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Sparge

So I do BIAB sparging in an unusual way in which when I’m done mashing I pull my grain bag and often dunk it in the remaining brew water (I treat 5.5 gals of water, mash with ~1.5 qts/lb, and nearly fill my gal pitcher and set aside about another gal in the pot I use to preheat my mash tun) I have and then set it in a large colander that I suspend with my brew spoon. I then slowly pour water into the bag to rinse my grains, and upon completion I’ll press the bag with a cup and set this in the other pot to allow gravity to give me a bit more wort that I add periodically through the boil.

Having read Denny’s quick description of fly and batch sparging I wondered if there’s any concern such as with a reduced pH.

I do the same kind of thing with BIAB – use a colander and pour hot water over the top, like old 1970s Papazian style! It works very well for improving efficiency.

If you dunk the bag in hot water, you are doing something similar to a batch sparge. If you pour water over the top, then you are doing something more like a fly sparge (except more labor-intensive). If you do both, then it’s a bit of a hybrid.

In any case, yeah, pH could be a problem if your water is pretty hard and you haven’t brought the pH down some with salts or acid. But in reality… well I really haven’t had a problem with either method, although I do add just a touch of calcium chloride to my sparge water. Fly sparging is more an issue. Batch sparging (i.e., the dunk method) shouldn’t be a problem at all.

I do the ‘fly sparge BIAB’ method too. I suspend the bag over the kettle on an oven rack and run sparge water through it.

I treat my sparge water to the same pH as my mash using Brunwater.

I thought the idea of BIAB was no sparge needed, just mash full volume of water.

Yeah… I do it anyway. It keeps efficiency higher and more consistent.

I was originally doing it because my kettle was too small for full volume BIAB. Now I do it because it’s my process and I’m happy with the results.

I was surprised on the efficiency bump I received on the six 3gal BIAB test batches I did with a quick fly sparge (like Danny) compared to the 3 without.

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