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Old 02-16-2008, 04:56 PM   #1
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Default A question for those of you that fly sparge

If I'm mashing a 5 gallon batch at 150 and I start my fly sparge with 168 degree water, what temp should my mash be at near the end of the sparge? If my mash temp drops during this time, could this be a sign that I have channeling and none of the sparge water is passing my thermometer proble?

I am modifying my cooler now to get rid of the braid and I am installing a PVC manifold. I am also setting up a drip system in the lid of the cooler so I can keep the lid closed during the sparge. All in the pursuit of a better system.

Linc

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Old 02-16-2008, 05:19 PM   #2
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You want your mash during the sparge to be 168, so your sparge water should be a few degrees hotter. Hotter still if you're not doing a mash-out. In a sense, you will have some degree of center channeling with a braid. That would probably result in a little lower reading on your probe thermometer. I've learned not to trust my wall-mounted probe on the mash tun. There are pockets of different temps in the mash that make it unreliable. I use it as a guide and use a hand-held probe at several different places in the mash to get an accurate reading.

Edit: you may already know this, but your efficiency will go up a little with the manifold vs. the braid.

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Old 02-16-2008, 05:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
You want your mash during the sparge to be 168, so your sparge water should be a few degrees hotter. Hotter still if you're not doing a mash-out. In a sense, you will have some degree of center channeling with a braid. That would probably result in a little lower reading on your probe thermometer. I've learned not to trust my wall-mounted probe on the mash tun. There are pockets of different temps in the mash that make it unreliable. I use it as a guide and use a hand-held probe at several different places in the mash to get an accurate reading.

Edit: you may already know this, but your efficiency will go up a little with the manifold vs. the braid.
Thank you for the quick answer. I have another question.

Using beer smith, if I have a mash at 150 degrees and I select single infusion, it says to sparge with water at 201 degrees. I plan to hold my mash for 60 minutes, and then open the drain slowly while beginning to drain the HLT into the Mash. Using 201 degree water would slowly raise my mash to 168 right?

I'm just trying to get a feel for what a proper fly sparge should do.

Linc
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missing link
Thank you for the quick answer. I have another question.

Using beer smith, if I have a mash at 150 degrees and I select single infusion, it says to sparge with water at 201 degrees. I plan to hold my mash for 60 minutes, and then open the drain slowly while beginning to drain the HLT into the Mash. Using 201 degree water would slowly raise my mash to 168 right?

I'm just trying to get a feel for what a proper fly sparge should do.

Linc
I tend to take many of the software temps with a grain of salt. Even with your exact system (thermal masses, etc.) dialed in, there are environmental variables that can't always be accounted for. Maybe someone else can chime in here, but 201 seems high to me. I think Beersmith designates that temp for mashout (add all at once) to get your mash temp to 168, not continuous sparging. You want to fly sparge with water that will HOLD that temp (168), not to keep raising it.
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:32 PM   #5
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So if my mash is at 150, would it be easier to just raise my mash up to 168 using the electric element in my cooler and stirring, then sparging with my 168 degree water sparge water? If I were to use say 175 degree water, my mash would raise in temp during the sparge until it reached 175 wouldn't it?

For some reason I feel like I'm missing something. What do the guys using unheated coolers and fly sparging do? If somebody could give me a step by step to fly sparging with a 2 cooler system I would be most appreciative.

Linc

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Old 02-16-2008, 06:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missing link
So if my mash is at 150, would it be easier to just raise my mash up to 168 using the electric element in my cooler and stirring, then sparging with my 168 degree water sparge water?
That's what I would do. I use a direct fired MLT to bring it up to mashout temps. Then I sparge with water just over 170. The goal here is to stop the starch conversion by denaturing the enzymes. You pretty much do that with a mashout of about 10 minutes at 168. So having the temp perfect for fly sparging after a mashout isn't crucial. You just don't want to get too high (or be below 168).
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Old 02-16-2008, 07:18 PM   #7
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That's what I'll try next then. I just got an ice cream machine to use the motor from so I can make a mash stirrer. Then I can put a ranco on the cooler, have the stirrer run during the whole mash and get perfect temp control.

I love gadgets, but they aren't much help if you use them improperly.

So for my next go around, mash per the recipe, turn on the electric heating element at the end of the mash, heat while stirring, once at 168, begin to sparge with 168 degree sparge water.

How does that sound?

Linc

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Old 02-16-2008, 08:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missing link
So if my mash is at 150, would it be easier to just raise my mash up to 168 using the electric element in my cooler and stirring, then sparging with my 168 degree water sparge water? If I were to use say 175 degree water, my mash would raise in temp during the sparge until it reached 175 wouldn't it?

For some reason I feel like I'm missing something. What do the guys using unheated coolers and fly sparging do? If somebody could give me a step by step to fly sparging with a 2 cooler system I would be most appreciative.

Linc
If you add 175 degree water to a 150 degeree mash, you will never get the temperature up to 175 degrees. You will end up somewhere between 150 and 175 degrees.

Step by step instructions (for the way I do it).

After starting the mash, I add 5 - 6 gallons water into the kettle, and put it on the stove to heat. (This is the bulk of my sparge water, and it takes nearly an hour to get it up to temperature on my stove).
I add another gallon into another pot, but don't apply any heat yet. This is the mash-out water.
Then I do other things while the mash progresses and the sparge water heats.
15 - 20 minutes before mash is complete, I apply heat to the mashout water. (This will boil before the end of the mash.)
When the sparge water reaches 185 degrees, I fill my HLT (a 5g cooler) with the sparge water.
When the mash out water starts to boil, I turn off the heat and wait fot the end of the mash.

To mash out, I add about 1/2 the mash out water to the mash, stir well, and take the temperature. I then add more mash out water slowly while stirring and monitoring the temperature. I stop when the temperature reaches 168 - 170 degrees. For a 5g batch with my normal mash thickness (1 qt per lb grain), I never need the entire gallon of mashout water.

I then transfer the remaining water from the kettle to the pot with the remains of the mashout water. This will be used to top up the HLT later on in the sparge. I add about another gallon to this, and warm it up as I sparge. When the level in the HLT drops sufficiently, I use this extra water to top up the HLT.

10 - 15 minutes after adding the mashout water, I vorlauf a couple quarts, and then start draining very slowly into the now empty kettle.

When the water level drops to the top of the grain bed, I open the spigot on the HLT, which drains through a sparge arm into the mash. I try to match the flow through the sparge arm to the flow into the kettle, but usually have to make a minor adjustment every 10 - 15 minutes.

As the sparge nears completion, I use my refractometer to ensure that I am not going to over sparge, and I stop when I get the required volume in the kettle or the brix reading drops to about 3 (1.010 gravity), whichever comes first.

Now for that gotcha's:

I need a ridiculous amount of sparge water because I need about 2 - 3 gallons in the HLT to spin the sparge arm. I use the unused sparge water to clean up.

I add 185 degree water to a cold HLT. With my setup, this comes out of the sparge arm at about 168 - 170. Some of the heat goes to warming up the HLT, and some is given up as the water meanders through the hose to the sparge arm. Most people find a lower temperature satisfactory. You should experiment and measure the temperature.

I usually sparge for 90 minutes. This is much longer than most others, but I can't help it if everybody else does it wrong. It also helps explain why I need my sparge water so hot.

I mash more thickly than most Americans, and if you mash thinner, you will need more mash-out water than I do.

I don't actually measure the gravity of the sparge as it nears completion, but I used to when I started.

It is worth measuring the temperature of the grain bed while you are sparging. It should be 165 - 170 degrees. Higher may give you tannin problems. Lower can give you efficiency problems.

Some people say you should check the pH of the sparge to avoid excess tannins. I just acidify the sparge water, and haven't noticed any problems.

Hope this helps.

-a.
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Old 02-16-2008, 10:19 PM   #9
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I did a mash out for the first time today in my cooler mash tun, using Beertools Pro to calculate volumes and temps, and while the results weren't perfect, they were pretty damn close. What I did was this:

I mashed in at 152 with 1.25 qt./lb. After an hour my mash was at 151. I added .64 qt./lb. (1.5 gal. total) of 204 degrees water and raised my mash temp to exactly 168. I then fly sparged with 170 degrees water for an hour.

According to the thermometer next to the wall of my tun, the mash temp dropped to 150, but I don't trust that and need to get another thermometer, because my efficiency was at 80%, 6 points higher than what I had been getting.

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Old 02-17-2008, 06:38 AM   #10
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I usually sparge for 90 minutes. This is much longer than most others, but I can't help it if everybody else does it wrong.
+1
It's not wrong to sparge for 60 minutes, it's just not as efficient with some grains and so to be more safe it is "Better" to mash for 90 minutes and sparge 90 minutes. If you guys don't believe it then try 2 of the same recipe of any beer and measure the SG and see. This is really important when milling is not set as fine as it should be.
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