Sparge arm hole size

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by dave althouse, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. dave althouse

    dave althouse Member

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    Ok folks have a sparge question. I want to make a sparge arm to help in the sparging of my grain, and I think this is where I have fallen short getting all the sugar out of the grain with my past brews. So I plan on making a sparge arm, no problem. This is what I know, sparge with 170 degree water over a 45-60 period using 6 gallons of water (12# of grain). There will already be about 3.3 gallons of water in the cooler and my pre-boil volume is 7.9 gallon. How fast the water flows, is where I am looking for advice. Has anyone a calculation as to hole size, how big to drill holes, to get a flow that distribute my sparge water over the grain for the 45-60 duration? Am I overthinking the process? Any thoughts
     
  2. Chaos home brewing

    Chaos home brewing Active Member

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    I just use a colander with fine holes (trying not to disturb the bed) and try to keep 1/2" - 1" of liquid above the grain. I open or close the valve on the HLT to compensate. I don't have a specific time requirement because depending upon how fine you have milled your grains depends on how quickly it goes through.

    I know that is not the answer you were looking for.
     
  3. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately it's not just hole size that ultimately controls the amount of water that will go into your tun when you sparge. You have many other factors at play that add up to how much water you are sparing with: the diameter of your supply line, how much drop between the HLT and the arm, how open is your valve, how many of what size holes are in the arm, what's the diameter of the pipe that is the arm..I could go on....In my head ,the calculation is simple but time consuming and looks something like this:

    Volume of H20 x time = play with it!

    OK...I'm being a smart ass with the equation but the other stuff holds! Since everyone's set up is going to be different you're best to just start experimenting with something simple like 4 small 1/32" holes in some PVC and a wide open flow. Make only one change at a time and hold all the other things constant. Assuming you are letting gravity do the work, that too is going to affect flow rate as the tank drains as there is going to be less head pressure.

    Good luck and let us know how it comes out!
     
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  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I made a sparge coil using copper tubing with 1/16" holes. You still have to control the flow through the coil or tubing. Just set up a small ball valve in like with the feed tube. Easy-peasy. You're real struggle will be getting the sparge to drip evenly across the grain bed. Keep a 3" or better head of wort on the mash so you're not channeling and you'll be fine.
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I literally just dribble water out of a measuring jug over grain at intervals as I'm heating to boil.
    Not very scientific at all but getting consistent results which matters.
     
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  6. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Case in point....everyone's set up is going to be different!
     
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