it can also be done with a simple length of tygon or silicone. I simply cross the tun, and then make a partial coil around the edge with the hose.

Being a 3/4 ID hose, it also makes for a good water level indicator and the partial coil generates a gentle whirlpool over the top of the grain bed. this also helps me to guage sparge rates. If the whirlpool is agrresive enough that husk begins to cone in teh center of the tun, or the hose begins to trench into the bed, then I am spargeing too quickly.
 

bull8042

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Sprinkling would also go a long way towards cooling the water you just heated, ESPECIALLY if you are spraying it on the walls of your MLT.
 

The Pol

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I agree...a little common sense can go a long way. I've always fly sparged and never used a sparge arm or anything. Seemed unnecessary for the reason already mentioned. 90% efficiency into-the-fermenter just using a Zapap and adding sparge water with a saucepot seemed acceptable to me...but I purposely backed off on that to try and improve wort quality.

Seems that to some small degree...the whole 'tiered' setup was inspired by HSA fears and that has been pretty much debunked. Turns out using a saucepot to ladle it from one vessel to another wasn't so bad after all.

If a more elaborate system allows for more consistency or tighter control (like Pols setup with it's tight temp control) then all the better but if it's based on old myths then it just seems a step in the wrong direction. KISS-rule fail.;)

FWIW, we use a cheapo lawn sprinkler mounted upside-down in a tank of foamy surfactant at work. But our sprinkler is designed to hit the walls as well as the liquid surface to knock the foam down. If you used a sprinkler of any kind and the sparge water had a long way to fall before it hit the surface, I think you would NOT want it to spray the inner walls. I think under certain conditions it could cause channeling down the walls.

Exactly, my system is more elaborate than some, but it is REALLY simple in design. For me it was about repeatability and consistency. It doesnt make better beer, it makes the same beer over and over again. I mean I run an all electric HERMS, but I dont even chill my wort... :rockin:
 

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Pol-
I think im sold on the line loc stuff for the returns on my HLT and MT. Did you use the line loc pliers that they sell to put those together, or can you just snap it together by hand?

Also you have any pics of your returns?
 

The Pol

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Pol-
I think im sold on the line loc stuff for the returns on my HLT and MT. Did you use the line loc pliers that they sell to put those together, or can you just snap it together by hand?

Also you have any pics of your returns?
You dont need the pliers as long as you work out a little. I do have photos!!! I think there are some in my gallery or in my videos.... let me look

This video shows it... let me look for another pic.



 

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I'm considering a cheap SS shower head, or maybe the perforated spout of a plastic watering bucket.
 

LooyvilleLarry

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Somewhere I saw a pic of one of those WOW systems like a Sabco or similar. Their system, which you can assume that they did a little bit of research on, uses a piece of silicone tubing that lays above the bed (it floats).
 

The Pol

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I think we need to burn some of the "good ol" brewing books and start anew. This stuff will always be changing, and unfortunately we learn like Lemmings and follow, even when we dont fully understand why.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Somewhere I saw a pic of one of those WOW systems like a Sabco or similar. Their system, which you can assume that they did a little bit of research on, uses a piece of silicone tubing that lays above the bed (it floats).
No. It does not float. It lays gently atop the filter bed. They have done research and had some impressive collaborations but, it is still flawed in some respects (minor at worst) and even then, the collaborators were propogating the homebrew myths. Brilliant guys but using old information that has been dis-proven for our scale and timelines.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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I think we need to burn some of the "good ol" brewing books and start anew. This stuff will always be changing, and unfortunately we learn like Lemmings and follow, even when we dont fully understand why.
It's not that the old books are bad. There is still lots of useful info in them.

It's that not enough new books are being published to offer new insights.
 

OcalaScott

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I only use a 1 gallon pitcher to transfer the water. My HLT, (round cooler) is lower than my mash tun. I do float a lid off of a 5 gallon bucket on top of the mash and the lid floats fine. I just pour the water in 1 gallon at a time on the bucket lid. Also, I usually keep the mash tun FULL of water until it needs another gallon. By doing this, I have more than 1~2 inches of water on the mash, after the mash sets, but have not had any problems. I have never done the sprinkle method for adding sparge water. I fly sparge.

Scott
 

rossi46

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Those look like they would work depending on volume of water needed.
 

BlkWater_brewer

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Can someone enlighten me as to why fly spargers are supposed to sprinkle? I am a fly sparger... I dont, woops.
The principle purpose is to have the sparge water flow slowly through the grain bed to maximize efficiency. The process should take 1/2 hour or longer depending on your mash tun and your recipe. You should also be in most cases be draining the wort about as fast as you are adding the sparge water. I just switched my mash tun to a RIMS setup and since I like to re-task parts rather than buy new. I used a simple low cost shower head mounted on a cpvc pipe that covers most of the surface of my mash tun. The purpose of the sparge is to flush the converted sugars from the grain. At this point it's all about rinsing the sweet wort out not more soaking.


Friends don't let friend sparge alone.
 

augiedoggy

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I myself use a lock line setup to sprinkle and I later installed this simple float sensor to turn my sparge flow on and off as the my drains while still maintain sing an inch or so of worth in the Mr so the sprinkling isn't used unless/until I rinse the grin at the end but My efficiencies are usually high enough where I don't bother...

IMG_20140224_081348-586373600.jpg


IMG_20140224_081428446135798.jpg
 

BadNewsBrewery

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1 - holy dead thread revivale.
2 - using a fire sprinkler is a bad idea, assuming you're going with a standard light hazard pendant sprinkler with a K factor of 5.6, you're going to need a minimum of 7psi at the sprinkler head for it to properly throw the water. At that pressure, you're looking at 10-12gpm flow. Additionally, at that pressure, the sprinkler is throwing water far enough to cover a 15' diameter circle, give or take. At lower pressures and flow rates, the types we'd see in brewing, you're just going to get water pouring directly out of the opening, hitting the deflector, and dripping down the same as you would if you just had an open 1/2" hose. Fire sprinklers, while a novel idea, will do nothing special in brewing. Sorry.

-Kevin
 

fo0isclay

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kevin, I tested it out and works great. I think youre trying confuse design criteria for fire suppression with simple physics. I design sprinker systems and understand what youre trying to say though.
 
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