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Old 03-03-2010, 10:22 PM   #841
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Because it is not just to change the temperature. You want to "rinse" your grains during your sparge to extract sugars. Think of it like this: After your mash is done, sugars like to "cling" to the grains, so they have to be rinsed off.

There are essentially two types of sparge:

1. Fly Sparge. This is where the grains are kept in a mash tun. It is drained from the bottom while being filled at the top, so there is constantly water running over the grains inside and extracting the sugars.

2. Batch Sparge. This is pretty much what we are doing with this method. In a true mash tun, the wort is drained from the bottom completely, then more water is added, the grain is mixed up and it is drained again.

3. There is another method: No sparge aka BIAB (brew in a bag). This is where a high concentration of water is used with your grains and then the bag is lifted up and left to drain. This method can work well for some, but I'm not sure how high you can go with the water without problems in the mash and I'm not convinced effiency won't suffer from this method.

I do not think that adding more water to the initial boil pot would work well in extracting the sugar from the grains. It also comes into how much water you can fit in a pot. This method is designed for stovetop, where many people use very small pots.

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Old 03-03-2010, 10:51 PM   #842
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Because it is not just to change the temperature. You want to "rinse" your grains during your sparge to extract sugars. Think of it like this: After your mash is done, sugars like to "cling" to the grains, so they have to be rinsed off.
Wouldn't tea-bagging, stirring, splashing, etc., and all of the added fresh water all help rinse the sugars off of the grain? Yes, you probably won't get as much sugar off the grains as with other methods, but I would think you should still be able to get a large amount of the sugars off, especially if you sparge for (let's say) an extra 10 minutes.

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I do not think that adding more water to the initial boil pot would work well in extracting the sugar from the grains.
I guess this is the part that I am having a hard time wrapping my head around. I don't understand why not.

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It also comes into how much water you can fit in a pot. This method is designed for stovetop, where many people use very small pots.
Indeed, but if someone has only 1 medium sized pot instead of 2, I think this might be a decent workaround. Plus, you'd only have to clean 1 pot instead of 2.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:14 PM   #843
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Wouldn't tea-bagging, stirring, splashing, etc., and all of the added fresh water all help rinse the sugars off of the grain? Yes, you probably won't get as much sugar off the grains as with other methods, but I would think you should still be able to get a large amount of the sugars off, especially if you sparge for (let's say) an extra 10 minutes.
Time doesn't really make a difference...the work should be done rather quickly...unless you're counting fly sparging (a slow trickle will extract more than a rush of water...in regards to channeling). Besides, sparging too long at too high a temp will extract tannins and give you an off flavor.

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I guess this is the part that I am having a hard time wrapping my head around. I don't understand why not.
Because the wort is saturated with sugar and can't extract more sugar. You're not "rinsing" the grain, you're just making the wort a little more diluted. The sugars will still "cling" to the grain unless you rinse with water that can extract it. Also, when you drain the bag, much of the sugars will stay with the grain, which would otherwise be rinsed off with the new sparge of water.

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Indeed, but if someone has only 1 medium sized pot instead of 2, I think this might be a decent workaround. Plus, you'd only have to clean 1 pot instead of 2.
I just rinse my mash pot with hot water and it's clean, so nah...I think you're getting overly lazy

If you want to use 1 medium-sized pot, I would recommend doing a "pour-over" sparge:

1. Use your medium-sized pot to mash (be sure to leave headroom for more water
2. Heat up additional water in 2-3 small pots or saucepans for your sparge
3. Use a colander to hold your grain bag and let it drain for a moment
4. Pour the additional water over the grain bag and into the pot. This is your sparge.

That will give you higher efficiency and much better flavor than simply pouring more water in.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:26 PM   #844
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So... basically... 2 gallons of fresh water is better to extract sugar than a combined 3 gallons (1 gal of mash water and 2 gallons of fresh water)?

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Old 03-04-2010, 03:36 AM   #845
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Kinda. It's not just "fresh water", it's the fact that it's being rinsed. I could get into reiterative mashing, but I don't want to "muddy the water" as I often do.

I mean, I'm sure it will work, but why bother when you can get better efficiency doing a "pour-over" sparge. Also, if you're going to use all the water, why add it? You might as well just do a "no-sparge" from the get-go. It just seems counter-productive to me.

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Old 03-04-2010, 10:01 PM   #846
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You might as well just do a "no-sparge" from the get-go. It just seems counter-productive to me.
Yeah, you are right! I read some posts about no-sparge vs batch sparging. Sounds like what I am describing is no-sparge and the differences in efficiency can be small enough to be worthwhile. I can just add all of the water at the beginning. Using 1 pot, 1 batch of water, and no transferring grains from one pot to another (and no re-clamping) is simpler to me and leaves fewer chances for mistakes (i.e. accidentally spilling the grains).
It sounds like people can get 70% efficiency with no-sparge as long as they make sure their conversion is high and don't use ridiculous amounts of grains. I'm not going to get 85% efficiency anyway since I don't have the equipment for fly sparging, so the difference is really only about $1 or $2 of extra grain to buy for a 5-gallon batch.

Thanks for the info.

Edit: Now I'm 2nd guessing myself. Maybe I will get better conversion with less mash water.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:26 PM   #847
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LOL...don't second guess...just go for it.

Try one beer with the no-sparge and try one with the "pour-over" sparge...you'll figure out what you like.

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Old 03-05-2010, 05:54 PM   #848
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Me and my best friend did an all-grain brew last night. He made an MLT, but he didn't quite get the fittings correct, so it had a leak, and we couldn't use it. We ended up doing a stove-top brew with a pour-over sparge last night. We used a 7.5 gallon pot for the mash, a 3 gallon pot for heating water, and a 6 gallon bottling bucket for the pour over sparge. We had 13 pounds (10 base, 3 specialty) of grains and used a 5-gallon paint strainer bag. He made a few decisions that may have messed up the efficiency a little bit, but it was his beer, so he made the calls. We ended up with approximately 69% efficiency.

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Old 03-05-2010, 06:09 PM   #849
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~70% efficiency is pretty standard with these methods. Sounds like it went well.

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Old 03-05-2010, 08:29 PM   #850
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Yes, it was definitely a success!

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