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Old 06-29-2011, 05:10 AM   #1
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Default water depth vs grain depth - batch sparging

On my last brew, I was planning on double batch sparging. I pulled 3.5 gals out on the first runnings, was targetting 7 gals pre-boil. Double batch sparge was then 3.5gal/2 sparges, so 1.75 gallons each. But that would have left me with a bunch of grain high and dry in the mash tun. Something didn't seem right, so just stuck with a single batch sparge so I could make sure all the grains were submerged when I dumped in my sparge volume.

I'm thinking I made the right call, but wondering if this is due to mash tun dimensions or what...or how exactly a double batch sparge would work, seems like you'd always be left with grains above the sparge water depth?? Am I missing something?

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Old 06-29-2011, 06:04 AM   #2
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Mash thicker.........

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Old 06-29-2011, 06:47 AM   #3
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Always having grain above the water line is not necassarily correct. Dont forget about the water (loss) that is still in the tun. I lose 1.5 gal to my tun so when i mash in with 5 gal i only collect 3.5 gal. Then if i add 1.75 gal for the first sparge my actual volume in the tun is 3.25 gal. Plus you are going to stir like crazy when you add the sparge water so i really dont think its a big deal. I always do a double batch sparge and have never had any problems.

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Old 06-29-2011, 08:54 PM   #4
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Wild Ginger - That doesn't sound like tun loss to me, that sounds like grain absorption. So I wouldn't really concider that volume as free water, ie you are not going to be able to capture that volume in your runnings. So on my batch sparge, what I put in I drain out. Just seems like you'd always want your grains to be submerged if the intent is to get the sugars on the grains into solution and draining out in the runnings. That being said, I guess I'm back to my original question about double sparge water depth being less than the grain bed depth and is that a problem?

Wild Ginger- when you add your first sparge water, are the grains submerged after you stir?

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Old 06-29-2011, 09:11 PM   #5
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You do want your grains submerged for the sparge. You are stopping the enzymes and you are getting the liquor less viscus by heating up the grain bed to 168-170. The double sparge techniques are really used to get every single last sugar from your grain, and to be completely honest, unless you are a micro brewery you don't care because it's cheaper to pop in an extra pound of grain.

Basically to double sparge you get three runnings. This is or was standard practice at many breweries because they would make a strong beer with the first runnings, a mid beer with the second and what could technically be called beer with the third, or just mix all three runnings.

Basically you have to use the same amount of water for both sparges which is approximately the same as your strike water, or a bit more. I typically use equal amounts of strike and sparge to get about 1.5x as much water as my strike as about half of the water is absorbed into the grains from the strike. Doing a double sparge you do this twice and are left with 2.5x as much liquor and you just double if not tripled your boil time. This is way more expensive then spending 2$ to get another pound of base grain and does not assure that you will improve your efficiency by that much anyway. I hope this helps.

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Old 06-30-2011, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhumm1 View Post
Wild Ginger - That doesn't sound like tun loss to me, that sounds like grain absorption. So I wouldn't really concider that volume as free water, ie you are not going to be able to capture that volume in your runnings. So on my batch sparge, what I put in I drain out. Just seems like you'd always want your grains to be submerged if the intent is to get the sugars on the grains into solution and draining out in the runnings. That being said, I guess I'm back to my original question about double sparge water depth being less than the grain bed depth and is that a problem?

Wild Ginger- when you add your first sparge water, are the grains submerged after you stir?
I lose .5 gal to absorption and 1 gal to actual tun loss. The grains are relatively submerged. Again you are going to stir like crazy. All you are trying to do is "rinse" the remaining sugars from the grains.

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You do want your grains submerged for the sparge. You are stopping the enzymes and you are getting the liquor less viscus by heating up the grain bed to 168-170. The double sparge techniques are really used to get every single last sugar from your grain, and to be completely honest, unless you are a micro brewery you don't care because it's cheaper to pop in an extra pound of grain.

Basically to double sparge you get three runnings. This is or was standard practice at many breweries because they would make a strong beer with the first runnings, a mid beer with the second and what could technically be called beer with the third, or just mix all three runnings.

Basically you have to use the same amount of water for both sparges which is approximately the same as your strike water, or a bit more. I typically use equal amounts of strike and sparge to get about 1.5x as much water as my strike as about half of the water is absorbed into the grains from the strike. Doing a double sparge you do this twice and are left with 2.5x as much liquor and you just double if not tripled your boil time. This is way more expensive then spending 2$ to get another pound of base grain and does not assure that you will improve your efficiency by that much anyway. I hope this helps.
I disagree with all of this. I am not saying that some of the info is not accurate, but as far as my double batch sparging goes, it has nothing to do with anything mentioned above. It is strictly to remove as much of the sugars from the grain as possible. It does not cost anymore money to add a 2nd addition of sparge water and by no means does it increase boil time. This is just flat wrong. After I have collected all 3 runnings, I have the same amount of wort in my BK as if I would have done one giant mash in or if I would have done 4 sparges. The volume doesn't change. I am going to collect the same amount of wort no matter how many times I sparge. The boil time has nothing to do with how much wort is in the kettle anyway.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:21 AM   #7
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Well, I guess if they aren't all submerged, between the stiring and the second sparge to repeat the process, the sugars would be rinsed well enough even if not submerged...I buy that.

In terms of volume of water for the sparges and the resulting volume collected in the BK, if you just take the total sparge volume and divide by # of sparges, you shouldn't end up with any extra wort or need additional boil time. (I'm assuming astirx is saying longer boil is needed in order to boil off the extra volume collected). I'm with WGB on this one, I don't think # sparges has any bearing on volume into BK.

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Old 06-30-2011, 02:57 PM   #8
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But it does have to do with the effectiveness of the sparge. The whole point of sparging is to stop the enzyme activity and to get more sugar less viscus to avoid a stuck or slow sparge. Of the two, the enzyme activity is more important.

Every single book I have read followed what I pointed out above and every batch I have done, I do batch sparging. I use equal parts or so of water to cover the grain, stop the enzymes and dissolve more sugar. I don't see how this doesn't require the grains to be submerged and I have never heard of splitting your sparge water for a batch sparge into various lots. I mean, taking this to the logical extreme, you are saying that if I have a total volume of 4g of sparge water, if I break that into 1qt increments it will be just as effective if I do 16 batch sparges covering the same bottom grains which 1qt covers grains in the grain bed then if I do 1 sparge with 4g and cover all the grain. I can not be convinced that this is so. Doing 1 batch sparge with slightly more grain will give you the same results as 2 batch sparges and for home brewers it's more cost effective. We are not talking about fly sparging which is a totally different beast and I don't know that much about it except that basically you continually rinse the grain from top to bottom with hot water. I believe that you also use the same amount of water for both strike and fly sparge. This is what the big boys do to get as much sugar as possible from the grain.

Yes, the increase in time that I was talking about comes from the fact that if I double batch sparge with the same amount of water it will increase the amount of water you have to boil off. Think about it like this, I am doing 4g strike, 4g sparge #1, 4g sparge #2, I get 2g from strike, 4g from sparge #1 and 4g from sparge #2 and I am boiling down to 6.5g with a 5.5g finial volume. If I do 1 sparge, I get 6g of liquor and I boil and throw in hops. If I do two I get 10g of liquor and then get to boil off 3.5g of water, thus spending all of that energy. All of that MIGHT get you up from 75-80% efficiency to 80-85% efficiency assuming that you have grain that CAN go up that high.

Using single batch sparge with equal parts strike sparge water I have managed to continually hit 75%, when I crushed my own grain I hit 80-85% from theoretical yield. Basically what I was talking about before with the 3 runnings, this was how you got various strengths of beer in the 18-19 centuries from the big brewers in England. The first runnings I believe was called Ale and would be quite strong (6-8%), the second running would be called something else (Porter?) and would be what we typically think of as normal beer in the 4.5-5.5% range and the third running was called I believe 10 penny ale and would be in the 3-4% or less range. These runnings would be mixed etc to get the various styles the brew house wanted. Thankfully we don't have to worry about that.

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Old 06-30-2011, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhumm1 View Post
I'm thinking I made the right call, but wondering if this is due to mash tun dimensions or what...or how exactly a double batch sparge would work, seems like you'd always be left with grains above the sparge water depth?? Am I missing something?
I always double sparge and yes, its because of the mash tun size vs grain weight. I have a 5 gallon tun with no deadspace. Unless I want to use top off water, to get to 7.5 gallons (my preferred boil volume for a 6.0 gallon batch) I need to sparge more then once.

With, say, 12-13 lbs of grain which is typical I will get about 2 - 2.5 g out with each running (no infusion at the end of mashing) and the grain will be submerged. Because I use a braid, there is no dead space to speak of.

I will be getting a 10 gallon tun this summer for some of the bigger beers, then I will change things up so I have an infusion to bring it to 168, drain, followed by a single larger sparge. I don't double out of fondness for endless sparging, its just what I need to do with the equipment I have.

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Old 06-30-2011, 03:27 PM   #10
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But it does have to do with the effectiveness of the sparge. The whole point of sparging is to stop the enzyme activity and to get more sugar less viscus to avoid a stuck or slow sparge. Of the two, the enzyme activity is more important.
What you are referring to is a mash out, not a sparge. This is what stops the enzyme process and is completely different than sparging. A mash out is adding a specific amount water to bring the mash to a temp of above 160F. Sparging is simply the rinsing of the grains. A lot of brewers do not do a mash out at all, but they still do a sparge.

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Every single book I have read followed what I pointed out above and every batch I have done, I do batch sparging. I use equal parts or so of water to cover the grain, stop the enzymes and dissolve more sugar. I don't see how this doesn't require the grains to be submerged and I have never heard of splitting your sparge water for a batch sparge into various lots. I mean, taking this to the logical extreme, you are saying that if I have a total volume of 4g of sparge water, if I break that into 1qt increments it will be just as effective if I do 16 batch sparges covering the same bottom grains which 1qt covers grains in the grain bed then if I do 1 sparge with 4g and cover all the grain. I can not be convinced that this is so.
In theory, yes this would work. You are ONLY rinsing the grains.

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Doing 1 batch sparge with slightly more grain will give you the same results as 2 batch sparges and for home brewers it's more cost effective.
how can it be more cost effective when you buying more grain?!?!?!?!?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by asterix404 View Post
Yes, the increase in time that I was talking about comes from the fact that if I double batch sparge with the same amount of water it will increase the amount of water you have to boil off. Think about it like this, I am doing 4g strike, 4g sparge #1, 4g sparge #2, I get 2g from strike, 4g from sparge #1 and 4g from sparge #2 and I am boiling down to 6.5g with a 5.5g finial volume. If I do 1 sparge, I get 6g of liquor and I boil and throw in hops. If I do two I get 10g of liquor and then get to boil off 3.5g of water, thus spending all of that energy. All of that MIGHT get you up from 75-80% efficiency to 80-85% efficiency assuming that you have grain that CAN go up that high.

Using single batch sparge with equal parts strike sparge water I have managed to continually hit 75%, when I crushed my own grain I hit 80-85% from theoretical yield. Basically what I was talking about before with the 3 runnings, this was how you got various strengths of beer in the 18-19 centuries from the big brewers in England. The first runnings I believe was called Ale and would be quite strong (6-8%), the second running would be called something else (Porter?) and would be what we typically think of as normal beer in the 4.5-5.5% range and the third running was called I believe 10 penny ale and would be in the 3-4% or less range. These runnings would be mixed etc to get the various styles the brew house wanted. Thankfully we don't have to worry about that.
You would have to adjust your sparge volumes to your required amount into the brew kettle. This may mean it is not equal amounts of sparge water. Either way, if you want 6.5 gal into the BK then adjust your sparge accordingly. Why would you want to collect more than required? This would absolutley kill your efficiency! For the record, I only do double batch sparges, typically with my first sparge being my mash out, but added after the collection of the first runnings. My efficiency is consistently 83-85%. That's just me though. If what you are doing works for you then by all means, do not stop doing it! I would not change my procedure due to someone else's opinion if it's working.
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