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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Batch Spargers Need to Confer
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:40 AM   #1
DeadYetiBrew
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Default Batch Spargers Need to Confer

Ok, so i batch sparge (title, duh), anyway i need some advice.

Usually what i do is use a little spreadsheet that me and my brew partner put together for brewing with all the math and stuff already done, we just input our batch size and grain pounds.

It works ok, but there's always something wrong. Never the same problem though, even with me doing the same thing. So the only thing i can figure is the brew sheet.

This time i'm kicking the sheet away and trying things a little different.

I want to know what things you guys do, as far as ratio's for mash and sparge, as well as topping up, to maximize your brew session. Mainly I don't ever have a constant volume being drained out, that's a design flaw in my MLT that's going to get fixed as soon as i can, but i've got to make it through the next couple brew sessions before i can get the stuff to fix it.

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Old 12-04-2007, 01:04 AM   #2
Ó Flannagáin
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I use beersmith to tell me how much I need for strike water, then I use this for sparge water because I can't figure out how to find my sparge water in beersmith.

http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php

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Old 12-04-2007, 01:20 AM   #3
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Well looking at that it seems my brewsheet is correct in that aspect... Man, son of a gun i guess it's just stupid equipment...

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Old 12-04-2007, 01:21 AM   #4
Ó Flannagáin
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Or incorrect boil off rate. I know I have a hard time hitting the correct water amounts and I'm pretty sure that's why. I usually hit my preboil volume right on.

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Old 12-04-2007, 02:05 AM   #5
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I've over sparged and had to run 2 boils, that's not much fun, but not a big deal either. Especially happens when I go with something over .090, 1.5 hour boil so more time, more propane. You can always top up with water, but you'll lose efficiency. I err on the side of caution, preserve my tasty fermentables.

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Old 12-04-2007, 02:28 AM   #6
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I think it's quite possible that it is boil off, i always go under my final volume, OG will be higher and last time promash said topping off would hit dead on.

However, i know i use to lose alot of mash/sparge water to equipment, but now i've fixed it and i wasn't losing much but i was still thinking that might have been the problem.

I'll assume it's do to evaporation, i don't have the best chiller and it's evaporating till it's under a certain temp, so i'm gonna say it's evaporation.

I've been setting promash for 6 gallons and i've been getting 5 out. I went into a boil for 10 gallons, scortched it, and came out with about 8 gallons (yeah i know, but it still tastes good).

Thanks for mentioning it, now that i think more about it I think it's evaporation rate.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing.

A) Heat up to boil faster and when i have money make another chiller, using my current one as a pre-chiller.

B) Heat mash water immediately to get a jump start on the boil adding the sparge water

C) Mash/Sparge at slightly higher amount to account for boil-off

D) Top-off

I think i'd probably see the best results with A and B, but for now C or D would be better.

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Old 12-04-2007, 02:33 AM   #7
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You need an accurate way to measure infusion water and runoff wort. You can't always nail them all and knowing where you're going short gives you a chance to correct it mid brew.

Let's take a quick example: your favorite software tells you to infuse 3 gal and says you can expect 2 gallons of 1st running. What if you get 1.75g? Obviously you'll want to sparge with .25 gallons more than the software would tell you to.

You can do this with sight glasses on your vessels but the low budget method would be to use a bucket with .25 gallon increments marked on it.

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Old 12-04-2007, 02:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
You need an accurate way to measure infusion water and runoff wort. You can't always nail them all and knowing where you're going short gives you a chance to correct it mid brew.

Let's take a quick example: your favorite software tells you to infuse 3 gal and says you can expect 2 gallons of 1st running. What if you get 1.75g? Obviously you'll want to sparge with .25 gallons more than the software would tell you to.

You can do this with sight glasses on your vessels but the low budget method would be to use a bucket with .25 gallon increments marked on it.
That was my other thought. To add to the sparge what i miss on the mash. I've got buckets at .5 gallon marks. I guess this next brew is going to be quite the test. I'll brew for my target, if i get all my run-off correct, i'll assume it's evap rate.... I still need a better chiller lol...
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ó Flannagáin
I use beersmith to tell me how much I need for strike water, then I use this for sparge water because I can't figure out how to find my sparge water in beersmith.

http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php
Yea, Beersmith seems to hide the important stuff in your recipe like sparge volume. However once you know where to look it is displayed and printed in a very concise form. When looking at your recipe from the menu select view->recipe as a brewsheet. This brings up a page ready for the printer that has all your ingredients and brew steps listed in order, including sparge volumes.
Boil-off rate is one thing I am having a difficult time predicting. It seems to vary from batch to batch. I usually do a 75min boil and get between 5 and 6 gal in the fermenter starting with the same 6.75 gal in the kettle. Beersmith is not quite giving me to correct numbers because according to the program I should have 6gal in the kettle and 5 gal in the fermenter, however that difference is consistent and is most likely due to some mistakes I have in my parameters.
Craig
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Old 12-04-2007, 03:56 PM   #10
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I just use a stick that has 1 gallon increments on it. You stick it in your pot and collect wort until you get the pre boil volume you need.

If you are off at the end when you collect the wort into your fermentation vessel, you 've made bad assumptions on either your boil off rate or trub loss. Fine tune these assumptions batch to batch by taking good notes.

In the end the most important thing is hitting the correct gravity, not volume. Top off with water as needed to get in the correct range if you've boiled off too much. Keep some dry LME on hand that you can quickly bring to a boil, cool off and add to your wort if you are way under gravity.

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