Batch sparging, maybe?

Kristina Nasuti

New Member
Looking for a few opinions on batch sparging.
I want to give it a try, but I'm concerned about efficiency loss.
Need some opinions/ insight on this method.

Ryan Cochrane

Barley Legal Member
I batch sparge and am really happy with it....yes you lose a little efficiency, but a) in a 5 gal batch 2-3% is maybe a 0.5-1 lb more grain... b) over time as you perfect your batch sparge, you can get pretty close to fly sparge.

execution is more important that sparge method. doing a crappy fly sparge doesn't mean you will be better off than someone doing a great brew in a bag.

Chris Smith

Tech Officer
I've never done anything but batch sparging. Like @Ryan Cochrane said, you might lose a bit of efficiency, but I'd rather throw another .5lb of grain in and save the time, if it's even necessary (according to my numbers it hasn't been.) At the homebrew level, the cost is negligible.

It's also less equipment. If you're already setup to fly sparge, you can batch sparge as an experiment without buying anything new!
Looking for a few opinions on batch sparging.
I want to give it a try, but I'm concerned about efficiency loss.
Need some opinions/ insight on this method.

I batch sparge and no complaints about efficiency. What that number is I couldn't tell you at the moment as I've not been brewing too much over the past 2 years or with good notes. And lost all my beer smith files in an unfortunate event a year ago. But I'll figure it out again over the next couple months as I ramp things up again. But I don't think I would feel the need to go to fly sparging with how things were working for me. I will use the sparge arm when I do 10 g and forgo BIAB mashing. That does take longer and does gain some efficiency. But that is not very common for me. I mostly use BIAB so I don't have to worry about setting the grain bed, stuck sparge, ensuring the grain is milled too fine etc. but I do the traditional batch sparge using the bag vs false bottom.

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Michael Dempsey

Barley Legal Member
You should go for it. I batch sparge most of the time. I do take a hit on efficiency, but it's not that bad. I use BeerSmith and adjust my efficiency on that and adjust my recipe as needed to get the correct gravity. It saves time on the sparge and anything that knocks a few minutes off a long brew day is a good thing IMO. I'll fly sparge if I have wheat or something else gummy in my mash to avoid the stuck runoff.

Brian Pylant

Barley Legal Member
Sorry to be so late to this... I wouldn't worry about efficiency loss one bit, and with some system and process refinement you can get your efficiency very close to fly sparging. I batch sparge, and my efficiency is 80% which is better than many fly-spargers

IMO one big key to this is that I thoroughly stir my mash (with a drill-powered wine degasser wand) as I'm doughing in, and I stir thoroughly again at 30 minutes.

In the end, at the homebrew level (5 - 20 gallons) your efficiency number doesn't matter so much, at most you might need an extra pound or three of base malt... the most important part is that you know what it is, and it is relatively consistent.

Once you dial in your system and calibrate your brewing software (Beersmith, Beer Tools Pro) you can be confident of hitting your numbers on every brew day. IMO predictability and consistency is much more important than worrying about efficiency (assuming, of course, that you're not getting a ridiculously low efficiency like 40%!)

I've said this many times: IMO the single-most-important number to hit on brewday is your pre-boil gravity. At this point in the brewday it is very easy to adjust (add some DME to raise your gravity, or water to reduce). You should already know your boil-off rate for your kettle, so if you hit your pre-boil gravity you will also know your post-boil OG. And knowing your efficiency -- whatever it happens to be -- is key to hitting that pre-boil gravity every time.