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Old 04-26-2007, 01:56 AM   #1
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Default Sparging for Dummies

After several sucessful extract batches I woud finally like to graduate to an AG batch. So I constructed a 10 gallon round Igloo drink cooler into a mash tun with braided mesh drain. (Thank you Beer Wiki for the awesome parts list from Home Depot.) I think I understand the basics of the mashing process but need a little help with the sparging. Can someone please explain it for me? I know the purpose is to rinse the wort, but what is the exact process am I going to have to do knowing that I have a 10 gallon mash tun and a 5 gallon bew pot. I know this much:
1. Mash grains at specified time and temp of recipe
2. Drain wort into 5 gallon brew pot
3?

Thanks for the help.....I can't wait to try

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Old 04-26-2007, 02:17 AM   #2
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Default Good Luck

I am doing my first AG this weekend I am planning to use my trusty HOW TO BREW BOOK by John Palmer. If you dont have the book I suggest you go to http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/index.html and read the AG section. Everyone says its easy and you will wonder what took so long. Are you Batch or Fly sparging?

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Old 04-26-2007, 02:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fa1321tx
Are you Batch or Fly sparging?
This question has to be answered before we can give you any details on process.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:14 AM   #4
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After reading the suggested article, I think I will be batch sparging. So let me get this straight. I will mash grains to specified temp and time of recipe, then drain the wort slowly while sprinkling it back over the grain bed allowing it to filter itself through the grain bed. After wort is running clear and has drained, add 170 degree sparge water into grains and give it a stir. Let sit 1 hour and drain slowly again? I just want to make sure I get the method straight before I even attempt. Does this sound acceptable. Lots of new info for my brain to handle. Its one of those things that after you do it the first time you say "that was it". I appreciate the help......

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Old 04-26-2007, 03:34 AM   #5
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After the initial drain, you'll add the "batch" sparge water volume and stir it, but you only need to let it rest for 10-15 mins (not 1 hr), vorlauf (recir 'til clear) and drain again. Also, w/ batch sparging, the consensus is that you don't have to drain the wort slowly - just slow enough to not stick the mash or suck too many grain bits in where it won't clear. Once you get this down and feel comfortable with it, you can look into a mash out with a small amt of (near) boiling water that will make your 2 runoffs equal (do a search on batch sparging for those details )

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Old 04-26-2007, 03:42 AM   #6
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You will need a pot bigger than 5 gallons, i think 7.5 gallon would be the minimum. I have an 11 gallon and it makes my brew day better and more relaxing. You need to collect enough wort to boil down to five gallons ( i need about 7 gallons to get 5.25 gal). THe sparge only needs to sit for about ten minutes before draining (let it clear again). Im no expert i only have a few AG's under my belt. It is alot easier than it seems, watch out for high mash temps, i made that mistake and it left me with an unfermentable wort.

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Old 04-26-2007, 10:30 AM   #7
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You will be collecting about 6 - 7 gallons of wort to boil down to a 5 gallon batch so you will need a bigger kettle or you can spread it over any number of pots as long as you keep your hop additions proportioned.

There are many ways to do the same thing with regard to sparging. The best one is the one you'll be using when you decide to do one. No matter which way you do it you'll end up with wort.

My method is to top up my 5 gallon mash tun with boiling water to reach a temp of about 160f (in my case due to lack of space) and recirculate to clear. Then I drain to my kettle. I then add the rest of my sparge water to the tun, stir and recirculate and drain to my kettle.
In my case, with my restricted tun space, I need to do 2 equal sparges after the initial drain to reach my desired wort volume.

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Old 04-26-2007, 03:57 PM   #8
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Should I vorlauf the first draining of the mash and then vorlauf again during sparging? Is just using a ladle to sprinkle the wort or sparge water over the grains an acceptable way of recirculating the water? I assume you only want to pour a little water over the grains at a time as to not disturb the grain bed. I appreciate all your feedback this will make the first AG batch a little bit easier.

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Old 04-26-2007, 04:41 PM   #9
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Okay, I did PM for my last two recipes and I think I screwed up the sparging.

I drained out the mash wort and recycled it a little bit, but after a few cycles through, I put it in the kettle. Then I poured the sparge water into it (170º) and stirred it up, but I didn't let it sit for 10 minutes, just for a minute or two, then drained out and vorlauffed again. My OGs seemed on target...

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Old 04-26-2007, 05:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckeyebrewer
Should I vorlauf the first draining of the mash and then vorlauf again during sparging? Is just using a ladle to sprinkle the wort or sparge water over the grains an acceptable way of recirculating the water? I assume you only want to pour a little water over the grains at a time as to not disturb the grain bed. I appreciate all your feedback this will make the first AG batch a little bit easier.
Yes, vorlauf w/ each draining. If you can collect the wort and gently pour it back on top of the mash, you'll be OK.
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