Author Topic: Batch Sparge Questions  (Read 6702 times)

Offline Djehuty

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Batch Sparge Questions
« on: March 22, 2010, 03:23:53 PM »
I've decided to try the batch sparge method for my first all-grain beer, and before I order the grain, I have a few questions.  First, what does it mean when BeerSmith says to use batches equal to 90% of the container's volume?  I ask because, in my recipe, it isn't using anything like that -- which is a good thing, since that would mean 9 gallons of water at a time, in two batches, which would rather overwhelm my 8-gallon pot.

Next, what should the efficiency be?  I'm seeing efficiency reports ranging from 50% to 80% when I search for this.  I've tentatively set my efficiency at 66%, at a guess, down from the default 75%.  I'm hoping underestimating the efficiency is better for the beer than overestimating it.

Finally, the stupid question.  Batch sparging is just emptying the mash tun, then adding more water, waiting ten minutes, and emptying it again.  Right?  I'm fairly certain I'm right.  But the check box in BeerSmith for draining the mash tun before sparging (which appears to do nothing) has me wondering if I've misunderstood something.

Thanks in advance for putting up with another set of questions.  I'm not normally quite so tentative, but in a few weeks I'll be serving this to family and friends.  I'd hate to screw it up.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2010, 06:31:34 AM »
Quote
I've decided to try the batch sparge method for my first all-grain beer, and before I order the grain, I have a few questions.  First, what does it mean when BeerSmith says to use batches equal to 90% of the container's volume?  I ask because, in my recipe, it isn't using anything like that -- which is a good thing, since that would mean 9 gallons of water at a time, in two batches, which would rather overwhelm my 8-gallon pot.
Per the Help:
Batch Sparge with... - If checked, then water amounts will be calculated for batch sparging.  If the mash tun is too small to receive all of the water in a single batch, then multiple rounds of batch sparging will appear on the brew sheet.  One may also limit the amount of water per batch by setting a percentage less than 100% in the box.  This percentage is a percent of the available mash volume that will be used for batch sparging.

If your MT is bigger than the batch you are going to make, then it really does not mater, because you will never go bigger than your kettle.

Quote
Next, what should the efficiency be?  I'm seeing efficiency reports ranging from 50% to 80% when I search for this.  I've tentatively set my efficiency at 66%, at a guess, down from the default 75%.  I'm hoping underestimating the efficiency is better for the beer than overestimating it.
This is "Your" ability to remove the sugar from the grains. For most brewers, this is a moving target which you will narrow down as you go. I average around 75-80% but have seen as high as 85%. If you set this number to 50% the "estimated" original gravity (OG) will go down. If you raise this number to 75 you will see an increase in the OG. A good start would be 70%. Once you have brewed your batch you can go to the Brewhouse Efficiency button, plug your numbers in and it will tell you how you did.

Quote
Finally, the stupid question.  Batch sparging is just emptying the mash tun, then adding more water, waiting ten minutes, and emptying it again.  Right?  I'm fairly certain I'm right.  But the check box in BeerSmith for draining the mash tun before sparging (which appears to do nothing) has me wondering if I've misunderstood something.
Correct, Empty, Fill, Wait, Empty, Fill, Wait, Empty, Boil! If you put a check in the Drain MT box, BeerSmith will add a step on the brew-sheet to drain the MT before the sparge.

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline Djehuty

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2010, 10:27:29 AM »
Oh, well, I feel slightly dim.  I hadn't seen the "preview brew sheet" button.  ::)  I'd only seen the recipe preview in the "My Recipes" section.  Things make slightly more sense now. :)

Now that I've seen the brew sheet, though, I have another question.  It tells me to dilute the wort in the brew pot to 6.41 gallons.  Should I just ignore this step?  I'm not sure how to measure the amount of wort (especially not so precisely) without risking aeration by draining it into a measuring container before emptying it into the pot.

Finally, would you say it's a good or a bad idea to do a mash out when batch sparging?

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2010, 01:16:44 PM »
Many people use a dowel that they've pre-marked with gallon or half-gallon increments.  Definitely helpful for dialing in your efficiency and other results since batch volume and boil volume are critical to all the math.

Most batchers I've seen use sparge water ~180F which raises the MT to ~165 to 170F for draining.  Ideally, you'll hit approx. 168F and you'll learn the temp needed to hit that with practice. 

I'm not sure how to measure the amount of wort (especially not so precisely)

Finally, would you say it's a good or a bad idea to do a mash out when batch sparging?


Offline Djehuty

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2010, 01:28:24 PM »
Ah, thanks.  I actually thought of using a dowel, but discarded the idea because I thought it would be impossible to sanitize sufficiently.

Thank you both very much for all the help! :)  I've ordered all the supplies, and I think I'll just about be ready to go once they arrive.

Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 07:00:42 AM »
We use the "dowel" method to measure volumes but our "dowel" is a piece of 1/2" copper tube. We added water to the empty pot in 1 gal measured increments and marked the tube. Later we used the tubing cutter to score a ring at each gallon mark so it would be permanent and easier to see and count. When filling, we hold it to the side of the pot with a wooden spring type clothespin. Careful when measuring the boil volume. We do not leave the tube in the pot, we only dip it in to measure – Watch the steam! :o

Preston
In Fall and Winter, we burn wood in the fireplace and brew beer.
In Spring & Summer, we're on the water or walking the beach!
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Offline BM1

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010, 07:56:45 PM »
Quote
This is "Your" ability to remove the sugar from the grains. For most brewers, this is a moving target which you will narrow down as you go. I average around 75-80% but have seen as high as 85%. If you set this number to 50% the "estimated" original gravity (OG) will go down. If you raise this number to 75 you will see an increase in the OG. A good start would be 70%. Once you have brewed your batch you can go to the Brewhouse Efficiency button, plug your numbers in and it will tell you how you did.
Here's my two cents; Use Beersmith to calculate your recipe at the default 75 % efficiency setting.It is a good,realistic stat to go for.Then use the 'Find Efficiency' calculator to get the numbers on the mash you just did.This will tell you what your actual BHE (brewhouse efficiency)is.Then,the next time you calculate a recipe,use that number as the BHE for your system and Brewsmith will calculate your SG/OG and FG based on that %age BHE as you enter the grain/sugar amts.Periodicaly,or after every mash session,check it again.As you fine tune your mash procedure you will also be fine tuning your BHE %age.Finally you will hit a number that you are,pretty much,stuck on and that will be your standard brewhouse efficiency number.After that you can basicly ignore that setting untill you,just out of the blue,get a starting boil gravity much higher than expected several mashes in a row,then that will be your new one.Stop me if I ramble on but that's how I understand it.Cheese,Brew Happy,Brew For U. ;D
Drink responsibly.Brew like a bat out o' Helles.

Offline CR

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 09:32:42 AM »
Quote from: Djehuty link=topic=3203.msg14243#msg14243 date=1269372504I actually thought of using a dowel, but discarded the idea because I thought it would be impossible to sanitize sufficiently.[/quote

Well you are pretty much correct about sanitizing wood. But remember you are going to boil it all in just  a few minutes. 

I use a copper pipe with the ends plugged (soldered caps) and file marks to note the gallons. 
Works as a general purpose stirring tool too.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Batch Sparge Questions
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2010, 04:36:31 PM »
I do kind of a mixed batch/fly sparge.
Since I'm using a double bucket system instead of a cooler with a false bottom, there's 2 1/2 gallons of water there that would not have been there with other equipment. 
Keeping that in mind I recirculate the first runnings for about 15-20 minutes.
I then drain until the liquid is level with the grain before starting the fly sparge.
The effect is a 3 gallon batch sparge followed by a fly sparge.   
It works well for me.
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