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Author Topic: All Grain setup  (Read 11853 times)

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #75 on: February 21, 2014, 10:01:15 pm »
I think some double blind placebo controlled taste tests are in order!  8)
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Offline euge

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2014, 10:13:06 pm »
I've pulled some stunts in my day too. Probably ain't done yet either!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #77 on: February 21, 2014, 11:00:27 pm »
Did anyone notice how I didn't take offense to some statements in this thread?

Offline yso191

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #78 on: February 22, 2014, 12:36:06 am »
Did anyone notice how I didn't take offense to some statements in this thread?

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Offline majorvices

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #79 on: February 22, 2014, 05:54:28 am »
I'm sorry if we hit a sore spot for you. I at least did not mean to antagonize you. I am honestly curious about what you find to be different. Bringing things like this up is exactly what can help move our hobby forward. Perhaps there is a difference but for that difference to be useful to the rest of us out here in homebrew world we need to know the details, the why's and how's of it.

for instance, you say that a batch sparge batch on your system tastes different to you than a continuous sparge batch, but you go on to say that you changed just about every aspect of your system when you switched to continuous spargeing (unless I am misunderstanding your post).

Have you run your current system in a batch sparge format with same recipe, same everything else, just run off mash water, re-fill and run off sparge water rather than set continuous and walk away?

Please do not take this as hectoring, I am honestly trying to understand how these two methods could produce results different enough to be noticeable in a sensory evaluation.

Unlike brewers who have started brewing in the last decade or so, I did not start out batch sparging.  Almost everyone used traditional sparging when I started to brew all-grain beer in 1993 (the ratio of all-grain to extract brewers was much smaller than it is today).  Batch sparging is something that I tried after I had been brewing for the better part of a decade.  Time to brew was in short supply at the point in my life; therefore, I was looking for ways to trim my brew day (this time shortage eventually led to a long hiatus from the hobby).  I was using 5 and 10-gallon beverage coolers with Phil's Phalse Bottoms to brew normal and high-gravity 5.5-gallon batches at that point in time.  I had a fixed-gap Schmidling Malt Mill, which worked extremely well when continuous sparging, but resulted in a major extraction hit when batch sparging.

What I noticed was that my batch sparged beers lacked the "graininess" of my continuously sparged beers. Whether or not that graininess was the result of over-sparging is up for debate, but it was noticeable (the untreated pH of my water supply is 6.0 and I sparge with a ratio of 0.5 quarts per pound or less; therefore, I doubt that it was tannin extraction).  The beers were still very drinkable, but I did not care for the change.   The switch from continuous sparging to batch sparging only netted a twenty minute savings after factoring in the time to infuse, stir, let rest, vorlauf, and runoff the second sparge. 

With that said, I am not surprised to find that most new amateur brewers are choosing batch sparging over continuous sparging. It's a simple way to lauter a grain bed that does not require much in the way of a tun.  However, there is still value in learning how to continuous sparge.  Continuous sparging is a skill that takes practice to master.  One will also learn applied fluid dynamics while learning how to continuous sparge.
Learning a new skill that does not impact others negatively is never a waste of time.

FWIW I started brewing about the same time as you (early/mid 90's). And I switched from fly to batch after several years of brewing. I kinda bounced between the two for a year or so before I decided to stick with batch sparging. What made me decide to stick with batch was that it saved me a lot of time and I couldn't really tell the difference. Or maybe I even liked the batch sparged beers better! In reality, I doubt I could have told the difference. (Or maybe I could!  ;D But doubt it.  :-\)

Now I have a 10 bbl brew system that is fly sparged. I also have a 50 gallon system that I batch sparge on. If someone walked into my brewery and tasted one of the beers I brewed on the pilot system and said "this tastes like it's batch sparged" I don't know if I would kick him in the nutz or humbly lay my mash paddle at his feet. Maybe I'd quit brewing altogether and take up basket weaving. ;)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 06:42:14 am by majorvices »

Offline kramerog

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #80 on: February 23, 2014, 01:55:01 pm »

This kind of response is why I almost never bring the subject up.  I can taste the difference between a batch-sparged beer and a continuous sparged beer that was made using my gear, and that's all that matters to me.

Depending on the percentage of base malt used in a recipe, my average mixed-grist extraction rate for imported malt is currently in the 33 to 35 points per pound per gallon range.   My mill is set at forty thousandths of an inch (achieving an extraction rate in this range with grain milled at forty thousandths of inch is very difficult with batch sparging).

I agree that amateur brewing is a hobby.  Like all multifaceted hobbies, continuous sparging is one of many skills that can be learned and/or mastered.   I also plate and slant all of the yeast cultures that I use.  Using a commercial yeast culture is significantly easier than taking a culture of unknown purity and turning it into something that ferments cleanly 100% of the time.

There is a joy that comes from mastering continuous sparging.  I was lucky to achieve a mixed-grist extraction rate of 22 points per pound per gallon when I first started to brew all-grain beer in 1993.  I quickly learned that lauter tun design played a huge roll in continuous sparging (i.e., a rectangular cooler combined with a slotted manifold is not the most efficient lauter tun design when continuous sparging).  My mixed-grist extraction rate quickly jumped to 28 to 29 points per pound per gallon when I switched to using a cylindrical cooler with a Phil's Phalse Bottom.  My extraction rate remained at that level for several years before it dawned on me that lautering 5-gallon batches of normal gravity beer in a 10-gallon cooler resulted in a less than optimal mash bed depth.  I switched to using a 5-gallon beverage cooler for normal gravity beers, and my extraction rate jumped to 31 points per pound per gallon.  The remaining improvements have come from step-wise refinement of my process. 

In the end, one is free to choose whatever way one wants to sparge.  I personally like the results that I get from continuous sparging.  My brewing schedule is based around having free time while the sparge is running.  I use that time to make log entries, setup my boiling stove (I mash indoors), and perform other brewing-related housekeeping activities.  I usually mash for 90 minutes and boil for 90 minutes; therefore, the time that I spend sparging is a minor fraction of my brew day.

A few questions about how you fly sparge:

- What water:grist ratio do you mash at?
- Do you add dilution water to the kettle?  How much?
- How long does your sparge last?

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Re: All Grain setup
« Reply #81 on: February 25, 2014, 08:06:41 pm »
A few questions about how you fly sparge:

- What water:grist ratio do you mash at?
- Do you add dilution water to the kettle?  How much?
- How long does your sparge last?

My "strike" liquor to grist ratio is usually around 1.33 quarts per pound of grain. My usual sparge liquor to grain ratio is slightly less than 2-quarts per pound.  The pH of my tap water is close to 6.0, but my water is weakly buffered.   Any hot liquor that I use for a mash-out infusion is subtracted from my sparge liquor.

I rarely top-up a boil.  I end up having to boil more than sixty minutes because I prefer to use a kettle that has at least a 1:1 height-to-diameter ratio.  Most of my gravities run in the 1.054 to 1.062 range.

My current primary volume is 3.5 gallons (I built my latest brew house around this batch size).  I usually collect around 5-gallons of runoff.  My sparge runs about 30 minutes.   I collect my run-off in two equal halves.  I start heating the first half of while the second half is running.  I mash in my house and boil on a 30K BTU propane stove in my garage.