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Fly or Batch - which do you do?

I have always fly sparged, and the time savings in batch sparging is attractive. I think I will give batch a go for my next brew session. That said… a couple of questions for you experienced batch spargers.

Say you just finished your mash @ 153. You just drained all your wort from the mash tun into the boil kettle. You are shooting for a preboil volume of 7.5 gallons.

  1. Assuming you mash out, do you mash out now?

  2. Does this mean you take a temp of the grain and determine the required new strike water temp?

  3. After you’ve drained the mash, is there additional grain absorption that occurs during the batch sparge, or is the grain bed done soaking up water? (leads to my next question…)

  4. You have 4 gallons of volume in your boil kettle. Would you add just 3.5 gallons and assume no grain absorption? Can you add something like 5 gallons and just stop running liquid into the boil kettle once you hit your 7.5 gallons?

Sorry for the lengthy questions, and thanks in advance for your help!

Cheers,
Drew

[quote=“Turkeygecko”]1. Assuming you mash out, do you mash out now?

  1. Does this mean you take a temp of the grain and determine the required new strike water temp?

  2. After you’ve drained the mash, is there additional grain absorption that occurs during the batch sparge, or is the grain bed done soaking up water? (leads to my next question…)

  3. You have 4 gallons of volume in your boil kettle. Would you add just 3.5 gallons and assume no grain absorption? Can you add something like 5 gallons and just stop running liquid into the boil kettle once you hit your 7.5 gallons?

Sorry for the lengthy questions, and thanks in advance for your help!

Cheers,
Drew[/quote]

  1. If you really want to do a mashout, yes. But I stopped doing one years and hundreds of batches ago. The easiest thing to do is skip a mashout. It’s unnecessary since you get to a boil so much more quickly with batch sparging than fly sparging. But I kinda combine it with the sparge. I sparge with 190ish water.

  2. Nope. I use 190ish water every time. Close enough and it works great.

  3. No additional absorption. What you put in is what comes out.

  4. Yes to the first part. No to the second. If you stop the sparge runoff while there is still water in the tun, your efficiency will suffer.

Take a look at http://www.dennybrew.com

[quote=“Denny”]

  1. If you really want to do a mashout, yes. But I stopped doing one years and hundreds of batches ago. The easiest thing to do is skip a mashout. It’s unnecessary since you get to a boil so much more quickly with batch sparging than fly sparging. But I kinda combine it with the sparge. I sparge with 190ish water.

  2. Nope. I use 190ish water every time. Close enough and it works great.

  3. No additional absorption. What you put in is what comes out.

  4. Yes to the first part. No to the second. If you stop the sparge runoff while there is still water in the tun, your efficiency will suffer.

Take a look at http://www.dennybrew.com[/quote]

Wonderful. Thank you!

I batch sparge, just so easy I can’t imagine changing. I get why to fly sparge but I can’t see a reason to do so at home brew batch sizes. It makes sense why early home brewers did it that way though as it is a scaled down version of what big breweries do.

Batch only here…

Batch for now and ever. I’m looking to shorten my brew day, not increase. I get between 80-85% efficiency, which I’m happy with.

I’m interested in your thoughts on how the round and square/rectangular coolers compare–if any difference at all. I don’t think there are any raging debates about one being better than the other, but I think most people go with rectangular coolers because they’re cheaper.

I’ve been batching from the start. I’m not even tempted to change. I’ve got a buddy who fly sparges and has been flirting with the idea of switching. His brew days are several hours longer than mine.

Unlike many out there, I’ve actually thought about going down from 5 gallon batches to maybe 2.5-3 gallon batches. The problem with this idea is that the smaller batches would take nearly the same amount of time and I feel like the larger headspace in the kegs would be wasteful.

Batch Sparge.

Fly sparge. Yep it does add time to the brew day. For me it adds about 50 minutes more on an average. I mash in a kettle with a false bottom. The ball valve opening lies below the false bottom. I collect the runnings in two 7 gallon plastic buckets. As I collect the runnings I take small samples and use the refractometer to check the gravity level. I sparge until I collect 8.125 gallons of wort then shut down the sparge.

…done both, a batch sparge is far easier; since the extraction difference costs but pennies (90%+ fly sparge; 62% batch sparge) it’s the most practical for a homebrewer to batch sparge.

I did 3 batches fly sparging with a bucket will holes drilled in it inside a bottling bucket, then I built a cooler mash tun and started batch sparging and will never go back to fly sparging.

I’m fairly new to all-grain brewing (7 batches) but I know nothing but batch sparging thanks to Mr. Conn! I currently use a 10gal round cooler just because of the deal I got on it at Home Depot but plan on making a mash tun out of the “spare” square cooler I have as well. I’m definitely into trying new things but I don’t think fly sparging will be one of them.

I’ll address two questions here as I have lots of experience with both:

  1. Square vs Rectangular Coolers - I have a square 48 and 60 qt and a rectangular 120 qt. The square coolers get higher efficiency which I believe is due to the volume of the grain directly over the braid (or manifold) to exit the cooler. The rectangular cooler has too much volume far away from the exit.

  2. Added Time for Fly Sparge - I believe some people who fly sparge are sparging way too slow. I collect 25 gallons over a period of 90 minutes with very decent efficiencies (~80-85% for 5% abv to 65% for 9+% abv beers). For a 5% beer, I make 22 gallons start to finish in 5 hours.

Bottom line: Every system is different and it is best to learn your system and use what works best for you. There is no right and wrong.

Besides a better price/volume ratio, the main reason I prefer rectangular coolers is that the larger opening makes stirring easier. I started with a round cooler, but after about 3 batches switched to rectangular.

[quote=“MullerBrau”]I’ll address two questions here as I have lots of experience with both:

  1. Square vs Rectangular Coolers - I have a square 48 and 60 qt and a rectangular 120 qt. The square coolers get higher efficiency which I believe is due to the volume of the grain directly over the braid (or manifold) to exit the cooler. The rectangular cooler has too much volume far away from the exit.[/quote]

This should only be an issue for fly sparging. For batch sparging, the sugar should be in solution so it wouldn’t matter.

[quote=“Denny”]
Besides a better price/volume ratio, the main reason I prefer rectangular coolers is that the larger opening makes stirring easier. I started with a round cooler, but after about 3 batches switched to rectangular.[/quote]
What were you stirring with? I use this mash paddle
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?products_id=12823
and find stirring to be a breeze in a round cooler. The tool may make a difference in this case.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”][quote=“Denny”]
Besides a better price/volume ratio, the main reason I prefer rectangular coolers is that the larger opening makes stirring easier. I started with a round cooler, but after about 3 batches switched to rectangular.[/quote]
What were you stirring with? I use this mash paddle
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?products_id=12823
and find stirring to be a breeze in a round cooler. The tool may make a difference in this case.[/quote]

I used a very large metal spoon and a paddle. Maybe if I mashed as thin as I do these days, it would have worked better. But there were just too many reasons to go to a rectangular cooler. Among others, I needed more volume. I went to a 48 qt. rectangular, then a 70 qt. I also have a 152 qt.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“MullerBrau”]I’ll address two questions here as I have lots of experience with both:

  1. Square vs Rectangular Coolers - I have a square 48 and 60 qt and a rectangular 120 qt. The square coolers get higher efficiency which I believe is due to the volume of the grain directly over the braid (or manifold) to exit the cooler. The rectangular cooler has too much volume far away from the exit.[/quote]

This should only be an issue for fly sparging. For batch sparging, the sugar should be in solution so it wouldn’t matter.[/quote]Correct.

I got into AG brewing with two round orange coolers and a 10-gallon Polarware. I started off fly sparging because I didn’t know there was any other way to do it! So I fly sparged for a couple years. It worked fairly well, but I found that I had to constantly babysit the sparge or the water would get too deep, compacting the grain bed and stopping the runoff. Really a PITA to sit there and fiddle around for 30-45 minutes.

I read about batch sparging with the Denny method, and finally switched out my stainless false bottom for a braid. After that, I think I maybe went back to fly-sparging one time, but that’s it. Batch sparge all the way for me!

I could see doing a fly sparge for a really big beer - not a bad idea there.

[quote=“Denny”]

  1. If you really want to do a mashout, yes. But I stopped doing one years and hundreds of batches ago. The easiest thing to do is skip a mashout. It’s unnecessary since you get to a boil so much more quickly with batch sparging than fly sparging. But I kinda combine it with the sparge. I sparge with 190ish water.

  2. Nope. I use 190ish water every time. Close enough and it works great.

  3. No additional absorption. What you put in is what comes out.

  4. Yes to the first part. No to the second. If you stop the sparge runoff while there is still water in the tun, your efficiency will suffer.

Take a look at http://www.dennybrew.com[/quote]

Denny, I’m confused as to how you get to a boil so much quicker batch sparging. I start the burner as I collect fly sparging (mullerbrau’s technique of having a boil at the end of collection is what I try to do). I would have to think it would take some time to get to a boil batch sparging (I dabbled in batch sparging and found them to take about the same amount of time). I would batch sparge if I thought it would save time, so I’m wondering if I’m not getting something.

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