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Old 08-11-2011, 08:55 PM   #1
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Default I'm a bit confused about batch sparging (1st all-grain)

Going to brew Northern Brewer's Irish Red Ale a/g kit tomorrow... I'm using 15gal+10gal kettles, and 10gal cooler MLT.

I'm looking at the ProMash Recipe Report provided by NB, and I see the specifics - but I'm not 100% on the process.

What I understand:
  • Mash at 153F for 60mins (so, strike water needs to be 167 going into MLT) for 8.75lbs of grain
  • I need to account for grain absorption, which is different among systems
  • I need to produce about ~6 gal (5.88) of wort total, using 2 separate runnings.

EdWort's Haus Pale Ale sheds a bit of light on the batch sparge process, but I would need to make temp/amount adjustments.
  1. Pre-heat cooler
  2. Dough-In 3.5 gallons of 167F (to hit 153F) water to MLT for 60mins
  3. Prepare 4.5 gallons of 175F water in the meantime
  4. At the end of 60mins, add the 1.25 gallons of 175F water
  5. Vorlauf as needed, drain to kettle
  6. Sparge with remaining 3.25 gallons of 175F water.

How does my process look? I should note that I own BeerSmith 2, but I'm overwhelmed by the amount of options and tweaks, so I'd like to do a few all-grains by ear...


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Old 08-11-2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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looks good to me.

Don't forget to close the spigot on the mash tun before you add the sparge water. Then add the sparge water and stir it all up so the water disolves the remaining sugars on the grains. Then vorlauf and drain clear wort to the kettle.


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Old 08-11-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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Yep, what you have looks pretty good:

A couple of things:

If you over-heat your strike water, you can pre-heat your MLT with that. So heat to 185ish, add to MT, wait for water to get to 167 then dough in.

Grain absorption usually goes around 0.15gal/lb grain...so for this recipe you can expect somewhere around 1.3gallons absorbed. So if you mash in with 3.5gallons, add another 1.25 gallons of mash-out water you should expect 3.5 +1.25 -1.3 = 3.4 gallons out.

This calculation does NOT account for any deadspace you have in your MT...so that 3.4 gallons could be much less.

If you get around 3 gallons out of your first runnings, then 3.25 gallons of sparge should get you close to 6 gallons pre-boil. As a hedge, I'd heat more sparge water (4-5 gallons) so you have it in case your first runnings come up short.

Remember to mix really well whenever adding water, and to vorlauf before collecting any runnings.

Take accurate temperatures, volume measurements, and hydrometer readings to keep track of how your system works.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips, I'm writing these "notes" down.

I'm using a SS braid, so MLT dead-space is negligible. Just to be clear (no pun), I do not stir in my vorlauf back in, but I must stir any mash/sparge water added, right?

Edit: I have already notched some measuring dowels for my 10/15gal pots, and picked up a decent CDN thermometer. I don't, however, have a refractometer and I don't intend to take a hydro reading until wort is chilled (this time)
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotched View Post
Thanks for the tips, I'm writing these "notes" down.

I'm using a SS braid, so MLT dead-space is negligible. Just to be clear (no pun), I do not stir in my vorlauf back in, but I must stir any mash/sparge water added, right?

Edit: I have already notched some measuring dowels for my 10/15gal pots, and picked up a decent CDN thermometer. I don't, however, have a refractometer and I don't intend to take a hydro reading until wort is chilled (this time)
Yes, no stir on the vorllauf...that is while you are draining your "clear" runnings so you do not want to disturb the grain. As said above, your strike temp of 167 is sitting in the tun before you add the grain. Also, just a hint, your mash temp will likely seem high immediately after adding the grain, you will need to wait a few minutes for the temp to stabilize while you keep stiring well...dont start making adjustments on the fly...give it 5 or so to come to temp before you panic. Also your sparge additions could likely be a bit higher, say 185 to raise the grain temp during the sparge, but it will still stay under the 170 limit recommended for max grain bed temp ...
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:27 PM   #6
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No, do not stir your vorlauf just slowly pour the collected wort back over the top of the grain bed and when it runs clear begin to collect wort then. I would also suggest just cracking the valve when you vorlauf, it takes a while but I find that when you do, you need to vorlauf less (could just be my system) and when you open the valve fully to drain the MT do it slowly, I almost had a stuck mash the other day because I opened too quickly. The idea is to let the grain bed settle into a filter, if you open the valve too quickly you can potentially suck the grain bed down and you have a stuck sparge.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:28 PM   #7
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Do you by chance have a Droid? If so, get Brewzor. All the calcs are there and easy. There are other free apps for (other) phones. Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:52 AM   #8
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No droid. Only a p.o.s. phone that won't die.

I think I have most of the things figured out for tomorrow's brew. I'll probably spend the night obsessing over brewing videos until I'm at information overload. Thanks guys
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
As a hedge, I'd heat more sparge water (4-5 gallons) so you have it in case your first runnings come up short.
All you have to do to get sparge volume is look into your kettle and see how much room you have left after the first runoff. For example, if there's 2.5 gallons of first runnings and you want 6 gallons preboil, sparge volume is 3.5. This is an advantage to batch sparging.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 944play View Post
All you have to do to get sparge volume is look into your kettle and see how much room you have left after the first runoff. For example, if there's 2.5 gallons of first runnings and you want 6 gallons preboil, sparge volume is 3.5. This is an advantage to batch sparging.

Right, but I like to have the sparge water already hot and ready to go by the time the first runoff is done. That is why I heat more water than necessary. I don't want to be caught short if the volume of first runnings is less than what I expected it to be.

I actually was going to post a comment similar to yours in response to the Droid App plug. Its pretty simple math we are talking about here, no app needed.


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