Making an ordinary bitter...but how to get enough wort???
Okay so my grain bill for my ordinary bitter recipe for tomorrow is 7 pounds. From what I have read I should make a thick mash (1qt/#grain) for this style. If I follow that mashing schedule and the 1/2 gallon per pound of grain guideline for sparging, I will have under 5 gallons of preboil wort. My question is...how would you all recommend bringing it up to 6.5 gallons preboil...
1. Just add water to boil kettle
2. add more sparge water
3. add more mash water
I am just afraid of oversparging and getting a slightly astringent of flavor. How much would be too much???
By the way the recipe is
6# Crisp Maris Otter
0.5# Caramel 120L
0.5# Biscuit Malt
1oz KG 5%aa @60
0.5oz KG 5%aa @30
0.5oz KG 5%aa @ 1
WLP002 English Ale yeast
ferment at 68F
Interesting. I didn't run my numbers when I went to brew an ordinary bitter a couple weeks ago and ended up with 4 gallons of bitter that is not ordinary . . . possibly somwhere between special and extra special.
I would look at your sparge volumes. As long as you don't let your mash bed get over 170 and your runnings are still not less than 1.010 (adjusted for temp of course), you should avoid any astringent or other off flavors. If your system/efficiency requires you to add more grain to get there, then so be it.
After the experience mentioned above, I've taken to really running the numbers on my mashes. Start with your target volume to primary, account for your evap losses to figure out how much you need to send to boil, account for how much water your grain bed is going to retain to figure out how much mash+sparge water you need to get your runnings. I don't like to add water post boil to increase the volume, but that's just me. If you're going for a very specific gravity/volume and need to add water to get there, I'm told that it's ok to do it.
Hope that helps.
I'd go at least 1.25 quarts per pound of grain for the mash. You could then use a bit more sparge water and not worry about over sparging, then top off in the kettle.
How about a mash out? That might help you make up at least some of the volume?
I do a 70 to 80 min boil and a mashout, here is my schedule.
I would also do 1.25 qt/lb.
I used 8 lbs Maris Otter and like it a whole lot better that 6lbs.
I finish all my beers with 5.5 gals into the carboy that way I get 5 out into my kegs.
Recipe: Standard English Bitter, Batch#26
TYPE: All Grain
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 8.28 gal
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Actual OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 10.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 21.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 85.00 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes
8 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter 91.43 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L 5.71 %
4.0 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) 2.86 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (60 min) 15.4 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (30 min) 5.9 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (1 min) 0.4 IBU
1.00 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 60.0 min)
1.10 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 min)
1 Pkgs English Ale (White Labs #WLP002)
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion
Total Grain Weight: 8.75 lb 1.25 qt/lb
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
70 min Mash In Add 10.94 qt of water at 164.4 F 152.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 7.00 qt of water at 199.6 F 168.0 F
I try to start my boil with at least 8.25 gallons and will boil 75 minutes.
Batch sparge using a total of 5.25 gals. (in two runnings), and SG never under 1.010
Hope that helps
If you batch sparge, I'd just make up the volume with extra sparge water.
If you fly sparge, I'd sparge fairly quickly, and stop if the gravity drops below about 1.08 A refractometer makes this much easier, but you can get a fairly good indication by the color of the runnings.
I wouldn't go for a thinner mash, unless you want a thin tasting beer.
Edit. If you end up with too small a volume after sparging, then either top up with water, or make do with a smaller batch depending on the gravity.
I use pH 5.2 in my sparge water, that usually reduces the change of astringency due to tannins.
I would look into fly sparging. Then you don't need to calculate anything, just keep sparging until you reach 6.5 gallons in your kettle. I do not think you will have to worry about your gravity dropping below 1.010 on that grain bill, depending on your efficiency.
All you have to do is sparge more.
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