Batch sparging homebrew?
All of my homebrewing life, I have continuous sparged. The setup, the time involved were just a royal hassle - enough to send me back to extract brewing for awhile.
I am once again experiencing the lure of all grain but am considering batch sparging. Do any of you use it? Any tips?
I've done the batch sparge before, makes all grain a whole lot less hassle. However, It's hard to get a good grain bed going with something like a large colander, and to really get at all the sugar left on the grain, your going to want something like your lauter tun anyways. The pull of the sparge water as it flows past the grain is what rinses off the sugar, but there is another way.
SO, what I do is to:
#1. Simply get most of the wort out of your mashing vessel and put it in the boiling vessel.
#2. Using about a quarter to a fifth of your grain at a time, mix it in vigorously with enough hot water to really get the grain moving around in the bowl/pot/whatever, and strain out into the boiling vessel
#3. Repeat step 2 until done with grain.
#4. Discard grain, and continue onto the boil.
The whole point is skip the equipment and setup of real sparging/lautering so, the less fancy the equipment, the better.
I still get a better yield from the grain if I lauter properly. Although most people don't grind their grain fine enough anyways, and therein lies the first and biggest problem facing getting decent gravity in homebrewing. You can also practically skip the whole sparging process by being wasteful and using a pound or two of extra grain for your mash. That way, you get more yield directly into your first run wort.
But I digress...