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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Mixed information on sparge water temps
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default Mixed information on sparge water temps

On all of my AG brews so far (4) I've heated my sparge water to 170 then added it to the tun. I believe I got this number from Palmer and he states that anything higher could release tanins.

I recently took the time to learn how to use BrewTarget properly and entered in my setup. When I use the mash wiz in that software it tells me that I need to heat the water to something like 189 to achieve a sparge temp of 170.

So which is it? Achieve a temp of 170 with hotter water added to the mash? Or, just put 170 degree water in?

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Old 04-06-2011, 03:52 PM   #2
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The idea is that you don't want the mash to get much above 170ºF because a combination of high temp and wrong pH can solublize tannins, which can lead to astringency. If you use 170ºF sparge water, your actual sparge temps will be lower because the grain bed cools it on contact. BrewTarget just does some calculations to help you get the final temperature at 170ºF.

Getting your mash to 170ºF can be helpful for stopping enzymatic conversion. Some people do this with a mash-out (bringing temps up to 170ºF via flame, etc) and some people do this with properly heated sparge water.

But, aside from that, the sparge water temperatures shouldn't matter much. I do a mash-out and sparge with 60ºF water.

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Old 04-06-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
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That all makes sense. I figured that the BrewTarget number was correct. I just didn't want to go with that without a confirmation from someone more knowledgeable. I haven't been getting great efficiency numbers with just adding 170 degree water. Hopefully increasing the temp of the water so that the actual sparge temp is 170 will help with that.

This is with batch sparging also...don't know if that makes a difference. If I decided to switch to fly sparging would I still heat the water to the 189?

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Old 04-06-2011, 04:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by neb_brewer
That all makes sense. I figured that the BrewTarget number was correct. I just didn't want to go with that without a confirmation from someone more knowledgeable. I haven't been getting great efficiency numbers with just adding 170 degree water. Hopefully increasing the temp of the water so that the actual sparge temp is 170 will help with that.

This is with batch sparging also...don't know if that makes a difference. If I decided to switch to fly sparging would I still heat the water to the 189?
No, fly sparging doesn't really work like that because the heat introduction would be so gradual. I believe that if you wanted to hit 170F on a fly rig you'd be best off mashing out and then using 170F water.

If you do notice a bump in efficiency with the hotter water, I would suggest looking into your process a bit. At sparge time, you should already be done converting.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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Makes sense. I might have to try fly sparging out on one of my next couple brews.

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