Sparge Time

Hey all:

Brewed a SN Torpedo Extra IPA clone today and in turned out great, with the exception that instead of hitting 75% efficiency, I hit more like 69% efficiency. Have been doing some research about what I can do to improve efficiency, and the only culprit could be the amount of time I typically sparge. I’ve read that it’s important to allow the liquid to drain slowly, rather than quickly. My question — how long does it take you all to sparge, let’s say, 5 gallons of liquid? I typically open my valve up and let it go full tilt.



I fly sparge and it usually takes 1 hour. I have read that 1 hour is the ideal time between greater efficiency and time.

Batch or fly? If your fly sparging then you are going way to fast. Cheers

And if you are batch sparging, then it’s fine to open your valve all the way. I usually crack it open slowly and recirculate the first quart or two until there’s no more chunks of grain, and then slowly open the valve all the way after that. Works great, and I can get efficiency around 90%.

Have you considered whether the crush or volume measurements might be the culprit? Those are the two most likely factors that affect efficiency.

I batch sparge and usually have a grist ratio of 1.5 quarts of water to 1 lb of grain. I also usually do a mashout after a 60 minute mash. Usually only sparge twice since my boil kettle can only hold 7.5 gallons. Also know it’s not the crush. Have a neighbor who owns a barley crusher and it suits him well. Any other suggestions? I know the beer will turn out good but it’s frustrating to miss your og by 6-8 points!

Having efficiency that is consistant and repeatable is far more important than high efficiency at the home brewing level. If there are simple ways to increase efficiency, great, but the simple answer is to adjust by adding a bit more grain?

I just started mashing for 75 minutes instead of 60 minutes.

ON MY SYSTEM, :smiley: , this has given me more consistent efficiencies. At 60 min I was getting high 60’s ~ to low 70’s. 75 min mashes have given 75%, or even a little higher, for the last 5 batches I have brewed.

I batch sparge and , after setting the grain bed to get a clear runoff , I open the valve up and let it go. :lol:

Not saying this is your solution but the extra 15 minutes has worked for me. I haven’t changed anything else.

Good Luck

If you’re batch sparging, runoff rate isn’t your problem. Are you saying that you crush using your neighbor’s BC?

Runoff rate on batch sparging makes little to no difference in the gravity, but going a little slower will allow your grain bed to filter a bit better for a clearer wort. Mash tun configuration also comes into play here for a clear run off, which I strive for each time. I mash 75-90 minutes to get the best results in terms of full conversion, but I make a lot of pilsners and lighter lagers. The full time from beginning of run off to end of second run off is usually about 30 minutes - YMMV.


Thanks for all the replies. Yeah Denny, my neighbor has a BC and the crush that it produces does well. My mash tun was based off of Denny’s, using a rectangular cooler with SS screen. I think what I’ll try next weekend is a longer mash time. Perhaps switching from 60 to 90 minutes will result in better sugar extraction. Btw, what is the recommended setting for a BC in terms of mm?

A longer mash might help if you’re having conversion problems. You can check conversion efficiency with Kai’s chart. Have you checked your mash pH?

In terms of mill settings, there is no magic number. You need to learn what a good crush looks like and what works for your system.

Something that has made a big difference for me is to stir my grain at the end of my mash. I then recirculate 2-4 quarts of runoff to set grain and clear the wort. I do sort of a combo fly/batch sparge…

I have a sparge ring that sprinkles water on the grain bet, and I open the valve to drain into my boil kettle. I Drain slower to start, and I stir the top 1/2 of the grain a couple more times as the sparge water enters. Once most of my sparge water is in the mash tun, I open spigot up most of the way. I would say the total time it takes me from after recirculating til I have collected all my wort is 15 minutes. I have been getting 80-85% efficiency.

Crush is very important, and I feel that stirring my mash during sparge has added 10% to my efficiency.