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Old 04-04-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
benl560
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why should sparge water be 170 degrees. is this just a general guideline as in "hot enough to make the sugar drain easily but not hot enough to get weird flavors", or is there another purpose.

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Old 04-04-2009, 04:31 PM   #2
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Palmer's book goes over all of this in great detail. I can't really explain it.

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Old 04-04-2009, 04:39 PM   #3
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For a mashout, you want to raise the grainbed temperature so that starch conversion stops. This is to maintain some residual sweetness in your beer. If you really want a dry beer, don't do a mashout and conversion will continue throughout the sparge. The reason you don't want the grainbed over 170F is that you will start to extract tannins from the grain husks. Those tannins will create a bitter astringency in your beer which is undesirable.

Some people say the higher temp makes the wort flow easier due to a lower viscosity. However, Kaiser did some experiments with lower temperature water and was still able to achieve almost the same efficiency...so YMMV. Personally, I don't worry about the sparge temp much but I shoot for 170-175F. Some people use 185F sparge water which is just fine as long as your grainbed doesn't get above 170F.

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Old 04-04-2009, 05:38 PM   #4
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FWIW I used to have a 5 gallon cooler setup... I had NO room for a mashout infusion and didnt want to seriously overheat my sparge water. My mash, while fly sparging was about 155F... I got 80% eff.

Now I recirc. in my HERMS until my mash is about 168F... my sparge water is 173F, I dont get any better eff.

Theoretically is makes the sugars run easier, but this has been debated and tested to some degree by our studious member Kai. There is an idea that a cold sparge will give you about the same results as a 170F sparge. Some ideas need to be tested, I have seen a few "rules" fall when put to a practical test.

That being said, I DO mashout with my HERMS and I DO use 173F water to sparge with.

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Old 04-04-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benl560 View Post
why should sparge water be 170 degrees. is this just a general guideline as in "hot enough to make the sugar drain easily but not hot enough to get weird flavors", or is there another purpose.
Besides the reasons already listed hot sparge water conserves fuel, taking less heat to boil.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Clonefarmer View Post
Besides the reasons already listed hot sparge water conserves fuel, taking less heat to boil.
You arent saving anything. Same water volume, same resultant temp 212F... same ammount of BTU needed in the end.

If you have a volume of water that you are heating, then heating to a set temp. say 212F. If you start with cold water, you save fuel (BTU) on that end, but have to put that some ammount of saved BTU into the boil side. Vice versa... if you start with a hotter volume, more fuel, more BTU than you can save that BTU on the boil end. Either way you have the SAME volume of water and will require the same ammount of fuel (BTU) to reach a resultant temp. You save nothing, you cannot create or destroy energy, only convert it.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:53 PM   #7
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But you are saving fuel on heating the sparge water. Energy cannot be destroyed or created, only converted. So Id think you are using relatively the same ammount of fuel. You have to heat either the sparge or the boil more, so it is a wash.
Good point. It just seems that way to me since I heat sparge water on a single burner on med. While the boil is done across two burners on high.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:03 PM   #8
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Until more evidence is provided regarding viscosity, etc. I will continue to sparge around 170. I need more proof from our resident mythbuster; Kai.

That said... The denaturing part of this equation is more relevant for fly sparging as a decent fly sparge takes about an hour, so if you do not mashout at 170ish and do not sparge around the same then extra conversion is taking place (OK, probably a poor choice of words but close enough).

The above is also more relevant to what your mash temp was. The higher the mash temp the less worry from "excessive" conversion by beta amylase since beta amylase starts to denature over 150F.

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Old 04-04-2009, 06:10 PM   #9
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You might not save gas, but you do save time. Even if there is evidence that a cold sparge has NO difference than a hot one, I'll stick with hot. It takes a lot less time to bring wort that is around 160-175 to a boil than the same wort at 80*F.

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Old 04-04-2009, 06:24 PM   #10
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Until more evidence is provided regarding viscosity, etc. I will continue to sparge around 170. I need more proof from our resident mythbuster; Kai.
I'm watching that space too. Kaiser has posted about the cold sparge for german beers (His special area of interest) and i will happily weigh his words and findings against the other brewing gods.

It looks like this will be an aspect of brewing that will be open for experimentation and debate in the coming months or years.


having said all that, I found that since reading kaiser's findings, i am more relaxed about coming under the sparge temp
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