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Old 11-13-2007, 07:56 PM   #1
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I've got a couple of questions for you pro brewers out there. I've read countless posts that say you can brew all but the biggest brews with a 30qt pot as long as you are doing 5 gallon batches but I just can't figure it out... I have an 8.5 gallon brewpot and a 48qt rectangular MLT. O.k. let's say I'm brewing a beer that takes around 16 pounds of grain..

16 pounds of grain at 1.25 qts of water per pound is 5 gallons. That should go in my cooler immediately to mash.

I've read that 10lbs of grain absorbs 1 gallon of water. So I should be able to drain 4 gallons of wort here. So do you all just adjust your sparge water then based upon what your equipment can handle? In this case around 3 gallons so I start with 7 gallons as usual? And if the beer is bigger does that just mean less sparge water? I'm really confused how to make all of this workout. Also if there is a mashout step in there does that count as a sparge? or do you still batch sparge after it which would give you even less sparge water.

It just seems if I use 1.25 to mash and 1.25 to sparge in this case I'm collecting 10 gallons which I can't handle in my pot... If anyone can explain all this to me I'd really appreciate it.

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Old 11-13-2007, 08:28 PM   #2
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In this case the grains will absorb ~1.5 gallons of wort. When drained, a total of ~3.5 gallons will result. If you need 7 gallons to get to 5.5 then you need to add 3.5 more gallons. So your total sparge will be 3.5 gallons heated to temp you desire, usually at 170 F or so.

You can sparge once at 3.5 gallons or sparge twice breaking the sparge up as evenly as possible, in this case it would be 7 quarts each sparge.

1. To Sparge first vuorlauf then drain the entire M/L tun into your boil tun.
2. Next (in this ex.) take 7 quarts of near boiling and add it to your M/L tun and give it a nice stir to even out the heat and get all grains involved.
3. Next let it stand 5-10 mins to settle.
4. Next repeat steps 1 - 3 for second sparge.

When done you should have enough wort to boil down to your needed amt and brew to schedule.

- WW

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Old 11-13-2007, 09:32 PM   #3
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Just to answer a few of your questions from my perspective.

What I usually do with my similar setup is shoot for 7.5 gallons pre-boil which boils down to 5 during a 60 minute boil.

As far as calculating my water volumes, I usually just use 4 gallons of water to mash and then do a single sparge of 3.5 gallons. This is assuming I use between 10-12 pounds of grain. What you have to remember is that the 1.25 quarts / pound is not a hard fast rule. It's more of a range and if you get near or around 1.25 quarts per pound you'll be just fine. More importantly, you need hit your mash temp dead on and keep it consistent for the entire mash then sparge with water close to 170 to rinse any residual sugars that are left.

I've used this method now for four all grain batches all of which have been above 80% efficiency except for one which I got 75%.

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Old 11-13-2007, 11:23 PM   #4
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There's also deadspace to account for in the MLT, which might cause another .25-.75 gallons lost.

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Old 11-14-2007, 02:17 AM   #5
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It's not too difficult and you don't really have to know everything about your mashtun right away. You're right about mashing in with ABOUT 1.25qts/pound but it's OK to round up or down to make it a manageable volume. For 12 pounds, it would be 15 quarts or 3.75 gallons but 3.5 or 4 gallons isn't going to change much.

After your 60 minute mash, drain 2 quarts into a jug and carefully return it back to the mash, then drain the tun completely into something with gallon marks on it. If you measure the runnings volume, you figure out your sparge volume by subtracting your first runnings from your desired preboil volume. In your case, I'd say 6.5 gallons would be a realistic maximum for a 5.5 gallons into the fermenter.

So, if you measure a first running of 3g you need to sparge with 3.5 gallons. You can stick with a simple single batch sparge by pouring in the whole 3.5 gallons of 170-180F water, stir it up well, (circulate another 2 quarts back into the tun "vorlauf"), then drain the whole thing. You're done. The would be a slight increase in efficiency if you break that sparge into two equal batches but you can worry about that next time.

Always start out by heating more water than you think you need because it's a pain to stop everything to heat up half a gallon more. Note: you can use your boil kettle as your water heating vessel. You'll just have to collect the wort into buckets or anything else until you're done sparging.

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Old 11-14-2007, 12:41 PM   #6
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Thanks guys for the replies and the videos!! I'm trying to figure this all out. My first all grain went well.. Of course Edworts Haus Ale has pretty clear instructions. Many other recipes don't have quite as good of instructions so I am trying to learn.

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