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Old 07-08-2012, 03:37 AM   #11
Feb 2012
Wichita, Kansas
Posts: 111
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Using the whole volume in the mash will be more efficient than a reduced volume with kettle water top up. The reason is that the overall gravity is lower and therefore the fixed volume of liquid that stays absorbed in the grain will be a lower gravity. This matters more when you're not using a grain bag. Grain bags tend to drain more fully when lifted out in a BIAB type brew.
This doesn't make sense to me.Is this some sort of "math"?

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Old 07-08-2012, 04:00 AM   #12
Stauffbier's Avatar
Nov 2011
El Paso, TX
Posts: 5,121
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+1 on using the total batch volume of water when doing a no sparge. A no sparge is really no different than doing a no sparge BIAB. The only difference is you can squeeze the grain bag to get better efficiency with BIAB. I got 80% efficiency on a no sparge BIAB today FWIW.. On said batch my water ratio was like 3.36qt/lb (if I remember right). If you're using a MLT, you can still do a cold batch sparge (with room temp water). It only adds about 10-15 minutes to the process. I've done cold sparging with great success. Otherwise, if you intend on sticking with no sparge, I would definitely use all of the water during the mash, as mentioned previously..

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Old 07-08-2012, 12:18 PM   #13
Jul 2011
Windsor, CT
Posts: 306
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You're local surplus store (ocean state job lot, big lots, etc probably) has a cheap 5 gallon stock pot that you can use for heating sparge water if you want to try batch sparging. it will limit how thick you can go with the mash unless you use some cold water but I had good results with this pot and a 5 gallOn round cooler with kettle screen for about a year

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Old 07-08-2012, 12:56 PM   #14
AnOldUR's Avatar
Mar 2007
, New Jersey
Posts: 6,888
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I personally think the better way to no-sparge is to do your main mash around the 1.5 qt/lb range and then do a large mash-out infusion to meet your boil volume before you lauter.

to quote Denny:
No Sparge Brewing
As described by John Palmer in his BYO article “Skip the Sparge” (May-June 2003), a no sparge brew has the entire volume of “sparge” water added to the mash and stirred in before any runoff has taken place. Even though additional water has been added, since it’s been added to the mash before runoff has begun, we can more properly think of it as a mash infusion, rather than a sparge addition...hence the name “no-sparge”. This method is the easiest way to mash, but at the expense of poor extraction, typically 50%. The advantage, though, is that because all the sugar from the mash is in solution from the agitation of adding the water, lauter design has minimal effect.

edit to say:
Not sure about the 50% extraction part unless it's a big beer.
. . . but Denny does say, "Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!"

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Old 07-08-2012, 01:40 PM   #15
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Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
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Originally Posted by BigSally View Post
This doesn't make sense to me.Is this some sort of "math"?
It's both intuitive and illustrated with math. The gravity of the mash can be easily calculated by the sugar potential figures of the grain, the amount of grain, and the dilution (how many gallons of water is the sugar dissolved in).

Case Study:

10lbs of 30PPG malt in 5 gallons of strike liquor is (10 x 30)/5 = 1.060
Typically you'll only be able to derive 4 gallons from this because the grain keeps about .1g per pound. This 4 gallons will carry 240 gravity units so topping up with another gallon will leave you with 5 gallons of 1.048 wort.

Now try the same thing with 7 gallons of strike liquor.
(10 x 30) / 7 = mash gravity of 1.042. Draining off 6 gallons gives you 257 GU and then you boil that down to 5 gallons to get a post boil OG of 1.051.

Of course, there really isn't much difference between the two gravities but that's the difference between 80% and 86% efficiency. As you get into higher OGs, the difference is more pronounced.

If you repeat the exercise with 20lbs of malt (twice as much lost to absorption)
(20 x 30) / 5 = 1.120 drain 3gal = 360 GU out of 600 GU possible topped up to 5 gallons is 1.072 OG. (60% efficiency)

(20 x 30) / 7 = 1.086 drain 5 gal = 430 GU out of 600, boil down to 5 = 1.086 (71% efficiency).

So, the moral of the story is that the higher levels of dilution in a no sparge mash will be more efficient than a higher concentration that is later diluted post mash.

AnoldUR is correct thought that there are practical limits on how dilute you can run a mash. For folks that aren't ready to understand buffering and mash pH, suffice to say it's safer to run a mash at less than 3qt per pound. In any case, you can still consider it a no sparge brew if you top up the mash at the end such that the runoff is the desired preboil volume.
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