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Author Topic: How long is your brew day  (Read 2969 times)

Offline Chris Craig

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How long is your brew day
« on: October 02, 2012, 09:14:53 PM »
I was talking to a few of you at the meeting at sdixon's place on Saturday, and I though I must have made a mistake claiming to complete a brew in 2:45.  Well, I just finished brewing a 5.5 gallon batch of IIPA with a 90 minute boil in 3.5 hours flat.

Now, I typically have my grain crushed and water measured ahead of time, so I don't count this time, but that wouldn't add much time to the day.  It takes about 5 minutes to measure out all the water, and I can crush the grain while it's heating up, so it's negligible.

How long is your brew day?

My process (after water is measured and grain crushed):

1. Heat strike water on my 85000 BTU propane burner.  This takes less than 15 minutes.
2. Dough in and stir for a couple of minutes until I get the desired temperature.
3. Kick on the pump and recirculate the wort for the last 15 minutes of the 60 minute mash.
4. Since I use rice hulls in my mash, I pump wide open into the kettle and start heating gently.
5. Sparge with half the remaining water, stir well, and recirculate for 5 minutes.
6. Pump into the kettle and kick up the heat to max.
7. Sparge with the remaining water, stir well, and recirculate for 5 minutes.
8. Pump into the kettle and wait for a boil.  This usually doesn't take long at this point.
9. Add bittering hops
10. Dump spent grain and wash mash tun.
11. Prep some star san and sanitize a carboy.
12. 15 minutes out, I hook up the CFC and start recirculating boiling wort.
13. At flame out, I restrict the flow of the pump to give me wort at my pitching temperature.
14 While the kettle is draining, I clean up all the odds and ends.
15. Then it takes me about 10 - 15 minutes to clean up the remaining bits of brew day.

Offline DandyMason

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 09:56:29 PM »
10 gallon batch - 4.5 to 5 hours including milling grain, measuring water, and clean up. Last weekend I was right around 4.5 hours

Offline Brian_S

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 11:04:30 PM »
I managed a 1bbl (~31 gallons) brew day in 8.5 hours a few weekends back.  Thats saying alot considering I'm running a 10 gallons rig.

The wonders of multiple propane burners running in unison.

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Offline fakr

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 09:55:30 AM »
Wow Chris, that's crazy fast.  Your sparge technique seems to be what really saves you time.
you also seem pretty efficient with multitasking and overlapping your steps.  Very impressive.

Sparge times, regardless of method, aren't so bad when you're making a 5G batch.  But in my case, where I make 15-20G at a time, fly sparging is rediculously long.  1.5 hours +

I'm going to try your method chris, as this would cut my sparging times in at least half.

It takes me about 5.5 hours, start to finish, cleaning done, etc, to make a 15Gal batch.
"If God had intended for us to drink beer, He would have given us stomachs."

Offline Richard

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 12:40:17 PM »
Propane: 4 hours-ish.
Stovetop: 5-6 hours-ish.

You spend so long heating things on the stove it really gets the time up - doesn't bother me much as I usually brew in the background to whatever else I'm doing.
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Offline Chris Craig

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 01:31:46 PM »
Quote from: "fakr"
Wow Chris, that's crazy fast.  Your sparge technique seems to be what really saves you time.
you also seem pretty efficient with multitasking and overlapping your steps.  Very impressive.

Sparge times, regardless of method, aren't so bad when you're making a 5G batch.  But in my case, where I make 15-20G at a time, fly sparging is rediculously long.  1.5 hours +

I'm going to try your method chris, as this would cut my sparging times in at least half.

It takes me about 5.5 hours, start to finish, cleaning done, etc, to make a 15Gal batch.


I have similar results with a 10 gallon batch too.  It's a bit longer to sparge and heat water, but I add in another burner when I have to heat too much sparge water.

Offline fakr

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 03:37:55 PM »
I think one of my issues is having too small of a sparge tank.  I need another 20GAL blichman (cough Senior) so I have lots to spare when I mash in and sparge.
Another issue with me is my mash technique...I'm going to try your procedure for my next brew...I can see that really cutting down on time.
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Offline Richard

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 03:42:23 PM »
Always gotten good enough results with batch sparging that I've never seen the point in investing the extra effort in fly-sparging... Although I get how on a commercial scale every % of efficiency translates quickly into $$$, I don't care about throwing an extra lb or two of grain in here and there to make up for my laziness :D
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Offline fakr

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 03:52:35 PM »
True that Richard.  I need to try something different with my sparges...

the blichman is supposed to get 90%+ efficiency, and John has hit it, but the process involves sparging at something like 1L per minute...if you're making a 15-20GAL batch, that equates 60-80+ minutes.  Too long...
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Offline Chris Craig

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 04:18:54 PM »
Quote from: "Richard"
Always gotten good enough results with batch sparging that I've never seen the point in investing the extra effort in fly-sparging... Although I get how on a commercial scale every % of efficiency translates quickly into $$$, I don't care about throwing an extra lb or two of grain in here and there to make up for my laziness :D


I'm not sure it would be possible to batch sparge at a commercial level.  The weight of the grain and water would probably cause a stuck sparge pretty quick.

Offline Richard

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 05:52:08 PM »
I'm sure some smartass has come up with a way around that problem... http://brewwiki.com/index.php/Sparging seems to back up what I'm saying, but it's a wiki on the internet :lol:

I guess I mean that I don't see the benefit, personally, to the extra complication, effort, equipment, and time required for what is as far as I can tell only a means of improving efficiency.
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Offline Chris Craig

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 07:04:56 PM »
I guess if you had your system dialed in, you could start the fly sparge process and walk away for an hour until it's done.  On systems like most of us have though, I don't think there's any benefit to fly sparging.

Offline Kyle

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 12:47:14 PM »
if you are really trying to get those last few gravity points, you could also just do a second batch sparge. I used to to that before I got a bigger cooler.
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Offline Chris Craig

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Re: How long is your brew day
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 01:07:58 PM »
Quote from: "Kyle"
if you are really trying to get those last few gravity points, you could also just do a second batch sparge. I used to to that before I got a bigger cooler.


I already do that.  I find I get about a 5% increase in efficiency just by doing that, and it only takes me an extra 5-10 minutes.