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Old 07-07-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
dwtalley
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Default No sparge extraction

I have done two batches as a no sparge brew. I increased my grain bill by 30% on each of them and used 1.25 qts lb in one and 1.5 qts lb in the other. When I drained the mash tun completely and took a gravity reading I got over 1.090 on both. In fact 1.097 on the last batch done with 1.5 qts lb. Everything I have read says I should not get this type of efficiency. I am using a refractometer (yes I calibrated it). What gives here?



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Old 07-07-2012, 02:40 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you mashing at that water/grist ratio and then topping off in your boil kettle to get your pre boil volume? Your first runnings will be the same gravity regardless if you sparge or not, all things being equal. Typically, no sparge involves mashing with the entire volume of water and recirculating the mash. The sweet wort reaches an equilibrium where no more extraction occurs. The remaing sugars, which would otherwise require a sparge to extract from the mash, remain locked in the mash after the first and only runnings. This is where the reduced efficiency comes from. A 30% increase in grain bill is quite a bit. I typically only need to bump up the grain bill by 10% or so to hit my intended gravities.



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Old 07-07-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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OK, maybe I am mixing things up. I have been topping my boil volume to meet the amount needed. Is this a "wrong" way of doing it or should I put the total volume of water needed in the mash and go that route? Obvious noob to the no sparge thing, sorry.

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Old 07-07-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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I guess I should ask is there a benefit/cost to doing it either way?

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Old 07-07-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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I have not looked into no sparge, but, right in your description of your process is a cost factor. You are using 30% more grain! So a 30% increase in grain cost.

If recirculating the wort through the mash I don't see any point in it. It doesn't seem to save any time or labor. And it seems the result is the same.

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Old 07-07-2012, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwtalley View Post
I guess I should ask is there a benefit/cost to doing it either way?
That's a good question. IMO, rather than just topping off, I would at least run the remaining water through the grain with your process. I think it was Kai on here that experimentally proved a cold sparge works. You would most probably get better efficiency than a traditional no sparge.

I've been mashing with nearly the entire volume needed, save about a gallon in my brew kettle to keep the pump primed. I bump my recipe grain bill up about 10% and that's it. It's simple, and it works for me. I figure a couple of pounds of grain per batch is a small price for a two-vessel system and a little time saving from not sparging.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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Actually there is about an hour of time savings as I do not fly sparge in this scenario. There is a cost increase for the grain (my base malts are purchased by the bag so cost increase is very minimal). What I am trying to figure out is should I mash with the typical 1.25 to 1.5 qts lb grain or mash with total water needed for the end result and is there a benefit of either way?

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Old 07-07-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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It usually doesn't take 30% more grain. I brew no-sparge, no mash out and and 10% is more accurate on the average as Reelale says. As for me, I don't recirculate, don't heat sparge water, and don't have to take extra measures (pH, gravity), etc. So, I personally save a good bit of time doing no-sparge. Finally, I think no-sparge lends a tad extra maltiness to my beers over conventional batch-sparging. This may not be important for most beers, but I brew mostly German styles where that matters.

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Old 07-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #9
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Using the whole volume in the mash will be more efficient than a reduced volume with kettle water top up. The reason is that the overall gravity is lower and therefore the fixed volume of liquid that stays absorbed in the grain will be a lower gravity. This matters more when you're not using a grain bag. Grain bags tend to drain more fully when lifted out in a BIAB type brew.

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Old 07-07-2012, 03:44 PM   #10
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Bobby,
Thank you for that input. I will try doing it that way today. We shall see...lol



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