Very slow batch sparge with home milling

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RichB1

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I recently purchased a grain mill to improve mash efficiency with my Mash & Boil all in one electric brew kettle. Today I am brewing a double IPA with about 15 lbs of grain and I mashed with 18 quarts then sparged with 10 quarts. There was a steady trickle coming out of the raised grain bed but it took more than 2 hours to reach my target wort level. I set the mill gap at 0.8 mm. My next step will be to experiment with adding rice hulls at the end of mashing and getting them well mixed into the mash. Any other recommendations are welcome and appreciated.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, when I use rice hulls I soak them first, then drain them, and spread them out on my false bottom. Then I dump the grain in, underlet the strike volume, wait a few minutes then give the whole mess a thorough stir before lidding and starting recirculation.

An .8mm gap is pretty tight - approx .031". You might try backing off to .9mm for a comparison batch to see if the lautering improves with minimal loss of mash efficiency...

Cheers!
 
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RichB1

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Thanks day_trippr, seems like sound advice. I will try both recommendations and report back after next brew day.
 

doug293cz

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What was your grain bill? Did you have things like wheat, rye, flaked barley, or others that tend to cause "sticky" mashes?

Your nominal mash thickness was only 1.2 qt/lb. If you have a false bottom or malt pipe/basket in your system, your actual grain bed thickness would be significantly higher, and this could slow down your lauter.

Brew on :mug:
 

Bramling Cross

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Congrats on getting the grain mill! Rest assured, it will yield better efficiency. Nevertheless, there are no magic bullets in homebrewing, just because you own something doesn't mean you're going to make better beer. There's always a learning curve associated with everything we do and mills are a prime example of that.

It's going to take you a few batches to dial in a crush that works best on your rig. It sounds like you have a set of feeler gauges, or are you using the markings on your mill to arrive at your .8mm gap? Unless you have a very fancy mill, I think most brewers would agree that feeler gauges (used on both sides and the middle of the rollers) provides the most accurate data. Next, take careful notes on your settings and your system's performance. By doing this, you'll quickly hone in on the mill setting that works best for you. Next, you'll want to tighten your gap when dealing with wheat and rye, so crush them separately. Again, taking notes is the quickest route to easy, repeatable results.

Eventually, you'll gain enough confidence in your data to sharpie your settings onto your mill.

Hey, day_tripper, thanks for encouraging me to get really aggressive with my mill settings on my malted wheat. Since you've encouraged me to do so, I've been running efficiencies on par with my all barley-beers on 60% wheat grists. Thank you!
 

bracconiere

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2 hours doesn't seem bad? what was the OG and as doug ask grain bill? but that's coming from a fly sparger....

for a batch sparge, maybe try and slow the flow down a bit, like a fly sparge so the malt doesn't compact as much?
 

doug293cz

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2 hours doesn't seem bad? what was the OG and as doug ask grain bill? but that's coming from a fly sparger....

for a batch sparge, maybe try and slow the flow down a bit, like a fly sparge so the malt doesn't compact as much?
I'm not sure that OP actually did a batch sparge, as you need a second vessel to do a batch sparge when brewing with an all-in-one system. More likely, OP did a pour over sparge, which is the most common way to sparge with AIO systems (and is more akin to a fly sparge than batch sparge.) @RichB1 can you describe your sparge process?

Brew on :mug:
 

bracconiere

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I'm not sure that OP actually did a batch sparge, as you need a second vessel to do a batch sparge when brewing with an all-in-one system. More likely, OP did a pour over sparge, which is the most common way to sparge with AIO systems (and is more akin to a fly sparge than batch sparge.) @RichB1 can you describe your sparge process?

Brew on :mug:


well i got that impression from the thread title?

edit: didn't notice the forum....no electric brewers batch sparge?
 

day_trippr

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1656549121553.png


:D

fwiw, I fly sparge 10 gallon batches in roughly one hour, even my "mostly wheat" beers...

Cheers!
 

doug293cz

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well i got that impression from the thread title?

edit: didn't notice the forum....no electric brewers batch sparge?
OP says they are using a "Mash & Boil" which is an AIO system. When sparging with an AIO, it is usually a pour over sparge. Electric brewers with more conventional two or three vessel systems can do either fly sparge, batch sparge, or no-sparge.

Brew on :mug:
 

bracconiere

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OP says they are using a "Mash & Boil" which is an AIO system. When sparging with an AIO, it is usually a pour over sparge. Electric brewers with more conventional two or three vessel systems can do either fly sparge, batch sparge, or no-sparge.

Brew on :mug:


i swear i read the posts, got the gap new mill...missed that :( now i'm too shy to suggest maybe an actual batch sparge in a bucket.....
 

Dland

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I've tried extended sparging times, seems at some point one can even go too slow. There has to be at least some flow though the grist to wash out the sugars. At least in my rig, efficiency takes a small hit if sparge flow is too slow.

And one does not necessarily want it all steeping indefinitely...Not to get into high chemistry, but at some point one can add too much tannin from steeping husks too long.

Forty five to sixty minuets for a semi fly sparge w 20# grist, 6.5 to 7 gal mash and 9 to 9.5 gal sparge works out for me.

Of course it is good to work out what is best for your rig and what you are brewing. Practice may not make perfect, but usually makes better.
 
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RichB1

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Thanks everyone for the comments. For clarification, grain bill was 100% malted barley (13 lbs 2 row, 1 lb cara-pils, 6 oz crystal malt), used feeler gauge to set mill gap, and sparge was in the form of a pour over. Sparge water was heated to 175 degrees (but given the amount of remaining water still in the grain basket this probably wouldn't have raised grain temp enough to mash out). Have never experienced a stuck sparge until home milling. I thought stuck meant zero drip, but mine was steady...but very slow. Steps for my next brew session: widen gap to 0.9mm and add a handful of rice hulls (on order) to bottom of grain basket before mashing and let mash in do the mixing. I am guessing those two steps will greatly aid sparging/filtering speed.

I am interested in how others are sparging with all-in-one electric systems. My process is, after raising grain basket out of wort, to vorlauf about a gallon to catch loose grain, then pour in roughly a pint of sparge water at a time until drained, which until I started milling at home took a total of maybe 10 minutes. I have read that some with electric AIO will completely drain mash water, then pour in 1/2 sparge water and steep for 5 minutes, then drain, then pour in remaining sparge water and steep, then drain, then remove grain basket and pour wort back into AIO. I can see pros and cons for either method. Maybe I should post this question separately? Thanks again for the wisdom. I will report back the results after next session.

As an aside, between getting a pH meter and getting mash down to 5.2 with lactic acid and gypsum plus milling at home, my previously poor mash efficiency of typically 60% has improved significantly to 70-75%.
 
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RichB1

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Original gravity was 1.075 at end of boil (after addition of 1 lb dextrose), spot on with the Beersmith target.
 

kevin58

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"I am interested in how others are sparging with all-in-one electric systems."

I use an Anvil Foundry 10.5 and I don't sparge at all. I do a full volume mash. I get a mash efficiency +-77%.
 
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RichB1

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kevin58, do you mill your grains yourself? If so, what gap do you use? What mash pH do you typically hit? I haven't gotten nearly that mash efficiency. Since I started milling and adjusting mash pH with lactic acid and gypsum my efficiency has improved significantly but, even with sparging, not as high as yours. thanks
 

Saunassa

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Anvil 10.5 and I generally put all but 1-1.5 gal in for mash and then use the remainder heated and do a slow pour over sparge to target volume.
When I do use flaked grains I toss in a couple handfuls of rice hulls.
 

kevin58

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kevin58, do you mill your grains yourself? If so, what gap do you use? What mash pH do you typically hit? I haven't gotten nearly that mash efficiency. Since I started milling and adjusting mash pH with lactic acid and gypsum my efficiency has improved significantly but, even with sparging, not as high as yours. thanks
Yessir. I mill my grains to 0.032. I have never gotten into the ph weeds yet.

I recirculate during the mash which no doubt helps. Plus, there is a condition with using the Foundry that may also exist in other systems that only have holes near the bottom of the basket and that is the water between the malt pipe and the boil kettle not being pulled into the recirculation process. Something to do with pressure differences between the liquid being pulled in from the bottom and that of the liquid on top pushing down. Foundry users compensate by lifting the malt pipe at least twice during the mash to get that still water on the sides mixed in and in contact with the grains. It can increase mash efficiency from the mid to upper 60% range to the mid 70's.
 

Saunassa

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Or when recirculating direct the wort between the malt tube and the anvil wall for a minute or two. Either that or lifting it once or twice during the mash makes a difference.
 

kevin58

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It would seem to me that just redirecting the recirculation would not be the same as making sure that side-wall water makes contact with the grains.
 

doug293cz

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It would seem to me that just redirecting the recirculation would not be the same as making sure that side-wall water makes contact with the grains.
As long as the redirection is partial (not all recirc goes to side wall space, all the time) it does mean that all water comes into contact with the grain at some point. The important goal is to homogenize all of the wort before draining the basket, so that grain absorption isn't the highest SG wort.

Brew on :mug:
 

Saunassa

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@doug293cz correct, I am usually performing my full time design job while brewing. Stepping away from the desk for 30 seconds to stir the mash and clamp the recirculation tube between the walls and sit back down at the desk and back to work I can do while still being in a meeting. Lifting a filled malt pipe up and back down cannot be done quickly.
 

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