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breweringbeaz 01-22-2013 03:30 PM

Tips for batch sparging
 
I recently moved to AG and have 3 AG beers so far. I'm having a fairly consistent problem across all three hitting the estimates pre boil gravity. I use a 10 gallon cooler with a false bottom. Any tips or suggestions would be great.

buzzno 01-22-2013 03:53 PM

Hit your temp and stir the crap out of it.

bknifefight 01-22-2013 03:55 PM

Re-evaluate your crush.

Brewnoob1 01-22-2013 03:59 PM

I get my grains pre-crushed at my LHBS. I asked them to tighten up the rollers a bit for me and they are glad to do it. I have noticed a bit of an increase in inefficiency. Make sure you are hitting your mash temps and as mentioned above, STIR STIR STIR. I noticed that helps. I moved to stirring 2-3 times during my mash period. Also, have you tried mashing longer? Maybe 90 minutes? Are you batch sparging or fly sparging? Fly sparging is slower but can help boost efficiency.

BarlimanButterbur 01-22-2013 03:59 PM

A given mash system has a certain amount of dead space from which liquid will not drain and will retain a certain amount of liquid in the grain. You need to get a sense of what that is. There are estimates for how much water grain retains but there is some disagreement since the total retention is some combination of grain retention and dead space. While you can try to use an expected retention rate in qts per pound, it won't be perfectly accurate, since it doesn't describe the dead space in your tun.

What is important to know is how much liquid your system will retain for a given weight of grain. One way to do this is to do a handful of batches with the same total grist weight, and the same target volume. What you do is you make a graduated rod for measuring the volume in your pot, and after you drain the first batch from the mash tun, you determine how much you collected and subtract it from your strike water volume. You then need to add a batch-sparge volume that will make up the difference between what you collected and your target boil volume.

So for instance:
I mash 10lbs of grain with 15qts of water. My target boil volume is 26qts (6.5g).
I drain the first runnings from the mash tun and collect 10qts. I can assume that there is 5qts left in the tun. I also know that I need 16qts more for my target volume, so I batch sparge with that much. Next time I make a 10lb batch aiming for a 6.5 boil volume, I can prepare the 16qts instead of having to overestimate the amount I will need. If I'm aiming for a 5g boil, I can just prepare 10qts sparge water. The important thing to know is that you'll need (in my case) 5qts more than boil volume for 10lbs of grain. You can split that between mash and sparge water however you see fit.

Of course, if you do a 15lb batch, you'll have more liquid retained, but if you measure the runnings, you can determine how much you should add for the batch sparge. If you keep track of how much water seems to be retained by a given weight of grain, you can use that information in the future.

Hope that helps!

progmac 01-22-2013 04:00 PM

double crush took my efficiency from 59-61 to 85+

runoff is slower, though

BarlimanButterbur 01-22-2013 04:01 PM

I just reread that you said "preboil gravity" and not "preboil volume". Oh well.

MVKTR2 01-22-2013 04:02 PM

Are you preheating your tun? Preheating it to the same temps each time? Varying temperatures on the grain? Consistency of crush from brew to brew? Accurate measurements on your volumes? Do you stir your dough-in for 2-4 minutes, wait 3-5 minutes and check the temp, stir and check again? I ask this one as it takes a bit for the temps to 'settle' where they're going to settle. However hitting that temp would effect the wort properties more so than conversion efficiency over the course of 60 minutes. Thus maybe you're dealing with a water or pH issue, crush inconsistency, or inaccurate measurements/volumes?

breweringbeaz 01-22-2013 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzno
Hit your temp and stir the crap out of it.

For the sparge also

breweringbeaz 01-22-2013 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MVKTR2
Are you preheating your tun? Preheating it to the same temps each time? Varying temperatures on the grain? Consistency of crush from brew to brew? Accurate measurements on your volumes? Do you stir your dough-in for 2-4 minutes, wait 3-5 minutes and check the temp, stir and check again? I ask this one as it takes a bit for the temps to 'settle' where they're going to settle. However hitting that temp would effect the wort properties more so than conversion efficiency over the course of 60 minutes. Thus maybe you're dealing with a water or pH issue, crush inconsistency, or inaccurate measurements/volumes?

Yes I'm preheating the mash tun with adding boiling water for about 10 minutes then draining. Adding my mash water usually around 175 to get to a consistent temperature of around 152 once I add grain. I stir consistently before shutting the lid then stir again at the 20-25 minute mark. I do a valorf then slowly drain usually have about a gallon absorbed into the grain. I then take the collected volume and subtract from the total volume needed for me usually 6.5-7 gallons for a 5.5 gallon batch. I batch sparge in two parts. The only thing I noticed yesterday was my 1st sparge temps were a little off around 164-166 vs 170ish.


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