Fly sparging question

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gobuchul

Fly sparging question

Post by gobuchul » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:44 am

I'm trying to get my fly sparging technique perfected.

However I am a little confused, I have read that you cover the grain bed with about an inch of water. If this is correct why would you bother with a sparge arm that sprinkles water? I thought you "washed" the top of the grain bed with the fine spray to release the sugars?

Can anyone explain how this is meant to work?

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by jaroporter » Sat Mar 07, 2015 11:55 am

simple answer is you don't need to bother with a sparge arm.. the main benefit of it i can see is if it avoids disturbing the grainbed too much while dropping small amounts water in (compared to a heavy flow from a hose, say). keeping the water level above the grainbed stops it compacting too much, and making it harder to rinse out the sugars. the grains get rinsed by drawing water through them from the top of the tun and out of the bottom. any method of adding water to the tun without disturbing the grainbed would work just as well..
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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Dads_Ale » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:17 pm

I use a rotating starve arm and try to maintain a covering on top of the grain bed, not an inch. Try to match sparge water with the rate of draw off.

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by charliemartin » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:29 pm

Can I ask what the secret is to getting a rotating sparge arm to rotate? I have tried several times and never been fully successful. I tend to batch sparge now which works quite well for me, but ultimately would like to fly sparge. Is it down to the height of your hlt above the mash tun?

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by TC2642 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:44 pm

A copper manifold drilled with holes would work just as well.
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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by fisherman » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:57 pm

I have a spinny arm and a square manifold with fine holes drilled . No difference in the wort whatsoever.i now batch sparge and would never go back to fly sparging . Knowing you are not rinsing tannins and unwanted tastes into your beer is great. I consider I have a great set up and fly sparging is fine. You try bottling a few odd pints and put them to one side for 6months and see if when the dextrins are used up by conditioning if the beer tastes as good as when it was quite a green beer. Then when you batch sparge bottle a couple and see what you think. I am retired so time does not matter it's my hobby anyway I just want the best pint.I also have found the larger brews are more forgiving on tiny mistakes. A good mashtun a great thermometer and a reliable boiler plus a brew fridge Bingo :D

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Rookie » Sat Mar 07, 2015 5:47 pm

charliemartin wrote: I tend to batch sparge now which works quite well for me, but ultimately would like to fly sparge.
Cheers,
Charliemartin
Going to a fly sparge is going to add to the length of your brew day; depending on your current efficiency it might not help with the O G.
My next batch I plan to try batch sparging and see if it makes a difference. If it makes a positive difference I'll start doing it all the time.
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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by fisherman » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:03 pm

You will find your last runnings are maybe higher than fly sparging .Mine are usually between 1015 and1020 which is fine by me. John Palmers or Denny brew videos on you tube are a good watch on Batch sparging :D .

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Dave S » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:06 pm

I used to fly sparge and found it a right pain. Been Batch sparging for three years now and would never return - can't see the point.
Best wishes

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Fil » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:13 pm

Dave S wrote:I used to fly sparge and found it a right pain. Been Batch sparging for three years now and would never return - can't see the point.
+1

tho i quite fancy knocking up a spinney sparge arm
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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Rick_UK » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:04 pm

Dave S wrote:I used to fly sparge and found it a right pain. Been Batch sparging for three years now and would never return - can't see the point.
I only fly sparge when the MT is near capacity - about 10kg of grain for mine as there wouldn't be the capacity for a batch sparge - which is my preferred method. When I do fly sparge I just trickle the water in from a tube to the HLT keeping the level an inch or 2 above the grain bed. Never noticed any difference in efficiency between the 2 methods - I usually get around 85%.

Rick

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by orlando » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:02 am

I've tried both and found both wanting in one way or another. I now use the method explained on the Electric Brewery website. As long as you can recirculate to the MT it is simplicity and as economically efficient as you can get. The wort clarity is terrific, if you can run it through a RIMS or HERMS system you have the complete answer to this problem. My only tweak is I use an ex chicken tin foil tray with multiple holes punched in it to further dissipate the returning wort, helps to settle the grain bed quicker and consequent filtering quality. The one essential tool is a false bottom to the MT, which if it is shaped to the exact size ensures the sparge water washes through the whole grain bed and avoids the problem of channeling.
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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Steveicky » Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:47 am

The problem I had with fly sparging was wort cooling. Keeping the spinny thing at a slow enough speed with a gentle run off, caused the wort too cool down as the mash tun lid was open. Batch sparging avoids this and has given me better results. Plus it's much easier.

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Dave S » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:03 pm

Fil wrote:
Dave S wrote:I used to fly sparge and found it a right pain. Been Batch sparging for three years now and would never return - can't see the point.
+1

tho i quite fancy knocking up a spinney sparge arm
Sounds like you just like gadgets, fil :) . What do I hear you say? Takes one to know one?
Best wishes

Dave

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Re: Fly sparging question

Post by Dave S » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:17 pm

Rick_UK wrote:
Dave S wrote:I used to fly sparge and found it a right pain. Been Batch sparging for three years now and would never return - can't see the point.
I only fly sparge when the MT is near capacity - about 10kg of grain for mine as there wouldn't be the capacity for a batch sparge - which is my preferred method. When I do fly sparge I just trickle the water in from a tube to the HLT keeping the level an inch or 2 above the grain bed. Never noticed any difference in efficiency between the 2 methods - I usually get around 85%.

Rick
I've done a couple of near-capacity mashes lately and done a three way sparge. The latest one, (a few days ago). It went like this:

Pre-boil length: 34.5L
First sparge: topped up with water, collected 11L wort.
Second sparge: topped up with water, then continued to collect wort until 17 point something litres was collected, then turned off tap.
Third sparge: topped up with all but about 3 litres of remaining water, (couldn't fit the last 3 litres in the MT) and collected remaining wort. Total in boiler came to 34 point something litres.

Not only was there no detrimental effect on efficiency, it was actually better than expected. Calculated OG: 1056, actual OG 1060. Admittedly the final length was about a litre short at 26 litres, but the OG would still have been up even if I'd liquor backed to 27.
Best wishes

Dave

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