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Old 08-22-2007, 05:04 PM   #11
Bobby_M
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Give it a shot. I think there are a bunch of little things in AG brewing that will impact efficiency up or down by a few points here or there and sparge temp is probably right up at the top along with crush. I'm surprised you've been getting mid 70's actually but that's a good thing. Even 10F warmer sparge might get you into the 80's which is like a free lunch.

I think people are relatively scared of the idea of putting boiling water on their mash thinking it will pull tannins in a second flat. Sure, you don't want that initial hotspot to remain for any period of time, dump the water in all over the place and stir it as soon as possible.

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Old 08-22-2007, 05:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Give it a shot. I think there are a bunch of little things in AG brewing that will impact efficiency up or down by a few points here or there and sparge temp is probably right up at the top along with crush. I'm surprised you've been getting mid 70's actually but that's a good thing. Even 10F warmer sparge might get you into the 80's which is like a free lunch.

I think people are relatively scared of the idea of putting boiling water on their mash thinking it will pull tannins in a second flat. Sure, you don't want that initial hotspot to remain for any period of time, dump the water in all over the place and stir it as soon as possible.
Beginners luck, I guess

I have been leery of the boiling hot mash-out addition, but I have read your other posts on the topic and I'm willing to try since you obviously get good results. So, I'll switch to a mash-out, and two equal batch sparges going forward. Thanks again.
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:35 PM   #13
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Lot's of good advice here. I'll chime in support to the idea of doing a mash-out, as well. It improved my efficiency by about 5 or 6 %, and lautering is a lot easier and quicker now. Definitely a worth-while step.

I doubt that a two-step sparge will necessarily improve your efficiency, however. It may apparently improve efficiency for some, but not for others. Ken Schwartz and Denny Conn, two pioneers of the batch sparging technique, strongly advocate that to increase efficiency, you should aim for a mash-out and then do a single batch sparge that is equal in volume to your first runnings. Ken worked out the math to find the optimal technique (i.e. one sparge, equal runnings) and Denny promoted and popularized it. I have compared both the one- and two-batch sparge methods, and saw only a small difference in efficiency (the one-sparge method tended to be slightly higher, but not consistently so).

But a one-step sparge is definitely simpler and quicker. If you follow the Schwartz/Conn method, the ideal method is to mash at a typical water/grain ration (e.g., 1.3 qt/lb), and then add enough mash water so that you run-off half your boil volume. Then add the remaining water for your sparge (i.e., about half your boil volume). The system works pretty well, unless you have a very large grainbill or a small mash tun, in which case you might have to use second sparge.

This is a very simple and tested-and-true method that eliminates a second batch sparge step and potentially could increase your efficiency a wee bit. Having said that, it is best to try both ways and see, because not everyone has a similar experience.

Here are the links:
http://www.tastybrew.com/articles/dennyconn001
http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer/files/nbsparge.html (batch sparge water calculations are near the bottom, and there is also a downloadable spreadsheet).

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Old 08-23-2007, 02:54 AM   #14
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I have been using a 5gal cooler with SS braid. I add the grain to the cooler then add the mash water and stir well. I have never had a problem with a stuck sparge with up to 12# of grain including 5# of wheat malt and 1# flaked oats. So if you stir well i don't think how you add the grains and water to the mash tun matters much.

I find it interesting that not waiting to drain the sparge water doesn't result in a loss of efficiency. I usually wait 10 min before draining. Maybe next time I will try a faster draining. Ofcourse I usually use that time to start my wort boiling and get that initial hot break before my kettle is full.

Flyguy - interesting results and would definitely save some time and effort. Unfortunately I only have a 5 gal cooler and usually use 11-12# of grain. This doesn't really leave enough room to only do 2 sparges. I do think I need to use hotter sparge water as my mash doesn't get above 160F during the sparge.

Craig

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Old 08-23-2007, 03:30 AM   #15
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I add the very hot (190-195 degree) water at the end of the mash too. The grain will absorb water so you need to add more at the end to get equal volumes. I have beed figuring .15 qts per pound for absorbtion.

My method is to add the grain to the water in the cooler. No doughballs.

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Old 08-23-2007, 02:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blender
I add the very hot (190-195 degree) water at the end of the mash too. The grain will absorb water so you need to add more at the end to get equal volumes. I have beed figuring .15 qts per pound for absorbtion.

My method is to add the grain to the water in the cooler. No doughballs.

I think grain absorbtion is more like .13 (GALLONS) per pound so like 1.3 gallons for a 10lb bill.

I think I will try a larger mash out with a single equal volume sparge next time. That's one combo I haven't tried yet. If I can still nail the 80% + efficiency, it's a worthy reduction in workload and time. My highest efficiency was 86% with a mash out plus two batch sparges, all three runnings volumes close to equal. My last runnings were 1.010 which is ideal. That's not to say I couldn't acheive the same with an equal volume first and second runnings though.
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