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Old 02-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by tre9er View Post
Is it possible to sparge too much in order to hit preboil gravity? My LHBS said not to use too much sparge water, rather just add water to the boil. Why would he say that?
You can definitely oversparge, especially with a small grainbill. That's not usually an issue with most beers, but with a lower gravity beer with a small amount of grain, you want to be sure to not use more than 1/2 gallon of sparge water per pound of grain, ideally less so that you use no more than a total of 3 quarts of water per pound of grain altogether, mash and sparge.

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Originally Posted by GuldTuborg View Post
You do see highly diminishing returns, as I stated above, but it does work. Mosher gives a quote of this style of mashing being "wasteful of malt and men" (or something like that) due to the long time investment and low efficiency.
That's the jist of it. I'm not sure it "works" because of the goal in this case- the goal in this case is simply to have a higher OG. More malt would solve the issue completely, while remashing with more malt and the first runnings wouldn't solve the issue because there would still be the "more malt" added anyway! The whole issue would be solved simply by putting more grain in the mash tun in the first place. That way, the correct pH would not be an issue nor would the extract rate of mashing with wort.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:18 PM   #22
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The process the OP describes is sometimes called "reiterated mashing," and it does indeed work--though as others have noted, efficiency is less than optimal.

This past fall, I made a wort of about 1.037 (pre-boil) and performed a second mash of equal size in it, netting another 30 points. I don't have my notes with me, but after boiling, my gravity was at least 1.080.

I did it because I am a stovetop BIAB'er, and none of my vessels are big enough to mash 10 lbs of grain at once. Reiterated mashing solved that problem, but I don't think I'll try it again anytime soon. The beer I made in that instance was just too much--ABV too high, crazy mashing protocol, too many additions of spice, orange peel, sugar, oak... I learned that I enjoy brewing simpler beers, and I enjoy drinking smaller beers.

But to the OP, if you want to give reiterated mashing a try, it is at least an interesting experiment. There was a good discussion of it on the 11/22/07 episode of Basic Brewing Radio, as well as in "Radical Brewing."

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Old 02-03-2012, 11:19 PM   #23
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I'm not sure it "works" because of the goal in this case
Good point, and that's important to stress, as we seem to be discussing two different issues now: the best solution for the OP and reiterated mashing.
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