Author Topic: stir grain bed when sparge?  (Read 877 times)

Offline zman51

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stir grain bed when sparge?
« on: March 23, 2018, 03:17:57 PM »
When I was taught all grain by a friend I was told it was important to not disturb grain bed when adding the sparge water. But been watching vids and reading lately and it appears some do stir up grain bed when adding sparge.

Have I been doing it wrong?

thx

Offline mabrungard

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 03:34:33 PM »
In my opinion, you should not disturb the bed once the bed has been vorlaufed and runoff begun. Stirring the bed means that all those fines that were immobilized near the top of the grain bed during the vorlauf, are now mobile and in the wort. They would then be carried into the kettle where they can do damage to your beer.

If there is a concern that your bed is becoming 'stuck', I find that its often because of formation of a schmutzdeck (dirty layer) at the surface of the bed. Some brewers like to 'cut' their bed with a knife, but I believe that gentle mixing of that layer into the upper inch or two of the bed, will improve permeability better than cutting.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 03:54:01 PM »
I agree with Martin if you're fly sparging, but if you're batch sparging you should stir after adding the sparge water and then vorlauf.
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Offline zman51

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 07:15:39 PM »
In my opinion, you should not disturb the bed once the bed has been vorlaufed and runoff begun. Stirring the bed means that all those fines that were immobilized near the top of the grain bed during the vorlauf, are now mobile and in the wort. They would then be carried into the kettle where they can do damage to your beer.

If there is a concern that your bed is becoming 'stuck', I find that its often because of formation of a schmutzdeck (dirty layer) at the surface of the bed. Some brewers like to 'cut' their bed with a knife, but I believe that gentle mixing of that layer into the upper inch or two of the bed, will improve permeability better than cutting.

Thanks,

I batch sparge but I still see the advantage of not stirring and mixing back in what was filtered out on vorlauf. Is this the correct thinking?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2018, 07:23:14 PM »
I agree with Martin if you're fly sparging, but if you're batch sparging you should stir after adding the sparge water and then vorlauf.

I'm not sure that's true. Batch sparging is pretty much just like fly sparging. The difference is how and when the sparging water is added back to the tun. Mixing shouldn't be required.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2018, 07:33:53 PM »
After I drain the first runnings the grain bed is really compacted so I add the sparge water and stir to loosen it up and make sure that all of the grain is exposed to the sparge water so it can carry off more sugars. I really never thought of not stirring, but may try it just to see how extractions compare between the 2 methods. Wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong.  and likely not the last.
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Offline brew inspector01

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2018, 07:34:25 PM »
Typical batch sparge:
Following the initial drain., add your sparge water and stir.  Vorlauf and drain.

Some split the sparge water volume in order to perform two sparges. If you do that, simply repeat the process.

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Offline toby

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 08:02:47 PM »
I agree with Martin if you're fly sparging, but if you're batch sparging you should stir after adding the sparge water and then vorlauf.

I'm not sure that's true. Batch sparging is pretty much just like fly sparging. The difference is how and when the sparging water is added back to the tun. Mixing shouldn't be required.

I batch sparge, and don't usually stir. Actually, I also try to disturb the grain bed as little as possible. I'll double a sheet of aluminum foil with holes poked in it to disperse the sparge water gently. With my new tun, I have a recirculation manifold to accomplish that (it sits on top of the grain bed and the water flows out the top).

Offline Hokerer

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2018, 11:00:57 PM »
I'm in the batch sparge (drain, add sparge water, stir, and drain again) camp. I get higher efficiency that way
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Offline yso191

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2018, 01:09:21 AM »
I'm in the 'no sparge' camp.  It's essentially a brew in the bag strategy but in an insulated Mash Tun.  It works great.
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2018, 01:20:17 AM »
In my opinion, you should not disturb the bed once the bed has been vorlaufed and runoff begun. Stirring the bed means that all those fines that were immobilized near the top of the grain bed during the vorlauf, are now mobile and in the wort. They would then be carried into the kettle where they can do damage to your beer.

If there is a concern that your bed is becoming 'stuck', I find that its often because of formation of a schmutzdeck (dirty layer) at the surface of the bed. Some brewers like to 'cut' their bed with a knife, but I believe that gentle mixing of that layer into the upper inch or two of the bed, will improve permeability better than cutting.
Many breweries have rakes in the latter tun. The rakes do not go all the way to the bottom. Those last few inches do the filtering.

I often knife my laugher, I don’t go all the way to the bottom, and go in a crisis cross pattern. Learned this at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Robert

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2018, 01:42:56 AM »
I have not noticed a difference between cutting with a knife like Jeff or mixing up the top like Martin.  I do one or the other when I run on the first of the sparge water.

 (I sparge.  I don't know what to call it, because I do what commercial brewers called batch sparging before homebrewers invented a new thing and called it that.  Instead of a continuous flow of sparge water at a rate calibrated to match the runoff of wort, the sparge volume is divided into 3 or 4 batches each of which is run on all at once whenever the level nears the surface of the grain bed.  Not only very easy, but it "works" the mash and gives better efficiency than continuous flow.  Another example of Martin's point that sparging is all sparging, just differing in how and when you add the water.)
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2018, 02:11:56 AM »
I'm in the 'no sparge' camp.  It's essentially a brew in the bag strategy but in an insulated Mash Tun.  It works great.
Yup! Got away from sparge this winter and never going back

Offline Stevie

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2018, 03:04:49 AM »
In my opinion, you should not disturb the bed once the bed has been vorlaufed and runoff begun. Stirring the bed means that all those fines that were immobilized near the top of the grain bed during the vorlauf, are now mobile and in the wort. They would then be carried into the kettle where they can do damage to your beer.

If there is a concern that your bed is becoming 'stuck', I find that its often because of formation of a schmutzdeck (dirty layer) at the surface of the bed. Some brewers like to 'cut' their bed with a knife, but I believe that gentle mixing of that layer into the upper inch or two of the bed, will improve permeability better than cutting.
Many breweries have rakes in the latter tun. The rakes do not go all the way to the bottom. Those last few inches do the filtering.

I often knife my laugher, I don’t go all the way to the bottom, and go in a crisis cross pattern. Learned this at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp.
I guess Beer Camp is no joke if they are teaching you to knife laughers. I’d be certainly be dead if I attended and had a few.

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2018, 03:37:13 AM »
In my opinion, you should not disturb the bed once the bed has been vorlaufed and runoff begun. Stirring the bed means that all those fines that were immobilized near the top of the grain bed during the vorlauf, are now mobile and in the wort. They would then be carried into the kettle where they can do damage to your beer.

If there is a concern that your bed is becoming 'stuck', I find that its often because of formation of a schmutzdeck (dirty layer) at the surface of the bed. Some brewers like to 'cut' their bed with a knife, but I believe that gentle mixing of that layer into the upper inch or two of the bed, will improve permeability better than cutting.
Many breweries have rakes in the latter tun. The rakes do not go all the way to the bottom. Those last few inches do the filtering.

I often knife my laugher, I don’t go all the way to the bottom, and go in a crisis cross pattern. Learned this at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp.
I guess Beer Camp is no joke if they are teaching you to knife laughers. I’d be certainly be dead if I attended and had a few.
Spell check again. Damn.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!