Batch Sparging And Efficiency

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I have just started batch sparging and my efficiency seems pretty low, is this common?

When I fly sparge my eff. is usually up around the 75-80%, on my first 3 batch sparges my efficiency has dropped to 60-65%.

Hers the specs, any suggestions? am I doing something wrong.

Bosun Best Bitter
English Special or Best Bitter


Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.50 kg Pale Ale Malt (4.0 EBC) Grain 88.2 %
0.40 kg Caramunich Malt (80.0 EBC) Grain 7.8 %
0.20 kg Wheat Malt Malt Craft (4.0 EBC) Grain 3.9 %
45.00 gm Challenger [7.20%] (60 min) Hops 32.4 IBU
20.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [5.60%] (15 min) Hops 5.7 IBU
20.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [5.60%] (Dry Hop 7 days) Hops -
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) Yeast-Ale

2 min Mash Ingredients
Mash In: Add 15.29 L of water at 76.1 C
60 min - Hold mash at 68.0 C for 60 min
-- Drain Mash Tun
-- Batch Sparge Round 1: Sparge with 20.66 L of 75.6 C water.
-- Add water to achieve boil volume of 28.84 L
-- Estimated Pre-boil Gravity is: 1.038 SG with all grains/extracts added
Hi Andrew,

Outline exactly your procedure and then we can see if there is something for you to improve on.

Thanks Steve,

with the above recipe I mashed the 5 kilo of grain with 15 lt water to 68c, mash time was aprox 75 min and I stirred the mash a couple of times throughout. The mash temp at the end of 75 min was 65c. I then pumped the wort from the grains (about 3 min)into the boiler. I then pumped 21 lt of 76c water into the mash tun and stirred. I left this for 10 min to settle and recirculated for about 2 min before pumping into boiler. boiled for 60 min cooled and pumped to fermenter.

I was expecting a gravity of 1.048 but only got 1.040. I hit all of my volumes without any problems. I have checked my hydrometer against my refractometer so there are no problems there.

any ideas would be appreciated.

I only get about 65% with batch sparging which I'm happy with. I might get higher wih fly sparging (depending on my method) but I prefer the simplicity and time saved with batch sparging.
After the mash is finished, I put as much water into the tun as I can fit then bring the temp. up to 77C. I then drain to the boiler, see how much water I need to make up the boil vol. the add that to the drained mash at the same temp. then drain again. I achieved 77% (using Jayse's formulas) on my last brew.
Batch sparging is known to be less efficient than fly sparging. The most efficient batch method is supposed to be when you sparge twice with each sparge giving you half your required final volume. When you work out your own efficiency just up the grain bill to compensate.
Did you measure the gravity of the sparge? When batch sparging, you are leaving a proportion of the available sugars in the volume of water absorbed by the grain, approximately 1L per kilo grain.

I scribbled a quick calculation on some paper. From the numbers you have provided I would have expected you to collect about 94% of the sugars you would when fly sparging. You seem to have collected about 83%, I'm not sure why. Do you know what volume was absorbed by the grain?
Andrew, one other thing is the temperature of your sparge water may be a little low. I heat my sparge water to 85C and when it is added to the mash tun the temp settles at 75-77C. The higher temp helps with getting more of the sugars out I believe :unsure: !

Murray, I could'nt say what the gravity of the sparge was (that was about the only measurement I did'nt take) and I would say the grain absorbtion would be about normal as all of my volume measurements were on the ball.

Jayse did email me his formula but I lost all my info when my hard drive died, Jayse if you've got that info handy, any chance of another copy??

TDA, I could up the sparge temp and I will give that a go, I think the mash settled at 69c after adding the sparge water.

Thanks for all the replies, I really want this to work so I am going to do a standard one malt brew next week and see if I can get a more accurate picture of what I am doing.

Hi Andrew,

Everything seems ok. I would however stop using the pump to recirculate the mash -- I had a big drop in extract when using the pump to recirculate [others have reported similar when batch sparging -- ] It was due to the wort dropping quite low in temp. Mine lost 10c in about 5 minutes. If you can add 6 - 8 litres of boiling water to the mash to raise the temperature and stir it well then let it sit for 10 minutes before recirculating. I recirculate by hand about 5 litres then drain to a blue rubber maid and pump from there to the boiler.

As TDA said your sparge temp is probably low and this can reduce your extraction rate also.

Try to get the grain bed temperature up to at least 74c -- this may require water as high as 90c depending on how cool the grain bed has become.

Stir the second batch and let it stand for 10 minutes then recirculate as before and then brew a beer.

Andrew, I have my extract efficiency set to 88% and I batch sparge exclusively.

My method differs slightly from yours in that after the mash, I add more boiling water to bring up to mash temp, stir, recirculate then drain. Followed by sparge, stir, recirculate drain.

Assuming the conversion from starch to sugar was consistent with your previous brews, the gravity of the final runnings will tell you how much extract is left in the mashtun (as pointed out by OP). Since you didn't measure this, if you know your volumes, SG of first runnings and pre boil SG you should be able to work out the SG of the sparge runnings.

Can you rule out changes to brand of malt, recipe etc?
chiller said:
I would however stop using the pump to recirculate the mash -- I had a big drop in extract when using the pump to recirculate [others have reported similar when batch sparging -- ]
Chiller - my experience is different. The last two batches I have used the March to recirculate the mash and sparge with no drop in efficiency.

I drain the the wort into a SS pot then pump from there.
i have only done 3 all grain batches and have batched sparged each time the 1st was 80%(weyermanns malt) the 2nd was 78% (powells malt with 30%unmalted wheat) and thirdly was 83%eff(powells) i really like the ease of batch sparging, i stirred the grains up alot when i would start my sparge and i added half of the sparge at first and stirred vigoursly to get sugars into solution then added the other half and checked my temps i dont know if thats got to do anything with my efficiency but i will cotinue it

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