Author Topic: lautering  (Read 5758 times)

Offline Nicasio Tom

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lautering
« on: March 27, 2015, 05:23:29 PM »
Just viewed Brad and John's excellent All-Grain video, and I was looking for exactly how to sparge, but the video shows John just dumping the water over the grain. I had been told that the rinsing additions needed to be very slow and exact, and sprinkled evenly on the grain or poured carefully through slotted foil. The video says "slow" but no more info is given. What is critical and what isn't about lautering?

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: lautering
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 05:56:50 PM »
I think I can help.  First, you have some terms confused.  I'll answer your questions by giving you the definitions and the thoughts behind how they work.

Lautering:  Slowly draining the mash tun into a small vessel and then pouring it back into the mash.  This is done until the slowly
   drained wort runs clear.  What is happening is that the grain husks are settling over the holes in the bottom of the mash ton (filter
   screen or perforated false bottom or tubing with holes in them) and keeping grains bits from getting through.  Once the lautered wort
   is running clear, it is then allowed to slowly drain into the boil kettle.  I have found that lautering very slowly allows you to get a nice
   filter bed of grain husks set up, so that your wort runs extremely clear. 

Sparging:   Sparging is the adding of water to the mash tun to rinse the sugars out of the grain.  There are two main methods of
                   sparging.
   Batch Sparging:  Batch sparging is the process of adding water back to the grain, after it has been drained of the initial wort.
      This allows you to rinse more sugar out of the grain.  In batch sparging, you can just pour all of your sparge water in at one time,
      stir really well to get the temperature of your mash even through the entire grain bed.
   Continuous Sparging:  Continuous sparging is a process of slowly sprinkling your rinse water over the mash, while draining the
      wort slowly out at the same rate.  The slower you do this, the more efficient your process is, thus allowing you to get more sugar
      out of a set amount of grain.

Other things to take note of:   
   1.  When draining your wort to the boil pot, you want your mash at about 168 degrees F.  Above 168 F there is the potential to
        dissolve unwanted grain components into the wort that will lead to some astringent flavors or graininess in your beer.
   2.  Below 168F, you will not dissolve as much sugar into the wort and your efficiency will suffer, causing you to need more grain to
        reach a particular starting gravity.
   3.  Adding sparge water at exactly 168F won't get your mash up to 168F, but usually some place in the high 150 range to low 160
        range, thus hurting your efficiency.
   4.  The actual temperature you need to reach a mash out temperature of 168F, can be anywhere from 185F to 212F, depending on
        the amount of grain and water in the initial mash.
   5.  Anytime you are going to drain into your boil pot, you need to lauter first.
   6.  When pouring your lauter wort back into the mash tun, do it slowly, so as to not disturb your filter bed.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 05:59:13 PM by Scott Ickes »
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Offline Nicasio Tom

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Re: lautering
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 08:30:43 PM »
Thank you for clarifying those terms. Is there a "best" way of sprinkling the sparge water over the mash?

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: lautering
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 10:34:42 PM »
Sprinkling the water over the mash is continuous sparging.  I'm a batch sparger.  I've never tried continuous sparging, so I'm not the best person to answer that question.  You can google "sparge arm" and you'll find a bunch of different designs.
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 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

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Offline pcollins

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Re: lautering
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2015, 06:07:11 AM »
For fly sparging don't worry about the term "sprinkling". I just put a layer of tinfoil on the top of the grain bed and pierce a bunch of holes in it. The sparge water is just going in on top of that slowly to maintain flow into the MLT to match the flow of the lauter out of the MLT. The foil just stops the water from channeling and helps to establish a layer of water above the grain bed for the duration of the lauter.

I used to just slowly pour with a pitcher/pot from my hot water reserve into the MLT. Now I'm set up with a much larger system with pumps so I pump water into the MLT at the same rate that I'm pumping wort out of the MLT into the BK. In an ideal world you could definitely have a sparge arm that would sprinkle the water evenly on top of the grain bed but as long as you're maintaining a layer of water on top you're generally fine.


Offline Nicasio Tom

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Re: lautering
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2015, 10:05:48 AM »
Thank you. Helpful advice.

Offline twhitaker

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Re: lautering
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2015, 09:08:26 AM »
 I find laying the mash paddle handle over the top of the mash tun, and directing  the sparge water from the HLT onto the round handle creates a perfect sprinkling effect. You can use the paddle to direct the flow of sparge water to areas that seem to need it as well. I simply match the flow of sparge water to the run-off flow from the mash tun, place the handle in the sparge flow and there you have it. No fancy sprinkler contraptions to be made. I have made dozens of batches like this with great results.

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Offline jtoots

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Re: lautering
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2015, 11:08:15 AM »
I used to just slowly pour with a pitcher/pot from my hot water reserve into the MLT.

This is what I do, which is admittedly not truly fly sparging because I do it one small pot (a couple quarts or so) at a time, not continuously, but as others have mentioned I just make sure to keep the water level above the grain bed.

Now, you also asked about "slow" and I have recently learned through this and another forum that I have been sparging more slowly than necessary (others, please chime in here if you feel this is misinformation)... I read once that 10 minutes per gallon into the kettle is a good target.  Now I understand that about a quart per minute (4 minutes per gallon) is reasonable.  I haven't tried it yet, but this will potentially take 60 minutes off of a 12 gallon boil volume, so the wife will be happy with that.  As mentioned by Scott, I may lose a bit of efficiency with a "less slow" sparge, but I've never fallen short of pre-boil gravity goals so I'll be happy to give it a shot.


Offline Roadrocket

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Re: lautering
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 04:43:42 PM »
I've tried fly sparging and batch sparging. The results were so similar and batch sparging so much easier and quicker that I'll never fly sparge again.

The simplicity of batch sparging also means that I get consistant results. I found fly sparging to be less consistant and therefore more prone to errors.

Denny Conn, the champion of batch sparging, says he strives to make the best possible beer with the least possible effort. I agree with him entirely. Why make brewing more difficult and more time consuming than it needs to be. I've also tried his recipe for rye IPA which is excellent. I'd like to shake his hand or better still, buy him a beer.
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Offline TAHammerton

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Re: lautering
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 04:57:52 AM »
I always fly sparge, I have a process down that I am happy with and it does not take that much longer than batch sparging. I use a pretty fine crush so nothing drains very quickly anyway.

It is my opinion that sparge water should never be sprinkled due to the risk of hot side aeration. I have a copper pipe that comes down to a T and I have a piece of Silicone tube making a loop to the T. It has multiple cuts in the side to let the liquid out Without disturbing the grain bed. I set it about an inch above the grain bed and make sure it is always covered so there is no splashing. It is very important in fly sparging to make sure the grain bed is covered so that it floats and does not get compacted. I usually add a measured amount of sparge water and let it run dry at the end. Some brewers prefer to keep it covered for the entire process and stop sparging when the gravity reaches a certain point.

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