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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: denny on January 17, 2013, 04:34:50 PM

Title: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: denny on January 17, 2013, 04:34:50 PM
I just discovered that the material I posted was proprietary.  I have deleted my post.  I apologize to the BA for posting it.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: dmtaylor on January 17, 2013, 06:01:27 PM
BYO magazine also recently posted an article about a German lager where the step mash is performed by direct heating of the mash tun.  After several step-ups in temperature, they finally drain the sweet wort and then do a sort of triple batch sparge.  I'm describing this based on memory, but essentially what was described was that you wanted to get half your volume from the first runnings as normal, but then after that you split your sparge into three equal parts, adding a third and draining completely, then repeating this process two more times.  This process, also, sounded very much like batch sparging to me, with a twist in that they keep the mash very thick by only sparging a little bit at a time, three times.  But I bet it would accomplish pretty close to your conventional batch sparge.  This article, too, might have been written by Horst Dornbusch?  Sometimes I have a pretty good memory... other times, not so much.  But I just read the article about 10 days ago so I'm probably not too far off.

Thank you, Denny, for sharing.  Interesting seeing that the Germans are not as far off from the conventional wisdom of the rest of the world as some might believe.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on January 17, 2013, 10:46:42 PM
That does sound an awful lot like batch sparging.  IIRC, Keith @ Yellowhammer is batch sparging.  Do you know of other commercial breweries in the U.S. who do? 
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: nateo on January 18, 2013, 04:22:59 AM
A mash filter is totally the way cool guys do it.
Title: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: majorvices on January 18, 2013, 01:13:14 PM
That does sound an awful lot like batch sparging.  IIRC, Keith @ Yellowhammer is batch sparging.  Do you know of other commercial breweries in the U.S. who do?

Not on the 15 bbl system I'm not.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on January 18, 2013, 02:16:46 PM
Ok.  Would it even be possible on the 15bbl system?
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: anthony on January 18, 2013, 02:56:28 PM
Its certainly possible but the efficiency hit adds up depending on your system size. And again depending on your system and if you have rakes or not, I would think all that stirring might get old too.
Title: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: majorvices on January 18, 2013, 04:05:07 PM
I don't think there is a huge efficiency hit. I think that is a myth. The only limitation is the size of the MT. My MT has a motorized paddle so stirring would not be an issue. On lower gravity beers it would be possible for us to batch sparge and I have thought about it to save time but haven't.
Title: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: majorvices on January 18, 2013, 05:30:54 PM
I remember another brewer who went pro telling us a few years ago that he was touring Miller and they were filling and draining the MT as fast as they could and that he said it looked like batch sparging.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: anthony on January 18, 2013, 05:56:51 PM
I don't think there is a huge efficiency hit. I think that is a myth. The only limitation is the size of the MT. My MT has a motorized paddle so stirring would not be an issue. On lower gravity beers it would be possible for us to batch sparge and I have thought about it to save time but haven't.

I think that all things being equal, if you simply change from continuous sparging to batch sparging, you will see an efficiency hit. That isn't to say you can't redial in the system to get the same or maybe even better efficiency than you were getting.

There is also no doubt in my mind that for the same amount of sparge water used, continuous sparging will yield a higher lauter efficiency than batch sparging. Again, that isn't to say you can't adjust to compensate though.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: denny on January 18, 2013, 06:28:36 PM
I think that all things being equal, if you simply change from continuous sparging to batch sparging, you will see an efficiency hit. That isn't to say you can't redial in the system to get the same or maybe even better efficiency than you were getting.

There is also no doubt in my mind that for the same amount of sparge water used, continuous sparging will yield a higher lauter efficiency than batch sparging. Again, that isn't to say you can't adjust to compensate though.

Are these just gut feelings or do you have some data to support that?
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: nateo on January 18, 2013, 07:15:52 PM
Are these just gut feelings or do you have some data to support that?

C'mon Denny, this is the Internet. Data is not required to form opinions.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: anthony on January 18, 2013, 07:23:50 PM
Are these just gut feelings or do you have some data to support that?

I think Kai Troester's experiments and data support that.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: nateo on January 18, 2013, 08:10:21 PM
I've seen some pro brewers say batch sparging is less efficient on their system. I've seen other pro brewers say it makes no difference on their system. Since all brewers don't use the exact same system, it probably depends more on the equipment than the method. For instance: mash filters batch sparge, and they get 98%+ efficiency.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: a10t2 on January 18, 2013, 09:13:35 PM
Are these just gut feelings or do you have some data to support that?

Mathematically, it makes sense. Increasing the number of batches in a batch-sparging regime increases efficiency, and fly-sparging is essentially just batch-sparging with an infinite number of batches.

Depending on the liquor-to-grist ratio and the number of batches, the difference could be anywhere from 1-5%.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: anthony on January 18, 2013, 10:27:49 PM
Just to be clear, I wasn't advocating one way or another. And I wasn't saying the efficiency change would be large, but I said it would add up. On a 15P beer, on a 15 BBL system, 3% is somewhere in the realm of 15-20 pounds of grain. Every 3-4 batches you would be using up 1 more bag of grain than you needed to. If you have a tasting room, the beer prices can easily absorb that, even if you're just a distributing brewery, you can likely absorb that.

Yes, it is completely dependent on equipment. It will depend on how much deadspace there is in the lautering vessel, etc. I was simply expressing the opinion that walking up to any random brewery's brewhouse and deciding to batch sparge has a high chance of having a lower efficiency than is normal with that system because the overwhelming vast majority were designed for continuous sparge, obviously there are exceptions, like the folks who have Meura setups.

I was echoing the sort of sentiment Horst was expressing in his anecdote about attempting to brew an American style ale on a German system and experiencing a 20% efficiency drop.

Ultimately, if you're buying a new brewhouse, you want a system designed around whatever technique(s) you have adopted in your brewery. If you're stuck with an existing system, your technique choices will be somewhat bound by what the system was originally designed to handle. Continuous vs batch sparging is only one of those decisions, pellet vs whole, already milled grain vs milling on site, cleaning under pressure or not, caustic or alkaline+acid, etc.

Even if you happened to walk into a German brewery where you were all setup for batch sparging and then decided not to decoct because 4 out of 5 Dennys agree that it doesn't make a difference, you would experience some serious problems because the system was designed around decocting (again just as Mr. Dornbusch shared).
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: denny on January 18, 2013, 10:45:42 PM
OK, I'm convinced!   :)
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: nateo on January 18, 2013, 11:38:31 PM
Even if you happened to walk into a German brewery where you were all setup for batch sparging and then decided not to decoct because 4 out of 5 Dennys agree that it doesn't make a difference, you would experience some serious problems because the system was designed around decocting (again just as Mr. Dornbusch shared).

Well, not necessarily. I know of at least two American brewpubs that have German-style, decoction-designed brewhouses but just use single infusion mashes.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: anthony on January 18, 2013, 11:57:35 PM
Even if you happened to walk into a German brewery where you were all setup for batch sparging and then decided not to decoct because 4 out of 5 Dennys agree that it doesn't make a difference, you would experience some serious problems because the system was designed around decocting (again just as Mr. Dornbusch shared).

Well, not necessarily. I know of at least two American brewpubs that have German-style, decoction-designed brewhouses but just use single infusion mashes.

How exactly is an American brewpub a German brewery?  ;D

It depends on the manufacturer, but either way if you have a lauter/whirlpool combi (like ABT makes) instead of kettle/whirlpool (like Premiere makes), you have to make adjustments, you may be doing a single infusion but you probably have to do some form of a step mash (i.e. fire up the kettle to take you to a mash out temperature) to compensate for heat loss doing the sparge. Again depends how much rock wool you have on your lauter vessel I suppose :)
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: gmac on January 19, 2013, 12:16:47 AM
I just discovered that the material I posted was proprietary.  I have deleted my post.  I apologize to the BA for posting it.

I didn't care before but now I have to find out...
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: anthony on January 19, 2013, 12:30:10 AM
I just discovered that the material I posted was proprietary.  I have deleted my post.  I apologize to the BA for posting it.

I didn't care before but now I have to find out...

It came from the BA members list. I'm guessing their blanket policy is that things posted there are proprietary to the BA. I didn't get the impression that the information Mr. Dornbusch shared itself was secret, but I imagine the BA doesn't want to make a habit of having emails from the list published into public forums because often times you have brewers from various breweries asking questions, etc. and its supposed to be an environment of trust, no stupid questions, etc.
Title: Re: German commercial breweries batch sparging?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on January 19, 2013, 02:57:20 AM
I think that all things being equal, if you simply change from continuous sparging to batch sparging, you will see an efficiency hit. That isn't to say you can't redial in the system to get the same or maybe even better efficiency than you were getting.

There is also no doubt in my mind that for the same amount of sparge water used, continuous sparging will yield a higher lauter efficiency than batch sparging. Again, that isn't to say you can't adjust to compensate though.

Are these just gut feelings or do you have some data to support that?

I step mash with infusion.
I do 142, 160 and 170-is.
I fill the whole mash tun.
I used to sparge that I added larger amounts of water (in batches). Then I drain mashtun till I see the grain and more water...
Now I drain MT till I see grain bed and then fly sparge.
I have seen better efficiency up to 4 points.
The same maltster the same recipe.