Author Topic: Fly Sparge efficiency  (Read 458 times)

Offline Fzabinski

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Fly Sparge efficiency
« on: February 19, 2018, 03:03:44 AM »
Hey guys some what experienced Brewer here. Looking for some help regarding fly sparging on my new set up. I understand sparging will somewhat lower your gravity from what you measured pre sparge. My pre sparge OG was 1.083 (closer to my estimated then preboil). After fly sparge my preboil gravity was 1.053. I inputted my whole set up into beersmith with all the measurements and effiencey and I am still coming up way short as far as gravity goes. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Also here's the grain bill
15 lbs pale ale malt
2 lbs oat malt
1 lbs flaked oats
.5 lbs carapils
.75lbs honey malt

Mashed at 148 with 7.5 gal
Fly sparge with 4.25 gal at 168
Collected 8 gal at 1.051
Pre sparge was 1.083
Post boil OG 1.059 6 gal
Target OG 1.079

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Offline charlie

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 03:17:53 AM »
Something is way wrong here. I calculate your OG gravity as 1.099!

My typical 10 gallon (12.5 gallon pre-boil) recipe is 21 pounds of grain, and my fly sparge efficiency is 75%. My typical OG is 1.055 to 1.058, or much better efficiency than you achieved with nearly double the grain.

I don't think fly sparging is the problem.

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Offline MDixon

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 01:21:19 PM »
I suspect there are multiple things going wrong here. Did you correct all your SG reading for temp of the sample?

Sugars are conserved so if you measure a gravity, expressed as points, times the volume you will have the same value post boil.

So 51 x 8 = 408 and 59 x 6 = 354. It gets even worse if your 53 number for preboil is correct. Somewhere you lost sugar and that is not possible.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 01:28:54 PM by MDixon »
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Offline Fzabinski

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 02:01:54 PM »
I suspect there are multiple things going wrong here. Did you correct all your SG reading for temp of the sample?

Sugars are conserved so if you measure a gravity, expressed as points, times the volume you will have the same value post boil.

So 51 x 8 = 408 and 59 x 6 = 354. It gets even worse if your 53 number for preboil is correct. Somewhere you lost sugar and that is not possible.
I did correct all gravities for temperature

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Offline MDixon

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 02:23:12 PM »
I'm betting there are measurement issues in volume, weight, and SG. I'll also guess you crushed your grain at the store or bought it crushed. Often the crush is too coarse and you will not extract the sugars you are after.

So just rough numbers your grain is ~19lb and has the potential for around 36ppg (BeerSmith should handle all this for you). 19 x 36 = 684 which would be your sugars. You can never get everything out so your actual, 59 x 6 = 354 would put your efficiency at 52% which is really low.

So if the issue is fly sparging, you channeled and allowed the water to bypass flowing through the grain to extract the sugars. I kinda doubt this is the issue since with 19lb of grain you would have had a deep grainbed in your tun.

What does your manifold look like in that lauter tun? Could it have channeled to a single point?

IMO the best thing to do is loosen the mash with additional hot water to raise the temp to ~168-170F before sparge. Don't worry about adding too much water here. Then recirculate (vorlauf) and once it runs clear begin to collect. As the level drops to about an inch above the grainbed add more water. Throw out the sparge arm and just perforate some foil to lay across the top so the sparge water can disperse. The sparge arm dissipates heat and you want to keep as much heat as you can in the system.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 02:24:57 PM by MDixon »
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Offline Fzabinski

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 02:35:07 PM »
I'm betting there are measurement issues in volume, weight, and SG. I'll also guess you crushed your grain at the store or bought it crushed. Often the crush is too coarse and you will not extract the sugars you are after.

So just rough numbers your grain is ~19lb and has the potential for around 36ppg (BeerSmith should handle all this for you). 19 x 36 = 684 which would be your sugars. You can never get everything out so your actual, 59 x 6 = 354 would put your efficiency at 52% which is really low.

So if the issue is fly sparging, you channeled and allowed the water to bypass flowing through the grain to extract the sugars. I kinda doubt this is the issue since with 19lb of grain you would have had a deep grainbed in your tun.

What does your manifold look like in that lauter tun? Could it have channeled to a single point?

IMO the best thing to do is loosen the mash with additional hot water to raise the temp to ~168-170F before sparge. Don't worry about adding too much water here. Then recirculate (vorlauf) and once it runs clear begin to collect. As the level drops to about an inch above the grainbed add more water. Throw out the sparge arm and just perforate some foil to lay across the top so the sparge water can disperse. The sparge arm dissipates heat and you want to keep as much heat as you can in the system.
The manifold in my tun is just a 3/4 inch stainless mesh hose both ends connected to a tee forming a circle along bottom of tun. It seems like all of these problems started when I used equipment wizard on beersmith and entered all my.measured volumes.

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Offline MDixon

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 03:27:09 PM »
Does the mesh touch the walls of the tun? If so position it away from the wall at least an inch to avoid channeling.
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Offline Fzabinski

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 03:44:27 PM »
Does the mesh touch the walls of the tun? If so position it away from the wall at least an inch to avoid channeling.
It does not roughly 1.5 inches from the wall all the way around


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Offline Robert

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 04:18:39 PM »
Does the mesh touch the walls of the tun? If so position it away from the wall at least an inch to avoid channeling.
It does not roughly 1.5 inches from the wall all the way around


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The ideal for efficient, even flow with a ring manifold is to divide in half the AREA of the tun bottom.  That looks like a 12" cooler, if so, 1.75" from the wall does that, so you are pretty close.  That much looks good!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2018, 04:23:40 PM »
Why not a false bottom covering the whole bottom? I've never fly sparge, but I recirculate and I'm mindful of channeling. To date I've tried a smallish domed false bottom, a bazooka tube, and recently a custom false bottom designed to completely cover the bottom (precise fit). The best for me has been the full false bottom.

Offline Robert

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2018, 04:32:45 PM »
Why not a false bottom covering the whole bottom? I've never fly sparge, but I recirculate and I'm mindful of channeling. To date I've tried a smallish domed false bottom, a bazooka tube, and recently a custom false bottom designed to completely cover the bottom (precise fit). The best for me has been the full false bottom.
Totally agree, Jim.  I DO fly sparge, and the full domed false bottom is the ideal way to go if you ask me.  Palmer CLAIMS a ring dividing the area is almost as good at preventing channeling, but full FBs are so easy to get now it's worth it.  The gold standard. Just make sure it comes with, or you modify it to include, a draw tube leaving zero dead space.  I leave only about 1/2 cup liquid in my 10 gal cooler. Those that draw near the top of the dome will kill your efficiency.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 06:36:04 PM by Robert »
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2018, 04:43:10 PM »
I just ordered the matching dip tube for my new false bottom.

Offline Robert

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2018, 04:50:07 PM »
I just ordered the matching dip tube for my new false bottom.
From Nor Cal right? Love them now.  (But my Speidel did get split into two shipments so I have one more batch ahead without. Ok I have time to order parts for a better valve arrangement.)  OP  should check them out!

EDIT  looks like I will have everything in a couple days...those guys have fantastic service!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 06:58:32 PM by Robert »
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2018, 05:10:44 PM »
Yup norcal

Offline MDixon

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Re: Fly Sparge efficiency
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2018, 06:32:35 PM »
For small (low grist amount) batches I have always used a drilled copper ring with the holes positioned downward in a bottling bucket. No need for anything fancy. I get ridiculously high efficiency with that and a well crushed grist.

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