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.
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.