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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > No Sprage Brewing - Do you have to mash with ALL the water?
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:55 AM   #1
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Default No Sprage Brewing - Do you have to mash with ALL the water?

I'm doing all-grain batches in an apartment, shooting for 4.5gal in my 5 gal fermenter. I'm wanting to experiment with no-sparge brewing, but my mash tun won't fit the amount of water to cover my pre-boil target volume in addition to the grain bill.

Almost everything I read about no-sparge brewing talks about mashing with enough water to end up at the pre-boil volume after collecting only your 1st runnings. But, is there any reason I can't mash with a normal volume (1.25qt/blb - 1.50 qt/lb) while I have the rest of the "top off" water already heating up in my boil kettle?

I know efficiency takes a hit with no-sparge, but would jumping from 1.25qt/lb to 2+ qt/lb make up any worthy difference in efficiency? For my first time doing no-sparge I'm guessing around 60% eff in beer smith.


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Old 11-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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Since you're wanting to experiment and don't have the equipment for a 5 gallon batch "no sparge" why not do a 2 1/2 gallon batch? Or maybe a 3 gallon batch? There isn't anything magical about 5 gallons. Using the full volume for a no sparge is the only way you'll know how one will turn out and the efficiency that you will get from that. You can easily ferment 2 1/2 gallons in you 5 gallon fermenter. As soon as the yeast start to produce CO2 it will push the extra air out the airlock as the CO2 is denser.

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Old 11-29-2012, 08:28 PM   #3
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I actually get around 70% when I no-sparge. Since your mash is so dilute, you can dissolve a lot more sugar than you otherwise would. Not adding that water would kill that effect. You could do a 2qt/lb mash and a minimal sparge, or take RM-MN's advice and revolt against the 5 gallon tyranny.

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:39 PM   #4
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I agree with the Kid. You want the dilute wort since you would leave more of the sugars caught up on the grain surfaces if the wort was more concentrated.

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:50 AM   #5
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If you are going to go through the trouble of putting the top off water in a kettle and have it heated while you wait for the mash, I don't see why you wouldn't just sparge with it anyways?

Is it really.... that hard to drain, put the water in, stir and drain it again to sparge?

I understand the concept, I really do.. But in your case there is no point if you can't do ALL the water in the mash, for your size batches. It's more or less just wasting, and/or being slightly.. lazy.. Which I agree with wholeheartedly, but at the cost of not being able to make a normal batch of a decent sized beer.. Probably not.

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Old 11-30-2012, 02:27 AM   #6
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Why not BIAB. I have never done either way, but I plan on my first BIAB brew this weekend. The no-sparge is what brought me to it and enabling an entrance into All grain. Seems like thats the way to go. Check out the sticky if you haven't already.

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Old 12-03-2012, 04:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FATC1TY View Post
If you are going to go through the trouble of putting the top off water in a kettle and have it heated while you wait for the mash, I don't see why you wouldn't just sparge with it anyways?

Is it really.... that hard to drain, put the water in, stir and drain it again to sparge?

I understand the concept, I really do.. But in your case there is no point if you can't do ALL the water in the mash, for your size batches. It's more or less just wasting, and/or being slightly.. lazy.. Which I agree with wholeheartedly, but at the cost of not being able to make a normal batch of a decent sized beer.. Probably not.
I don't think you really do understand the concept. How do you suggest I heat the sprage water in the BK, drain the first runnings to the BK, then sprage with the water that was heated in the BK?? Batch sparging is pretty simple, but primarily the concept of no-sparge is not having the equipment to do a batch sparge...not laziness

I ended up fitting as much strike water as possible with the grain as my mash tun would hold which was about 1.5ish gallons short of what I needed to get my desired pre-boil gravity. I ended up heating the 1.5 gallons in 2 different normal cookware pots to 168-170. Since this was no where close enough to do a conventional batch sprage with I just carefully poured the water on top of the grain bed after I had collected a little less than 1.5 gallons of first runnings in the kettle. So I guess you could call it a poor-man's fly sparge. Ended up with about 67% efficiency which isn't bad..I designed the recipe with a lower eff in mind.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
I agree with the Kid. You want the dilute wort since you would leave more of the sugars caught up on the grain surfaces if the wort was more concentrated.
I always mash as thin as I can.I feel it's more efficient.I'll go as far as my mash tun will take me!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stankonia View Post
I don't think you really do understand the concept. How do you suggest I heat the sprage water in the BK, drain the first runnings to the BK, then sprage with the water that was heated in the BK?? Batch sparging is pretty simple, but primarily the concept of no-sparge is not having the equipment to do a batch sparge...not laziness

I ended up fitting as much strike water as possible with the grain as my mash tun would hold which was about 1.5ish gallons short of what I needed to get my desired pre-boil gravity. I ended up heating the 1.5 gallons in 2 different normal cookware pots to 168-170. Since this was no where close enough to do a conventional batch sprage with I just carefully poured the water on top of the grain bed after I had collected a little less than 1.5 gallons of first runnings in the kettle. So I guess you could call it a poor-man's fly sparge. Ended up with about 67% efficiency which isn't bad..I designed the recipe with a lower eff in mind.
Maybe I worded it a little confusing.. But you confirmed what I was trying to say.

You had to heat MORE water and add it to the tun while you were draining it. Essentially, you sparged it, but.. kind of a hybrid wanna be fly sparge. You had to use MORE pots, to heat your water anyways, hence more equipment.

If you load your tun with water and grain to the brim.. Mash it, but you are short 1.5 gallons, wouldn't you really be better off, just mashing thicker, and with the normal 1.25q/lb, and adding the water you need to get where you want volume wise, in a single batch sparge?

My point was, why go through all the trouble of still having to add additional water to do a mini sparge, and suffer the efficiency loss, when you could have gained more from it, with the same amount of work, with the equpiment you have. That was what I was getting at.

If you simply had a pot big enough for your recipes, and added it all at once, then I could understand that.. This method.. just takes the loss, with the same amount of work as a batch-ish sparge. You said you planned for the loss, which I guess you could argue.. isn't a loss if you plan for it.. I was just curious why the extra work, for no gain.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:25 PM   #10
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This reminded me...

Has anyone tried doing this and sparging with the runnings?

Put in ~8 gallons + grain, mash for 60 minutes, drain all 8 gallons...then put it all back in, stir and drain? Lol i doubt it would do anything but curious if anyone has tried.

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