Author Topic: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging  (Read 6768 times)

Offline stagheadstout

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Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« on: December 16, 2009, 10:54:00 AM »
I am embaressed to admit that I don't know the difference between these two sparging methods. Could someone explain the difference?

Offline yugamrap

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2009, 11:14:32 AM »
The main difference is that fly sparging is a continuous process - a relatively slow, continuous rinse of the mashed grain done simultaneously with collection of the wort.  Batch sparging, on the other hand, is a fairly quick collection of wort (often called "first runnings") before adding additional sparge water, followed by addition of one or more "batches" of sparge water that are stirred into the mash, briefly rested, recirculated, then collected.

Either process can be used to make beer.  Fly sparging can yield higher efficiency, but generally takes substantially more time than batch sparging.  I think batch sparging is simpler, requires a little less attention and control, and is generally faster - but there is usually a sacrifice in efficiency (though some who batch sparge get very good efficiencies).

Here's the link to the definitive take on batch sparging the Cheap-N-Easy way http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/  It also includes a brief description of fly sparging.

   
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Offline wzl46

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2009, 11:26:42 AM »
In a very unscientific manner, I have seen that batch sparging has not given me poor efficiency.  I have not yet started formulating my own AG recipes, only kits from NB, so I am going off the OG on the information sheet that comes with every kit.  Every kit I have brewed has ended up no lower than about 2 points below the OG, and sometimes a few points higher. 
Definitely read up on Denny's methods, and to see batch sparging in action, I suggest doing a search on youtube for chrisknight000.  He has a series of 8 videos that do a pretty good job showing how easy the process can be.  I was strictly an extract brewer until I saw his videos.  Now, the only use for extract in my house is for yeast starters.
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Offline Matt B

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 12:09:38 PM »
Not to turn this into a 'what's better' thread, as the whole batch vs fly sparging thing seems to be a religious subject with most people. One thing to keep in mind that your method and its effectiveness is very very dependent on your equipment.

But I've tried both. For me and my equipment and method, batch sparging didn't give me worse or less efficiency than fly sparging, and batch sparging actually took *longer* for me. By the time I drained the first runnings as quickly as I could, added in the additional water, stirred it up, and did a vorlauf until it was reasonably clear again, it took longer than my typical fly sparge. Maybe I'm a bit too picky on how clear the wort should be by the time I transfer to the boil kettle, but that's my experience.

Now, the last batch I did, fly sparging, I was trying to use a perfect amount of lautering water, and when the mash tun was completely drained, I still needed another gallon in the boil kettle (10 gallon batch.) So I decided why not, I'll give it a try, I'll add in a couple more gallons, and if it takes a half an hour to drain because of the set grain bed, oh well, I'll live. However, I added in the additional water, and was able to drain it off quite quickly.

So, I'm considering doing another batch sparging attempt, but *not* mixing up the grain bed. I'm not sure how much this is going to hurt my efficiency as compared to fly sparging, but I guess I'll find out :)


Online denny

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2009, 12:48:19 PM »
So, I'm considering doing another batch sparging attempt, but *not* mixing up the grain bed. I'm not sure how much this is going to hurt my efficiency as compared to fly sparging, but I guess I'll find out :)



In my experience, it will hurt your efficiency considerably.  How much are you vorlaufing?  It seldom takes me more than a qt., and never more than 2.  You're not aiming for crystal clear....just no "chunks"!  FWIW, for a 7.5 gal. boil volume, it takes me 15 min. from the time I start my mash runoff until I end my sparge runoff.  That includes adding, stirring, and vorlaufing the sparge water.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 02:15:09 PM »
Not to turn this into a 'what's better' thread, as the whole batch vs fly sparging thing seems to be a religious subject with most people. One thing to keep in mind that your method and its effectiveness is very very dependent on your equipment.

Yeah, but of course now everyone is going to come out of the woodwork and give their opinion on which one is better because someone gave a negative review of their favorite method...  :P

I just can't see how anyone could have tried batch sparging and had a longer sparge than fly sparging. I fly sparged for probably 10 years or so before switching to batch sparging (and then went between the two methods for about 6 months before sticking completely with batch sparging). The best part about batch sparging, even better than the time savings factor, is the hands off factor: you can let the wort drain and run around and do other things and not worry about the grain bed running dry as with fly sparging.

The only way I can possibly see fly sparging being more hands off than batch sparging is if you have a fully automated system with some sort of float switch. IMO then, and only then, is fly sparging worth it.

One thing I will say is that the wort does clear up better with fly sparging. If that is really an issue with someone then they should stick with fly. But I can't tell that there is any quality difference between the two methods considering the final quality of the beer. Once the wort boils and the break material is formed both beers run off just as clear into the kettle and produce the same clarity in the glass as each other.
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Offline Matt B

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 04:28:38 PM »
It's entirely possible that my definition of chunks is a lot smaller than a lot of people :) Or my grist is just too coarse and not forming a proper grain bed for filtering, and letting the chunks flow through for a while. I do need to get my own mill.

As far as how much/long do I actually vorlauf .. a lot? I've got a sculpture, two pumps, HLT with temperature controlled electric heat element, CFC and mash tun. So I dough in, then start drawing off the wort, run it through the CFC and back into the mash tun, then run the water from the HLT through the other side of the CFC and back into the HLT, this allows me to maintain an exact temperature in my mash tun, and raise it whenever I like. I may stir up the mash a couple times early on to make sure there are no dough balls and make sure that any grain that was protected from good exposure to the ezymes is mixed around. But after that, I just let it go. So factor together total mash time after the last stir, plus time to do dough out, probably a solid hour worth of recirculation / vorlauf.

When I tried batch sparging (again, it's a perfectly fine method, just me and equipment, doesn't work well for me) I had to vorlauf again at least 20 minutes to get my desired clarity. But again, I think my definition of clarity may be a bit .. off.


Offline BrewQwest

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Re: Difference between Batch and Fly Sparging
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2009, 07:29:25 AM »
as a relatively new all grainer (less than 6 batches all grain) I am glad this thread was started.  I can see now that I will be able to save some time from my brew day by not being so particular on my particulates while vorlauffing. I have never fly-sparged so I cannot comment on the pros and cons of that type of sparging.  As far as batch sparging, I would begin the vorlauf and not stop until I had cleared the wort better to be clearer than the 'milky' stage. This usually took about 3 to 4 gallons of recirculation using a 2 quart pyrex vessel. I guess I vorlaufed so long because I had never read prior to denny's posting above, that you are just trying to get the grain 'chunks' out of the runnings.  This in itself will reduce my time by reducing my vorlaufing methods. thank you....
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