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T.D.

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I recently started a thread asking about the best way to sparge. Most people recommended batch sparging, which may still happen one day, but I decided to stick with what I know, and that's fly sparging at this stage, so I thought I would just try and make my process smoother. Enter sparge arm!

I bought a "Phil's sparger" from Gerard at ND Homebrewing and this thing is awesome!! Gerard warned me that watching this thing is almost hypnotic and he's not wrong! :blink: But it has made such a difference to the smoothness of my brewing process. I used to absolutely dread sparging because it meant manually bailing sparge water out of one bucket and gently pouring it over the mash (which wouldn't have been great for getting the distribution even over the grain bed either). All this while trying to hold the mash tun snap-lock tap open just enough to get that magic flow rate of 0.5-1L/min. I also put a brass ball valve on my mash tun, which fixed this (see pic of total setup in the next post). These two relatively minor upgrades have made a massive difference. Life is easy now! :D

If anybody here who fly-sparges and hasn't already got a good sparge arm, I highly recommend it!

Check it out:

Sparge_Arm_1.jpg


Sparge_Arm_2.jpg
 

T.D.

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Pic of the whole setup:

The_whole_thing.jpg
 

T.D.

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Sorry, this ones got nothing to do with sparge arms, but you just gotta love first wort hoppping!!! :D :beer:

Mmmm_FWH.jpg
 

Pumpy

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TD , does the mash tun loose temperature quickly with the lid off ?
What are the advantage of fly sparging , is the efficiency better ?

pumpy
 

T.D.

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G'day Pumpy,

To tell you the truth I haven't ever checked the temp of the mash during or after the sparge, so I don't know if it loses much heat during the sparge. All I even do is check the temp of the mash after its scheduled 60 mins (today it had lost 1 degree, from 67 to 66). I would expect it to lose a reasonable amount of heat though with the lid off. I also worry about the temp of my sparge water as it gets low in the hlt (I don't apply any heat to it after it hits the 75degC sparge temp). My guess is it would be between 65 and 70 degrees by the end of the sparge which isn't ideal. Having said that I did get pretty good efficiency today (close on 80%) so it can't be all bad.

Yeah, fly sparging will give you better efficiency. I think they usually say to use 10% more grain if batch sparging (somebody please correct me if I am wrong), so that implies that you get an extra 10% of efficiency when fly sparging compared to batch sparging. I think my personality is not really right for batch sparging (I'm a bit of a perfectionist - it kills me when I get crap efficiency!). It does have its advantages though, and I may still go for it one day.
 

Pumpy

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Thanks TD Most people who fly sparge seem happy with the results.

Pumpy
 

T.D.

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$35 from memory. I got the 7" one, whioch does the job perfectly (the internal diameter of my mash tun is 12")
 

Ross

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T.D. said:
I think my personality is not really right for batch sparging (I'm a bit of a perfectionist - it kills me when I get crap efficiency!). It does have its advantages though, and I may still go for it one day.
[post="83217"][/post]​
TD If you're a perfectionist, then batch sparge - better beers out weigh efficiency IMO... http://www.paddockwood.com/article_info.php?articles_id=4

cheers Ross...
 

T.D.

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Thanks Ross, that's an interesting article. I have never heard anybody say that fly sparging produces relatively inferior beers before. To tell you the truth I don't fully understand the logic. The article said that adding hot fresh water to "previously clean-rinsed grain" released tannins and off-flavours. My understanding of batch sparging is that you add fresh sparge water to the grain twice. The first time is after the initial runnings have beed drained off and then another addition after the second runnings have been drawn off. This second addition of sparge water would be directly on top of relatively "clean-rinsed" grain (having had two drawings of wort taken from the mash tun previously), and so I would have thought this would produce tannins and astringency also - just as much as fly sparging (and potentially more). I'm not trying to dispute the article, I have probably missed something in the logic of why this occurs. Can anyone help to shed any light on this? :)
 

Ross

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T.D. said:
Thanks Ross, that's an interesting article. I have never heard anybody say that fly sparging produces relatively inferior beers before. To tell you the truth I don't fully understand the logic. The article said that adding hot fresh water to "previously clean-rinsed grain" released tannins and off-flavours. My understanding of batch sparging is that you add fresh sparge water to the grain twice. The first time is after the initial runnings have beed drained off and then another addition after the second runnings have been drawn off. This second addition of sparge water would be directly on top of relatively "clean-rinsed" grain (having had two drawings of wort taken from the mash tun previously), and so I would have thought this would produce tannins and astringency also - just as much as fly sparging (and potentially more). I'm not trying to dispute the article, I have probably missed something in the logic of why this occurs. Can anyone help to shed any light on this? :)
[post="83269"][/post]​
TD,

When you batch sparge you are stirring uo the grain & dissolving the sugars into the added water. so for a 1040 pre boil gravity your first mix may be at 1050 & your second runnings 1020 (hyperphetical figures) - As you are not running fresh water through the grain, all your grains are getting rinsed with a minimum of 1020 wort - whereas with fly sparging, you are continually adding fresh water at the surface & therefore the surface grains are washed of all sugar long before the grains at the bottom of the mash - this is when the tannins start to leach...
 

T.D.

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So are you saying you don't add fresh sparge water to the mash tun when batch sparging? Sorry, I am not exactly fully clued up on how batch sparging is done - never tried it.
 

T.D.

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Thanks Justin, I have come across that one before - its a good overview of the different methods. So this is my understanding of batch sparging:

Step 1. Stir up the mash and recirculate. Then draw off all wort as fast as possible.

Step 2. Add the first bulk addition of sparge water. stir up the mash again, and recirculate. Then, once again, draw off the wort as fast as it will allow.

Step 3. Add the second bulk addition of sparge water to the mash tun, stir and recirculate. Then, for the third time, draw off the wort as fast as possible.

Does that sound about right?

What I can't understand is how, in step 3., adding all that 75degC sparge water to relatively "clean-rinsed grain" (having already had wort drawn off it twice) is any different to trickling that same water over the grain throughout the fly sparging process. :unsure:

I hope that doesn't sound argumentative, I certainly don't mean it that way, I just can't see how it is any different. To my eyes, it would actually be worse, since you are adding a whole bunch of hot water to the grain in one hit. If that doesn't frighten the living @#&! out of the grain then I don't know what would! :p

Perhaps it is the fact that in batch sparging the sparge water is only in contact with the grain for a short period of time - ie "in and out" in pretty quick succession. Does that sound right?

Either way, I am really happy with this setup and I have never detected any of the said "off-flavours" in any of my beers. :)

NB, Edit: fix typo.
 

Gough

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You only need to add 'sparge' water once depending on your tun size. I aim for two roughly equal volume drains and have a 47 litre esky tun, so for a standard 1050 OG 5kg grain batch I add some top up/mash out water at the end of the mash to raise the temp and gather roughly half my expected kettle volume and after letting it settle for 10 minutes after a good stir start recirculating and then fully draining. I then add the rest of my water and repeat aiming for a 77 degree sparge temp. That's it. 2 drains in total :)

Personally I think both techniques have strong points. I batch sparge because I can :) and because I didn't want to phaff about with building extra gear like sparge arms etc. That said, I can see that if I had one I would give it a try and that I would expect slightly higher efficiency. So far I've been happy with my beers as 'batch' sparged and have seen no reason to change. I may in the future however...

Different strokes 'n all that... ;)

Shawn.
 

Murray

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T.D. said:
What I can't understand is how, in step 3., adding all that 75degC sparge water to relatively "clean-rinsed grain" (having already had wort drawn off it twice) is any different to trickling that same water over the grain throughout the fly sparging process. :unsure:
The point is that the top layer of grain during fly sparging will be completely stripped of sugars long before the bottom layer. The fresh water will be stripping other compounds from the spent grain before it reaches malt for much of the duration of the sparge. This is different to a third addition of fresh water to grain and mixing, because there is still residual sugar and it will be evenly distibuted.

Either way, I am really happy with this setup and I have never detected any of the said "off-flavours" in any of my beers. :)
[post="83441"][/post]​
More power to you. Though, as a perfectionist, surely you would be inspired to see if you could make a better beer batch sparging ;)
 

T.D.

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Thanks Gough and Murray, I think its finally starting to "click" :rolleyes: I am an economist - chemistry is not my long suit!

I also had a bit of a read of "How to Brew" which covers it nicely.

Murray, when I said "perfectionist", perhaps "tight bastard" would have been a better description! ;) hehe, nahh, but I was focusing more on getting the best efficiency possible as opposed to getting that marginal advancement in quality. Having said that, there's a little beer God on my shoulder right now telling me to give it a go, such is my relentless quest for perfection! :D

Gough, like you said that you are not ruling out trying fly sparging one day, I too am not ruling out batch sparging. In fact I am currently beginning to accumulate equipment for a 50L brewery and may use that as a good opportunity to give it a go. :)

But, getting back to my initial intention of this thread, for those of you that do fly sparge, I highly recommend these sparge arms if you don't already have one!
 

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