first time fly sparging today

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by oliver, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    transitioning to a truer all grain method and fly sparging today.

    I've never tried it by myself on my own system. So, any tips on fly sparging? Is there anything you wish you had knew before fly sparging?


    Equipment is going to be a GigaWort for a hot liquor tank, igloo cooler as mash tun (nylon bag as false bottle)... and a Fermentap sparge assembly.
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    don't run full speed, take it slow and match the flow rate, it should take at least 30 minutes, I fly for an hour very slow
     
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  3. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    So it's going to be ok if i have to stop the hot liquor tank from flowing for a few minutes? Just keep about an inch on top of the grain bed, and keep the mash tun lautering at a constant rate?
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Slow and steady. And keep the grain bed intact and avoid channeling so that the water moves from top to bottom in a column.
    I end up taking an hour or more on 10 gallon batches. Today I sparged a 16-gallon split-boil batch that maxed out my mash tun and needed a 9-gallon sparge. I probably rushed it a little at first but slowed it down after a bit and it took at least an hour and half to get completely done. My efficiency was 82 percent. Normally, I count on 77 or so for efficiency. If I try to move it along took quickly, I'll get in the mid 70's and if I intentionally slow it down, I get above my average like I did today.
    Sparge volume makes a difference, too. I count on over 1/3 of my total liquor volume for sparge. When I do large batches of low to mid gravity beers, I end up with 40 percent total liquor as sparge. That much sparge done too fast will just wash through the grain bed and start leaching tannins but slowed down enough, it just keeps pulling sugars right to the end.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Contrarian alert: Fly sparging is a process that makes sense at an industrial scale. When you're mashing tons of grain at a time, a point or two of efficiency gain is worth it. At our scale, the difference in outcomes between a simple batch sparge and fly sparging is an ounce or two of grain. One thing the sparge will not do is improve your beer. You are far more likely to extract tannins using a fly sparge setup than a batch sparge with a reasonable amount of water for a reasonable time. The result of extracting tannins is an astringent beer. I am posting this because the original post was in the beginners' area to caution against overcomplicating the process too early - the difference between a long, complex fly sparge and a short, simple batch sparge is negligible in terms of the outcome, the quality of your beer.
     
  7. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    just stay below 168F and you'll be fine, I mash out to 168 then turn the heat off and the sparge is actually running in the 150's and that helps
     
  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Won't argue with that logic. I'm not advising that a beginner should jump to a long, complicated process but I think it's important that concepts be fleshed out and if the OP is anything like all the brewers I know, geeking out over minutia is definitely part of the appeal of the whole endeavor. :D
    As for astringency, I've never had a problem with it, period. High heat and high PH may result in tannins and astringency, but at our scale it's more likely to come from too much dark/burnt roast or bad water quality/faulty water additions.

    But Nosy's right...beginner question calls for fairly simple, straightforward, unintimidating advice. :)
     
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  9. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I looked at fly sparging and decided it wasn't worth the time and energy for me. I have a buddy down the alley that fly sparges and while his setup is cool it takes longer and requires more attention to detail than a simple batch sparge.
     
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  10. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    For my 2.5 gallon batches, I did a 13.5 quart mash yesterday. And the sparge was only 3 quarts. I did more mash water because I was shooting for a higher gravity beer.

    The sparge water ran out in a few pulses of it. But the lautering took about 45 min I think? I ended up with much more wort at the end of brew day than I expected.
     
  11. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    when you fly sparge either calculate the water amounts exact or use more than needed and stop at the beginning boil mark and don't use all of the water, that's what I do I have left over water in the mash tun and I will slowly drain that out and either toss it or use it for starter wort
     
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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's pretty close to my thought process: Batch sparging appeals to my fundamental sense of laziness.
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I follow the logic of more water/higher gravity. Gravity is going to be a function of amount of fermentables in the grist and efficiency of conversion. Extended boil can yield higher gravity, but more water to boil off isn't going to be of any use there.
     
  14. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I read that when shooting for a higher gravity, it is harder to fully dissolve second runnings back into the first wort, so I went with that logic.
    so since my boil size is 3 gallons, you're telling me I should shoot for using 3 gallons of water total on the day, without compensating for grain absorption? I ran the numbers, I used 16.5 quarts of water total to 6.75 lbs of grain. And my boil size of everything that came out of it was 14 quarts. so that's a loss of 2.5 quarts, divided by 6.75 = 0.37 absorption rate?
     
  15. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if that's your starting boil you stop fly sparging at 3 gallons the calculation of total water needs to be done ahead so I just use more water than I need then stop at my beginning boil mark
     
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  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what that means...I may be just misunderstanding something.
    There's nothing to dissolve. Sugar molecules (maltose) are in solution when they're created through enzymatic action and are already present in the wort. In the mash tun, first runnings (I guess that's what you mean by "first wort) contain a lot of sugar and as that's drained and replaced by sparge water, either all at once (batch sparge) or slowly as it drains (fly sparging) it rinses free the remaining sugars trapped in the grain bed, also in solution. When you mix the two solutions, either gradually or all at once, the amount of sugar per volume unit of water ends up somewhere in between. If I did a batch sparge and had 2 gallons of first runnings at 1.060 and 2 gallons of second runnings at 1.030, I'd have 4 gallons of 1.045 wort. If fly sparging improved the efficiency a few points, I'd get the same 4 gallons but at maybe 1.047 or so. It's all going into the boil pot one way or another. ;)
    More liquor (strike and sparge volume) will ultimately free up more sugars to a point, but it's more diluted. The type and length of sparge can yield more sugars in a given volume of water for a higher gravity but just having more water to start with doesn't guarantee anything.
     
  17. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'm a little confused by what he said, unless you've reached saturation sugar will go into the water.
     
  18. Medarius

    Medarius Active Member

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    I would be curious how much water is used by people when sparging.?

    I step mash so I end up with 5 gal of water in mash tun and sparge with 3-4gal to get my 6.5gal to kettle. In my reading/viewing I noticed most use much more sparge water than they do mash water.
    How is your water divided between mash/sparge??
     
  19. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the grain bill, I'll generally leave it at 3L/kg which means a 4% beer will have a much higher sparge volume than a 6% beer due to grain fluctuations.
     
  20. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I use roughly 10 gallons for mash and 10 for sparge but I put 2 extra gallons in the hlt to cover my coils when mashing so I just use that 12 gallons for the whole sparge and I stop short at my 15 gallon mark in the boil kettle, what that does is makes sparging a little faster since you don’t have to wait for the mash to completely drain it also keeps the bottom sediment out of my boil kettle, I boil down to 12 and I pull 11.5 gallons in my fermentation vessel
     
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