Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Fly sparging vs. Batch sparging

Hey all, I usually do a fly sparge, but I was wondering if anyone has done both fly and sparge, and if so which did you like better and why?
any noticeable difference in efficiency? Time? Ease of use?

Check this out…

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=120068

I started out fly sparging. After about 6 batches, I tried batch sparging. The 444 batches since then have all been batch sparged. It takes less equipment and less time, and I get efficiency as good or better than fly sparging. I can’t think of any reason to not batch sparge unless you’re making batches in excess of maybe 20 gal. even then it might still be a good option, depending on your equipment.

I did 3 or 4 fly sparge batches then found Denny’s website and started batch sparging, I’ll never go back. Quicker and easier IMO.

Mr. Conn! just the man I was looking for! When you batch sparge, what’s your time line? 20 mins? an hour? Also I know you use a rectangular mash, what do you use for a false bottom? I tried using a bazooka tube and had really lousy efficiency (I think because of some channeling issues) Any chance you might share some insight?

Can’t speak for Denny, but my batch sparge timeline is ‘relax’ :smiley: You can drain as fast as you are comfortable, given that it’s not fast enough to set things too rigidly and plug things up with a stuck mash. Actual time depends upon how big the beer is, quantity of water, fineness of crush and so forth, but in general I think it takes around 10 minutes for an average batch, no more than 20.

OK, first let’s correct a misconception…when you batch sparge, you CAN’T GET channelling! It only happens in fly sparging when you’re rinsing the grain. In batch sparging, you have all the sugar in solution at once and you drain it, not rinse it. Because of that, channelling is impossible.

I use a SS hose braid becasue it works better than anything else I’ve tried. Your low efficiency was not sue to the Bazooka. They work well, too, but in my experience not as well (or inexpensively) as the braid.

As to the timeline, it takes me a total of about 15 min. to vorlauf the mash, run it off, add the sparge water, vorlauf again, and run that off. That’s for a total of 7.5-8 gal. in the kettle.

Take a look at www.dennybrew.com if you haven’t already.

I noticed it helps my efficiency to stir the crap out of the mash after I add my sparge water.

Thank you all for the input! I was attempting (and failing) a fly sparge, I think that’s why my numbers were so rotten. I’ve never tried a batch sparge and based on my looking around I’m worse off for not having tried it! I’m going to do a Black IPA coming up, you can bet on the fact I’ll be doing a batch sparge!

Cool! Lemme know if you have any questions!

So, just to be clear, when Batch sparging, I don’t have to worry about speed. I can just open up the valve and let 'er rip? (after setting the grain bed with the vorlouf) is that right?

That’s correct, the only concern is setting the grain bed as you mentioned to avoid any stuck sparge issues. I generally keep the flow fairly slow during the vorlauf, maybe 3-4 qts worth tops, then open it up all the way and let it drain into the kettle.

Unlike Denny, I only did one fly sparge. That was because I had Denny’s website available to me before the next batch!

Seriously, the fly sparging may be more true to form or historically accurate, but there is no reason I have found to do it. Same for decoctions, but I have done those on some lagers for the sake of the Mailllards, etc… Meh, just add some Melanoiden…but that will bring reprisals, I am sure.

One thing for sure - try different things and go with your preference! And in any event, be pragmatic!!

:cheers:

I don’t know about historical accuracy, but I bet batch sparging is the more historical method if you mean “how long people’ve been doing it”.

Batch sparging is definitely the traditional way to do it for British brewers. I haven’t read as much about historical brewing on the Continent, so maybe that’s how Charlemagne’s beer was made, I don’t know. But my gut says that modern-style fly sparging would be a heck of a lot of extra process to go through for brewers who haven’t got the concept of brewhouse efficiency yet. (No hydrometers before the late 1700s.) Wild guess, the historical difference between what would eventually become batch and fly sparging just boiled down to whether or not the brewer closed the tap on the mash or lauter tun before pouring in the sparge water.

I use a clear high temp hose to drain my MLT and see good clarity draining at high speed. At the VERY end of the drain I see grain being sucked into the hose. This is quite easy to stop by pinching the hose if you’re watching. The small amount would likely not have much if any effect anyway.

[quote=“bunderbunder”]I don’t know about historical accuracy, but I bet batch sparging is the more historical method if you mean “how long people’ve been doing it”.

Batch sparging is definitely the traditional way to do it for British brewers. I haven’t read as much about historical brewing on the Continent, so maybe that’s how Charlemagne’s beer was made, I don’t know. But my gut says that modern-style fly sparging would be a heck of a lot of extra process to go through for brewers who haven’t got the concept of brewhouse efficiency yet. (No hydrometers before the late 1700s.) Wild guess, the historical difference between what would eventually become batch and fly sparging just boiled down to whether or not the brewer closed the tap on the mash or lauter tun before pouring in the sparge water.[/quote]
From what I understand, batch sparging was the historical method before science intruded into the process with the invention of the hydrometer. With a properly tuned system, fly sparging allowed professional brewers to squeeze out a bit better efficiency - not enough to make any practical difference on a home brew scale.

I’ve also heard that hybrid sparging (another older technique) can be still more efficient than fly sparging. But I think it’d be difficult/expensive to automate - wouldn’t be able to just hook up some flow meters and let 'er rip.

Haven’t tried it myself, though, what with still being a bag brewer and all.

[quote=“ynotbrusum”]Unlike Denny, I only did one fly sparge. That was because I had Denny’s website available to me before the next batch!

Seriously, the fly sparging may be more true to form or historically accurate, but there is no reason I have found to do it. Same for decoctions, but I have done those on some lagers for the sake of the Mailllards, etc… Meh, just add some Melanoiden…but that will bring reprisals, I am sure.

One thing for sure - try different things and go with your preference! And in any event, be pragmatic!!

:cheers: [/quote]I’ve done both with my setups and this is the main reason I do fly.

When I use my 152 qt. cooler, I always end up doing partigyle. First batch (usually BW) is no sparge, then I batch sparge for the 2nd batch.

mullerbrau, how big is that cooler? My partner just bought a 100 qt rectangle cooler, which was the basis for this thread in the first place. Since I’ll be using a bazooka tube in it, I need it to hold a LOT of mash water, so I don’t have to fly. I’m sure with a cooler that big, I’ll never have to worry about it, but I’m always curious what other people are doing!

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com