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Old 12-13-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Over Sparging?

Hey all,

In trying to further improve my process I have a simple question:

What is over sparging?

I have a round 5gal cooler MLT. I max out at about 13# for grains. I typically mash in 11# with 3.5gal of water. First runnings typically yield about 1.5 - 2 gal of wort. I have switched from fly sparging to batch sparging to hopefully rid myself of varying degrees of astringency that I have noticed in my less than hoppy ales. My Porters and hop heavy IPA tend to mask the astrigency, my palate/my opinion. I have been sparging an additional 5gal to achieve pre-boil volume of 6-6.5gal. Sparge water temp at 160F. First sparge 3 gal, 2nd sparge 2gal. I boil off about 1.5gal in a 60min boil. I use RO water from a local water store.

I have researched and cannot find an answer to what is too much water. Opinions and advice would be appreciated. I am getting ready for a brew session on Saturday.

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Old 12-13-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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There really is no such thing as too much sparge water, as you can just boil longer to achieve your desired post-boil volume. Say I needed 6.5 gallons for an hour boil to achieve 5.5 in the end but I wound up with 7 gallons. Just boil for an extra half hour and your good. You may get an increased efficiency as a result though.

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Old 12-13-2012, 03:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddad View Post
I typically mash in 11# with 3.5gal of water
I believe it mostly depends on style, but 1qt to 2qt per # of grain is the norm. your 14 qts for 11 lbs = 1.27 ratio is right on for mash in

sparge with enough water to get to pre-boil volume, I'm not sure where the point is where you would split the amounts and do 2 sparges.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
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I use fly sparging but I think as long as you stop before your runnings reach 1.010 you should be good. Below that is when you start extracting some harsh flavors.

Also I don't know if using straight RO water to sparge with is the best thing unless your adjusting the pH. Might be very acidic which could cause some off flavors.

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Old 12-13-2012, 04:19 PM   #5
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I use fly sparging but I think as long as you stop before your runnings reach 1.010 you should be good. Below that is when you start extracting some harsh flavors.

Also I don't know if using straight RO water to sparge with is the best thing unless your adjusting the pH. Might be very acidic which could cause some off flavors.
Straight RO water is the ideal water for sparging- you won't get too acidic, and in fact still need to keep your pH under 6 and the RO water is perfect. Most people who don't use RO for sparging should acidify their sparge water.

"Oversparging" generally happens when several things happen. One, too much water is used for the grains. That generally only happens in very small grain bills, because you can easily use 3 quarts of water per pound of grain without risking tannin extraction. Two, due to so much water going through the grains, the pH of sparge rises above 6 and the runnings' SG drops to under 1.010. That really doesn't become much of a risk with batch sparging, though!

The only time I've really thought about oversparging is when making a mild. It's only like 6 pounds of grain in a five gallon batch, so that's not all that much wort to start with. I've mashed in with 9 quarts of water, and got out 1 gallon of first runnings. Then I didn't want to sparge up to my boil volume, as then that would be 6 gallons of sparge water! So I sparged with 3 gallons (I believe, don't have my notes in front of me) until my runnings were 1.010, and then topped up with water for my boil volume. Like I said, though, this is a very rare instance. Most often, people tend to undersparge, since they stop when they reach their boil volume!
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:45 PM   #6
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Thanks Yooper, I was hoping for your input. I have been trying to refine my process and recently switched from fly sparging to batch sparging. I am contemplating a bigger MLT but am saving coin for an actual rig I am building. up in the air about getting a bigger cooler.

When you measure the gravity (2nd/3rd runnings), at what temp?

To clarify, I have to split the sparge in two as I cannot get a full 5gal of sparge water in with the grains.

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Old 12-13-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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I'm not sure where the point is where you would split the amounts and do 2 sparges.
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Originally Posted by maddad View Post
To clarify, I have to split the sparge in two as I cannot get a full 5gal of sparge water in with the grains.
yes. that would be that point

good job, maddad... asking AND answering questions here on HBT
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrogNerd View Post
yes. that would be that point

good job, maddad... asking AND answering questions here on HBT
Yer not so mean
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:06 PM   #9
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caught me on a drinking day

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Old 12-13-2012, 05:49 PM   #10
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Drink one for me

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