Batch Sparge question

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JerD

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Brewsmith software offers a bunch of different option for batch sparging, one sparge, mutiple sparges of equal amounts, etc. What are the benefits and drawbacks of the different methods?
 

Malticulous

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The first running are always the highest quality wort. To get the most of the first runnings I like to mash fairly thin. You could just use the first runnings with a no sparge method. I've never done it because I don't want to spend grain on lower efficiency. It should make better beer. A single sparge will bring up the efficiency and with little risk of tannin extraction. I've been double sparging only when I use larger amounts of grain. I used to fly sparge but now that I crush my own grain I can get the same efficiency with a single sparge and save some time.
 

david_42

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I do two equal sparges. My extraction runs: 50%, 33%, 16%. That's with a 3:1 mash, so each running is about the same size.
 

Bobby_M

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do a search for 'sparging' and Palmer will fill you full of knowledge.
Actually that's one section of Palmer's book I don't like. He talks about batch sparging in a half-assed way and doesn't differentiate between fly/batch when referring to other fringe parts of the process.

One reason you would break the sparge into smaller portions is if your tun can't handle it in one large batch. Another reason, though not as forced, is that it does increase efficiency by a few points.
 

hopdawg

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So let me get this straight. You guys are suggesting mashing with 7-8 gallons of water and then not rinsing the grain bed afterwards?

Right now I mash at 1.25-1.5qts per pound. So a 12Lbs grain bill I'll use 17-18qts. I'll slowly drain over a 30min time then add another 15qts and drain for maybe 20minutes.

What's the opinion?
 

Bobby_M

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Why do you drain so slowly? It kind of negates the time saving benefit of batch sparging. The drain should take no more than 5 minutes for any of the runnings. You do stir really well after adding the 15qt sparge right?
 

bull8042

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So let me get this straight. You guys are suggesting mashing with 7-8 gallons of water and then not rinsing the grain bed afterwards?

Right now I mash at 1.25-1.5qts per pound. So a 12Lbs grain bill I'll use 17-18qts. I'll slowly drain over a 30min time then add another 15qts and drain for maybe 20minutes.

What's the opinion?
I know that was mentioned, but don't take it as the gospel. It is done at times for various reasons, but generally speaking you should sparge. Whether it is fly or batch is up to you and your equipment. Your method does sound really slow for a batch sparge drain though.
 

hopdawg

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Well shoot, this is good info. I've read Palmers a dozen times and its not clear on the times. So it's 5 minutes for the first runnings, add water 170F, stir, 5 minutes for the rinse. Yes?
 

Bobby_M

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That's what I meant about Palmer's lack of clarity in the process. Any mention of sparge time is definitely referring to fly sparging. Batch sparge draining is not time dependent at all. First runnings, open the valve. Close the valve, add 180F sparge water, stir it well for 2 minutes, open the valve, recirculate 2 quarts back on top, then let it rip. You can break that sparge into two equal parts if you want to maximize efficiency.
 

cowstick

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I also had a similar question about this. After reading this is what I got.
Batch Sparge is:
Mash as usual.
Collect and pour back in till it runs clear.
Let 'er rip until empty.
Refill with Sparge water let sit for however long you want.
Collect and pour back in till it runs clear.
Let 'er rip until empty.

Do I have that right? Im going to be going all grain by the end of the month and want to be clear on this.
 

Homercidal

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I was not clear on this either. I did a centennial blonde this weekend and followed the beersmith instructions even though it was different than what i thought I was going to do. I got 80+ efficiency and it looked like it went well, so there ya go. By the time the last of the runnings were coming out, it nearly looked like water. I'm not used to making a beer of that color.
 

Homercidal

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I also had a similar question about this. After reading this is what I got.
Batch Sparge is:
Mash as usual.
Collect and pour back in till it runs clear.
Let 'er rip until empty.
Refill with Sparge water let sit for however long you want.
Collect and pour back in till it runs clear.
Let 'er rip until empty.

Do I have that right? Im going to be going all grain by the end of the month and want to be clear on this.
What I did was to mash in and let sit for a few minutes, then drain off a bit until it runs clearish. then pour this back into the mlt. All this does is get the dirty runnings out of the system and on top of the grain bed, which will then filter it clear.

Then after an hour I drained it into the kettle and when it drained completely, I added more hot water 168 to the mlt let sit 10 minutes and drain.

then added more water at 200 and drained through right away.

I feel I still need to do plenty of reading on the process. It would be nice to be able to see a video with the different methods highlighted.
 

Denny

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Brewsmith software offers a bunch of different option for batch sparging, one sparge, mutiple sparges of equal amounts, etc. What are the benefits and drawbacks of the different methods?
99% of the time I do a single sparge addition. If you have a large enough cooler, you should almost never need to do more than that.
 

jpc

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I've only done four all-grains, but I've been doing the following for the last three of my five-gallon batches:

Mash-in with ~14 qts (60-75 min single-step infusion, target of about 152 degrees F)
1st batch sparge with ~10 qts (let sit for 15 min @ 175-180 degrees F)
2nd batch sparge with ~8 qts (let sit for 15 min @ 175-180 degrees F)

I manage about 2 to 2.5 gallons of first runnings, and pretty much all out of the first and second sparges. I've ended up with about 6.5 to 7 gallons in the boiling kettle, and figured my efficiency at 80+%.

It takes a little longer to do the second sparge, but it's pretty much worth it to me, even though the last runnings are a little light (about 1.009 or so).
 

Denny

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If your cooler is big enough, try doing only one sparge. I can hit 80+ efficiency with only one and was just talking to someone who switched from 2 to1 and had great results. And save yourself some time...there's nothing to be gained form those 15 min. rests in the sparge.
 

cowstick

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Hey Deny thanks for that it answered all the questions I had about that. I will be building a SS braid manifold like the ones made out of copper Ill also be using a rectangle cooler with the drain on the front instead of the side.
 

jpc

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If your cooler is big enough, try doing only one sparge. I can hit 80+ efficiency with only one and was just talking to someone who switched from 2 to1 and had great results. And save yourself some time...there's nothing to be gained form those 15 min. rests in the sparge.
So how much time IS needed for the batch sparge? Just a quick stir and that's it? Also, should I keep my mash at about 1.4 qts/lb (roughly 14 quarts), and use the four gallons in a single sparge, or would it be better to thin my mash and sparge with less? I've got plenty of headspace in my 10 gallon round Gott...

-John
 

Denny

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I just stir in the sparge water, vorlauf, and runoff...no rest at all. I've experimented with times from 1/2 hour to nothing and it just didn't make any difference. If I predict that my mash runoff and sparge runoff will be more than a gal. apart in volume, I don't bother trying to equalize them. I haven't seen any benefits when they're that close. More than that and I'd add water to the mash before running it off. I had been working toward thinner mashes and once I read Kai's work, it was all the incentive I needed. I mash at 1.5 qt./lb generaaly these days.
 

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Just when I thought I was finally understanding mashing/sparging I read this thread and now I am totally confused again.
 
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My direct fired RIMS is ready for a brew session. Been curious about those who recirculate there mash. I used to batch sparge a long time a go. Been fly sparging on a gravity system for years.

I know some of you have tried both methods and am curious to any drops in efficiency with batch sparging?

I'm running 85% fly-sparging on the three tier. If I crush finer I can hit higher. (been having problems getting my mill to crush any finer). Not sure if efficiency will change on the RIMS.

Looking to save time during the brew day.
 

jpc

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I just stir in the sparge water, vorlauf, and runoff...no rest at all. I've experimented with times from 1/2 hour to nothing and it just didn't make any difference. If I predict that my mash runoff and sparge runoff will be more than a gal. apart in volume, I don't bother trying to equalize them. I haven't seen any benefits when they're that close. More than that and I'd add water to the mash before running it off. I had been working toward thinner mashes and once I read Kai's work, it was all the incentive I needed. I mash at 1.5 qt./lb generaaly these days.
Even at 1.5 qt/lb, I'd be mashing with 3 1/2 to 4 gallons and sparging with about 4 gallons (for a typical ESB, my ol' stand-by). That means about 2 gallons from the first runnings and 4 gallons from the second into the brewpot. No issues with this?

-John
 

TelemarkBrew

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if you want to have equal volume of runnings without adjusting the mash ratio you can always do a mashout. So in your case John, if you typically get 2g's from the first runnings at 1.5 qt/lb and need 4g more for preboil volume, add 1g at the end of the mash and you should end up with 3g's from each of the runnings.
 

Bobby_M

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What telemarkbrew just said is the ideal way of performing a single batch sparge. Equal runnings size maximizes efficiency given the constraint of two runnings. Three runnings of 2g each would be a little more efficient (2-3%) but requires an extra stir and vorlauf. You decide.
 

jpc

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if you want to have equal volume of runnings without adjusting the mash ratio you can always do a mashout. So in your case John, if you typically get 2g's from the first runnings at 1.5 qt/lb and need 4g more for preboil volume, add 1g at the end of the mash and you should end up with 3g's from each of the runnings.
Thanks, Telemark... sounds like a plan.

I read Palmer, and he states in there somewhere (paraphrased) that equal amounts are better. I don't recall that he gives any rationale for this, and I won't take it as gospel, but I'm curious as to the reason, if any. Can anyone explain this to me by answering the following question: Why should equal mash and sparge runoff volumes give a better wort?

EDIT: Just say Bobby's post. I guess that answers the question. That's what I get for not reading all the way to the bottom before replying. :cross:

-John
 

MaynardX

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Ok. Now I'm confused. Let me use my last grain bill as an example of my problem.

9lb Pale Malt
2lb Vienna Malt
0.75 Crystal 10L

Mash in: Add 17qts water at 166 deg
-Hold mash at 152 deg for 60min

Batch Sparge Round One: Sparge with 0.73gal water at 168deg
Batch Sparge Round Two: Sparge with 3.57gal water at 168deg

Add water to achieve volume of 6.88


My question was for batch sparge one. This was obviously too small amount of water for a sparge by itself, so I ended up just doing one round of with all of the sparge water. I am not sure why Beersmith set this up as a "sparge". It seems more like a mashout to me. Am I missreading this step, or do I have Beersmith configured wrong?
 

Denny

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My question was for batch sparge one. This was obviously too small amount of water for a sparge by itself, so I ended up just doing one round of with all of the sparge water. I am not sure why Beersmith set this up as a "sparge". It seems more like a mashout to me. Am I missreading this step, or do I have Beersmith configured wrong?
I've found that the way Beersmith handles batch sparging is kinda weird. That first, small addition I would have added to the mash before the runoff, then sparged with the 3.5 gal.
 

Denny

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What telemarkbrew just said is the ideal way of performing a single batch sparge. Equal runnings size maximizes efficiency given the constraint of two runnings. Three runnings of 2g each would be a little more efficient (2-3%) but requires an extra stir and vorlauf. You decide.
I decided a long time ago that for the extra effort it just wasn't worth the time or effort. I average 82-84% with a single sparge and that's good enough for me!
 

Bobby_M

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Fair enough. Certainly for those who are having issues getting their efficiency up to what they'd consider acceptable, a double sparge is ONE way to do it at a cost of extra work. If you're in the mid 80% brewhouse area, 3-4% more isn't all that big of an incentive.
 

Denny

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Fair enough. Certainly for those who are having issues getting their efficiency up to what they'd consider acceptable, a double sparge is ONE way to do it at a cost of extra work. If you're in the mid 80% brewhouse area, 3-4% more isn't all that big of an incentive.
I guess if people are having efficiency issues, the first place I'd look is the crush. After that, mash tun dead space. Might as well try to get to the root of the problem. But if the cooler you;re using is short on capacity (like the round 5 gal.), a 2nd sparge may be the only answer (well, actually a bigger cooler would be the answer!) ;)
 

Bobby_M

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I guess if people are having efficiency issues, the first place I'd look is the crush. After that, mash tun dead space. Might as well try to get to the root of the problem. But if the cooler you;re using is short on capacity (like the round 5 gal.), a 2nd sparge may be the only answer (well, actually a bigger cooler would be the answer!) ;)
I agree there are many places to lose or gain efficiency and the number of sparges is just one of them. I find Kai's chart, from a pure sparge extraction perspective, to be spot on:



Of course it assumes that your crush is such that you're getting full conversion and the sparge can access all the sugar, that there is little deadspace, etc.
 

MaynardX

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I decided a long time ago that for the extra effort it just wasn't worth the time or effort. I average 82-84% with a single sparge and that's good enough for me!
My efficiency's have only been around 70%, but I believe it has been due to the crush setting on my mill. I am still using the factory setting, but I will tighten it a notch to see if that helps. If single sparges tend to result in decent efficiencies, then I guess I will try to single sparge until I get my process nailed down :).
 
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Denny, do you drain then add your sparge water. That's what I used to do when I did single batch sparge. I've been doing fly sparge for quite a while now. Been thinking of switching back to save on time but have been worried about losing efficiency.

I can't remember if I had my own grinder back then. My efficiency was around 75% with batch sparge and it's around 85-90% with fly sparge. I'll have to give it a shot and see.

(BTW, I feel like I'm talking to myself when I talk to you. lol)
 

MaynardX

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I can't remember if I had my own grinder back then. My efficiency was around 75% with batch sparge and it's around 85-90% with fly sparge. I'll have to give it a shot and see.
Hell...I would like to know if changing to fly sparge was your difference. I would tend to think its just your crush, but if its the sparge, I'm investing in fly sparge equipment asap!
 

Denny

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Denny, do you drain then add your sparge water. That's what I used to do when I did single batch sparge. I've been doing fly sparge for quite a while now. Been thinking of switching back to save on time but have been worried about losing efficiency.

I can't remember if I had my own grinder back then. My efficiency was around 75% with batch sparge and it's around 85-90% with fly sparge. I'll have to give it a shot and see.

(BTW, I feel like I'm talking to myself when I talk to you. lol)
Yeah, I add extra water to the mash if necessary (seldom is), vorlauf, drain completely, stir in sparge water, vorlauf again (no rest for the sparge water!), then drain completely again. Takes about 15 min. for that whole process. I made a 1.070 IPA last weekend using domestic malts and got 82% efficiency.
 

Denny

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Hell...I would like to know if changing to fly sparge was your difference. I would tend to think its just your crush, but if its the sparge, I'm investing in fly sparge equipment asap!
I'd be willing to bet it's the crush. I know too many fly spargers who don't get efficiencies any better than batch spargers to think it's sparge method.
 
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