those using a basket for BIAB...sparging methods for max efficiency

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odie

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Curious about you basket brewers....

do you full volume mash, pull the basket and only let it gravity drain to your pre-boil volume?

or do you mash less than full water volume, gravity drain, and then sparge to volume?

Or full volume mash plus a sparge, and then have to boil down to reach pre-boil volume or target SG?

My thoughts are there is always retained water no matter what. gravity only drain means residual wort retained in the grain bed.

But if you used a little less water to mash, then a sparge with water only would rinse much of that residual wort down and out. Displacing the residual wort in the grain with mostly water. You would still reach your target pre-boil volume but with a higher SG. Or could use less grain and get the same numbers.

Would holding back a gallon affect conversion efficiency? If you can reach 100% conversion with 80% mash volume then you can lauter more sugar into the kettle.

The idea is to get maximum converted sugars of the grain and into the kettle with the least water used. So the last of the runnings are close to 1.000 and only needed for target recipe volume.

I recently did my RIS recipe with less mash and then sparge to volume I used 90% of my normal grain bill and hit pretty much identical numbers.

I'm trying to figure out how to basically have close to zero residual sugar in the grain without having extra kettle volume thin wort to boil down.
 

Barbarossa

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Been brewing 22 batches now in my anvil foundry. I'm still experimenting. But I like the idea of full mash volume. I feel like sparging is watering down the wort. I do like the idea of all the water being in contact with the grain/sugar/enzymes etc... I also read that it gives a more malty flavor. Probably due to using more grain. I absolutely don't consider mash efficiency to be something I need to chase. 70-75% is fine for me. I don't mind spending two dollars extra on grain per batch.

I do two types of mash techniques now.

1-full mash volume, no sparge, single rest. Heat up 8 gallon of strike water, mix the grain. Mash and boil.
2-step mash using the kettle as HLT and a mash king tun.
Heat up strike water, dough-in thick(underletting), raise temp in the kettle to 190, then go through the steps by letting new water in while mixing and watching the temp. By the time I hit the final sacch rest, I still have enough water to mash out.
 

doug293cz

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it's been looked at... Here's 1 version: Batch Sparging Analysis - German brewing and more

tldr; version: sparging gets you a few more points vs full volume, 2 equal sized runoffs is approximately the sweet spot. Bigger grains bills lead to lower lauter efficiency
That linked analysis has be repeated and confirmed both by me and @pricelessbrewing . The analysis also shows a single, equal run off volumes, batch sparge will give 8 - 9 percentage points higher lauter efficiency than a full volume mash (all else [grain bill, absorption rate, pre-boil volume] being equal.) A double batch sparge will give an additional 2.5 - 3 percentage points. Some data exists that shows a well conducted fly sparge gives slightly higher lauter efficiency than a triple batch sparge.

Might as well post this chart that shows the effect again:

Efficiency vs Grain to Pre-Boil Ratio for Various Sparge Counts.png


Brew on :mug:
 

doug293cz

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Been brewing 22 batches now in my anvil foundry. I'm still experimenting. But I like the idea of full mash volume. I feel like sparging is watering down the wort. I do like the idea of all the water being in contact with the grain/sugar/enzymes etc...
For equal pre-boil volumes, a sparged lauter will have higher wort SG than a full volume mash/lauter. Sparging does not "water down the wort."

You are correct that a full volume mash uses more grain than a sparged mash to get the same pre-boil SG (at the same pre-boil volume.)

Brew on :mug:
 

doug293cz

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...

I'm trying to figure out how to basically have close to zero residual sugar in the grain without having extra kettle volume thin wort to boil down.
You don't want to get below about 1.008 - 1.010 SG for your sparged runnings. Doing so risks extracting silicates (and maybe some other stuff you don't want) from the grain.

Brew on :mug:
 

Barbarossa

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Sparging does not "water down the wort."
Maybe I got traumatized from working at a big brewery in another life. These people fermented at 9% and bottled at 5%... They thought they were geniuses for saving equipment time. No one told them about the quality of their beers I think. Adding 40% tap water to a fermented beer should be a crime.
 

doug293cz

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Maybe I got traumatized from working at a big brewery in another life. These people fermented at 9% and bottled at 5%... They thought they were geniuses for saving equipment time. No one told them about the quality of their beers I think. Adding 40% tap water to a fermented beer should be a crime.
Watering down finished beer is completely different than sparging.

They save equipment time, but are using more grain than they would if they brewed lower ABV to start with (unless they are using a filter press to eliminate most grain absorption.)

Brew on :mug:
 

RM-MN

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They save equipment time, but are using more grain than they would if they brewed lower ABV to start with (unless they are using a filter press to eliminate most grain absorption.)
They probably also save equipment costs and space. Both of those are considerations in a commercial operation. Buying a larger building or renting more space can be either expensive or impossible.
 
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odie

odie

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Well I did another RIS last month. This time I reduced the grain bill by 10% but I'm still over 20# of grain on a 5 gal batch.

My bag is in a basket which serves as a false bottom, so I can hoist the basket and not disturb the grain bed or squeeze the grain bag in any way. I usually let it drain a bit and then hoist the bag separately so it squeezes the grain as it drains (the normal BIAB method) and remove the basket. I let it drain/drip the entire boil with occasional squeezes.

But this time I cut about 2 gal of water from my normal BIAB full volume mash. When I pulled the basket I let it drain fully into the kettle and did not disturb the grain bag inside the basket. I then sparged the basket until I reached the same pre-boil volume as my old recipe.

the results? I hit the same pre-boil SG 1.078 volume with 10% less grain. Finished at OG 1.114 after the scheduled DME addition. And that still does not include the maple syrup that goes into the keg which will ferment and carb it up over the next 6-12 months.

And I was still able to move the basket to another bucket and sparge another 3 gal with SG 1.040 for a second beer. Finished at 1.050 OG. Gonna call it "2nd Runnings Stout".
 
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odie

odie

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Just repeated the same process last week with an Anchor Steam clone. Cut my grain by 10% and shorted the water a bit. Then lautered my BIAB to my target volume. Was .001 off my last OG. I then let the basket drip out some to collect a spent grain gravity sample...it was 1.01? can't recall but it was very low by this point.

I'm definitely on to something here....BIAB plus lauter...but it does require that you BIAB with a basket.
 

DBhomebrew

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BIAB plus lauter
Or is that sparge?

but it does require that you BIAB with a basket.
The basket preserving the grain bed probably does make your pour over sparge much more efficient than when I tried to pour over a suspended bag. At my attempt I think the sparge water travelled along the outside, never getting into the grain bed itself.

I do a dunk sparge in a $5 food grade bucket. In effect, a batch sparge. No basket, I pull the bag, let it drain, move it to the bucket. Open it up, give a mix, close it up, pull it, let it drain. When the stream slows to the point that I won't make a big mess, I move the bag to over the kettle and pour the sparge in.

My typical 1.044 beer gets ~90% efficiency. Same beer was in the low 80s before I added the sparge. I don't do the sparge for efficiency's sake, I do it to increase my batch volume. ~2.8gal max VIF full-volume mash, ~3.8gal with sparge. On the rare occurrence I brew a big one, the extra efficiency does allow me to get into the 1.090s while keeping my volume up.
 
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odie

odie

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well I thought sparge and lauter were kinda the same thing.

Basically what I'm doing is rinsing the grains with the flow of water thru the grain bed. Fly sparging the basket. As fresh hot water is sprinkled over the top, any wort in the grain bed is displaced down and into the kettle below. By the time I reach my pre-boil volume, the fresh water will have displaced most all of the remaining wort/sugars in the grain.

I thought about batch or dunk sparge the grain bag in a bucket with some extra water. But then I still have the same issue...the retained liquid is still wort after the bag hangs and drains again.

I figure by doing the fly sparge the retained liquid is mostly water vs mostly wort.

This adds no time to my process since the time spent either fly sparging or bag hanging is also the same time spent waiting for the kettle to reach boil. I simply lift the basket and place a couple extra long screwdrivers across the kettle and let the basket sit and drain out. I already have to do this before I can hoist the bag out of the basket so I can squeeze and dip during the whole boil.

So instead of hanging and squeezing the bag to sparge, I just leave the bag in the basket above the kettle and fly sparge. Same equipment & time spent with a higher efficiency.
 

DBhomebrew

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As Doug's chart shows, the biggest jump in efficiency (displacing wort with water in grain bed) is with the first batch sparge. Your fly or pour-over sparge is theoretically a touch better than three batch sparges. Higher efficiency than one sparge, yes, but it's that first sparge that gets most of the work done.

So many ways to make wort...
 
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dtashmore547

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hi
I also use a basket, I spin the basket with a geared motor to help maintain an even temperature during the mash which I do with 24 lt of water, I place my basket on a frame above the wort and I then lauter with a solar water pump whilst whirlpooling the wort until it runs clear, I finish off with 8 lt sparge before the boil. I don't use any recirculation in my setup. The lautering process helped get me from 84 percent efficiency up to 92 plus and was one of the best improvements I made.
my tun is a commercial 40lt boiler with a homemade digital temperature controller the rest of my equipment is home built.
 

Rackrunner

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I'm a Grainfather user here, so not sure if that changes the context or not vs a BIAB(asket) setup, but I typically do:
~5 Gal strike water
~3 Gal sparge
I target an initial boil volume of 27L, and mostly adjust the sparge amount to hit that as most of my grain bills are in the 10-12lb range.

It seems to work well and I usually hit around 80% BH efficiency with that method, though I have heard that can drop quite a bit with larger grain bills.
 
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odie

odie

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I think those kinda setups are BIABasket...

So sparging with a Grainfather sounds like exactly the same thing I just did.

using only a bag I don't think you can fly sparge because once you pull the bag all the grain gets squished together. Best you can do is a dunk/batch sparge.
 
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