Finally tried a batch sparge, wow that was fast

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

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

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Mar 5, 2007
Reaction score
Nashville, TN
Ok, I've been doing AG for about 6 or 7 years and have always fly sparged. I had the opportunity when I got into AG to buy a system from Morebeer and it came set up for fly sparging, so that's what I did.

Well, last night I was mashing in a 5.5 gallon batch of porter and decided, let's give batch sparging a try. So, when the mash was done, I set up my pump and started recirculating the mash as I brought it up to mash out. Unhooked the pump, vorlaufed, and drained the tun. Guesstimated what half the volume of my sparge water was, added it to the tun, stirred, vorlaufed and drained again with no rest. Repeated and ended up with almost 8 gallons in the kettle. Took me about 15-20 minutes to finish the sparge tops. That easily cut out 45 minutes of time from my normal 5.5 hour brew session. Wow, that was fast.

Boiled, chilled, transferred to fermenter, took reading and pitched yeast. Ended up with 76% efficiency. Not as high as I thought it would be. Recipe was set for 80% and doing fly I'll routinely get 87+% on medium gravity beers. I think if I had sparged one more time, I probably could have gotten more out of it, but then my preboil volume would have been huge.

All in all, I think I'll continue to do fly sparges on my 11 gallon batches as I can set the recipe at a higher efficiency and save a good 3-4 pounds of grain. But for 5.5 gallon batches, which I normally do to test a recipe, I'll just set me efficiency to 75% and use a little more grain and batch sparge. It was really easy and super fast.

I've got a SNPA clone set to go next and is a staple recipe I've brewed over and over. I have the recipe for it set at 87% and will fly sparge it. I was planning on doing a repeat brew of it and pitching on the yeast so I would have an ample supply running into spring. I think for the second batch, I'll set the recipe to 75% and try a batch sparge and compare the results between the two. Looks like it will be about 3 pounds heavier on the grain bill.
Guesstimated what half the volume of my sparge water was, added it to the tun, stirred, vorlaufed and drained again with no rest.

I always stir and let it sit 5 to 8 minutes and stir again before vorlauf. This gives time for the water to get into the grain and get all the goodness out into the water.
I don't have a HLT until I replace my kettle with a keggle, so I've been batch sparging since Brew #3. The first two were fly using a friend's HLT, and I wasn't thrilled about the time cost. I'm a huge batch sparge fan now.
I'm a big fan of batch sparging and haven't seen a lessening of efficiency yet. I do let it rest after filling the second time, stirring for 10 minutes, vorlauf, and then dump the HLT. My biggest reason for liking batch over fly is the predictability of liquid after each sparge. I don't know why some people see a drop in efficiency, you would think a batch would give you better efficiency.