Originally Posted by JeffStewart
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