Author Topic: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!  (Read 4564 times)

Offline brulosopher

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These days, it seems the most popular mashing method among homebrewers is batch sparge, perhaps due to its simplicity, though this hasn’t always been the case. A decade ago, if someone said they brewed all grain, it was pretty much assumed they were using the fly sparge method. For this xBmt, we compared these commonly used approaches, results are in!

http://brulosophy.com/2016/01/11/mash-methods-fly-sparge-vs-batch-sparge-exbeeriment-results/

Offline beersk

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 01:59:16 PM »
The results are not surprising to me. And fly sparging is definitely the mark of the devil 666 \m/ The number of the beast!
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Offline denny

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 05:07:18 PM »
I don't see a gravity difference of .003 as significant.  To me, it's within the margin of measurement error.  And I REALLY don't think that small amount would make a difference in the perception of dryness as Ray postulates.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 07:08:06 PM »
Throw in a no-sparge vs. the batch sparge. That would be an interesting take.

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 07:15:40 PM »
I don't see a gravity difference of .003 as significant.  To me, it's within the margin of measurement error.  And I REALLY don't think that small amount would make a difference in the perception of dryness as Ray postulates.

I don't disagree :)

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 07:16:28 PM »
Throw in a no-sparge vs. the batch sparge. That would be an interesting take.

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2016, 09:14:02 PM »
Hmm? I wonder if the gravity difference could have been effectively neutralized by diluting the higher gravity brew to equal the lower gravity result and then correct each batch to a uniform pre-boil volume?  Then more variables would have been brought into agreement and the effect of the sparging method could be considered a greater contributor to any differences. It otherwise looks to be a good comparative study.
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2016, 12:11:20 AM »
Hmm? I wonder if the gravity difference could have been effectively neutralized by diluting the higher gravity brew to equal the lower gravity result and then correct each batch to a uniform pre-boil volume?  Then more variables would have been brought into agreement and the effect of the sparging method could be considered a greater contributor to any differences. It otherwise looks to be a good comparative study.

Perhaps for a future reiteration, assuming a difference in OG remains. I'd actually be more concerned diluting would introduce a variable with a potentially higher likelihood of contributing some other character not attributable to mash method.

Offline tommymorris

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Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 01:16:44 AM »
To me the only real information gained here is that two different systems can make detectably different beer from the same recipe.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 01:18:44 AM by alestateyall »

Offline charles1968

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 08:43:22 AM »
This reminds me of the mash temperature experiment - two similar beers but different gravities. In the mash temperature experiment the final gravities were 0.09 apart and 9 out of 20 people could detect a difference (not significant). in the fly sparge experiment the OGs are 0.04 apart and 9 out of 16 people could detect a difference (significant).

Both results hover at the edge of significance - one negative, one positive. The danger is that people start interpreting these results as gospel: you can taste OG differences but not FG differences. I think some caution is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn. Until replicated the results really aren't clear cut as there's a large margin of error in both cases.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 09:58:16 AM by charles1968 »

Offline charles1968

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2016, 08:47:54 AM »
Also note unwanted variable of longer mash time in fly sparge discussed in comments. Could have been easily removed by timing the batch sparge.

Offline brulosopher

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2016, 01:20:41 PM »

To me the only real information gained here is that two different systems can make detectably different beer from the same recipe.

"Can," indeed, not necessarily "will."
This reminds me of the mash temperature experiment - two similar beers but different gravities. In the mash temperature experiment the final gravities were 0.09 apart and 9 out of 20 people could detect a difference (not significant). in the fly sparge experiment the OGs are 0.04 apart and 9 out of 16 people could detect a difference (significant).

Both results hover at the edge of significance - one negative, one positive. The danger is that people start interpreting these results as gospel: you can taste OG differences but not FG differences. I think some caution is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn. Until replicated the results really aren't clear cut as there's a large margin of error in both cases.

I encourage people interpret every xBmt with caution, regardless of p-value. I'm also a big fan of people trying stuff out for themselves, especially a variable like mash method that likely won't have a detrimental impact. Fun stuff!
Also note unwanted variable of longer mash time in fly sparge discussed in comments. Could have been easily removed by timing the batch sparge.
Removing one variable by adding another is certainly something we'll be doing, but I intentionally wanted to establish a simple baseline with this xBmt.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2016, 01:47:33 PM »


To me the only real information gained here is that two different systems can make detectably different beer from the same recipe.

"Can," indeed, not necessarily "will."
That was my point. I don't think this experiment tells anymore about batch sparge vs fly than it does BIAB vs fly or your system vs mine. They are different so the same recipe may produce detectably different tasting results.

Offline brulosopher

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Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2016, 01:49:28 PM »


To me the only real information gained here is that two different systems can make detectably different beer from the same recipe.

"Can," indeed, not necessarily "will."
That was my point. I don't think this experiment tells anymore about batch sparge vs fly than it does BIAB vs fly or your system vs mine. They are different so the same recipe may produce detectably different tasting results.

I suppose that's sort of the point, if there is a point. Except according to the many who have requested we do this xBmt, it seems many expected no difference, myself included. At the very least, interesting.

Offline charles1968

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Re: Mash Methods: Fly Sparge vs. Batch Sparge | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2016, 08:08:28 PM »
Removing one variable by adding another is certainly something we'll be doing, but I intentionally wanted to establish a simple baseline with this xBmt.

Why would making sparging times equal introduce another variable?