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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Water Quantities
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:38 AM   #1
Monghetti
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I've done about 4 partial mash batches so far originally following the PM tutorial by DeathBrewer. I was using approx. 1-1.25 quarts per pound of grain. I was re reading the instructions from my first PM (AHS double chocolate stout) and they had me mashing with 2.5 gallons of water...Much more then I had been using.

Which method is better? What are some of the effects of a thick vs. thin mash?

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Old 05-20-2009, 03:22 PM   #2
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If they had you using 2.5 gallons TOTAL, the you must have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 pounds of grist? The kit surely didnt say to use 2.5 gallons per pound of grist?!?

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Old 05-20-2009, 06:17 PM   #3
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I think it's mostly dependent on your boil kettle size - if you're using a 3 gallon boil kettle and you mash with 2.5 gallons of water, you won't have any room in the kettle for your sparge. I use a 1.3 qt/ lb ratio, then take up the rest of the room in the pot with sparge water. For best efficiency, your sparge volume should be at least as much as your mash volume - and more is better. I haven't tried it myself, but I'm not convinced that a thin mash with little or no sparge would be better for efficiency than a thicker mash with a proper sparge. If your prior batches have been successful, I'd keep doing it the way you have been. But if you have a pot large enough to do a full boil, it might be worth trying.

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Old 05-20-2009, 06:37 PM   #4
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I think there are some terms being substituted here by accident...at least I hope so.

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Originally Posted by ifishsum View Post
I think it's mostly dependent on your boil kettle size - if you're using a 3 gallon boil kettle and you mash with 2.5 gallons of water, you won't have any room in the kettle for your sparge.
The size of your boil kettle has nothing to do with with your mash. It is the mash tun size that limits the quantity you can mash with. Even then you don't base your strike water (first infusion) amount on the size of the mash tun, you calculate it based on the pounds of grist you are mashing (1.0 - 1.5 quarts/lb.)

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I use a 1.3 qt/ lb ratio, then take up the rest of the room in the pot with sparge water.
Again, your sparge water isnt what you use to full up the available remaining capacity in your mash tun. Sparge water amount is really irrelevant to the size of the mash tun. If you are going a batch sparge then I suppose you are limited to how much you can add for a 2nd infusion/runnings. But if you are fly sparging then in theory it doesn't matter how much you use, at least in regards to volume. I'll leave over extraction for a different conversation...

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I haven't tried it myself, but I'm not convinced that a thin mash with little or no sparge would be better for efficiency than a thicker mash with a proper sparge.
You will want to sparge regardless of the consistency of your mash. After you mash out, which has benefits of increasing efficiency in addition to killing enzymes, you will want to sparge to rinse the grains of any residual sugars.

Hope that cleared some things up.
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:53 PM   #5
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I agree with everything you're saying, I just wasn't very clear. The point I was trying to make was that the total volume of mash water and sparge water combined has the fit the individual system (not just the BK) and also stay within generally accepted water/grain ratios. If he mashes with 2.5 gallons of water and has a smaller BK, he may not be able to do a proper sparge and fit all the wort into the kettle.

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Old 05-20-2009, 10:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies...

THe AHS instructions didnt even have me sparging at all...Mash grains at 155* for 45 minutes and continue as usual...I hadnt read the post by deathbrewer when I brewed that, nor had I done any PMs at all before. It's was as if their instructions were hugely simplified and no different then steeping grains except for the longer amount of time to get conversion.

I think I will stick to the 1.25-1.5 qt per pound of grain for now, but what I really need is a MLT, bigger pot, outdoor burner, immersion chiller, autosiphon, and maybe a kegging system...

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