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Old 04-22-2013, 04:16 AM   #1
theCougfan97
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Feb 2013
Seattle, WA
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If my calculations are correct I am getting a solid 75%+ efficiency with batch sparging, but with Vourlaf and 2 or 3 passes with sparge water it takes forever, 2-3 hours!

My Plan:
Use my recently constructed heat stick, a pump, a temp controller and my copper chiller to maintain ideal mash temps in a larger cooler/mash tun.

My Thought:
I can be down to only 2 rounds of hot water.
I will save time by not having to raise and maintain water temperatures as high before adding them to the mash. (I could hit my number and theoretically just maintain it in the mash tun).
Improves efficiency in my mash tun?

Does anyone have any experience with this? Am I going to spend a lot of time tinkering with this setup for little or no benefit? I would like to be saving time and returning = or better efficiencies.
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Old 04-22-2013, 04:30 AM   #2
elkshadow
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Why are you running two or three passes of sparge water?

You shouldn't need any extra equipment to maintain a mash temp inside a cooler.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:17 AM   #3
theCougfan97
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Feb 2013
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Fair point. The third pass is more a space issue than anything, and I have solved that problem. I was, however, assuming because of the inherent temperature loss upon transferring the hot water to the mash tun the water had to be heated an additional 15-20 degrees, which my sparge calc app tells me. I was hoping to save the time of that additional 20 some degrees of heating water, twice, as well as potentially improving the efficiency of my sparge process. I also assumed that because some receipes were calling for strike temps down to the tenth degree that temperature was very important to efficient conversion.

I take it I am off base on these assumptions?
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:40 AM   #4
DirtyOldDuck
 
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Temperature of the mash is important, but no way am I worrying about tenths of a degree. If a mash calculator tells me my strike water should be 166.7F, I'll be shooting for 168F. Preheat your cooler with a couple of gallons of water and use an online mash calculator to figure your strike temperature based on the temperature and amount of your grain and desired mash temperature. If you lose a degree or two over a 60 minute mash, no big deal. For sparging, I try to do a single batch sparge where I collect half of my boil volume with the first runnings and half with the second. See http://hbd.org/cascade dennybrew. Finally, with batch sparging I am starting to believe that the temperature of the sparge water is not really that big of a deal. You don't really need to mash out and are really just rinsing the already converted sugars out of the grains.

Even with your heat stick you would have to heat your strike water higher than the mash temperature because the grain is going to lower the temperature of the strike water. Assuming the heat stick didn't cook the grains right around it, you would still have to wait for the heat stick to raise the mash to the desired temperature.

In a nutshell, yes you have to heat your strike water above your desired mash temperature, but you don't have to make it complicated.

 
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:42 AM   #5
elkshadow
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I mash in a 5 gallon cooler for 3 gallon batches. I lose 13 degrees from pouring the water into the cooler and adding the grain for the mash. After my first runnings, I use 170 degree water to batch sparge. I'm not interested in doing a mash out and water over 172 hitting the grain has been said to extract tannins from the husks that can lead to bitter tea-like flavor. I've never tested this so it may be a wives tale but with a good crush I'm around 70% efficiency doing it this way and I'm OK with that.

Your strike temps should be within 2 or 3 degrees of what you're aiming for. There is definitely a difference between mashing at 152 and 158 but I LOLed about tenths of degrees.

Dial in your system for how much heat you lose when transferring your water, sparge with 170-171 degree water. Easy.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:46 PM   #6
RM-MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkshadow View Post
I mash in a 5 gallon cooler for 3 gallon batches. I lose 13 degrees from pouring the water into the cooler and adding the grain for the mash. After my first runnings, I use 170 degree water to batch sparge. I'm not interested in doing a mash out and water over 172 hitting the grain has been said to extract tannins from the husks that can lead to bitter tea-like flavor. I've never tested this so it may be a wives tale but with a good crush I'm around 70% efficiency doing it this way and I'm OK with that.

Your strike temps should be within 2 or 3 degrees of what you're aiming for. There is definitely a difference between mashing at 152 and 158 but I LOLed about tenths of degrees.

Dial in your system for how much heat you lose when transferring your water, sparge with 170-171 degree water. Easy.
This isn't an old wives tale but you have only been told half of the story. If you have water over 170 and your pH goes over 6 you can extract tannins. Since most mashes will be blow pH 6 you can add boiling water if you want. If you oversparge, you may be able to bring the pH over 6 but then if you keep the temperature low you shouldn't extract the tannins either.

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Old 04-22-2013, 05:16 PM   #7
elkshadow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
This isn't an old wives tale but you have only been told half of the story. If you have water over 170 and your pH goes over 6 you can extract tannins. Since most mashes will be blow pH 6 you can add boiling water if you want. If you oversparge, you may be able to bring the pH over 6 but then if you keep the temperature low you shouldn't extract the tannins either.
Yeah I knew there was another part of that.
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