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Old 11-18-2012, 01:21 AM   #1
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Default Getting all the water out of the mash

I've noticed that it's not easy to get all the water out of the grain when sparging. I stir it regularly, but it seems like there's still a whole bunch of water left trapped in the grain after none will come out of the spigot any more.

My question is, has anyone tried compressing or squeezing the grain to get all the wart out? Maybe by wrapping it in cheesecloth or something? It seems like that would get a lot more sugar that would otherwise be trapped in the grain.

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Old 11-18-2012, 02:29 AM   #2
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Squeezing the grain increase the chance of extracting tannins.. Don't do it.. As long as you get your volumes don't worry about that water/wort at all..

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Old 11-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #3
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Squeezing the grain increase the chance of extracting tannins.. Don't do it.. As long as you get your volumes don't worry about that water/wort at all..
Nope. You can squeeze the grains all you want and not extract tannins. Extracting tannins is a function of the mash pH and the temperature. You have to have a high pH (usually from oversparging) and then the temperature must be high also.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by linkaz View Post
I've noticed that it's not easy to get all the water out of the grain when sparging. I stir it regularly, but it seems like there's still a whole bunch of water left trapped in the grain after none will come out of the spigot any more.

My question is, has anyone tried compressing or squeezing the grain to get all the wart out? Maybe by wrapping it in cheesecloth or something? It seems like that would get a lot more sugar that would otherwise be trapped in the grain.
You are describing BIAB when you talk about using the cheesecloth. There is a sticky on this page called "BIAB Brewing (with pics)" that tells a lot about the process. If you have a large enough pot to mash in you can eliminate the mash tun completely and do the mash right in the pot you intend to boil in. It eliminates a couple of steps in the process and leaves you with less cleanup.

I read about the guys with their conventional mash tuns taking 6 to 7 hours to make a batch while I can do my batch BIAB in about 4 hours including cleanup and putting the equipment away.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:06 PM   #5
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I wouldn't worry about it - if you're not getting enough volume in the brew kettle, then you need to add more sparge water to begin with. I'm not a fan of squeezing the grain because I know it will get more solids in my brew kettle. But fly sparging takes longer too, as mentioned above.

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Old 11-18-2012, 02:09 PM   #6
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If you're leaving a lot of wort behind in the MLT, there are a couple of things to look at.

One, you need to make sure you have a piece of long enough tubing on the spigot/ballvalve to reach the bottom of the vessel you are draining to. That helps to siphon out the wort from the bottom of the MLT. Secondly, what kind of braid/manifold/false bottom do you have? If you have a pick up tube from the spigot to the separation medium, make sure there isn't any air leaks.

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:44 PM   #7
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Nope. You can squeeze the grains all you want and not extract tannins. Extracting tannins is a function of the mash pH and the temperature. You have to have a high pH (usually from oversparging) and then the temperature must be high also.
Yes, I know you can get tannins from a too high Ph and temp. I also heard that you can possibly extract tannins from squeezing the grain. Not say that you actually will that's just what I have heard..
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:41 PM   #8
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If you don't have a bag to squeeze, you can just press the grain against the side of the tun with similar results. Lots of commercial breweries do this, although I'm sure they use something fancier than my square plastic dinner plate. As an aside, if you want to keep your sparge pH down in pale worts, you can just add some acid (lemon juice, powdered acid from the winemaking section of the LHBS, etc...). As far as temps go, increasing the temp from 130 to 185 only helps dissolve about 5% more sugar. Easier to add 5% more water and not have to worry about the tannins.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:24 AM   #9
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Sometimes I will kick the pump on a couple times when brewing to move extra wort over during the boil. Usually I reserve this for when I am looking at a problem making volume.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:26 PM   #10
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I just brewed a batch with a friend who had never done AG before. He asked the same question. We decided to take a big scoop after we sparged and then try to squeeze any excess into a separate bowl and see if there were any taste differences.

Guess what? We squeezed about a drop out wort out of a big colander full of grain. It wasn't even enough to taste. Sure, there was some deadspace in the tun where wort is lost, but the grain itself drains very well on its own. It was still heavy and obviously was still holding a lot of water, but gravity did a fantastic job of collecting the wort.

So, if you are trying to get the most sugar out, concentrate on minimizing any dead space in the tun. That is where the sugar really will be lost.

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