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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > looking for some advice
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:30 PM   #1
beezee619
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I just bought a new all grain system, my question is how do i know how much water to mash with if the recipe doesn't call it out and same with sparging?

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Old 06-12-2012, 10:31 PM   #2
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Ohh and i am doing 10 gal batches

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Old 06-12-2012, 10:48 PM   #3
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Mash water is pretty easy. Somewhere between 1 and 2 qt per lb of grain. 1.25 qt per lb is probably the most often quoted.
Sparge water is more difficult to calculate. It depends on dead space in the MLT and kettle, sparge method, boil off rate, duration of boil, allowances for trub, hop absorption (if using whole hops), and wort trapped in the system. Every system will be different, but you will have a good idea after your first brew.

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Old 06-12-2012, 10:51 PM   #4
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If you're doing batch sparging go to dennybrew.com to learn about the process. And for a calculator go here: http://onebeer.net/batchspargecalc.shtml which is one that I use all the time. I'd also suggest getting a good beginners books like John Palmer's How To Brew. And don't just use the free online version because it is out of date and has bad info.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:17 PM   #5
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Thanx for the help much appreciated

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:24 PM   #6
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Here's the thing:

There's no such thing as too much sparge water for batch and fly sparge setups. Heat more than you think you need and then shut off the valve when you reach pre-boil volume.

Preboil volume is your total batch size (10g in your case) plus your boiloff (usually 1g/hr) and any dead-space and hop absorption/trub loss in the kettle.

So you probably want 11.5g. in the kettle at the start of the boil. You'll boil off 1g and lose another 0.5 to dead space and trub (the gunk you leave behind). That brings you to 10g (11.5-1-0.5=10)

If you mash with 1.25qts/lb of grain, on a 20lb. grain bill that's 25qts, or 6.25g. of water. You'll absorb 0.19g/lbs. so that's nearly 4g. absorbed.

6.25-4=2.25g. of wort from mashing.

If you need 11.5, sparge with AT LEAST 9.25g. I'd heat up 10. Then just stop when you have 11.5g. in the kettle.

If you try to be exact with sparge volumes, you'll end up short from time to time...then you're diluting with water (lowering gravity) or scurrying to heat up extra sparge water. Not fun.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:31 PM   #7
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The general ratio is 1.25qts/lb to mash. Sparge calculation has to do with total batch size desired so basically you need to figure out some numbers first:

Total batch size final volume
Total water required to mash including grain absorption
Total sparge water needed
Total pre-boil volume required
Total boil off amount
Dead space loss in Mash Tun
Dead space/trub in kettle
Trub loss in Primary
Final bottling volume

You may have to brew a few batches to get a handle on how your system works to dial in all these volumes. Brewing software is a big help You can also do a dry run with just water. Example, fill your mash tun with water and drain, the amount of water that does not drain is your MT loss, same can be done with the kettle, etc.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
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I still think the easiest way for anyone, especially newbies, is to mark your mash paddle or kettle in 1g. increments (fill it with one gallon at a time, mark, repeat).

Mash according to 1.25qts/lb or whatever ratio you choose. Figure on 0.19g/lb. absorption, so whatever's left is your first runnings. Know your preboil, if you don't, use batch size plus 1g (boiloff) plus 0.5 (trub-loss). Preboil-minus-first runnings=equals=sparge volume...then heat just a little more than this to be safe.

When sparging, shut off the valve on the mash tun when your kettle is at preboil volume. There is hardly any math involved here. As you brew, you can see if you're coming out with where you want to after the boil (how much wort goes into the fermenter). If it's low, your boiloff is higher than you thought (or you used a ton of hops). Up your preboil volume accordingly to make up for it.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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Thanx thats very helpful

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Old 06-14-2012, 02:31 PM   #10
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Easy way I did it when starting was just mash with 1.25 quarts per pound. Then sparge with whatever volume you need to get your preboil volume.

So if you get 4 gallons from your mash then sparge with 7.5 gallons to get 11.5 gallons preboil. Your grain has already absorbed what its going to and your dead space is filled so you won't lose any volume during the sparge. This way you don't need to try to figure this stuff out when there are so many other things you are becoming familiar with!! Have fun!!

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