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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > I don't think this is a problem...but maybe it is?!?

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Old 02-25-2014, 09:05 AM   #1
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Default I don't think this is a problem...but maybe it is?!?

So, quick and dirty.

I use a 15G Blichmann kettle as a HLT. I typically use 6G of strike water that I add to a 10G Rubbermaid cooler, for 10G batches of beer. The sight gauge only reads down to 3G, so I start with 9G of water in my HLT.

Here's the part I'm sort of slightly wondering about. I sparge with about 9G of water. So, after I add my strike water I add 9G of water to my HLT, which brings my total volume to 12G. When I begin fly sparging I continue to add water to my MT until I hit my desired volume in my BK. Meaning, I add more water to my MT than I end up draining to my BK.

I can't imagine this is a problem but then as I read I see that most people seem to measure out their sparge water. While I add a certain amount, it's not measured to match my sparging needs, it is intentionally more than I need to sparge with. Once I reach my desired volume in the BK I shut the valve and proceed with my brew day.

This is a non-issue, right?

Just wanted to check.

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Old 02-25-2014, 09:55 AM   #2
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Most likely a non issue, but sparging with a precise amount of water and fully draining the tun might gain you a slightly better efficiency. I like your method for ease of process and simply gauging the preboil volume is a great way to brew as opposed to attempting to predetermine water volumes.

It is likely a non issue IMO, and for possibly $0.20 worth of grain...if it ain't broke don't fix it....cheers!

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Old 02-25-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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I agree with wilserbrewer, it doesn't make any difference. My only reason for measuring the sparge water is to make it easier to drain and clean the MLT. I calculate for about 1/2 gal. excess at the end of the sparge just in case there's a problem.

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Old 02-25-2014, 01:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gameface View Post
So, quick and dirty.

I use a 15G Blichmann kettle as a HLT. I typically use 6G of strike water that I add to a 10G Rubbermaid cooler, for 10G batches of beer. The sight gauge only reads down to 3G, so I start with 9G of water in my HLT.

Here's the part I'm sort of slightly wondering about. I sparge with about 9G of water. So, after I add my strike water I add 9G of water to my HLT, which brings my total volume to 12G. When I begin fly sparging I continue to add water to my MT until I hit my desired volume in my BK. Meaning, I add more water to my MT than I end up draining to my BK.

I can't imagine this is a problem but then as I read I see that most people seem to measure out their sparge water. While I add a certain amount, it's not measured to match my sparging needs, it is intentionally more than I need to sparge with. Once I reach my desired volume in the BK I shut the valve and proceed with my brew day.

This is a non-issue, right?

Just wanted to check.
For sparging you choose a method, batch or fly. You seem to have chosen fly so you keep adding water to the mash tun until you reach your volume. If you batch sparged, you can measure your first runnings and then add the amount needed for pre boil volume to the tun in a batch and once stirred well, you drain it all. Either way works, fly sparging is supposed to be slightly more efficient at leaching out the sugars but it also takes longer.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:18 PM   #5
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If you're happy with your efficiency then it's not an issue. I'd say the main reason to try to get a little closer to exact would be the amount of energy you're wasting in heating up the extra water. I calculate to have about 3-4 quarts of extra wort runoff, just in case. You sound experienced enough - the absorption rates are pretty consistent so it shouldn't be too hard to narrow in on something more precise.

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Old 02-25-2014, 07:30 PM   #6
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No worries! We don't even measure our mash water. We bring water in from the bottom and add malt as it rises. Once it's an inch or so over the grain bed we're good.

We start draining the mash into the kettle. As soon as we see the level drop we start pumping sparge water into the mash tun keeping the same level. This keeps the grain bed floating allowing the sparge water to rinse better. Once we hit our mark on the kettle we stop. We then drain the rest of the mash into a bucket while the kettle starts it's boil. Unless we're making a huge beer the wort at this point is tasteless. Our efficiency in the fermentor is at 86%.

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Old 02-25-2014, 08:06 PM   #7
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Do you use a refractometer? Are you reaching your expected pre-boil gravity with the kettle at pre-boil volume? Do you take a gravity reading of the fly sparge runnings before shutting the valve off? I'm guessing this is all done so the only thing I see as an issue would be...

I batch sparge so maybe I'm missing something. Is it a pain cleaning out the cooler with a bunch of water left behind? When I measure I'm just dealing with the wet grain for cleanup.

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Old 02-25-2014, 08:32 PM   #8
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I agree, the biggest issue it seems is how much heavier my mash tun is with the extra water in it. I typically let it drain into a spare kettle.

I do check my pre-boil gravity. I sometimes but don't always check my runoff gravity.

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Old 02-26-2014, 06:46 PM   #9
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I'd be curious what the gravity of that final runoff would be: any chance it's high enough to use for starters? If so, no real reason you couldn't just put that spare kettle on the stove inside and make up some starter wort.

If not, depending on the volume and whether it's worth the effort, you could boil down to an appropriate starter gravity.

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Old 02-26-2014, 11:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfriesen View Post
I'd be curious what the gravity of that final runoff would be: any chance it's high enough to use for starters? If so, no real reason you couldn't just put that spare kettle on the stove inside and make up some starter wort.

If not, depending on the volume and whether it's worth the effort, you could boil down to an appropriate starter gravity.
I like this idea. I'm going to check next brew day.
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