Flow rate when batch sparging

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timschram

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I need clarification on how heavy of a flow is acceptable when batch sparging. We have always drained at every step at a ver slow rate. Not a trickle, but we take our time. A friend of mine also batch sparges and opens up his valves all the way at every step. On the Midwest supplies website, they also state that you can open the spigots all the way while batch sparging.

Can anyone give a semi-definitive answer??
 

rokfreek

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Once the grain bed is set I open mine up all the way. I use a stainless braid and have had no problems.
 

dmashl

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I do my vorlauf into a pitcher at a slow rate, then open the valve about 1/2 way, pour the contents of the pitcher back into the tun. I do a 2 step batch sparge too, repeating the 1st process of vorlauf.
 

andrewmaixner

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I had a tendency to have a really slow flow rate even when I started out slow. Now I add some rice hulls and can let 'er rip fast, saves time at a negligible cost.
 

Onkel_Udo

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WIDE open...after stirring like mad. I average 78% efficiency and never a stuck sparge even though grind to level that makes lots of flour.
 

Yooper

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WIDE open...after stirring like mad. I average 78% efficiency and never a stuck sparge even though grind to level that makes lots of flour.
Yep, that's the way to do it. No reason at all to drain slow, as if you're draining slow you may as well fly (continuous sparge) which relies on the principle of diffusion so it's needed. For batch sparging, it's the agitation via vigorous and thorough stirring that 'rinses' the sugars off so draining slow (or doing two rounds) is unnecessary unless all the sparge water doesn't fit it the mashtun in the first round.
 
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I Vorlauf for the first runnings until clear. I pour back into my tun over an inverted pie tin. I keep the flow at medium to avoid any vacuum.
I add minimal heat to the wort at this point.
After adding my sparge water I stir vigorously & wait about ten minutes before repeating my Vorlauf & drain. If flow is good I open the ball valve all the way & crank up the heat.
 

Slow_Day

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I Vorlauf for the first runnings until clear. I pour back into my tun over an inverted pie tin.

You don't need to worry as much about disturbing the top of the grain bed when batch sparging. I stopped "sprinkling" the vorlauf long ago. Just gently pour it back. Channeling doesn't matter.

No 10 minute wait either.

Stir. Vorlauf. Let 'er rip.
 

Gentlemans_Ale

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If you're batch sparging, you don't need to worry about flow rate because you're increasing sugar extraction with mad stirring - breaking the sugars loose. You need to slow it down with fly sparging because you're not stirring and only relying on diffusion of the sugars to the sparge water.
 

brewmadness

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I think you are getting system specific answers here with this question. I'm certainly not saying you couldn't run the valve wide open, but keep in mind there are some variables here that might affect performance. If you run the valve wide open, you are going to maximize the pull on the grain, thus leading to dense compaction.....possibly a stuck sparge. I speak from experience there. Maybe with a braid that isn't as much of a concern, I use a false bottom. I've heard of collapsed braids as well if you don't run a coil through it to reinforce. Grain bill could also play a factor. Someone mentioned rice hulls, never a bad idea.
My point is - I would run it as wide open as you are comfortable. I think it will take some experimentation with your system to figure out what you can and cannot do.
But no, you don't need to drain the mash slowly.
 

Homercidal

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When I had a 3/8" output I would run wide open once I got a good flow and my wort ran clear.

Once I upgraded to 1/2" flow I started to get stuck sparges. The really fine particles would settle on top of the grain bed and cause the wort to pool up there. I think the faster draw doesn't allow the wort to soak through the grain bed fast enough to keep up with the wort underneath. Poking holes in the top of the grain bed fixes that, but it's one thing to consider if you notice it happening.

I have not tried slowing it down yet. I'm usually in a hurry to get the boil going, so I just let it rip.
 

Slow_Day

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From the comments I have read, if you have your mlt can handle the volume, a single sparge can be just as efficient as splitting your water into a double sparge. I don't have the capacity in mine though.
 

Yooper

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Yooper does that mean you only do one batch sparge not two? Interesting and time saving idea.
Yes. There is very little difference in efficiency with two rounds vs one round- and one round of batch sparging is less than 10 minutes total, so it is a time savings. If I was doing two rounds of batch sparging, I'd probably go ahead and fly sparge since it would take about the same amount of time.

When I had a smaller MLT, sometimes all of my sparge water didn't fit in the MLT so I had to do two rounds but that isn't my preference. Now I have a keg for a MLT, and it's never been filled by the sparge water amount, so I just do one round.
 
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timschram

timschram

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Delayed, but thanks for all the input! I'll let 'er rip this weekend!
 

Homercidal

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I do two rounds of sparging often. I prefer one round, for the reasons Yooper said, the difference in efficiency is nearly nil.

BUT, I find heating and lifting the amount of sparge water I sometimes need is a bit much for the container I am using, so I split it in two.

I *could* add both pots of sparge water at the same time too, though. The thing that's great about batch sparging is that if you have the volume and pH right, you can hardly do it wrong, and it's so fast.
 

BadNewsBrewery

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I used to fly sparge and decided to try a few batch sparges. I drain the mash tun fully at whatever speed the pump can handle, full throttle. Then I fill the mash tun as full as I can (it's too small) with hot water, stir like crazy, and pump full speed again - still stirring while it drains. I repeat as necessary until I get the pre-boil volume I need. I don't do any 10 minute waits or vorlaufs or anything like that, just pump, stir, pump while stirring. The past 3 batches I did trying this technique have all hit or exceeded my targets and have run in at mid-high 80% efficiency or low 90s on 1 batch.

Given how quick it is, I'm never going back to a fly sparge.
 

BadNewsBrewery

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Not that I've noticed in any appreciable amount. I'm sure it's not as crystal clear as you could get with a good vorlauf, but I haven't noticed any negative effect on the final product after a good 3 weeks in primary with a cold crash and letting it sit 2-3 weeks in the keg.
 
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