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Author Topic: Question for Mac: How do Nano Breweries fly sparge  (Read 296 times)

Black Dog Brewery

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Question for Mac: How do Nano Breweries fly sparge
« on: August 05, 2018, 10:49:21 AM »
Hi Macdonald.

Maximum brew house efficiency is undoubtedly a very high priority for a pro brewer such as yourself.

I have a question that I can never seem to get a straight answer on when I've visited my local nano breweries.  I'm not saying they were lying to me.  I just think that the more experienced Brew Masters are not there on the weekend, and the apprentices or the person pouring the flights is simply just guessing.

I would like to ask your professional opinion about what you've seen behind the scenes at the nano level and what you intend to do at your own brew house.

Do you plan on using Option-1 or Option-2 . . .


After mashing out, are you going to begin to fly sparge water on top of the grain bed while simultaneously running off wort at the same rate to your boil kettle, and then cut the sparge water off at some point (based upon a sparge water calculation) even though you might end up having too much wort or not enough wort, forcing you to have to discard some extra wort or having to start sparging again if you run short on wort?


After mashing out, are you going to drain / pump all of the wort from your Mash Tun until it's empty, and then start fly sparging through the grain bed until you've reached the proper volume in your Boil Kettle?

I really don't know which option above is more efficient that the other.  As home brewers, we can occasionally afford to waste a little bit of water or a little bit of propane if we overshoot our pre-boil volume.  Just curious how a pro does their sparge because they cannot afford to waste water, wort, or fuel, and need to nail their sparge technique 99% of the time.

« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 08:13:27 PM by Black Dog Brewery »
Cheers & 17,

Long Island, New York
My Youtube Channel

- Sour Beer For Beginners
- Barley Wine
- Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Bean Porter

- Pumpkin Ale
- Dead Ringer IPA
- Black IPA


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Re: Question for Mac: How do Nano Breweries fly sparge
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2018, 09:15:29 PM »
good question.  cant wait to hear what Mac has to say on it.
I have about a 45min commute one way so i have been listening to Brew Strong podcasts
It is with Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer, they have multiple casts on Nano and pro brewing.
so if your interseted in learning some stuff you already know and some you might not know, go to the brewingnetwork and look up brew strong, they are laid back and funny while talking so its not boring.
sorry dont want to hijack the thread ;)
Keg 1- Coconut Pale ale
Keg 2- Simcoe/Amarillo Pale ale
Keg 3- Sour Cherry Gose
Keg 4- NB Fresh Squished IPA
Keg 5- NB Deadringer IPA
Keg 6- NB Oktoberfest
Keg 7-
FV1-  Chocolate Milk Stout
FV2-  HB Blonde ale v2


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Re: Question for Mac: How do Nano Breweries fly sparge
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 05:03:31 PM »
Hey Black

So every brewery I have worked at we have always waited till we could see rougly 20% of the grain bed after recircing the wort to start sparging. The last brewery I worked in we had a 70bbl 4 vessel system and we could get our sparge down to exact amount of water and the last runnings of our wort going into the kettle were under 1.003 gravity - so anything going down the drain was essentially just water.

Now since I am on a nano system now Sparge is alot harder to control as well as last running gravity - I am hitting higher gravitities in my last runnings.

My new brew house again is much bigger so I will calculate sparge volume based on the recipe, and once I get to know my system try and dial it in so anything that I am dumping down the drain is just water. We also have flow meters on the bigger systems so we can get the exact amount of wort and the exact amount of sprage water every time down to the Liter.

For cost savings - it is cheaper to put a little bit of wort down the drain than paying a brewer or head brewer to be slow on the system. Grain is cheaper than labour. But again when I can I will work on getting it more efficient. I hope this answers some questions. Been a long hot long weekend here. Let me know.

Head Brewer - Herald Haus Brewing Co.

Black Dog Brewery

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Re: Question for Mac: How do Nano Breweries fly sparge
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 06:31:26 PM »
Thank you so much Mac.

That was an awesome and honest answer that all of us at the home brewer level can benefit from.

Meaning . . .

Although I am totally in love with home brewing because of the temperatures, flow rates, and recipe modifications that we can all do as home brewers in order for us to call a home brew "our own", there is still an economic side where we are all trying to maximize our efficiency.

I'm sure I can speak for the entire 17 Brew Crew by saying we are confident that your business will be successful because of your passion.

For those of you who haven't seen Mac's pics and video of his nano brewery construction, here it is . . .


FYI . . . The 2 friends who home brewed by me and opened up "Blue Point Brewery" famous for their "Toasted Lager" were purchased by Anheiser Bush / InBev a couple of years ago.  Rumor has it that they split 20 million dollars.  Not bad for a couple of buddies who started in a garage like us.

Wish you all the best Mac, and I hope to stop by one day for a flight !
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 06:42:59 PM by Black Dog Brewery »
Cheers & 17,

Long Island, New York
My Youtube Channel

- Sour Beer For Beginners
- Barley Wine
- Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Bean Porter

- Pumpkin Ale
- Dead Ringer IPA
- Black IPA


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Re: Question for Mac: How do Nano Breweries fly sparge
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 07:07:13 PM »
Cheers mate hope she answered the question. Side tid bit too - because we are selling a product our gravitites need to be spot on. We have the LCBO in Ontario that tests our products and we are allowed a +- of .5% abv on anything lower than 5.6%abv. So I am more concered about my gravity than I am of the amount of wort I get/volume of beer to the tank.

Head Brewer - Herald Haus Brewing Co.


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