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-   -   How much sparge water? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/how-much-sparge-water-5780/)

DyerNeedOfBeer 02-08-2006 01:21 PM

How much sparge water?
I have read several methods on how to calculate this but wanted to get a general consensus. How do you determine how much sparge water you will use?

-Do you determine the ammount of water that will give you your proper pre-boil volume based on mash volume and losses?
-Do you just use a multiple of the volume of water in the mash and then top off / boil down to obtain the proper volume?
-Do you sparge until you reach a certain gravity of the runoff and then top up / boil down?

It seems these techniques would lead to large differences in your efficiencies and O.G.'s. If you sparge down to 1.005 runoff you are extracting the most from your grains. This would possibly require boil off to obtain the final volume desired and may be risky for tannin extraction. This also leads to long sparge times. To just choose 1.5 times the volume of the mash to sparge with (or some other multiple) may not lead to full extraction therefore giving low efficiencies.

It seems pro mash will let you enter whatever sparge volume you want and calculates your 'water needed' around that. This would lead to many variances in the process. What are your thoughts?

jeffg 02-08-2006 01:32 PM

I just got pro-mash and tried it for the first time this weekend and ended up short of the usual 5.5 gallons I shoot for. Typically, I do a quart of water per pound of grain for mash and figure on two quarts of water per pound of grain for sparge water. I then add additional sparge water to account for .1 gallon per pound of grain absorption during the mash and usually about a gallon of evaporation during a 60-75 minute open boil. Usually this gets me shooting for 6.5-7 gallons pre-boil, 5.5-6 in primary, leaving me 5-5.5 in the seconday after racking out the trub and any blow-off. I get greater evaporation in the winter.

I need to tweak pro-mash to account for my typical evaporation and absorption rates because I came up like a 1/2 gallon short........

DeRoux's Broux 02-08-2006 01:32 PM

i sparge until i get a kettle volume of around 6.5-7 gallons, and never sparge lower than a SG of 1.010 (which i have never gone below 1.010 before i get the kettle volume i need).

Baron von BeeGee 02-08-2006 01:45 PM

I batch sparge which takes ph/SG readings out of the equation for the most part. I calculate two equal batches resulting in 7g...the size of the batches varies depending on the grain bill.

Lost 02-08-2006 02:30 PM

You should go with 1.5 - 2 times the volume you used in the mash (mash volume should be 1.3 - 1.5 qts per lb of grain). Stop sparging if runoff drops to or below 1.008. Tannin extraction is also less likely if you make sure you've got a proper ph in the mash by using something like 5.2 ph stabilizer.

If you have a small kettle but want a big beer then you run into the problem of having to sparge, boil down, sparge, boil down, etc. until you get the most you can from those grains. When I had that small kettle that came with the turkey fryer I calculated the volume of wort that would result from x lbs of grain (given 1.5 qts per lb for the mash and 2.5 - 3 qts of sparge water per lb). If the result exceeded what I could fit in my 30qt kettle then I'd consider using less grains - I didn't really want to be wasteful and didn't want to take the time to boil the wort down to make room for more runnings. Of course, you can always use more grains but this wasteful and can actually be counterproductive if taken too far - it's a bandaid fix at best. Really, a smaller kettle is more limiting than people think. There's another current thread on here about an "efficiency wall" - I'd suggest you go read through it to see why correct sparge volume is so essential...

cowain 02-08-2006 03:23 PM

I disagree with the sparging with 1.5 to 2 times the amount you used in the mash. There's a formula for the total water you need in a brew in "Brewing Great Beers" that I always use. I calculate the total amount of water needed for the brew, multiply the lbs of grain by 1.3 to get my amount of mash water. I then subtract that from the total amount needed and use the rest as sparge.

Walker 02-08-2006 03:41 PM

I'm looking at Papazian's book right now. Guidlines he gives are:

1 quart of mash water for every pound of grain
2 quarts of sparge water for every pound of grain


DesertBrew 02-08-2006 03:55 PM

I think the grain to water ratio is the only important part of this equation and usually go at about 1.25.

As for how much total I need, enough to get the job done. I stop when I get my 6.5g out of the sparge or get below 1.010. I basically always get 11g ready for the process.

Baron von BeeGee 02-08-2006 03:58 PM


Originally Posted by BeeGee
I batch sparge which takes ph/SG readings out of the equation for the most part. I calculate two equal batches resulting in 7g...the size of the batches varies depending on the grain bill.

I should clarify myself by pointing out that by two equal batches I mean two equal runoffs...the first batch will always require more water than the second (sparge) batch due to grain absorption and filling up MLT deadspace.

ajf 02-08-2006 05:20 PM

I want to end up with 5 gals in secondary. To get this, I need 5.25 gals in primary. For that. I need a bit short of 6 gals at start of boil. I use about 1.1 qt per pound of grain for the mash, and enough water for sparging to achieve the required start of boil level. I usually use 7.5 - 9 lbs grain, and start with 7 - 8 gals sparge water. I fly sparge until I have the required wort volume, and end up with 1/2 - 2 unused gallons in the HLT.
These figures work for me, but your mileage may vary.


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