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Old 05-06-2010, 01:48 AM   #11
Graeme
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Sorry ajf, I should have specified, I am indeed batch sparging. The water level dropping below the top of the grain bed has occured in both batches when collecting my first runnings. It just doesn't seem very fluid to me, despite using correct water quantities for my mash in and making sure to stir really well to avoid dough balls.

Though I must say, just two batches in this could well be a case of inexperience and not really knowing my system. I've always managed to reach my desired boil volume not to mention hitting my OG (give or take a point or two) so perhaps it's just worry on my part, but all the books and articles I have read sort of drilled in the fact that you have to keep the grain bed suspended and not let the water level fall below it

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Old 05-06-2010, 03:31 AM   #12
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If you fly sparge, you do need to keep the water above the grain bed, but when batch sparging, you need to completely drain the first runnings and each batch of sparge water. You cannot do a batch sparge successfully and keep the water level above the grain bed, as that would prevent you from collecting most of the sugars. You also need to stir in the sparge water after each addition, as it is the mechanical action of the stirring that dissolves the sugars.

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Old 05-06-2010, 11:01 AM   #13
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Inexperience on my part then! Thanks for clearing that up for me! I always give a long stire when adding my sparge water too. Thanks man

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Old 05-06-2010, 05:13 PM   #14
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I have a HERMS System in which I "mash out" by doing the following:

1) after mashing I raise the HLT temperature to the sparge temperature, and continue recirculating for 10-15 minutes. This raises the mash temp to the sparge temp.

2) then i drain the first runnings and add my first batch sparge volume.

Works pretty well

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Old 08-31-2010, 01:46 PM   #15
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If mashing-out is adding 170+ water to the mash before sparging... what's the difference between that and simply fly sparging with 170+? I don't get it.

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Old 08-31-2010, 01:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jlc767 View Post
If mashing-out is adding 170+ water to the mash before sparging... what's the difference between that and simply fly sparging with 170+? I don't get it.
If you're batch sparging, adding hotter sparge water to bring the grain bed to 168 is sort of a mash out. That's because you add the water, and stir it well.

If you're fly sparging, and you sparge with 170+ degree water, it will probably not bring the grain bed up to 168 for a "mash out". The reason is you add it so slow, and drain so slow, that you won't raise the grain bed temperature up that high without a mash out. Try it and see!
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:00 PM   #17
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When mashing at about 154, batch sparging, about what temp do you need the sparge water to be in order to raise the grain bed to 168? Or does the amount of sparge water make too much difference to give an accurate answer? I have beersmith at home, so I'm sure I can play with that for each brew, but figured I'd see if there is a rule of thumb.


BTW Yoop, that is a great picture in your avatar!

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Old 08-31-2010, 02:07 PM   #18
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I fly-sparge and usually do one.

Question on why mashing out affects fermentability: The beta amylase affects fermentability the most so if your last mash temp was say, 158* F, then by the end of that rest the beta amylase should be denatured. So why would another 30 minutes or so at 158*F affect fermentability? Especially if you don't mash as long as some other brewers do? That is, say one brewer mashes for 90 minutes and does a mash-out but another brewer only mashes for 45 minutes (no mash-out), then sparges for 30 minutes and heats to a boil (say 15 minutes to reach mash-out temp). In both cases the mash stayed at the last sacc rest temp for ~90 minutes before it was heated to mash-out temp.

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Old 08-31-2010, 07:33 PM   #19
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I fly-sparge and usually do one.

Question on why mashing out affects fermentability: The beta amylase affects fermentability the most so if your last mash temp was say, 158* F, then by the end of that rest the beta amylase should be denatured. So why would another 30 minutes or so at 158*F affect fermentability? Especially if you don't mash as long as some other brewers do? That is, say one brewer mashes for 90 minutes and does a mash-out but another brewer only mashes for 45 minutes (no mash-out), then sparges for 30 minutes and heats to a boil (say 15 minutes to reach mash-out temp). In both cases the mash stayed at the last sacc rest temp for ~90 minutes before it was heated to mash-out temp.
True. But the longer mash DOES affect the final wort profile. You can mash at 158 for 20 minutes and get complete conversion in many cases. Mashing the same grain bill at the same temp for 90 minutes doesn't give you the same wort. If you want to preserve the first profile, and you're fly sparging, you'll want to do a mash out. If you don't care, you can go 90 minutes.

pksmitty- what I've find with Beersmith is that it really doesn't give you the calculation for the batch sparge water temp to get to 168. But, if you "cheat" and do it as a profile with a mashout, you can use that mash out temp for your first batch sparge infusion and almost always hit 168 exactly! So, that's what I do when I batch sparge. Does that make sense? For example, I have a recipe ready for tomorrow, and I think I'll batch sparge. I have the Beersmith file set up to do a mash out. On the brewsheet it reads: mash in with 21.00 quarts blah blah blah. The next line after the "hold mash" is to "mash out with 9.8 quarts of water at 203.5 then sparge with 1.78 gallons of water. Well, 9.8 quarts is just about 1/2 of the sparge water. So instead of using it to mash out, I'll drain the MLT and add most of it to the grain for the first sparge addition. That should give me a grain bed temp right around 168, maybe a degree or two under. Then, I can do the second round of sparge water at 168-170 degrees. Let me know if I didn't explain that very well!
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by pksmitty View Post
When mashing at about 154, batch sparging, about what temp do you need the sparge water to be in order to raise the grain bed to 168? Or does the amount of sparge water make too much difference to give an accurate answer? I have beersmith at home, so I'm sure I can play with that for each brew, but figured I'd see if there is a rule of thumb.


BTW Yoop, that is a great picture in your avatar!
I double batch sparge, so you may need less temp, but I find I need 185-190 degree F water to hit 168-170 grainbed temps with my first sparge, and 170 degF water for the second sparge. For a single batch sparge, I'm guessing you only would need 175-180, but I'd beersmith it.
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