Sunday, January 13, 2008

Clearer Wort

Batch sparging is really the simplest method to get the wort out. If you haven't already learned about it, I highly encourage reading from the source that spells it out so well...Denny Conn's article. If you haven't tried it yet, then I highly recommend you do.

Only after a few attempts, I've become a total convert to this method. But I have noticed the pre-boil wort was more cloudy than previous fly sparged worts. Denny says to lauter/drain as quickly as your system will allow. With the flow full blast, towards the end of both sparges, I noticed the line getting very cloudy.

Once I had a thick mash with lots of wheat. The flow was at least half it's full potential. So I sat there, waiting, for a long time. But then I noticed that the wort stayed crystal clear. I assume that the finer particles vorlaufed on top of the grain mass were not "pulled" into the middle and lower layers of grain. These tiny particles never found there way to the exit holes below the false bottom.

Then I applied this theory to a wort that was flowing unrestricted and strong. After about half the volume exited full blast, I crimped the hose to about half strength. Lo and behold, the wort remained clear towards the very end.


Brian said...

I dig this. I was actually recently posting about my "stuck sparges" by batch sparging..but as Travis (cnybrew) pointed out I was not really having true "stuck sparges" but rather I was draining my wort for batch sparging at too high of a flow rate..which in turn pulled all the crud down and eventually (combined with a few grains that found their way under the false bottom) ended up halting my sparging.

Having said all that I know cut down my flow rate when batch sparging and behold! My runoff is amazingly clear and no more sparge problems! Cheers!

Ted Danyluk said...

A decent amount of grains will get below the false bottom. Some of that will come out during vorlauf, but some of it you may find (during clean-up) stays in a nice little channeled huddle, giving evidence that there was some kind of patterned flow underneath.

During the first few fillings of my collection pitcher, I'll pinch and let-go if the hose while the flow of vorlauf is fairly quick. This pinching forces out most of the grains. As it becomes clearer, I reduce the flow for a few more pitchers until the wort is crystal clear.

While draining the first 1/2-3/4 of wort at full strength, I'll cut back to about half strength, till its done.

I've had some pretty insistent sparges that were very plugged. But agitating and pinching the hose and sometimes blowing into the hose, clears out the "plugged" material. Then I'll vorlauf as normal. Tell you the truth, I couldn't tell you what a "stuck sparge" looked like.

Also, when I stir the grains, I'm now very careful in preventing grains from getting under the screen. I won't make a "circular" scoop along bottom and rim of the false bottom.

The Bearded Brewer said...

Ted, I have a lager question to ask you. If you have time could you email me at


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