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brewboy

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Does any in the forums batch sparge? What are the pros and cons? Is it better to use a sparge arm, or similar device to sparge the grains? Thanks.
 

Janx

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I think it's easier to use a sparge arm than to batch sparge because I can leave it more unattended. It's what I have always done. Just do it nice and slow and you'll get good extraction.

Batch sparging is especially helpful if you want to make higher gravity beers. The thicker the mash, the higher gravity you can get. I'll probably mess with it a bit when I start making some big Belgians soon.

I actually do a pseudo-batch sparge at the end of my sparge. I collect about 75% of my volume using the regular slow sparge method with a sparge arm, maintaining an inch of water on the grain bed the whole time. By that time the runnings taste a lot less sweet.

Then I cut off the sparge water and the sparge flow, leaving about an inch of water on top of the grain bed. I turn on the heat on my kettle to get it to a boil. It usually takes 30 minutes or so. Once the temp of my kettle hits 90 degrees Celcius, I drain the mash tun of the water that has now been sitting in there for a half hour into the kettle. It has a big burst of sugar and then after a few minutes is running pretty clear again. Once the mash tun is pretty much drained, I have my total volume in the brew pot and it's almost boiling.

I think it's a good method. Convenient and it seems pretty darn efficient. It's definitely advantageous to stop the mash for a while when the running get thin, wait a little while, and then run again. You can get greater extraction for sure.
 
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brewboy

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I use a 5-gallon round cooler for my mash/lauter tun. In the method you described, could you boil water and then add it, because of course my equipment is not able to be heated. Thanks
 

Janx

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Yes I never apply heat to my mash tun. I actually never boil my sparge water either. I add it at about 170. So our situations sound very similar.

When I talk about turning on the heat, I mean I am heating the kettle while some hot water is sitting in the mash tun. Because it takes a half hour or so to heat the kettle to 10 degrees C from boiling, that gives the hot water in the mash tun time to extract more sugars. Also, I think the sugars settle to the bottom of the tun.
 
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brewboy

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Ok, I get it, must have had a bonafide brain fart. You are starting your wort kettle boiling, your not heating the mash in the tun. Thanks for your advise, very helpful.
 

Janx

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I only have two. Some people get a lower BTU heater for their mash tun, but it's not necessary, and I don't like to apply direct heat to the mash. I just stick to infusions. Works for me :)
 

rightwingnut

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OK, I though I remembered you saying not to heat the mash. I only ordered two.
The guy at morebeer told me to get a false bottom....that he heard manifolds don't work as well. False bottoms are expensive, and you say manifolds work, so I'm going with a manifold.
 

Janx

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I bought a false bottom when I built my current setup...from morebeer no less...and it sits on the shelf in my brew shed doing nothing at all. I made a manifold out of CPVC for waaaay less that I paid for that perforated stainless disk.

I have made a number of perforated-loop style manifold false bottoms, and they have always worked really well for me. YMMV.

Cheers! :D
 

Tony

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Okay, Im just starting to learn about all grain and am so darn confused about sparging, running off and collecting wort. I follow the methods of mashing with no problem, but I guess Im hitting a wall about sparging.

Okay, my mashing is done, and its time to sparge.

No matter how or what vessel you sparge in, I see you have to have the grain settle with an inch of wort above the grain.

Now I see some instructions say drain the liquid off until it runs clear...put the liquid drained out back in and continue doing that until it comes out clear...

Now with that done...the sparging begins right? Okay, now someone please go step by step from here.
 

lalenny

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Tony said:
Okay, Im just starting to learn about all grain and am so darn confused about sparging, running off and collecting wort. I follow the methods of mashing with no problem, but I guess Im hitting a wall about sparging.

Okay, my mashing is done, and its time to sparge.

No matter how or what vessel you sparge in, I see you have to have the grain settle with an inch of wort above the grain.

Now I see some instructions say drain the liquid off until it runs clear...put the liquid drained out back in and continue doing that until it comes out clear...

Now with that done...the sparging begins right? Okay, now someone please go step by step from here.
After you have your wort running clear (meaning no husks or other solids)you simply start collecting the wort for the boil either in your brew pot or in a bucket or something, but you need to be careful not to aerate the work too much at this point.

While you are collecting the wort you need to be adding hot water (170F) to the top of the grain bed at the same rate that you are draining the wort to keep the water 1 inch above the grain bed. You don't really need a sparge arm, I use a sanitized Coffee can lid that I place upside down on top of the grain bed. I add water right onto there so that the sparge water doesn't disturb the bed. Works great. Your flow of wort should be pretty slow. This process should take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Collect the amount of wort that you want, then boil as usual. You can also use the trick Janx mentioned in an earlier post to improve efficiency.
 

Tony

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lalenny said:
After you have your wort running clear (meaning no husks or other solids)you simply start collecting the wort for the boil either in your brew pot or in a bucket or something, but you need to be careful not to aerate the work too much at this point.

While you are collecting the wort you need to be adding hot water (170F) to the top of the grain bed at the same rate that you are draining the wort to keep the water 1 inch above the grain bed. You don't really need a sparge arm, I use a sanitized Coffee can lid that I place upside down on top of the grain bed. I add water right onto there so that the sparge water doesn't disturb the bed. Works great. Your flow of wort should be pretty slow. This process should take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Collect the amount of wort that you want, then boil as usual. You can also use the trick Janx mentioned in an earlier post to improve efficiency.
Oh man...I guess my hang up here was the "running clear" statement, as I was incorrectly thinking clear as in clear like water...

Now, Im past that I think...Let me know if Ive got it finallly...

The first liquid will be cloudy and have bits of husk material and such. BUT, will be dark with wort. Collect this first cloudy liquid, and add this back into the mash and continue to drain off until the liquid is clear (but colored). Then, I will collect the "colored" (lol) wort through rinising the mash slowly with hot water, careful not to disturb the grain. After I collect the need amount, I move to boiling the wort and proceeding as usual.

Do I have it now?

By the way, I usually limit my brewing to 5 gallons or so becuase of space issues. Whats the best sparging container for smaller batches like this?
 

Janx

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You got it, man. Sloooow is the name of the game here, and not disturbing the grain bed at all.

You can use a bucket, cooler...ideally, whatever you are using for a mash tun. Just fit it with a false bottom or manifold of some sort so you can drain liquid without getting grain and your set. You just mash and when it's done start sparging out of your mash tun.

For a cheap but very effective mash tun, I like those orange, cylindrical Gott coolers. For bigger batches and a more perfect solution, I like a stainless keg with a ball valve at the bottom. Cheers! :D
 
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Strike with 3.5 gallons of water at 160F. The resulting temperature in the mash tun should reach 150F, stir well and let rest for 60 minutes.
Drain into boil kettle, recycling the first few quarts to improve clarity.
Heat 4 gallons of water to 170F.
Add 2 gallons water at 170F to mash tun, stir, let rest for a few minutes.
Drain into boil kettle, recycling the first few quarts to improve clarity.
(Repeat)Add 2 gallons water at 170F to mash tun, stir, let rest for a few minutes. If your mash tun is large enough, you may add all 4 gallons at the same time.
Drain into boil kettle, recycling the first few quarts to improve clarity.
There should be about 6 gallons of wort in the boil kettle.
Discard the spent grain.
Notice the stir during what I believe would be considered the sparge. This is quite a contrast to ...

Sloooow is the name of the game here, and not disturbing the grain bed at all.
Is this a difference of opinions or are there different methods to doing this? Maybe I am confusing the simpler sparge method with the batch sparge method?
...easier to use a sparge arm than to batch sparge... ...Batch sparging is especially helpful if you want to make higher gravity beers.
With no experience to back up my though here, I would think that adding sparge water, stirring, letting it settle, then recirculating it before drawing off more wort would yield more of the sugars from the grain bed. Would this be a correct thought :confused:

Thanks again!:)
 

ryser2k

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From John Palmer's How to Brew

There are three main methods of sparging: English, batch and continuous.

In the English method of sparging, the wort is completely drained from the grain bed before more water is added for a second mash and drained again. These worts are then combined. Alternatively, the first and second runnings are often used to make separate beers. The second running is lighter in gravity and was traditionally used for making a Small Beer, a lighter bodied, low alcohol beer suitable for high volume quaffing at mealtimes.

Batch Sparging is a U.S. homebrewing practice where the full volume of sparge water is mixed into the mash. The grain bed is allowed to settle, and then the wort is drained off. The re-circulation step in this process takes place in the first minutes of the sparge. You can use more than one batch of water if you need to. This method differs from the English method in that the mash is not held for any significant time at the saccharification temperature before draining.

Continuous Sparging usually results in better extractions. The wort is re-circulated and drained until about an inch of wort remains above the grain bed. The sparge water is gently added, as necessary, to keep the fluid at least at that level. The goal is to gradually replace the wort with the water, stopping the sparge when the gravity is 1.008 or when enough wort has been collected, whichever comes first. This method demands more attention by the brewer, but can produce a higher yield.
So, Janx is talking about continuous sparging, and you are talking about English sparging.
 

D-brewmeister

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Janx said:
I actually do a pseudo-batch sparge at the end of my sparge. I collect about 75% of my volume using the regular slow sparge method with a sparge arm, maintaining an inch of water on the grain bed the whole time. By that time the runnings taste a lot less sweet.

Then I cut off the sparge water and the sparge flow, leaving about an inch of water on top of the grain bed. I turn on the heat on my kettle to get it to a boil. It usually takes 30 minutes or so. Once the temp of my kettle hits 90 degrees Celcius, I drain the mash tun of the water that has now been sitting in there for a half hour into the kettle. It has a big burst of sugar and then after a few minutes is running pretty clear again. Once the mash tun is pretty much drained, I have my total volume in the brew pot and it's almost boiling.

I think it's a good method. Convenient and it seems pretty darn efficient. It's definitely advantageous to stop the mash for a while when the running get thin, wait a little while, and then run again. You can get greater extraction for sure.
That's funny, on my first all grain batch, I did basically this procedure unwittingly. I ran my planned sparge procedure, collected till the runnings were looking weak, then began my boil. But I still had maybe a gallon of heated sparge water, so I just dumped it into the mash tun, what the heck right. And when I realized that perhaps I didn't have quite the volume boil I wanted (perhaps 2O min into the boil) I drained the rest of the water out of my mash tun, and to my suprise it was still fairly sweet! So I put that into a separate kettle, got it boiling and started to reduce it down, then added it into the main batch. So I guess I probably improved my extraction through my own ignorance! :D
 

hawktrap74

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how much water do you use to sparge with? can you sparge in the mash tun? does a three tier stand work best( i can build one myself pretty easy)? should i get a 7 gallon kettle with a spigot? i think thats it for now. thanks.
 

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hawktrap74 said:
how much water do you use to sparge with?
I heat about a full keg, so like 15 gallons for a 12 gallon batch. I often don't use it all, but I'd rather have it. Remember the grain absorbs a bunch of water.

hawktrap74 said:
can you sparge in the mash tun?
It's the best way to go. That's how my system works. Then you don't disturb the grain bed after tha mash and just start sparging.

hawktrap74 said:
does a three tier stand work best( i can build one myself pretty easy)?
I built mine out of 4x4 and 2x4. It's really easy to disassemble ( I used carriage bolts) and it's strong as hell (my brother and I can get up on it while there's also a full kettle on it and it's like a rock). I like a gravity-fed system best for its simplicity. Others like systems that use pumps like RIMS or HERMS. Ideally, you'd have a 4 tier system so that you can gravity flow from the kettle through the chiller to the fermenter. We end up lifting our kettle up to the second step after the boil. This dillema could be solved with a pump (that's what I plan on doing). 4-tier would just be too tall.


hawktrap74 said:
should i get a 7 gallon kettle with a spigot?
Personally, I like the bigger batches, so I'd get a keg and convert it to a kettle. That way you can do 10-12 gallon batches. But that's just me. If you're brewing inside on a stovetop, a keg won't work. I'd get at least a 7 gallon kettle for 5 gallon batches. DEFINITELY get a spigot on it.

hawktrap74 said:
i think thats it for now. thanks.
Sure. Cheers! :D
 

hawktrap74

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how much water do i use for mashing? how much water do i use to sparge? how much grain do you use for a 6 gallon batch? most recipes i see are 10lbs for 5 gallons? how much wort will i get from 10lbs of grain? do i double up on hops and yeast based on my total wort?
 

rbthills

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rightwingnut said:
OK, I though I remembered you saying not to heat the mash. I only ordered two.
The guy at morebeer told me to get a false bottom....that he heard manifolds don't work as well. False bottoms are expensive, and you say manifolds work, so I'm going with a manifold.
I know Im pretty ignorant, andI am acquainted with the false bottom, but what is a manifold and how does it work in sparging? Rbthills
 

Janx

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To answer some confusion above, you NEVER want to stir the mash during sparging. The grain bed should be entirely unmolested during sparging. The difference between batch and continuous sparging is just whether you keep sparge water flowing in at all times or not.

rbthills - the manifold is an alternative to a flase bottom where you have a loop of pipe at the bottom of your tun and it has a lot of small holes in it. It is plumbed into the outflow of your tun. Just another way to get the liquid out without the grain.
 

D-brewmeister

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ryser2k said:
From John Palmer's How to Brew



So, Janx is talking about continuous sparging, and you are talking about English sparging.
Or maybe continuous sparging with a pause in the middle?

Another question, is there any extraction benefit to draining the grain bed entirely at the end of the sparge, or is it just as effective to have the grain bed still flooded at the end (of course considering that the sparge was carried out slow enough and without disturbing the grains). I have taken up the idea of draining it all the way out at the very end, trying to guesstimate how much liquid is still in the tun and only adding enough water to get my full boil volume. I do this partly to save on water, since I have to haul it down from a local spring, and partly to be sure that I have sucked all the goodness from the grains! :D I suppose as long as you don't get a stuck sparge from the settling down of the grain bed, it should be all good? Wadya all think?
 

Janx

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I do a complete drain at the end (unless it starts tasting completely without sweetness). I do a continuous sparge and then let the tun sit with just enough water to barely cover the grain. Then when the kettle is near boil, I drain the mash tun completely or until it is no longer sweet. I do not add more water during this last drain.

I like the results and it seems beneficial to extraction, but I have no solid evidence as to why that would be.
 

hawktrap74

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all this talk is making me crazy i just have to do it. i mean we all have different equipment so we all have different styles right. i have read and read so many ways of doing it with different equipment and gadgets. i just have to do it.
 
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