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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > help with water to grain ratio.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default help with water to grain ratio.

Hey guys as a chemist by professiin i feel like an idiot. I can not figure out the amount of water i should use for my mash and my sparge. I batch sparge. Last time i brewed with 16lb of grain. Going with a 1.33qt/lb i figured 5.2 gallons for my mash. Once i collected the first runnings i had just over 4.5 gallons. This left me with 1.5 gallons to sparge with. I was short on my og but just barely. Fkr batch sparging what is the best ratio to use. Right now i am going to try 1qt/lb to try and even it out between strike and sparge.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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I don't use a ratio, what you ultimately need to know is your per-boil volume.

If you need 7.5 total pre-boil and you pull out 3 gallons, you will then need to sparge with the difference. In this example it would be 4.5 gallons of sparge water. I hope that makes sense.

If you are doing a double batch sparge, just take that 4.5 gallons, and divide into two equal sparge amount, in this example it would be 2.25 gallons each sparge.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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Can mashing with too much water lower efficiency? Im knew to all grain and it been frustrating because i havent found any consitency.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:22 PM   #4
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It's really different for every system, there is no golden rule. Most people use between 1.0 and 1.5 quarts of water per pound. Like you discovered, the more water you mash with, the better your first runnings are, but the less you have left to sparge with.

It's going to take experimentation to figure it out.

The true BIAB folks don't sparge at all, which means the mash ratio could be 2 quarts per pound or more. I do a BIAB in a 4 gallon kettle with a dunk sparge in a 2 gallon kettle. My best results are when I nearly top off the mash kettle.

What kind of system do you have?

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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I use 1.25q/lb as a basis, some require more, like 1.50/lb, it can affect efficiency, but not noticeably so. Main way to increase/maintain your efficiency, is the crush, and your sparge water temp.

I use sparge water at 185, it works for my system, but your may need 177. Brewing lots of beer, taking good notes of all numbers, and changing only one thing at a time, is the oly way to know for sure how your system best operates.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caioz1jp View Post
Can mashing with too much water lower efficiency? Im knew to all grain and it been frustrating because i havent found any consitency.
If having a high mash volume reduces the how much sparge water you use then it can reduce efficiency. However, if you use the same amount of sparge water regardless of the volume of your first runnings then it may increase efficiency. Some people say that it will change fermentability, but there is data that says otherwise.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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I agree with Sherpa FE, I just use the desired preboil volume and split it half for mash, half for sparge. The only other variable is the grain bill, a larger one will absorb more, requiring more total water volume. I use .16 gallons per pound of grain. This works out to be about 2 gallons absorbed per typical 5 gallon batch (grain bill around 12-13 lbs) which is pretty consistent with how my system actually behaves. So I use roughly 4.75 gallons for both mash and sparge. I don't even think much about it anymore unless I am brewing something that varies significantly in the grain bill.

[EDIT] I get high 70's, low 80's efficiency FWIW.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:45 PM   #8
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If you're doing a high-gravity batch--and 16 lbs of grain qualifies--your efficiency will usually drop a liitle, because you're trying to dissolve more sugars in the same amount of water. Raising temps and vigorous stirring will help, up to a point. For a lot of these beers, you will have to either write your recipe scaled to less than typical efficiency, or sparge a little more and boil that liquid off before you add any hops. My table-strength beers give me the opposite problem, to the point that I no-sparge most of them.

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