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View Poll Results: Do you feel I am oversparging?
Yes 6 66.67%
No 3 33.33%
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
hukdizzle
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Default Need opinions on sparge volumes

I have been diagnosing possible issues with my brewery and wanted to take a poll to see how people felt about my sparge volumes.

Here are the current figures for the latest beer I brewed, a 10.25 gallon Cream Ale. For this beer I treated 15.5 gallons of water with the proper mineral additions to maintain a pH of around 5.3. Grist weight was 15.5lbs and I use a 1.3qt/lb ratio for mashing in which is about 20.16 quarts of water or 5.04 gallons. I do a double batch sparge and just split the remaining volume in half and use each halved volume for a single sparge at 168'F. So in this particular case I did roughly a 5.1 gallon sparge each time to eventually gain 13.25 gallons of pre boil wort.

My question for everyone is this, do you feel that I am over sparging? I do 90 minute boils and due to liquid to air surface area I boil off approximately 3 gallons during this time frame so if I am over sparging I may need to look into obtaining a taller pot which would cut down on the liquid to air surface area.

I haven't picked up a pH meter yet to monitor the pH of my sparges but I have been using Palmer's spread sheet to calculate the proper water profile for the SRM beer I am brewing and so far have maintained great efficiency and do not perceive a harsh tannin bite in my finished beer, it's more of a paper/cardboard flavor and finish. The flavor may even be possibly phenolic in nature as my bavarian wheats that are brewed with wlp3068 seem to turn out pretty good but the taste is still definitely there just not as pronounced as other styles I have brewed lately.

Here is the water profile I used for this beer, again all water is pretreated with minerals and constantly mixed during use. Water was built from distilled/deionized water.

Ca - 65ppm
Mg - 11ppm
Na - 0ppm
SO4 - 73ppm
CL - 71ppm
HCO3 - 20ppm

SRM range for profile = 2-7 SRM
Estimated beer SRM = 4.1 SRM

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Old 05-18-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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IMHO, if you have the space in your mash tun, it would be better to put more of the water in the mash.

In my experience not a lot is gained by a double batch sparge over a single, as long as the sparge water is held for 15 minutes or so and I stir. I do double batch sparges when I have to because my mash tun is small.

Again, this is just my opinion, but it seems like you are putting a lot of sparge water through. It could be getting really thin by the second sparge.

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Old 05-18-2010, 04:19 PM   #3
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I am actually thinking about bumping my qt/lb ratio to 2 instead of 1.3 to maintain a 1.5 ratio of mash water to sparge water. with a 2 qt/lb ratio it would put my mash around 6 gallons and my mash water at 9 gallons. Thoughts? 1.5x the mash water is what Palmer recommends.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:54 PM   #4
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Kaiser has some info on this:

Quote:
Mash thickness
In order to convert the starches, water is needed. Not only for process of gelatinization or hydration of the enzymes but also for the conversion process itself. Whenever a gluclose chain is split (either to create a sugar molecule or a shorter starch chain) one molecule of water is needed. In addition to the reduced amount of free water the high sugar concentrations in thick mashes also impede the amylase enzymes [Briggs, 2004].

Traditional British style infusion mashes are with about 2-2.5 l/kg (1 - 1.15 qt/lb) very thick and German style mashes are generally much thinner (3.5-5 l/kg / 1.75-2.5 qt/lb). Historically this is rooted in the fact that the latter needed to be pumped and stirred.

In the limit of attenuation experiments it was shown that a 5 l/kg (2.4 qt/lb) mash showed much better conversion efficiency than a 2.5 l/kg (1.2 qt/lb) mash. This is also supported by anecdotal experience from home brewers who found that thin mashes generally lead to better overall efficiency.

While thick mashes help to stabilize the enzymes which makes them active for a longer time, they also inhibit their activity (substrate inhibition) and make it more difficult for the starch to gelatenize. As a result in thinner mashes the conversion processes occur faster. When it comes to conversion efficiency the main enzyme responsible, the alpha amylase, is still fairly stable at common saccharification rest temps and as a result it can take the full benefit from a thinner mash and an increase in conversion efficiency is commonly notes when the mash thickness is decreased. Beta amylase on the other hand is not as stable at these temperatures and it will be denatured more quickly in thinner mashes. But this is compensated by the faster activity of that enzyme which results in no change of the wort fermentability when the mash thickens is changed.
This is from the page: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...Mash_thickness
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:53 PM   #5
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Sounds like going with the 2 qt/lb will work just fine and maybe even be a better idea then, thanks HotBreak. I have been brewing cream ales lately so that that it would be easier to perceive and troubleshoot off flavors in the beer being that it is low in hop bitterness and malt complexity. I guess I could have done a smash beer or something but a cream ale has been something I've wanted to brew for a while so hopefully they turn out. I have another set of ingredients for another cream ale and I am only going to change the sparge volumes and see how it works out.

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Old 05-19-2010, 02:06 PM   #6
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I was told by the owner of my LHBS that you should not use more than 3.3 qts. per pound of grain, for the mash and sparge combined. I think he got this from one of Jamil's brewcasts. So if you mashed at 1.3 qts. per pound, your sparge should have been 2 qts per pound. That would be 7.75 gallons total for the sparge, so yea, I believe you would be sparging a little to much with two rounds of 5 gallons.

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