Sparging with Brewtools B40Pro B80Pro B150Pro

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muppix

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Following three months of deliberation I've finally taken the plunge and gotten myself set up with a Brewtools B40pro all-in-one system. It certainly feels like a fantastic setup but there's one question I keep coming back to as I mentally prepare for my first brew day: how do you accurately control the rate of sparging?

I've hooked up a 20 litre Cygnet water heater and am satisfied that despite my shoddy (temporary!) plumbing there's going to be more than enough flow rate available since I can empty the tank in under two minutes. I can't see how any grain bed will drain that quickly, but when I reduce the pump speed to what I imagine I'll need suddenly the sparge hat stops being a sprinkler and instead dribbles water down the centre pipe:

  1. Probably too much
    IMG_4362.jpeg
  2. Maybe just right
    FA3DBE04-54AC-4B5E-B7FA-72010AE91533_1_105_c.jpeg
  3. Sprinkle no more
    IMG_4361.jpeg
I'm worried this lack of fine control will be a problem and wonder if it's what @paul3944 and @welly3 were alluding to back in December?

Oh and the Sparging is a bit hit and miss with the Brewtools.

I’ve bought a rotating sparge arm which I’m going to test out next brew day and I believe that Brewtools has something in the works to improve sparging too.

It would explain the existence of things like this recirculation fitting which I imagine you'd use instead of the sparge hat to manually splash water over your grain bed by hand, in which case you might as well use a ball valve and gravity to delivery your sparge water from an elevated tank, cutting out the B40pro altogether.

I should probably just stop sweating the small stuff and get on with that first brew day, but being offshore means a 10 day wait and quite a bit of postage so I want to eliminate as many pitfalls as I can before I ruin my first batch. 😉
 

welly3

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Sparging with the brewtools has been a bit of a hit and miss affair. I think it's probably the only real weak point in the system. If you use Facebook there's a really good group for brewtools users and a number of people have shared different DIY solutions to sparging. I built a sparge manifold out of various John Guest fittings, I'll dig out a photo and video a bit later but yes it uses the recirculation fitting. The rotating sparge arm wasn't really practical in the end but the new manifold I built has been working a treat. Some people are using the SS Brewtech sparge manifold you can buy from the malt miller. As I say I'll post up a photo of what I'm using for sparging a bit later when I can find the photo but as far as I'm aware brewtools have something in the works to improve sparging. They're very responsive to the community which is great.
 

welly3

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Just to point out that my first batch I used the mash hat for sparging, as brewtools intended and it was all totally fine and my beer came out great albeit OG was missed but just felt like sparging could be improved as I found that using mash hat when sparging ended up channeling water through only parts of the grain bed and didn't give the mash a proper rinsing.
 

paul3944

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I’ve gone down the road of using the smaller SS Brewtech Mash Recirculation manifold. I use the 3/8 adapter into the top of the mash hat and some 3/8 hose into the manifold. As welly3 has pointed out there’s some excellent alternatives in the Facebook owners group using John guest fittings and pipe.
 

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muppix

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Excellent, thanks guys! Looks like there's plenty of solutions out there for getting a decent distribution of sparge water, though I'm wondering how Brewtools haven't come up with something better themselves, given how well engineered the rest of their kit is.

That manifold of yours @paul3944 - does it sit on top of the grain bed or somehow float? (I'm guessing you use it for mashing as well as sparging, given the name)

No Facebook for me I'm afraid - I purged social medial from my life a couple of years ago and haven't looked back ...
 

paul3944

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The manifold just rests on top of the grain bed. I use it for both mashing and sparging and it seems to work well. I know BT have a prototype sparging device in testing but expect this to be serious £££. In my opinion BT should sell upgrade/mod parts at a reduced price as we’ve already bought into the system.
 

muppix

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Hmmm ... that manifold reminds me of something. 😁

odysseystation.jpg


I'll have a go at sparging with the standard setup but can already see how yours will be more controllable and therefore efficient. That JG T-piece assembly looks good too, if it could be made to spin.
 

cheeseyfeet

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I used to worry about even distribution of sparging, stopping channeling and flow rates etc but after years of chasing solutions my beer has been just as good with a basic approach.

I now keep a good 5cm of sparge water above the grain and let gravity do the work, so you'd probably get as good a result with a bit of silicon hose 😊
 

muppix

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I was about to say "doesn't so much water compress the grain bed and restrict flow" but then I realised I haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, and would only be regurgitating one of the many opinions I've read while researching various approaches. Instead I'll take it as confirmation that there really are a million ways to skin a cat and will try to worry less about it, hehe.
 
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I used to worry about even distribution of sparging, stopping channeling and flow rates etc but after years of chasing solutions my beer has been just as good with a basic approach.

I now keep a good 5cm of sparge water above the grain and let gravity do the work, so you'd probably get as good a result with a bit of silicon hose 😊

I can confirm this works perfectly. Got well into the 80‘s with this approach on my 3v system.
 
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muppix

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Hey guys, sorry to resurrect this thread with a slightly off-topic question, but am I right in thinking that once sparging is complete and I move onto the boil the centre pipe stays in?

The outer centre pipe & sparge hat obviously gets removed along with the malt pipe, but what then - do I refit it over the centre pipe?

I’m hoping to do my first brew today and there questions came up while I was running through it in my mind. I can’t see me needing the bottom drain until it’s time to clean up so as long as the centre pipe doesn’t interfere with the whirlpool I’m inclined to leave it in there, maybe refitting the outer pipe / sparge hat in case I accidentally switch it on.
 
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