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Old 05-14-2011, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default All Grain: More water needed than desired yield

After partial mashing a few recipes I want to go All Grain. So I'm sure there's an easy answer for this, but, I want to do a 3 gallon batch and the recipe I've come up with uses 5.5 gallons of base malt. 1.25 per lb of malt comes out to 6.875 quarts needed to mash the grain. Then, 1/2 gallon per lb for sparge water comes out to 2.75 gallons sparge water. So total water before boil I've got 4.47 gallons of water.

So do I just extend my boil time? Want my OG end up high then?
Like I said, I'm sure there's an easy answer but I'm just not seeing it.

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Old 05-15-2011, 12:02 AM   #2
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The easiest way to figure how to get your volume is to work backwards.

Say you want to start with 4 gallons boil for a 3 gallon batch. (Usually, I'd recommend 1.25 gallon boil off, though- I'd start with 4.25 gallons).

Anyway, if you have 6.8 quarts of mash liquor (call it 7 quarts, to make my math easier, and easier to measure!) into 5.5 pounds of grain, you can figure that the grain will absorb about .125 gallons per pound of grain. So, you'll "lose" .6 gallon or so of liquid right there, getting out 1.1 gallons or so out of the mash runnings. Measure it to make sure.

That means you still need nearly three gallons of sparge water. So, you sparge with the volume you need to reach your desired boil volume.

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Old 05-15-2011, 12:15 AM   #3
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So just heat 3 gallons of sparge water up, and then sparge the grains until I reach the 4 gallon boil mark (probably with some sparge water left over)? So if I end up using a little less sparge water than recommended because I've reached my targeted boil volume, my numbers should still be correct? I'm trying to make the move to all grain and I'm sorry for not completely understanding, it just seems that the more grains you use the more water you'll need. Like for 11 lbs malt in a 5 gallon batch, you'd need something like 18-19 gallons of water total. Something's not clicking in my head...

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Old 05-15-2011, 12:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JeffStewart View Post
So just heat 3 gallons of sparge water up, and then sparge the grains until I reach the 4 gallon boil mark (probably with some sparge water left over)? So if I end up using a little less sparge water than recommended because I've reached my targeted boil volume, my numbers should still be correct? I'm trying to make the move to all grain and I'm sorry for not completely understanding, it just seems that the more grains you use the more water you'll need. Like for 11 lbs malt in a 5 gallon batch, you'd need something like 18-19 gallons of water total. Something's not clicking in my head...
I would never be able to use 18-19 gallons of water in a batch!

I think you're missing a concept here! You stop sparging when you reach your boil volume. In a 5 gallon batch, my boil volume is usually 6.5 gallons. I boil off about 1.25 gallons an hour, just like most people.

If I was in your situation, I'd batch sparge rather than attemping a fly sparge with only 5.5 pounds of grain. That's be rather shallow for a grain bed.

For batch sparging, drain your mash. Then add 2 gallons of sparge water (175 degrees) and stir, vorlauf, and drain. Then add the rest of the sparge water, stir, vorlauf, and drain.

Basically, the technique would be to use 1.25-1.5 quarts per pound of grain for the mash. Stir like crazy. You'd want to be around 153 degrees, so check the temperature and make sure it's there. Let it sit an hour.

Then,vorlauf and drain. Measure those runnings. Add the sparge water in two batches, stirring, vorlaufing, and draining as mentioned. You can
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:37 AM   #5
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Ok, thanks for the clarification. I knew what I had in my mind wasn't right. Sincerely, thank you. After partial mashing a few batches I really want to make the full leap.

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Old 05-15-2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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One more quick question. At what point do you reach a super saturation level of your mash water and require you to increase boil volume?

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