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Old 05-22-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
Chicago1948
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Default Batch Sparge and Water volume

I am having a hell of a time meeting my target OG. I think it is because I am using too much water. Is there any real benefit to sparging twice vs once. Shouldn't I just measure how much wort I need after my original mash and sparge once with that? I am using 1.25q/lb of mash water originally.

Thanks.

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Old 05-22-2009, 06:43 PM   #2
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You can do a single batch sparge, but most people typically find an increase in efficiency by splitting the sparge water. What kind of efficiency are you getting? HBS crushing your grain for you?

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Old 05-22-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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I do a double batch sparge. Although I mash at 1.25qt/lb that doesnt leave much for sparging, especially with large grists. The problem comes in when you have a large grain bill that absorbs alot of the water. I mashed 14lbs last night at 1qt/lb and my efficiency was horrid, even with a double batch sparge of 2gal each. If you are over shooting your OG you may litterally just be boiling off to much ( my problem). I boil off at 1.15 gallons per hour, makes it difficult when I only have a 6gallon kettle. Try lowering you burner temp. Or if you are still collecting to much wort, try boiling some of it in a separate pot. Your color will be darker but you may hit your oG.
Also, you might want to look at the crack on your grain.

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Old 05-22-2009, 07:50 PM   #4
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Odd, I've always single batch sparged, and as long as I kept my temps in the right range and had a good crush, I've hit good eff numbers. Now that I herms its even easier to get around 80% eff, but nonetheless... I don't know what double batch sparging would give me, because I'm content w/ my single batch sparging.

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Old 05-22-2009, 08:36 PM   #5
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I can understand your challenge.

Since leaving fly sparging, I've always single batch sparged. With my mill set at .039 and turning it at 300 rpm I consistently get 75% and hitting my numbers has been spot on. I did briefly run the speed of the mill at about 750 rpm. Efficiency jumped to 89% with several stuck sparges. This never happened at the lower speed.

I've decided predictability is much more desireable than high efficiency so I stick to the 300 rpm and my 75%.

Now having said this I haven't done a double sparge. But single is easy and very predictable if you can accept lower efficiencies. Many guys routinely get 80% which I could probably achieve by some playing around.

However, I'm happy with what I have. It ain't broke and I don't plan to fix it...

Good luck in the contest...

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Old 05-22-2009, 09:00 PM   #6
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I use a double sparge and typically get, 50%, 33% and 16% of the sugars per running.

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Old 05-22-2009, 10:29 PM   #7
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I suspect there is some confusion about double sparging. You don't sparge more water that you normally would, you just break it into two half volume infusions.

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Old 05-22-2009, 10:39 PM   #8
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do you have a reflectometer by chance? I always using mine to measure my preboil OG, which beer alchemy gives me. This gives me a sense of where i stand going into my boil. I know what my volume is and what the gravity is then i know if i'll need to boil longer or maybe add a bit of water so that i wont overshoot after the boil is over. Very handy.

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Old 05-26-2009, 04:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago1948 View Post
I am having a hell of a time meeting my target OG. I think it is because I am using too much water. Is there any real benefit to sparging twice vs once. Shouldn't I just measure how much wort I need after my original mash and sparge once with that? I am using 1.25q/lb of mash water originally.

Thanks.
A couple of things to check on before you move on to batch sparging as the issue.

First, for your mash, as others noted, check the grain and be sure that it has been ground correctly. You might have to crack those grains a little more. That almost always improves efficiency, but also increases a chance for stuck sparges. I crush my own an by LHBS, and usually set for .035.

Second, check the PH of your mash/sparge water. You would be surprised at how this may affect your results. I was using city water, but did not realize I had a PH of over 7. I switched to filtered store water (the kind you refill for .30 cents a gallon at the local grocery store), and that has a PH of about 5.3. My efficiencies shot up about 5 to 10 points. I do add Gypsum usually, but that is about it.

Third, and I apologize if this seems redundant, but do ensure that you are hitting your mash temps and stirring quite well the grains that you are adding to the strike water. If you are not checking the temp after 5 minutes of the mash sitting, you may actually have a mash temp that is much different than you thought. Also, ensure that the grain is thouroughly stirred up. You may be doing these already, but if not, it is a good place to look into.

Mash for 75 - 90 minutes. This helps ensure full conversion, and there typically is no bad results from doing this. It is not always needed, but it sure does not hurt.

Your 1.25/qts per pound is a great medium, so that should work well for almost all beer styles.

So.... if all the above are working, single or double batch sparging should typically give you very similar results. The main reason to go double (or even triple) batch sparging over single is ML space: a brewer may not have the ML space to account for all pre-boil volumes.

Really, batch sparging is quite simple. Assuming a single batch sparge (if you have the space), add your sparge water at the correct temp. Here is the part that you might be missing:

Stir the strike water/mash, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain the second runnings at a moderate pace, vorlouf the first couple of quarts till clear.

Using these methods, I have hit target OG's or been within .001/2 or so for about the last 12 batches.

I hope this helps in some way.

Cheers,
Broc

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Old 05-26-2009, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago1948 View Post
I am having a hell of a time meeting my target OG. I think it is because I am using too much water. Is there any real benefit to sparging twice vs once. Shouldn't I just measure how much wort I need after my original mash and sparge once with that? I am using 1.25q/lb of mash water originally.

Thanks.
That's the way I do it and I average about 83% efficiency. My tests have shown so little increase in efficiency by doing 2 sparges that I long ago concluded it wasn't worth the effort.
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