Sparging / Lautering question

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by beer1965, Dec 29, 2019.

  1. beer1965

    beer1965 Active Member

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    #1 beer1965, Dec 29, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
    I was wondering how many of you do continuous vs batch sparging? I'm getting a 10 gallon mash tun cooler and don't want to have two (one for the mash and another for the hot liquor) if I can hep it. So I'm thinking batch sparging is what I'll start with.. Thanks..
     
  2. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I only use batch sparging. At the scale of non-commercial brewers, continuous sparging adds no real benefit. Batch sparging is also much quicker.

    Continuous sparging is required when the batch size is too large for batch sparging.
     
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  3. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    I do 5 gallon batches and only do Batch Sparging. But, I keep our all grain brewing as simple as possible with as few moving parts as possible. We typically hit upper 70s to low 80s efficiency with the batch approach. You could always add a few more ounces of base malt if you feel batch sparging is less efficient. As @Bubba Wade stated... at commercial level where costs are a huge consideration, whereas us homebrewers produce significantly smaller yields, so it really doesn’t make much difference.
     
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  4. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I fly (continuous) sparge, but I have particular no particular reason for doing so, other than that is how I started all grain brewing and have seen no reason to change. I have tried batch sparging, but I saw no difference so I went back to what I was used to. As others have said, at homebrew levels just use what is easiest for you.
     
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  5. beer1965

    beer1965 Active Member

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    Thanks - as an add on question then, if I now have an 11 gallon cooler for my mash tun, and I can't imagine doing more than 5 gallon batches (there's only so much I can drink!) then do I need a 10 gallon kettle? I'm thinking of getting 8 gallons to save money and be able to use it on my stove in the winter. Thoughts on kettle size? The only upside i can see is if I think I'd want to do bigger batches in the future and I just can't see that given I'm older and my brewing window isn't 40 years..
     
  6. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    For 5 gallon batches, you’ll typically start with 6.5 gallons of wort (preboil). When you reach boil, the hot break can be very foamy and sugary lava. the risk of a boil over with even a 10 gallon pot is real. That doesn’t mean you can’t boil with an 8 gallon pot, but it’ll have to be a light boil and a watchful eye to avert boil overs. If you invest in nothing else of high quality for brewing equipment, a good boil kettle will serve you well. Spending a little more for a lifetime investment, and added boil over protection ta boot is well worth it in my book.

    * You’ll even get flare ups with hop additions during the boil as well.
     
  7. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    For me, an 8 gallon kettle was too small. With my boil off rate and wanting 5.5 gallons in the fermenter to account for losses, and 5 gallons into the keg, my starting boils were always over 8 gallons. A 10 gallon kettle was perfect. You'll thank yourself every time if you go a bit bigger instead of pushing the limits.
     
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  8. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I agree that 10 gallons is minimum kettle size for 5 gallon batches. Kettle prices have really come down in the last few months. For the difference in price for 10 and 15 gallons, I'd go bigger. You might decide to increase your batch size at some point and be thankful you did.
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I did all my 5.5 gallon batches in a 8-gallon pot. Yes, I had to watch it like a hawk to prevent boil-overs but it worked for many, many kegs of beer. Now I do 11 gallon batches in a 15 gallon pot but it's electric so I can really control the boil vigor during the crucial first 15-20 minutes.
    I do fly sparge. My wort is dead clear coming out of the mash tun and the quality of the finished product is excellent. I could experiment with simpler, quicker methods but I just can't bring myself to mess with success. :)
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I fly sparge regularly and reach brew house percentages close to 90 percent, I've decreased my grain amounts by several pounds and my cost dropped about 5 bucks per batch but I wouldn't advise going to the same extremes as me, it adds several hours to my brew day, just by extra grain it makes the day much faster and easier
     
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  11. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I would qualify that the clarity of what comes out of the mash tun has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of ther final product. For several years, I only transferred clear wort from the BK to the fermenter and clear beer when packaging. If anything, my beers improved when I quit being so anal. Since I now use an all in one system I too fly sparge, but don't concern myself with clarity in the kettle. Pursuing this is an exercise in futility. I understand the motivation behind it, but can assure you that it doesn't benefit your beer.
     
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  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I generally no sparge and just dump the full volume in my mash tun.
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    With me it wasn't really a pursuit...just the result of adhering to traditional methods. Recirculating over a settled grain bed and sparging slowly enough to maintain even and thorough flow through the grain bed leaves all the particulate as a gooey layer on top of the mash tun at the end of sparge.
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I acidify ma sparge water, pump it all into the MLT on top of the grain bed, then run off slowly, kind of a modified batch sparge. Good efficiency, minimum effort and time.
     
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  15. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Good brewing practices produce good beer. There are indications throughout the process that point to a good beer. The clear wort JA is getting from the mash tun are an example of putting into practice good methods and habits. I do something similar, a combination batch and fly sparge and my wort is crystal clear as well. Why do think brewers put sight glasses on mash tuns? When it's running clear you can lauter and sparge.

    Yeah, you can take short cuts and get good beer, but over the years I have learned that short cuts rarely lead to great beer. A great beer is built on a lot of small incremental steps and a great deal of attention to detail. What I don't like seeing is someone getting persuaded from developing those good practices.
     
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  16. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I think what it comes down to is what works best for you and the equipment you have/want/need.
    Nothing wrong with fly, batch, or no sparge even. On a homebrew level they all have proven excellent results.
     
  17. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    And the people said, amen.
     
  18. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    My aim was to discourage the OP from going down the rabbit hole of wort clarity as it relates to beer quality. Sorry if it appeared to criticize your process.
     
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  19. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Conversely, I wouldn’t want to see new brewers persuaded away by intimidation due to overload or over worrying. Granted, there are short cuts that show up in the finished product, but an argument can be made that the last 10% of a perfect beer, can eat up a significantly higher percentage of effort/cost along the steep side of the parabolic curve.
     
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  20. beer1965

    beer1965 Active Member

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    That's an interesting statement. Something to really think about.. I guess most people - maybe me included - think that a clear looking beer is not just nicer to look at but indicates a better made beer. But that's obviously not true from your statement and beers I've had..

    Thanks for the insight..
     

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