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Old 05-07-2008, 07:37 PM   #1
FEARDIZ
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Default question about batch sparge using cooler MLT

so.. from John Palmer
"Batch Sparging is a U.S. homebrewing practice where the full volume of sparge water is mixed into the mash. The grain bed is allowed to settle, and then the wort is drained off. The re-circulation step in this process takes place in the first minutes of the sparge. You can use more than one batch of water if you need to. This method differs from the English method in that the mash is not held for any significant time at the saccharification temperature before draining."

so for this cooler MLT, and batch sparge.. let me know if this sounds right,
so put grains in cooler
put 1.5-2 qt per lbs of grain of 170 deg. water into cooler with grains
keeping the mix at ~160 for 60 minutes
after 60 min. add 1.5x water used before at 170 deg.
wait for grain bed to settle.. I guess so it's not floating around ??
start draining the water into the kettle , you can put some back in the MLT if it's seems a little 'dirty'

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FEARDIZ View Post
so for this cooler MLT, and batch sparge.. let me know if this sounds right,
so put grains in cooler
put 1.5-2 qt per lbs of grain of 170 deg. water into cooler with grains
keeping the mix at ~160 for 60 minutes
after 60 min. add 1.5x water used before at 170 deg.
wait for grain bed to settle.. I guess so it's not floating around ??
start draining the water into the kettle , you can put some back in the MLT if it's seems a little 'dirty'
Not quite. You missed a couple steps.

This is what I do:

Put ~1.25 qts per pound of grain 162-167 degree water in the cooler
Put grains in cooler a little at at time while stirring, making sure to break up any dough balls.
Keep the mix between 150 and 154 (depending on style, but 160 is too high) for 60 min.
Start draining the wort out and carefully pour over top of mash until you stop seeing husks. *
Drain mash tun completely into kettle.
Close valve!!!!
Add (however much you need to reach your pre boil volume) water at 170 degrees or higher (I've gone as high as near boiling).
Stir, then allow to settle for a couple minutes.
Start draining the wort out and carefully pour over top of mash until you stop seeing husks.*
Drain mash tun completely into kettle.

*for these steps (Vorlauf) I drain into a 1 qt pyrex measuring cup, put a piece of aluminum foil over the mash, poke a bunch of holes in it, and pour over that to protect the grain bed
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Last edited by lustreking; 05-07-2008 at 08:10 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:07 PM   #3
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Another one of many possible methods:

The Single Kettle/Burner Method with a simple picnic cooler MLT:
First you're going to figure out based on your grain bill, how much water you'll need to make the ratio 1.25qts/lb. Example, if you have 12lb of grain 12 x 1.25 = 15 quarts or 3.75 gallons of "STRIKE" water.

Heat strike water in your kettle to ABOUT 185F and dump it into your cooler, then close the lid. Wow, doesn't that seem a bit hot? Your cooler is going to absorb quite a bit of heat in the first 5 minutes. Leave it alone with the cover closed to let it warm up. After 5 minutes, open it up and stir the water, then test the temp. You're going to want it to cool to about 168F. Remember, software will help you figure out exactly what temp to use. Once you reach your ideal strike temp, dough in (mix the crushed grains in thoroughly) then close the lid.

After 5 minutes, open the cooler, stir once more and check the temperature in various places. Again, you want it to settle to ABOUT 152F. If it's a degree or two high or low, it's OK. If it's off by more, you might want to compensate with a little cold or boiling water. Once you're satisfied, close the lid and wait 60 minutes.

After about 20 minutes, you'll want to start heating your sparge water in the kettle. You'll need ABOUT the same volume as your intended finished batch. If it's a 5 gallon batch, heat up 5 gallons of sparge water to 180F.

After the full 60 minute mash, open the drain valve on the MLT and collect 2 quarts of wort into a pitcher. Carefully return this back on top of the mash (this is vorlaufing), then drain the entire MLT into a bucket. If the bucket has graduation marks, take note how much wort you collected. You're going to find that you lost a good percentage of liquid to grain absorption. In our example, it's likely that you only got out 2.5 gallons from the 3.75 strike volume. Here's where you have to decide ultimately how much wort you want in the kettle to start with. You will boil off about 1.25 gallons in 60 minutes of vigorous boil so you'll want at least 6.5gallons to start with. To figure out how much to sparge with, take this pre boil figure (6.5) and subtract it from how much wort you collected out of the MLT for first runnings (say 2.5). This leaves you with 4 gallons. This is exactly how much you'll need to sparge with.

Assuming you got the sparge water up to 180F, pour about HALF of the required sparge volume into the MLT (in the example it will be 2 gallons. Stir it well for a couple minutes, vorlauf 2 quarts again, then collect it in the same bucket the first runnings are in.

Repeat step 6 again with the remaining sparge volume. At this point, you should have about 6.25 gallons in the bucket. You can also split this amount between two buckets to make handling them easier.

Remove any excess water from the kettle and carefully transfer all your wort from the buckets into the kettle. Stir this wort up and draw off a bit to measure your pre-boil gravity and take note of it. You'll also need an accurate measurement of how much volume you collected. Once you have these two numbers you can figure out your mash/lauter efficiency as explained earlier on this page.

Proceed as you normally would for an extract batch. You've just made your own wort without "instant beer".

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
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Sacchrification temps range between 147-158 depending on the amount of fermentability you are looking for. 160 is too high. Your strike temperature (the temperature of the initial water added to the tun) is going to depend on a few variables. How warm the tun is to begin with, how much heat is lost bringing it up to temp., and the temp and mass of the grains.

The process is as follows for a simple single infusion mash.

1. Dough in. Add water and grains and mix completely so all grains are evenly wet. Make sure temperature is where you want it. Add heat or cool (add more hot water or cold water) to adjust.


2. Rest. Let it sit for about an hour.


3. Vorlauf. Drain some wort out and pour it back in to the tun. Do this until it comes out "clear" of particles husks.

4. Drain. Drain your first runnings into the kettle. Close the spigot.

5. Add your sparge water and mix it well to rinse residual sugars. This is what sparging is. Rinsing any sugars still left in the grain. You can let it sit or begin the vorlauf again at this point. Some people "mash out" by raising the overall temperature to 170 F to deactivate the enzymes. To do this you should let it sit for about 10 minutes at that temp. Otherwise just begin the vorlauf again. You can do it in one batch or more.

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Old 05-07-2008, 09:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post

Repeat step 6 again with the remaining sparge volume. At this point, you should have about 6.25 gallons in the bucket. You can also split this amount between two buckets to make handling them easier.

Remove any excess water from the kettle and carefully transfer all your wort from the buckets into the kettle. Stir this wort up and draw off a bit to measure your pre-boil gravity and take note of it. You'll also need an accurate measurement of how much volume you collected. Once you have these two numbers you can figure out your mash/lauter efficiency as explained earlier on this page.

.
This part worries me. Wouldn't the transferring of hot wort from buckets to kettles encourage aeration?
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:31 PM   #6
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to prevent areration I attached a vinyl tube to a male thread. I screw in the male thread to the ball valve and let tube down to the bottom of the kettle, then I open the valve. also check out tastybrew.com for a batch sparging calculator. it helps you scale up for loss efficiencyn due to batch sparging (if you have any) and dead space (also very helpful as well).

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Old 05-08-2008, 12:20 AM   #7
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HSA is the boogeyman of brewing but if you use bottling buckets with spigots, you can attach tubing to let it drain in a more controlled way. I've done the "dump" so many times and I can't detect any defects.

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Old 05-08-2008, 12:53 AM   #8
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Palmer goes through the calculations of the thermodynamics of mashing, its really very easy to set up a spreadsheet to do all of that for you (I'd post mine but I don't know how). He also goes into detail about the different enzymes and what temperatures they are effective at, but generally most people mash around 154 give or take a degree or two. Palmer's book is a great resource, it'll tell you just about anything you want to know about brewing.

Also, to calculate efficiency you can do it post boil if you prefer, all you need to know is a volume and the specific gravity of that given volume.

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Old 05-08-2008, 01:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FEARDIZ View Post
so put grains in cooler
put 1.5-2 qt per lbs of grain of 170 deg. water into cooler with grains
keeping the mix at ~160 for 60 minutes
As was said previously, 160 F is too high a temperature to mash at. The commonly accepted limits are 148 - 158 F. Lower temperatures produce a thinner beer, while higher temperatures produce a more full bodied beer. Most people try to keep the mash temperature between 150 F (light bodied) and 154 F (full bodied).
What was not said before, was that putting the grains into the cooler first can (with some recipes and equipment), cause a stuck sparge because the grains not being supported by water can get compacted against the filtering device, forming an impermeable barrier.
Most people add the water first, which allows the grains to be supported by the water, but I have found with my system, that this can also induce a stuck sparge by forcing grains under the false bottom when stirring.
Some people also say that adding cold grains to hot water can shock the enzymes by overheating them.
I add a little foundation water, then enough grains to achieve a good mash consistency, then more water, and more grains until everything is done. This makes it much easier to mix the grains thoroughly with the water, prevents stuck sparges due to compaction or grains getting under the false bottom, and also eliminates the of the enzymes being overheated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FEARDIZ View Post
put 1.5-2 qt per lbs of grain of 170 deg. water into cooler with grains
Palmer advocates a thin mash (1.5 - 2 qt per lb of grain). Most Americans would recommend 1.25 qt per lb, and English pale ales are often mashed at 1 qt per lb. Thicker mashes (like higher mash temps) result in a more full bodied beer, while thinner mashes result in a thinner beer. Also, thicker mashes convert faster than thinner ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FEARDIZ View Post
after 60 min. add 1.5x water used before at 170 deg.
wait for grain bed to settle.. I guess so it's not floating around ??
start draining the water into the kettle , you can put some back in the MLT if it's seems a little 'dirty'
If you increase the mash thickness, you will also need to increase the amount of sparge water. Bobby_M gave you some pointers on this, but the amount of sparge water needed varies from system to system. He also suggested heating the sparge water to 180 F. Again, this temperature depends on how you transfer the sparge water to the mash. After you mix the sparge water with the mash, you want to finish with the grain/water mix being 168 - 170F.

Your guess about the grain not floating around is correct, and you need to recirculate the runnings until there are no obvious grains or husks in the runnings (typically 1 - 2 qts).

Hope this helps,

-a.
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:16 AM   #10
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wow, you guys are thorough! Thanks from us new AG'ers.

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