Author Topic: Sparge Arm Ideas?  (Read 8220 times)

Offline JKL

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Sparge Arm Ideas?
« on: November 23, 2010, 11:34:16 AM »
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.
"Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire." -David Rains Wallace

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Offline denny

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2010, 11:47:30 AM »
A sparge arm is a folly.  If you want to fly sparge, I'd recommend using a manifold for your return.
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Offline JKL

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2010, 11:54:14 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.
"Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire." -David Rains Wallace

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Online jeffy

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2010, 12:16:27 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.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline Matt B

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2010, 01:34:49 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.



Offline denny

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2010, 02:22:48 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.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline MDixon

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2010, 02:42:14 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?
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Offline denny

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2010, 02:46:43 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?
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline bonjour

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2010, 06:09:29 PM »
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. 
Fred Bonjour
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Offline mthogan1997

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2010, 07:42:58 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.

Offline tubercle

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2010, 08:27:45 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?

This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2010, 08:59:00 PM »
This what the Tubercle did for years until he became Dennyfied.
Sorry to hear that man.
Is that curable  ;D
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2010, 10:46:18 PM »
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.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2010, 11:24:54 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 !!~ 
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2010, 05:27:54 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 !!~ 

 Y'all ain't right ;D

 I suspect I'm not the only one on here with this disease ;)
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