Author Topic: Batch Sparge Method(S)  (Read 21391 times)

Offline Wildrover

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Batch Sparge Method(S)
« on: April 18, 2010, 02:48:51 PM »
I'm of the opinion that to tell someone you batch sparge is really nothing more than telling them you don't fly sparge.  Other than that, we really don't know all that much about how you lauter your wort.  I'm curious about people's opinion on some of the different variations of batch sparging.  What works best, what are the pros/cons to each method etc.  For example

Do you:  

Have two runnings?  Some have said the best and most efficient way to batch sparge is to have two equal runnings.  This would mean adding a small volume of water to the mash at the end of the rest to account for grain absorption, dead space etc. let it run and then add a second round of water that will allow the second runnings to get you to your pre-boil volume.  

pros - easy and quick
cons- extract efficiency isn't as high as if you have three runnings

Do you:

Have three runnings?  Some will allow the wort to run before adding any volume of water.  After the first runnings you will then be left to make up a large volume of water to get you to your pre-boil volume and this can then be broken up into two equal batch sparge rounds.  

pros-  greater extract efficiency
cons- more time

A variation of the three runnings is to add the grain absorption and dead space volume before your first runnings like you would for only two runnings.  Only instead of only having one larger second running, you break that volume into two batch sparge round

Another variation of the three runnings is to pull some of the mash liquor out of the mash and heat it, after this volume is at the right temp you can add it back to bring the grist up to mash out temp.  That leaves a greater volume of water to be split between two moderately sized batch sparged rounds.  I think this probably the best for extract efficiency but makes for a rather long brew day between heating all the volumes and letting them all rest etc.  I'm also wondering if this method could lead to astringent flavors coming from over sparging?  I know some say that the gravity should be consistent for each runnings when batch sparging but I've taken gravity readings for the last few drops and it is well below 1.010 ( without temp correction)

Bottom line:  Is there a BEST batch sparge method?  The reason I ask is because my last few batches have had great efficiency numbers but I think I've noticed a slight astringency to them.  I'm wondering if it would be worth it to just sacrafice a few efficiency points and shorten my brew day as well as the luxury of not having to worry about sparging too much

Thought?          
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 04:47:39 PM by Wildrover »

Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2010, 04:06:34 PM »
Wildrover,

Those are all excellent thoughts ………. We have pondered over each of them many times. Then ……… sooner or later, you pick a method that seems to work for you and give you consistent results.  Our two cents are …… we Batch sparge with three runnings.

Procedure:

Mash using single infusion.
Because we have a small MLT, we decoct to achieve Mash Out temperature.
We make a 1st running with out compensating for absorption etc.
We (BeerSmith) divides the remainder of the volume required into two equal amounts.
We stir in the first (second running), wait 15 – 20 min. recirculate and collect.
We stir in the second ( 3rd running), wait 15-20 min. recirculate and collect

We measure the 3rd running at mid stream, only to compare it to fly sparge targets. Fly sparge targets are to stop at 1.010.  Our 3rd runnings are typically 1.015 to 1.014.

 I’m sure we might be losing something but, our brew day and results have been consistant. There must be many, many different ways that give equally successful results. I hope this thread will bring them out for all of us to learn. Thanks for asking!

Preston
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Offline Wildrover

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2010, 04:58:47 PM »
Preston,

Thanks for the quick reply, How long does it take you to collect your runnings.  I have a similar process as you but I don't decoct grain at the end of the rest I only collect liquor and bring that up to near boiling before adding it back to bring the grist up to mash out temp.  I can't think of why that might be a problem but I don't know many how actually do this.  

Also, it takes forever to collect my three runnings.  Fly sparging is probably quicker given all the time I use heating water and letting the mash sit and then run.  That time saving advantage does not apply to me as it relates to batch sparging.  I'm wondering if the long running time is an issue.  I don't have much dead space but in order to get what I need to get me to the pre-boil volume I need to leave the valve open for quite a long time.  I know there is another thread on this but I also tip my mash tun.  I do this in an effort to get to my pre-boil volume.  I'm wondering if fighting for every last drop like I do is worth it?  It adds time and I'm sure the gravity of the last little bit of the third runnings is potentially pushing the generally regarded safety threshold to avoid tannin extraction.  

Maybe I should just factor in some more deadspace and let the last little bit go.  Just because, with some patience and creativity (e.g. tipping the tun) I can get that last little bit it doesn't necessarily mean I should?  

again, any other thoughts on any of this are greatly appreciated.  I've been pretty dialed in lately so my system has been very consistent but its not worth it if your beers aren't there and right now I'm not sure mine are.  

Thanks in advance
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 05:02:37 PM by Wildrover »

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 09:00:27 AM »
I've settled on single decoction with a mix of batch/fly sparge that works well for me and my equipment.

I'm consulting my notes here to give some times.
Yesterday at 7:15 I added strike water to the grain, and it settled at 148. 
By 9:20 it had dropped to 140 and just barely failed an iodine test, so I gave it twenty minutes and decided to move to the next step.
I pulled 1 1/2quarts out, mostly liquid, and put it on the stove.
By 10:00 it was a full boil. I added back and everything equalized at 170.
While that did its thing I set up my old bottle bucket with another bucket inside that has a million holes drilled into it. I'm still too cheap to buy an Igloo with a false bottom.
Since I've got to add 2 1/2 gallons water just to keep the grain floating, I recirculate that through several times.  I consider this to be my batch sparge.
From 10:20 to 10:45 I drained it to the level of the grain and gently added it back.  This continues until the runnings are clear and taste very sweet.
I'll drain the wort out until it hits the level of the grain before starting the fly sparge.  At this point I've done a batch sparge with three gallons or so.
At 10:45 I started the fly sparge and by 11:20 I reached my target volume.
Then it was time to boil.

The end result was 6 gallons at 1.048 from 10lbs pale and 4oz crystal. 
I don't know my exact efficiency, but I think I'm doing pretty well.
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Offline max42

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 05:43:34 AM »
I do a single infusion batch sparge.  I try to have equal volumes for both the mash and sparge. For ease of discussion, I need 8 gallons preboil and account for 2 gallons grain absorption (10 G total) so the mash has 5 gallons and the sparge has 5 gallons.  I fully drain the mash and stir in the sparge and fully drain that.  Efficiencies range from 70 to 75%.

Offline CR

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 08:26:30 AM »
sometimes I just pour water through till no more goodness comes out.


Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 09:50:32 AM »
I don't know that there is a "Best method", because everyone is different and has different goals. Some are driven by time, Some are driven by simplicity or Detail, some are driven by extraction, and some are driven by a few of the above combined. Combination of the above will give you different extraction rating, and time is a factor. My process is very close to yours, There are times I modify it for very specific reasons. However I usually do 3 running's, and usually always trickle the wort out, extending the brewday out.

Cheers
Preston
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 10:55:07 AM »
I know some say that the gravity should be consistent for each runnings when batch sparging but I've taken gravity readings for the last few drops and it is well below 1.010 ( without temp correction)

I'm not following that first part.  If we made three batches of coffee from same grinds, they'd be progressively weaker.  If you did five batches, certainly the last rinse would be near 1.001 or something.

The reason I ask is because my last few batches have had great efficiency numbers but I think I've noticed a slight astringency to them.  I'm wondering if it would be worth it to just sacrafice a few efficiency points and shorten my brew day as well as the luxury of not having to worry about sparging too much

What is the gravity at the end of the second batch?  If it's ~1.020, then maybe you could do a shorter/smaller third, trying to get just to 1.010?

I do a continuous sparge, but EE% seems to depend on how well I measure/time the sparge water to the boil volume.  When I reach boil volume while sparge water is still sitting on top, it's poorer EE%.  I would think even with batch, the logic is the same.  You'd want to rinse with exactly the amount needed to reach boil volume, and it seems like 2.5 to 2.8 rinses may be the sweet spot on your setup. 

The other thing may be water chemicals.  More calcium/Mg and a pinch of 5.2 may buffer the mash longer and allow three batches with no astringency. 

Offline sickbrew

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2010, 07:32:06 PM »
I do a decoction mash to achieve mash-out temp.

No initial drain, no separate runnings of this size or that volume.

Just one continuous sparge.  I think of it almost as batch-fly sparging.

I did this for about the 9th time this Saturday for an eleven gallon batch.  So after the mash-out and then  recirculating, I open up the mash tun at a slow rate and then manually (batch sparging) maintain1-2 inches of water over the grain bed.  It has taken some practice to regulate the flow level, but I attempt to do this for 45 to 60 minutes until I have reach my desired pre-boil volume which is about 13.5 gallons.  BS says to sparge with about 10.5 gallons, but I just keep dumping (slowly and gently) until I hit the correct volume in my boil keggle.  In practice I stop sparging at about 12 gallons knowing that there is another 3 gallons in the grain bed bet yet to drain.  Works for me and my efficiencies have been in the upper 80's.

I have attached my recipe/methods from last Saturday.

cheers.

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 11:11:28 AM »
I appreciate the responses to this.  I guess there is no best or right way to be sure but I guess what I was really wondering is if there is a wrong way?  I was wondering if my method of letting the runnings run for a long time in an effort to get up to my pre-boil volume might be extracting some harshness.  After some more thought and research I'm starting to be of the believe that its not my process but my water that I'm not accounting for. 

MaltLicker, I agree with you, it doesn't make sense how the gravity of the first few drops will be the same as those of the second and my guess is they are not.  I think I must have mis-heard it somewhere, where they said the gravity should be the same, I think the stepping into all grain video from Basic Brewing Network.  I'll have to watch it again to make sure I didn't' hear him wrong

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2010, 07:14:14 PM »
..........it doesn't make sense how the gravity of the first few drops will be the same as those of the second and my guess is they are not.  I think I must have mis-heard it somewhere, where they said the gravity should be the same..........

Is it the gravity or the volume?  My batching friend does two and gets 4 gals from each.  The first rinse should be richer in sugar than the second. 

It's similar to my earlier confusion with the same issue in a continuous sparge.  Lauter for a while, you have 98% of the boil volume but you're short by 4 points.  Keep sparging?  The runnings are 1.012 by now, so every additional ounce is just diluting the wort further, only slightly less than would straight water. 

I think this is what CR meant by chasing efficiency for EE% sake.  Double waste of time cuz you'd have to boil longer to evap the weak wort you spent more time collecting.  The better answer would be to stop collecting and either add DME or boil longer to concentrate the weak wort, which may cost you a few oz.

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2010, 08:19:01 AM »
Well, I was reading the letters section in the newest Zymurgy and someone asked about the need for a sparge arm and why not just batch sparge. 

Without getting too much into his answer he did say that batch sparging has a disadvantage because the sugars are being dissolved into the solution uniformly so, if I read it right, the gravity should stay consistent for the duration of each running.  But again, I'm just not sure I buy that.  I think during my next brew day I'll take gravity readings of both the beginning and end drops of each runnings to see. 

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2010, 03:22:55 PM »
Quote
But again, I'm just not sure I buy that.

Why not?  After the mash is done you should have converted starches to sugars, and what you have is a mix of grain, sugar and water.  The total amount of sugar is not going to change.  So if you batch sparge by mixing in a arbitrary amount of water, you're diluting those sugars throughout the entire volume.  The sugar concentration should be constant. 
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2010, 08:03:03 PM »
I can see how these things could be true.  We mash, create a soup of 1.095 SG, add batch sparge water and dilute it to 1.065, for ex, and then let drain.  I believe batch is inherently less EE% because the water is just draining out, and not being "pushed" by replacement sparge water as in continuous.  So the evenly distributed and "equal" gravity of 1.060 is unevenly rinsed; perhaps the lower half of the mash is better rinsed since more liquid went thru it?  Or is the upper grain richer with sugars getting trapped in the grains?  Regardless, some of the 1.060 doesn't come out that first time. 

Then you repeat for XX number batches.  This less efficient rinsing is what usually protects a batcher from extracting tannins from husks, right? 

And also what makes continuous challenging.  Brewer must learn how much sparge water to use to very slowly rinse the mash so that the last quarter inch of water to leave the grain bed is the last quarter inch of wort needed to reach boil volume. 

Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Batch Sparge Method(S)
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2010, 03:47:00 AM »
Wildrover

Quote
I have a similar process as you but I don't decoct grain at the end of the rest I only collect liquor and bring that up to near boiling before adding it back to bring the grist up to mash out temp.  I can't think of why that might be a problem but I don't know many how actually do this. 

Many methods! I have read that you can gain better mouthfeel and beer character etc using decoction.
I have made the 3 Luna Pier 'Lite' House brews with & without decocting for Mash Out. I can't quantify the result, but both the Princess & I like the taste better. Seems richer and fuller. Without seem thinner. The Princess calls them "Wateryer"?? We do notice that the Blonde Ale and the Pale Ale seem a little darker. Can't really tell with the Amber.

Quote
Also, it takes forever to collect my three runnings.  Fly sparging is probably quicker given all the time I use heating water and letting the mash sit and then run.  That time saving advantage does not apply to me as it relates to batch sparging.  I'm wondering if the long running time is an issue.  I don't have much dead space but in order to get what I need to get me to the pre-boil volume I need to leave the valve open for quite a long time. 

We have a mark to allow us to open the valve the same amount each time. It is  set for aprox 1 qt per min. This was picked because we were afraid that a fast flow would tend to compact the grain bed and possibly create a stuck sparge situation or cause the grain bed to be a less efficent filter. It has worked well so we leave it alone. Doing the math, our 1st running is usually about 2 gal or 8 qts so our running time is about 8 min.  2nd and 3rd runnings are typically 2.5 gal or 10 qts so our running time is about 10 min each. We don't know how this would compare to others. Your thread should uncover much data from others.

Quote
I know there is another thread on this but I also tip my mash tun.  I do this in an effort to get to my pre-boil volume.  I'm wondering if fighting for every last drop like I do is worth it?  It adds time and I'm sure the gravity of the last little bit of the third runnings is potentially pushing the generally regarded safety threshold to avoid tannin extraction. 

Maybe I should just factor in some more deadspace and let the last little bit go.  Just because, with some patience and creativity (e.g. tipping the tun) I can get that last little bit it doesn't necessarily mean I should? 


We used to tip the tun but in tuneing BeerSmith, we did add a little more head room so that we get a consistant boil volume. Our OG's haven't suffered.

Quote
again, any other thoughts on any of this are greatly appreciated.  I've been pretty dialed in lately so my system has been very consistent but its not worth it if your beers aren't there and right now I'm not sure mine are. 


To us regarding the Batch/Fly Sparge question. After much reading and trying both, we have settled on Batch Sparging. Our brews are simple but please us. Our results are very consistent by the numbers. Our brew day is plesant and a joy rather than a chore. We mentioned that testing the SG of our 3rd running is typically 1.014. Like you, the time and effort to get to 1.010 seems unnecessary in the Homebrew context. We'll let Budwiser chase the last 3 or 4 points!! We can't taste them anyway!


Thanks again for your interest. I hope our comments help. Viewing the response of others I believe you have started a Thread that will bennifit us all.

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!
 Then back at the dock we create a reason to brew!