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Old 10-30-2011, 10:15 PM   #1
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Default Batch Sparge Volume question

Hey guys,

I am trying to come up with a recipe for a single temperature infusion batch sparge all-grain brew. I've done 5 extract brews already and want to take the next step and attempt all grain brewing. I've been reading the book "How to brew" by John Palmer and so far that is where pretty much all my info is coming from.

Basically, I want to create an Extra Special Bitter recipe. I haven't decided on the hops yet but so far:

Malts:

  • 7.5 Lb Pale ale malt
  • 1/2 Lb Caramel 40 L
  • 1/2 Lb Caramel 60 L
  • 1/2 Lb Flaked Corn

Yeast: WLP007 Dry English Ale

Hops: N/A

Target OG = 1.048
Target FG = 1.008
Batch size of 5 gallons
Boil volume of 6 gallons

That's everything I have so far, if anything looks out of place I would appreciate that you guys point it out

The strike water will be 18 quarts (9 Lb grain bill * 2) @ 160 F. This will make the mash around 4.5 gallons. I'm just stuck on how much sparge water I should add. I know the answer is somewhere in my book but I read the book in 4 days and haven't yet digested all the info (A LOT.)

Thanks.

-dipplydumper
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:19 PM   #2
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Simple way to figure out sparge volumes. I want 5.7 gallons preboil. I'll mash in with the 1.25 qts/#. After the mash I would drain the first runnings into a bucket marked with gallons. It's Ok to guesstimate. Subtract this amount from your preboil volume and divide by two. These amounts are your sparge volumes. You'll end up with your preboil everytime because when sparge your grain is already saturated and will not absorb anymore wort. I always try to have more sparge water in the HLT then I will need. I can always use it for cleaning.

Also, a neat website with a calculator...

http://www.brewheads.com/batch.php

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Old 10-30-2011, 10:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Hammy71 View Post
Simple way to figure out sparge volumes. I want 5.7 gallons preboil. I'll mash in with the 1.25 qts/#. After the mash I would drain the first runnings into a bucket marked with gallons. It's Ok to guesstimate. Subtract this amount from your preboil volume and divide by two. These amounts are your sparge volumes. You'll end up with your preboil everytime because when sparge your grain is already saturated and will not absorb anymore wort. I always try to have more sparge water in the HLT then I will need. I can always use it for cleaning.

Also, a neat website with a calculator...

http://www.brewheads.com/batch.php
Thanks for the calculator, that will come in handy in the future. But for right now I really like to understand everything before I start to use calculators.

I noticed you are using 1.25 qts/# for the mash in, what I read suggested a 2x water to grist ratio. Now I'm assuming you've brewed all grain before, but does it make a difference?

Quote:
After the mash I would drain the first runnings into a bucket marked with gallons. It's Ok to guesstimate. Subtract this amount from your preboil volume and divide by two.
Is measuring how much wort you collect from the first running's the only way to find out how much sparge water you need? For example, lets say my mash is 4.5 gallons and I collect 3 (just an arbitrary number) gallons from that. Using that calculation (6 gallons - 3 gallons /2) would give me a sparge volume of 1.5 gallons that doesn't sound right.

Honestly, understanding the different sparge techniques is what was most confusing to me. I'm sure I'll have to reread those chapters multiple times until I start to understand it all.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:44 PM   #4
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use brewtarget...mash wizard will figure everything out for you...plus it's freeware...google it

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Old 10-30-2011, 11:02 PM   #5
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There are different reasons for water to grist ratios...Palmer suggests 1.5 : 1 as a compromise between a thick mash and a thin mash.

Below is a quote from Palmer:

"The grist/water ratio is another factor influencing the performance of the mash. A thinner mash of >2 quarts of water per pound of grain dilutes the relative concentration of the enzymes, slowing the conversion, but ultimately leads to a more fermentable mash because the enzymes are not inhibited by a high concentration of sugars. A stiff mash of <1.25 quarts of water per pound is better for protein breakdown, and results in a faster overall starch conversion, but the resultant sugars are less fermentable and will result in a sweeter, maltier beer. A thicker mash is more gentle to the enzymes because of the lower heat capacity of grain compared to water. A thick mash is better for multirest mashes because the enzymes are not denatured as quickly by a rise in temperature.

As always, time changes everything; it is the final factor in the mash. Starch conversion may be complete in only 30 minutes, so that during the remainder of a 60 minute mash, the brewer is working the mash conditions to produce the desired profile of wort sugars. Depending on the mash pH, water ratio and temperature, the time required to complete the mash can vary from under 30 minutes to over 90. At a higher temperature, a stiffer mash and a higher pH, the alpha amylase is favored and starch conversion will be complete in 30 minutes or less. Longer times at these conditions will allow the beta amylase time to breakdown more of the longer sugars into shorter ones, resulting in a more fermentable wort, but these alpha-favoring conditions are deactivating the beta; such a mash is self-limiting.

A compromise of all factors yields the standard mash conditions for most homebrewers: a mash ratio of about 1.5 quarts of water per pound grain, pH of 5.3, temperature of 150-155°F and a time of about one hour. These conditions yield a wort with a nice maltiness and good fermentability."

good luck young Padawan....

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Old 10-31-2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddlydumper View Post
Thanks for the calculator, that will come in handy in the future. But for right now I really like to understand everything before I start to use calculators.

I noticed you are using 1.25 qts/# for the mash in, what I read suggested a 2x water to grist ratio. Now I'm assuming you've brewed all grain before, but does it make a difference?



Is measuring how much wort you collect from the first running's the only way to find out how much sparge water you need? For example, lets say my mash is 4.5 gallons and I collect 3 (just an arbitrary number) gallons from that. Using that calculation (6 gallons - 3 gallons /2) would give me a sparge volume of 1.5 gallons that doesn't sound right.

Honestly, understanding the different sparge techniques is what was most confusing to me. I'm sure I'll have to reread those chapters multiple times until I start to understand it all.

Thanks for your help.
Yes, I usually use around 1.25qt/pound to mash in with. Like old tx said, there's many schools of thought on mash/water ratios. So, yeah, your math is correct. There's no rule that the sparge volume must be larger than the mash volume. In fact many people don't do any sparge at all. They just up the grains amounts to compensate for a lower efficiency. I understand your desire to master the 'book' part of all grain before you dive in, but I think sometimes the books make it seem more complicated than it needs to be. Batch sparging is really just a matter of mashing the grains for an hour and then rinsing the sugars off with sparge water to collect you preboil volume. You can calculate how much sparge volume you need by knowing the absorbtion rate of the grains your using, deadspace in your MLT etc. There are many variables that can change your final numbers and you can learn your systems numbers best by trial and error. After a few brews you'll know exactly how much water you need. Hence, the easiest way (for me) is the old measure the first runnings routine and moving on....

Cheers!!
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hammy71 View Post
Yes, I usually use around 1.25qt/pound to mash in with. Like old tx said, there's many schools of thought on mash/water ratios. So, yeah, your math is correct. There's no rule that the sparge volume must be larger than the mash volume. In fact many people don't do any sparge at all. They just up the grains amounts to compensate for a lower efficiency. I understand your desire to master the 'book' part of all grain before you dive in, but I think sometimes the books make it seem more complicated than it needs to be. Batch sparging is really just a matter of mashing the grains for an hour and then rinsing the sugars off with sparge water to collect you preboil volume. You can calculate how much sparge volume you need by knowing the absorbtion rate of the grains your using, deadspace in your MLT etc. There are many variables that can change your final numbers and you can learn your systems numbers best by trial and error. After a few brews you'll know exactly how much water you need. Hence, the easiest way (for me) is the old measure the first runnings routine and moving on....

Cheers!!
Ok, I think this is starting to make since to me as long as my next question turns out to be correct.

Is it normal to have less than your preboil volume after you are done sparging? Do you use just plain water to make up for whats left? This would also assume that your first runnings + the sparge are at a higher gravity then what you intend the OG to be. So let me try an example so help illustrate what I may not be typing very well.

-4.5 galling mash
-collect 3 gallons from mash
-using the equation you provided I should be adding 1.5 gallons for the sparge
-theoretically most of this water should just run through with the excess sugar dissolved that did not come through the first runnings. for the sake of this example lets assume that I achieve 100% efficiency during this stage.
-collect the 1.5 gallons of sparge water which would bring my wort up to 4.5 gallons, 1.5 gallons short of the preboil volume.
-Does the extra 1.5 gallons come from me just diluting the wort?

Sorry for all the questions but I am one of those people that has to understand everything I am doing before I do it.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:54 AM   #8
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For your first AG I think you should use a recipe from Palmer's book or one from a reliable source. Don't fabricate the recipe for your first AG. Focus on technique, volumes and temps.

The problem I had the first AG I did was that there was no specifics. Everything had to be calculated, and that made for too many variables.

After you have done a few you will understand that it is not as difficult as the books make it sound. Though it is precise.

My house pale ale is a bit loose, so this may or not help. technique is this:

11 # grain
Mash with 3.5 gallons at 171Deg. = 157plus or minus a degree.
Mash 45 min to an hour.
Drain
Sparge with 2.5 gallons @ 173 brings it up to 164 or 165.
stir, wait, drain.
Sparge with 2.5 gallons @ 171 or so.
stir, wait, drain.

I usually bring 7.00 to 7.5 to the boil and boil down to 5.5 or so. Then boil, etc.

This is just a basic pale ale that is surprisingly consistant.

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Old 10-31-2011, 07:42 PM   #9
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If you really want to know the details first-
For sparge volume, you have to account for how much wort is left behind in the spent mash. Generally estimated at .125 gallon/pound grist. This has to be added to your sparge volume. The previous post that confused you looked like it was for 2 batch sparges after the initial runnings (double sparge?, IDK), but that wasn't mentioned. You seem to be describing one sparge after collecting the first runnings for your process.

The other factors are the various system losses, which would be how much is left in the tun that your dip tube can't reach, and what is lost in the hoses, on the patio, etc., on the way to the BK. System losses also have to be accounted for on the way to the fermenter due to dip tube, trub/hops pile loss, etc.

I think most of the brewing software will step you through what it wants to know to calculate everything for you, so you get a good idea of what is used to come up with the final numbers it spits out.

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Old 10-31-2011, 07:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomebrewPete View Post
Ok, I think this is starting to make since to me as long as my next question turns out to be correct.

Is it normal to have less than your preboil volume after you are done sparging? Do you use just plain water to make up for whats left? This would also assume that your first runnings + the sparge are at a higher gravity then what you intend the OG to be. So let me try an example so help illustrate what I may not be typing very well.

-4.5 galling mash
-collect 3 gallons from mash
-using the equation you provided I should be adding 1.5 gallons for the sparge
-theoretically most of this water should just run through with the excess sugar dissolved that did not come through the first runnings. for the sake of this example lets assume that I achieve 100% efficiency during this stage.
-collect the 1.5 gallons of sparge water which would bring my wort up to 4.5 gallons, 1.5 gallons short of the preboil volume.
-Does the extra 1.5 gallons come from me just diluting the wort?

Sorry for all the questions but I am one of those people that has to understand everything I am doing before I do it.
4.5 gallons into the mash.

You collect 3 gallons in your first runnings.

Lets say you want 5.5 gallons preboil.

You still need 2.5 gallons. That is your sparge amount. I think your confusing a "Mash Out" with sparge water. We can get into that subject some other time. Your first runnings will be a lot higher gravity than your subsequent sparges, as the sugars left to be washed off diminishes. There will be no reason to dilute the wort.

I understand your quest to learn before you do. I must of read a dozen books and lurked on this site for months before I even ordered my first brew kit. But the good thing is, if you control your screw ups and keep your learning curve managable....you can drink your mistakes!!
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