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Equipment advice on converting from BIAB propane to continuous sparge electric

I have always brewed in a bag. I have a effective way to do continuous sparge and I get gravities higher than NB kits and I match or exceed commercial brew recipe OG. The pain I feel relates to the weight of the bag and temperature control. I don’t just bring it up to temperature and let it sit, I move the bag up and down so the wort is mixed and I can read temperature accurately and control it. I also periodically lift the bag out of wort and allow it drain for a minute. I can maintain +/-2F with this technique. But my arms get tired and I would like to do +/- 1F. When I want more unfermentable sugars, I mash at 158 so I don’t like temperature swings. When I sparge, I do it with the bag in a turkey fryer insert thing that has a lot of holes in it. I do up to 5 slow sparges with slow pours then add at least the first 3 sparges to the boil. The rest sparges I boil separately in case I need it and if gravity is high enough, use the drainings for a starter. I bought a winch already will use it next time I mash.

So I figure electric heated continuous sparge is the way to go. Tell me if my thoughts are wrong. I visited NB milwaukee and had someone show me the grain father. I want 10 gallon pot btw. I can not see how I could do continuous sparge with that equipment as I would be lifting the dripping grain holder out and doing a continuous sparge with the pot trying to get to boil would make a heck of a mess. So I am thinking I will need a separate mash equipment from boil equipment. Input appreciated…tell me if I am wrong.

I will likely do the same thing as Ed did a while back on his 2000 dollar expansion that had to come in well over 5000. I am starting with 5000 and who knows what final number I will hit before wife hits the wall. So what I buy now should fit in with a setup like Ed’s eventually. I grow weary of using a kegerator for low temperature control so want glycol system for fermentation. I also will have glycol system for temperature control as I am piping from my kegerator to upstairs great room with several beers on tap coming out of wall. One glycol system to do both would be nice. My new basement is set up with brewing in mind. Have a big fan and ventilation for moisture control and 30 amp 240 V outlet.

What equipment manufacture should I look at. Blitchman??? Anvil??? Also I have assumed best temperature control is electric but saw blitchman has gas fired as well in their 4999 offering. I am stuck with propane here in boondocks. I know this is a lot to ask. My head is swimming right now.

So i admit i don’t really follow everything you’re saying about “continuous sparge”… it sounds like you’re talking about re-dunking the same bag over, and over like a giant tea cup.

My anvil makes that unnecessary, because I have the recirculating add-on which was like another $100. I presume Grainfather has a similar option. So it sucks wort out of the bottom spigot and pumps it back to the top of the malt tube. I would maybe refer to that as a “continuous vourlaf” I’m new to the system, but just nailed OG for the first time today, and may be able to adjust crush to do better.

Sounds like your making this way harder than it has to be. If you feel you need to recirculate just give it a stir every 15 minutes or so. As far as a continuous sparge again unnecessary. These are all things that a commercial brewery needs to do but not a home brewer. If just getting higher extraction is your measure i get that and don’t do any stirring except when decocting and just a simple dunk sparge.

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IF you are handy and can build stuff… then you’ll have alot of cash left over… I did my build up in the beer gear section… Electric kettle build up (I’ll have to go look to confirm)…
Have you looked at Spike stuff? If you can, ditch the bag and get a basket… I recirc the whole time as I mash… and I do a full volume mash… stirring from time to time… I make all my grain bills with 80% and MOST times I’ll exceed.
I am one happy brewer with an electric system… I control my temps all the way through… not a set and go goof off system…

Guess what getting higher efficiency is not related to recirculating. If that were the case you would get different efficiency at different temperature

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I’ll agree with you for the most part… I feel the less you pay attention to the mash, the less you’ll extract… Remember when first starting out? The “mash” was a mystery… But then you start understanding whats going on and then the “efficiency” becomes a constant…

JMCK after I am done with the mash, I put the sack with the grain in it in a cylindrical vessel with holes in the side and top. I let it drain then very gradually add sparge water evenly across the top of the grain bed so the so as to slowly rinse the grain. I do this while waiting for the wort to boil. As others, including Palmer, have indicated this is overkill.

Sneezles thanks I found your build up post scanned it and saved a link to it. I will read it fully. Have not tried spike but on their website and saved the link to it. They are in my daughters town and I can visit it when I see the grandkids. Thanks for help.

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You might want to look into the claw hammer brew systems. Me did not make the switch yet to electric. But once i do gonna build a system like claw hammer. Me looking at a sort of hoist system to build to raise the basket. Only thing me confused. Why you do raise the bag. Easier. To swirl the grains. And let it rest again.

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I leave my basket in the whole time… its very easy to stir the grains… well, the basket makes it a piece of cake…
But when its done, then I use a pulley system to hoist the grain basket… the hardest part is to break loose from the wort… Even when its hanging above the wort, I’ll stir and direct the hose over the grains…

Summary-brewcat was right I was making too much work for myself by periodically lifting the BIAB and letting it drain during a mash. Does not make a darn bit of difference, except to my weary arms. :slight_smile:

Details-I did two identical mashes. One I periodically and frequently lifted the bag and let it drain for a minute during the mash. Other mash no periodic lifting but just frequent stirring of the grain. It made no significant difference in OG. 1.056 for lifting and 1.054 for not lifting. Recognize this is a small difference and could easily be explained by very slight difference in beer volumes. Both were 5.25 gallons approximately but I am eyeballing the .25 as a quarter way between the gallon marking. The 1.056 OG may have been slightly less than 5.25 gallons. Next I will quantitatively assess whether my multi step sparges are overkill as well.

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