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Old 12-04-2012, 07:25 PM   #1
meznaric
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Default Batch Sparging w/ or w/o first runnings

So I calculated all of my strike temps for my various rests but I have read some different techniques on how to batch sparge. On byo.com I read that people like to take the first runnings then add the next amount of water, restir, and then drain it off. But John Palmer seems to think you should add it all in at one time and then take a single run at the end. Doesn't running the water off affect the strike temps because there is less water? What do you guys suggest? Thanks.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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So I calculated all of my strike temps for my various rests but I have read some different techniques on how to batch sparge. On byo.com I read that people like to take the first runnings then add the next amount of water, restir, and then drain it off. But John Palmer seems to think you should add it all in at one time and then take a single run at the end. Doesn't running the water off affect the strike temps because there is less water? What do you guys suggest? Thanks.
When you batch sparge, you drain the wort out of the mashtun first. (Don't bother with a "mash-out").

Then, add your sparge water the the MLT and stir very very well. Stir some more. Then stir it again, just to make sure you stirred it well enough.

Crack open the valve, and then open it more. Recirculate the first quart or so back into the MLT, as it will have some grain and husks in it. Then, put the rest of it in the boil kettle with the first runnings.

When I add my sparge water, I use a calculator to figure out the temperature of the water to bring the grainbed up to 168 degrees. Normally, it's about 3-4 gallons of water at around 190 degrees. That doesn't matter all that much, though- if the grainbed only gets to 160 during the sparge process it doesn't affect anything anyway. You could even sparge with cold water if you had to, so don't sweat the temperature too much with batch sparging.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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Beer Tools guessed that I would get 1.057 after this. I ended up with 1.036. This is no good. I had 15lb of grist, added 4.5 gallons at 168 to get to 145, then at the 30 minute mark I added 4 gallons at 180, to get to 160. Left it for another 30 minutes. I did not run off the first thing though, I just added the water to the top and stirred a little bit.

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Old 12-04-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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Seems odd to me....mashing is usually 149-156 range for 60 minutes.
Then drain runnings.
Then add batch sparge water, stir like crazy.
Drain sparge runnings and start boiling.

Looks like you mashed kinda low, then kinda high, then didn't stir enough.

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:32 AM   #5
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Beer Tools guessed that I would get 1.057 after this. I ended up with 1.036. This is no good. I had 15lb of grist, added 4.5 gallons at 168 to get to 145, then at the 30 minute mark I added 4 gallons at 180, to get to 160. Left it for another 30 minutes. I did not run off the first thing though, I just added the water to the top and stirred a little bit.
You mashed at 145 degrees? Then you probably didn't get conversion, especially if you only mashed for 60 minutes, let alone 30 minutes.

Your instructions sucked badly- you can not mash at 145, you can not mash at under 155 for 30 minutes, and then hold at 160 for another 30 minutes. That's the problem. Your step mash schedule was greatly flawed.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:37 AM   #6
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:00 AM   #7
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I like to mash out with my batch sparge direct fired setup. I just turn the flame on super low, run the pump to recirc, prevent scorching, vorlauf and set the bed. Then drain.

The heat really liquifies the wort and sugars and makes the batch sparge step more productive IMHO....although I've mashed at 148 and sparged at 144 before as well.

I think your two rests missed the whole conversion window. You need to be between 148 and 158 for your mash rest, and you were at 140 for the mash rest, and 160 for the second edition.

Don't sweat it. Just add some DME to the boil kettle to bring it up to the OG you want and live and learn.

For my batch sparge system. I mash in at 168ish for a 152F rest (this would be a standard pale ale type beer), then (if I'm not direct firing, which you may not be) I sparge with roughly 190F water to bring the grainbed temp up to 168. Stir like hell at mash in, and do the same (although it's easier) as soon as you add your sparge water.

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Old 12-05-2012, 05:49 AM   #8
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Definitely sounds like you may have missed the prime conversion temps. But back to your original question on sparging techniques, I've noticed that Beersmith does have a box to check on whether or not the first runnings are drained before sparging begins, so at least someone at some point must have sparged without draining the first runnings. I could see if you were mashing really thick (or using a bunch of wheat/rye) and wanted to make sure that the mash was fairly loose before draining, you could add your sparge water without draining. I'd just aim for hot enough water to bring everything up to about 165 or so and stir it really well if you wanted to do it that way. However, I think most people tend to drain off the first runnings, then add back the sparge water hot enough to bring the grain-bed temp up to about 165, stir real well, then drain the sparge.

The benefit of draining the first runnings is that you wind up extracting more sugars than not draining. Take the two examples. Your grain bed will hold a certain volume of water no matter what way you sparge. If you add the sparge water without draining the first runnings, you wind up with a mash that is at your pre-boil gravity (let's say about 1.04). So after draining, your grain has held onto wort that is at 1.04. If you drain the first runnings, you remove a good deal of the sugars in those runnings (let's say a gravity of 1.07). Your grain will then hold onto some wort at 1.07, but when you add the sparge water, it dilutes that wort, as well as potentially washing a little more out of the grain bed. Your sparge winds up being lower than your total gravity (1.03), so after draining your sparge your grain bed is holding wort that's only 1.03, instead of 1.04 without draining the first runnings.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:40 AM   #9
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I'm inclined to disagree with the chorus here. If he actually hit his mash temperatures as stated, you absolutely would get saccarification in those ranges; what he is describing is a textbook Hochkurz step mash. My assumption then, is that he either did not achieve uniform mash temperatures in the ranges he described, he did not hold the mash in the dextrinization rest range for long enough or he performed the batch sparge incorrectly in some other respect.

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Old 12-05-2012, 01:24 PM   #10
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I'm inclined to disagree with the chorus here. If he actually hit his mash temperatures as stated, you absolutely would get saccarification in those ranges; what he is describing is a textbook Hochkurz step mash. My assumption then, is that he either did not achieve uniform mash temperatures in the ranges he described, he did not hold the mash in the dextrinization rest range for long enough or he performed the batch sparge incorrectly in some other respect.
When I've done Hochkurz, I don't recall adding 4 gallons to reach the next step! That would totally screw with the mash pH, as well as give an inadequate time to the lower temperature saccrification rest!

From Braukaiser:
The first rest (maltose rest) should be held at or around 63C (145F) and it’s length is used to control the fermentability of the wort. A good starting point for its duration is 30 min. Longer for more fermentable wort and shorter for less fermentable wort. If even higher fermentability is desired an intermediate rest at 65C (150F) can be added. Due to its large volume the mash temperature should not drop much during that rest but you may wrap the pot into blankets to stabilize the mash temp even more.
The dextrinization rest at 70-72C (158-172F) needs to be held until the mash is iodine negative but may be extended to 45-60 min. Many authors contribute head retention and mouthfeel benefits to extending this rest. Finally the mash may be raised to mash out temp and subsequently lautered.
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