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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: JKL on November 23, 2010, 06:34:16 pm

Title: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: JKL on November 23, 2010, 06:34:16 pm
So after 40 some AG batches I have decided to give fly sparging a shot.  I've always been a batch sparger (Thanks Denny) and get around 65-68% eff.  I'm on a "Big-ger Beer" kick so I want to get as much as I can out of my grainbed the next go 'round.  I hoping to get into that 75-80% range.  I use a 10 gal Gott mashtun and wondering what some of you guys are using for sparging.  I like the cool "whirly" gig thing but I don't know how hard that would be to build.  I've also thought about just going with some simple coiled copper tubing.  Any thoughts are appreciated.
-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: denny on November 23, 2010, 06:47:30 pm
A sparge arm is a folly.  If you want to fly sparge, I'd recommend using a manifold for your return.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: JKL on November 23, 2010, 06:54:14 pm
A sparge arm is a folly.  If you want to fly sparge, I'd recommend using a manifold for your return.

So just swap out my kewler screen for a copper or PVC manifold set-up and go slow, huh?
-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: jeffy on November 23, 2010, 07:16:27 pm
A sparge arm is a folly.  If you want to fly sparge, I'd recommend using a manifold for your return.

So just swap out my kewler screen for a copper or PVC manifold set-up and go slow, huh?
-J.K.L.

The general consensus is to have a half inch of water on top of the grain bed, staying consistent with the amount and speed of run-off.  You don't need any special whirligigs or manifolds for this.
I usually drain nearly all the mash first, then fairly slowly fill up the tun with water until I have some hot water across the surface of the grain bed and then start a very slow run-off.  While doing this I don't disturb the grain bed by stirring, but I have found that cutting the grain bed with a long knife or spatula not quite all the way down to the false bottom (thanks, Gordon) keeps the water from making channels in the mash.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: Matt B on November 23, 2010, 08:34:49 pm
Agree that an overly fancy arm is probably unneeded. But since I use the same contraption to maintain and raise my temps as well as lauter, I do need to make sure that I don't have a single stream else it will channel (and I've proven this on accident) as well as need to keep it submerged to avoid excessive HSA. I currently use a bit of 1/4" copper pipe that I wrapped around a wine bottle with a 90 degree bend pointing straight up, then drilled some holes. I then have a copper arm coming straight out horizontally with a 90 degree elbow. I attach the two with some vinyl tubing that can slide up and down the vertical part of the copper manifold.

If it's hard to visualize, don't worry about it, as I'm in the process of ordering some loc-line to attach to a copper manifold to get it to the right height. I'm thinking this will be the better way to go, and for $10, totally worth it.

The problem with a sparge arm is that they typically sit above the grain bed, and if you're going to run anything but water through it, I wouldn't recommend it for fear of excessive HSA. Anything home made you're going to have to find a way to maintain height as it'll change depending on how much grain is in there. And it's not that easy.

If you're not worried about HSA (as in the beer will be drank within a couple of months) then just taking a bit of flexible copper and attaching it so that the return basically runs it along the side of the kettle will probably be sufficient for a RIMS/HERMS, lautering and sparging (if you keep the liquid about an inch above the grain.) The dispersion of the liquid across the very edge and keeping the inertia of the liquid going horizontally vs vertically into the grain should keep channeling to a minimum.

And I would avoid the normal while PVC stuff, I've heard it can add a plastic flavor to your beer. There may be better PVC (the black stuff? CPVC?) that won't contribute flavors if copper's not an easy option.


Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: denny on November 23, 2010, 09:22:48 pm
A sparge arm is a folly.  If you want to fly sparge, I'd recommend using a manifold for your return.

So just swap out my kewler screen for a copper or PVC manifold set-up and go slow, huh?
-J.K.L.

Nope...use a manifold to deliver the water to the top of your mash for a fly sparge.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: MDixon on November 23, 2010, 09:42:14 pm
Bah humbug on a manifold - anything which is not submerged is just a way to lose heat. The easiest way is to perf some foil and simply lay your HLT output onto the top of the foil...easy...lemme repeat...easy...

I reuse the foil over and over until it becomes a pain to reuse...did I mention easy?
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: denny on November 23, 2010, 09:46:43 pm
Bah humbug on a manifold - anything which is not submerged is just a way to lose heat. The easiest way is to perf some foil and simply lay your HLT output onto the top of the foil...easy...lemme repeat...easy...

I reuse the foil over and over until it becomes a pain to reuse...did I mention easy?

I definitely agree with you, Mike, but it sounded like the OP wanted a piece of gear.  Anyway, what do I know about fly sparging?
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: bonjour on November 24, 2010, 01:09:29 am
My sparge arm is my right.

Being right handed it is natural.  I place a colander from the 70's, muted green, on top of the grain bed, and then dump sparge water in it using my right, arm that is.

Simple, and quick. 
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: mthogan1997 on November 24, 2010, 02:42:58 am
Manifold flowing into a pie pan. I used that method for 10ish years and got 85% efficiency. Last year I gave batch sparging a shot and after 1 less than good attempt and tweaking my equipment, I am getting roughly 82% but am saving a good 45 to 60 minutes on every brew.

I'd recommend looking at what is causing your low efficiency and fixing that - crush being the first thing I'd look at - before you started buying new equipment or changing your procedure. Without being able to fix what you have, I'd be surprised if fly sparging would help you as much as you expect.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: tubercle on November 24, 2010, 03:27:45 am
Bah humbug on a manifold - anything which is not submerged is just a way to lose heat. The easiest way is to perf some foil and simply lay your HLT output onto the top of the foil...easy...lemme repeat...easy...

I reuse the foil over and over until it becomes a pain to reuse...did I mention easy?

This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 24, 2010, 03:59:00 am
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: corkybstewart on November 24, 2010, 05:46:18 am
I built a sparge arm out of 1/2" soft copper.  It's round to fit into my converted keg mash tun, has a crossbar and has holes drilled at about 30 degrees from the bottom all the way around so that it sprays water all over the grain bed  I soldered copper wire to suspend it from the rim of the keg it so that I can adjust the height above the grain bed.  I should take a picture and post it, it's hard to explain, but whether I'm mashing 20 pounds or 35 pounds I can adjust it so that it's one inch above the grain bed.  BTW fly sparging rocks.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: 1vertical on November 24, 2010, 06:24:54 am
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D

R O L F !!~ 
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: tubercle on November 24, 2010, 12:27:54 pm
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D

R O L F !!~ 

 Y'all ain't right ;D

 I suspect I'm not the only one on here with this disease ;)
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: JKL on November 24, 2010, 03:04:02 pm
Manifold flowing into a pie pan. I used that method for 10ish years and got 85% efficiency. Last year I gave batch sparging a shot and after 1 less than good attempt and tweaking my equipment, I am getting roughly 82% but am saving a good 45 to 60 minutes on every brew.

I'd recommend looking at what is causing your low efficiency and fixing that - crush being the first thing I'd look at - before you started buying new equipment or changing your procedure. Without being able to fix what you have, I'd be surprised if fly sparging would help you as much as you expect.

Unfortunately I haven't had the coin to buy my own mill so I've only used my LHBS and Austin HB to mill my grain. Both are in that 65%ish range.  AHB e mailed me a few weeks ago with a special on the 15lb BarleyCrusher for like $125 & free shipping.  Boy I was tempted but I guess some things are more important than beer ???
JKL
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: denny on November 24, 2010, 04:05:06 pm
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D

There is no known cure once you're Dennyfied.   ;D
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: kerneldustjacket on November 24, 2010, 04:39:18 pm
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D

There is no known cure once you're Dennyfied.   ;D

Should I be afraid? After 15+ years of fly sparging, I'm doing a no-sparge batch of brown ale this Friday...
I work in a hospital...maybe if I take home some latex gloves and a surgical mask....?

(tubercle...you're tearing my sides out with your use of third person to refer to yourself!!!!)
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: gordonstrong on November 24, 2010, 04:46:27 pm
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D

There is no known cure once you're Dennyfied.   ;D

Is that Dennyfied or Dennyfried?
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: denny on November 24, 2010, 04:57:22 pm
Is that Dennyfied or Dennyfried?

:)  Dennyfied is bona fide!
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: 1vertical on November 24, 2010, 05:35:58 pm
I love the exchange of Banter in the morning.... ::)
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: Kit B on November 24, 2010, 08:03:44 pm
So after 40 some AG batches I have decided to give fly sparging a shot.  I've always been a batch sparger (Thanks Denny) and get around 65-68% eff.  I'm on a "Big-ger Beer" kick so I want to get as much as I can out of my grainbed the next go 'round.  I hoping to get into that 75-80% range.  I use a 10 gal Gott mashtun and wondering what some of you guys are using for sparging.  I like the cool "whirly" gig thing but I don't know how hard that would be to build.  I've also thought about just going with some simple coiled copper tubing.  Any thoughts are appreciated.
-J.K.L.

Why do you want to take a step backwards in the evolution of your brewing?
Try malt conditioning, coupled with a double batch sparge...
You might not hit 80%, but some guys regularly do it.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 25, 2010, 08:21:37 am
Should I be afraid? After 15+ years of fly sparging, I'm doing a no-sparge batch of brown ale this Friday...
I work in a hospital...maybe if I take home some latex gloves and a surgical mask....?
Throw in some penicillin while you're at it . . . :)
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: realbeerguy on November 25, 2010, 04:59:35 pm
As a reply to the O/P, look at your crush for better efficiency.  You should be able to get a smaller beer out of the mash if you batch or fly the first runnings.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: realbeerguy on November 25, 2010, 05:02:17 pm

Should I be afraid? After 15+ years of fly sparging, I'm doing a no-sparge batch of brown ale this Friday...
I work in a hospital...maybe if I take home some latex gloves and a surgical mask....?

KDJ, what's the matter?  Wifey drink all your beer? ;D ;D ;D

Do I need to make a supply run to your house.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: kerneldustjacket on November 26, 2010, 12:10:26 am

Should I be afraid? After 15+ years of fly sparging, I'm doing a no-sparge batch of brown ale this Friday...
I work in a hospital...maybe if I take home some latex gloves and a surgical mask....?
KDJ, what's the matter?  Wifey drink all your beer? ;D ;D ;D

Do I need to make a supply run to your house.

OK Mr.RBG...I'll admit it here for all to see...My wife drinks three beers to my one.
I look on it as a good thing: she's my "Homebrew Throughput Enhancement Machine." In other words, she helps to ensure that all homebrew in the house is at its peak of freshness...and that I get a chance to brew often and better my craft. Well, that is so long as one in three brews is a German Weizen, as she's from Stuttgart.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: micsager on November 26, 2010, 03:14:46 am
A sparge arm is a folly.  If you want to fly sparge, I'd recommend using a manifold for your return.

So just swap out my kewler screen for a copper or PVC manifold set-up and go slow, huh?
-J.K.L.

The general consensus is to have a half inch of water on top of the grain bed, staying consistent with the amount and speed of run-off.  You don't need any special whirligigs or manifolds for this.
I usually drain nearly all the mash first, then fairly slowly fill up the tun with water until I have some hot water across the surface of the grain bed and then start a very slow run-off.  While doing this I don't disturb the grain bed by stirring, but I have found that cutting the grain bed with a long knife or spatula not quite all the way down to the false bottom (thanks, Gordon) keeps the water from making channels in the mash.
+1,this is exactly what I do.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: bonjour on November 26, 2010, 03:32:29 pm
So after 40 some AG batches I have decided to give fly sparging a shot.  I've always been a batch sparger (Thanks Denny) and get around 65-68% eff.  I'm on a "Big-ger Beer" kick so I want to get as much as I can out of my grainbed the next go 'round.  I hoping to get into that 75-80% range.  I use a 10 gal Gott mashtun and wondering what some of you guys are using for sparging.  I like the cool "whirly" gig thing but I don't know how hard that would be to build.  I've also thought about just going with some simple coiled copper tubing.  Any thoughts are appreciated.
-J.K.L.
Not knocking batch sparging, I use that for all my starters (5 gallons of "normal" strength beer. but my setup is similar to yours,
10 gal igloo (yellow is king) cooler with a domed false bottom.  I fly sparge all my big beers and get between 75 and 95% efficiency mostly depending on my boil time and my associated gallons boiled.  In fly sparging, especially with bigger beers, efficiency goes up with the volume of wort collected pre-boil.  My biggest beers tend to be some of the most efficient, collecting 9 gallons to make 5 really helps the efficiency.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: MDixon on November 26, 2010, 07:47:15 pm
Efficiency is of course dependent upon the volume gravity, but I'm having trouble seeing 95% efficiency work out, 85-90 I can see with the extra sparging you are doing, but 95% would mean on a standard gravity beer you would ALWAYS get 95% since the boil gravity would be about the same.




Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: bonjour on November 26, 2010, 08:56:55 pm
Understood Mike, I questioned it myself

A long Decoction mash, 25 5/8 lb grain bill, 9.75 gallons of wort collected and boiled 4 hours down to yield 4.75 gallons in a keg.  OG 1.189.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: MDixon on November 27, 2010, 02:12:41 am
25.625 x 36 = ~922
4.75 x 189 = ~898
898 / 922 = 97.3% which is virtually impossible, even at 38ppg it's still like 93%.
How are you measuring 1.189 and how do you know it is accurate?
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: bonjour on November 27, 2010, 02:30:00 am
At that level it has to be calculated unless you have a refractometer that reads that high, I don't yet.
So I calculated the additions I made and added them together initially,  Then checked by measuring the FG by both hydrometer and refractometer and used a calculator.   So yes estimates were involved.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 27, 2010, 07:23:29 am
Get yourself a small graduated cylinder, then dilute the wort with an equal amount of water.  Multiply the refractometer reading by 2, and bob's your uncle.  It will be cheaper than buying a high gravity refractometer, $7.50 from morebeer.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/6540//Graduated_Cylinder_-_10mL
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: Homebrewer7 on February 22, 2017, 09:43:17 am
The best Sparge Arm I have seen is here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSb9WjPfSY4&feature=youtu.be
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: curtdogg on February 22, 2017, 06:50:15 pm
Get yourself a small graduated cylinder, then dilute the wort with an equal amount of water.  Multiply the refractometer reading by 2, and bob's your uncle.  It will be cheaper than buying a high gravity refractometer, $7.50 from morebeer.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/6540//Graduated_Cylinder_-_10mL
Bought my ATC refractometer for $20 online. Works great and saves time.
Title: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: natebrews on February 22, 2017, 09:54:30 pm
To the OP subject, when I fly sparse in my 10g round igloo cooler, I just leave about 1-2 inches of liquid on top of the mash and then put a chunk of silicone hose from the HLT around the perimeter about 3/4 of a turn sitting right on the grain.  This is injecting tangentially (and horizontally) from the HLT.  When it is running, the liquid has a slow rotation to it as the sparge water comes in.  No manifolds or arms or whatever, just 4' of 1/2 inch hose. 

Sometimes I just run all the sparge water into the cooler at once after the liquid has drained to the level of the grain bed.  That way I don't worry about rates, but it could end up compressing the mash I suppose ( not that it has ever happened to me).
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: Stevie on February 22, 2017, 10:06:42 pm
This thread is so old it has a crush on its first grade teacher.
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: natebrews on February 22, 2017, 10:22:30 pm
Hey, some first grade teachers have it going on!
Title: Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
Post by: goforthegusto on March 07, 2017, 04:03:37 am
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I would post what I do. I use a loc-line that I can adjust to keep just below the water surface. It works very well.(https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3777/32482791533_c45badd6f1_k.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/RuoNeT)DSC_4978 (https://flic.kr/p/RuoNeT) by The Gustos (https://www.flickr.com/photos/thegustos/), on Flickr