Getting A Good Flo When Lautering & Sparging

Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum

Help Support Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum:

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


Pumpy's Brewery.
Reaction score
How to get a better lauter and Sparge.

This is really a report back on my original posting about a simple alternative for a false bottom at that stage it was an idea but I have tested it this morning on a brew which I got excellent results .I was the first time I really felt in control of the lauter and sparge

The concept was to use a 2-5 mm gravel in place of a false bottom .

What I actually did this morning was still use the copper manifold but cover it with the gravel .

I washed the gravel before use reminded me of cleaning out the fishtank ,I even managed to recover the gravel for resuse.

The gravel held the heat great and the wort was clear from opening the tap .

the idea came from the use of sands and gravel for filtration purposes .

The flow from the tun was fabnntastic I was in complete control and had the ball valve set to make sure the lauter was not too fast

For goodness sake drop that gravel in your hand or it will hurt!!! :lol: :lol:
If you ask me will I do it again the answer is yes ,mayby you donbt suffer from slow lauters and sparges ,I do but this idea is a revelation ,and worth a try .

next time I am going to put the gravel in a nylon mesh bag .

Why pay $85 bucks for a stainless false bottom when a couple of kilos of gravel will do the trick even when I gave the mash a stir the work came out clear straight away .

I would not be suprised if this idea becomes the benchmark false bottom for home brewers .

So Pumpy, you have the copper manifold (which should do the job), then you cover it with the gravel then dump in the grain. Do you stir it up at this stage?
if so how do you separate the gravel from the grain.
What efficiency did you achieve?

I think the bag idea for your grit is a good one, if you are intending the grit to filter (especially if you eliminate the copper manifold) - without it you would just be mixing the grit in with your grain, which I guess would assist in stopping stuck sparges though... B)
hey Pumpy if you add some hot rocks from the barbie to your gravel it should really help hold the mash temp.

This idea is either an inspired stroke of genius, or as MAH said last week, a complete reinvention of the wheel.

I will have to check the efficiency when I get home on Promash although my AOL internet connection has been dodgy all weekend only managed to log on late Sunday

The grain was for 23 liters

4kg JW Pale malt 5 EBC
250 gms Crystal malt 145EBC
200 grams Torresfield Wheat .

I ended up with about 25 litres and the SG of the cooled wort was about 43 I dont know if that is good or bad ?? .

It was a test originally to use the gravel as an alternative for a false bottom someone suggested I may need to leave the manifold in to retain the gravel ( I did not want to loose the grain )and in the end it was well worth doing a.
I reckon the filtration was so good the original idea would have worked without the manifold .

I could give the mash a stir and it would still come out nice and clear ,I even saved the gravel with a rinse or two .

I feel the use of the gravel as a filtration medium was excellent

Interesting idea Pumpy. I am surprised you have so much trouble with a copper manifold however. I have had one of these for ages and have had no problems, perhaps your design needs reviewing or maybee your crush?

Where did you get the gravel? Hopefully there is nothing in it you wouldn't want leeching into your brews. The nylon sounds like a good idea as you really do need a good stir when doughing in which would kill your rock bed.

If you ever upgrade to a pump you will want to be sure you dont suck any gravel through it! :eek:

If it works for you then go for it. I think I will keep the gravel out of my brews for now :unsure:
I think in a way the gravel is like rice hulls that you can reuse. Interesting to see you have a crack at it, pumpy.
Jason , I dough in outside the tun to get a good mix , yes you are right it may be my copper manifold design .
The gravel is the same used in larger water filters so think should be safe .
The stirring did not disturb the gravel bed it was great .
I may get a pump one day the brewery is getting a bit heavy these days with the gas bottles in place .

Kai ,
The gravel acts as a solid drainage bed you may be right .

It impressed me and I was so excited I just wanted to share it with you.maybe it is overkill but , I am going to have another go it suited me

BB ,
Look gravel and sand is used extensively in filtration of water .

You could probably fill the base with small stainless ball bearings or glass beads with similar effect .

Pumpy, I undertand where the idea comes from. The bit about hot rocks was meant to be a joke, BTW.
Maybe it's something a few others could have a go at, and report back on?
Thats OK BB .
I said it was a bit of a test .

Jayse ,
the gravel is a Quartz ( Crystalline silica) Cas No 14808 -60 -7 proportion 60-100 whatever that means,

Pumpy said:
I would not be suprised if this idea becomes the benchmark false bottom for home brewers .


Jeez Pumpy that's one big pat on you're own back. I was under the impression that only Chiller had the power to introduce benchmark home brewing equipment (NASA burner) ;) .

Not having a problem with slow or stuck sparges I can't see my self adopting this "benchmark" technology.

One suggestion though, if you're having a problem with slow/stuck sparges, maybe you should first look at your crush, rather that a fancy new wheel for your mash tun.

TOP effort Pumpy BUT!,
I use a 55 litre esky to mash in and I reckon i would need a lot of gravel to make an effective filter bed, taking up too much room. Although the gravel in a bag idea sounds better.
Anyway like the guys have been saying, the grain should be its own filter. You don't need a high tech piece of engineering in the bottom. I have had my own problems mashing though. I was just using a single peice of S/S braided hose cover right down the middle of the mash tun. After getting a constant 60% eff. I re-visited the ol Palmer book and did some reading on mash/sparge flow paterns. So i went to Bunnings and spent $10 and made a manifold out of 15mm high pressure PVC pipe. Bingo 80% eff. straight of the bat. Even with batch sparging.
So looking at the gravel idea, I still think that even with the esky half full of gravel you would still get chaneling over the outlet. Not such a drama with a tall round tum but I think you would get a very different result without your manifold I think.
All the same, keep up the good work and we should never shoot anyone down for giving a new idea a crack


Ok I am a great believer in Evolution .maybe it will evolve in to a stainless steel false bottom but hey you gotta sell an idea for there are many non believes to change.

Stephen ,

I like your idea , I am going to try that next in my eternal search for the holy false bottom .

Oh well I rattled a few cages of the establishment of AHB if nothing else , I learnt a lot in the process, Pumpy
SJW, having just looked at Palmer again, which bit are you referring to re. channelling?
The diagram I thought would be most applicable is the single pipe manifold one that you mention. Would the flow pattern be different with the gravel? Still only one outlet.

Latest posts