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Old 09-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #1
smccarter
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Default Stirring mash before sparge - question

I'm brewing today and had an idea that kind of made sense to me. Running this by you guys to see if anyone else does this.

I mash and lauter in the same cooler, as I'm sure many of us do. I've always left the mash tun alone and sparged as it set. It came to me that if a brewery agitates the mash, and even some home brewers continually stir while mashing to maximize efficiency, why wouldn't I stir the mash before sparging?

So I added 1 gallon of sparge water, stirred the mash well, vorlof'd, then sparged.

Comments are very welcome. Would like to know if this tecnique is something that others are doing, standard practice that I didn't know about, or shouldn't be done.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 09-07-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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For those of us who batch-sparge, stirring is essential. I'm not sure if it'll do much for fly sparging, but it shouldn't hurt!

Bryan


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Old 09-07-2013, 05:04 PM   #3
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Obviously, when I used to fly sparge, I did not stir my mash.

Now that I batch sparge, it makes more sense to me to stir so as to disperse the sugars into the sparge water more efficiently. Having a pump (little tan wonder) makes recirculating for Vorlauft very easy.

Interested in other's opinions.
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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I almost exclusively batch sparge and I stir the sparge almost like I am doughing-in. I have been getting incredible efficiency lately. I am not sure exactly why, but I am getting into mid to high 80s. I recently added a false bottom that covers the entire bottom of my rectangular cooler. I use 5.2 with every batch as well as rice hulls.

I tried a few methods for fly sparging. Gordon Strong's book has a method where you just add your sparge water to your mash tun with your strike water and run off everything at once. This worked, but was not nearly as efficient (for extraction) as running off all of my wort and then refilling. If you haven't picked his book it is really worth reading.

My one attempt at fly sparging landed me in 60s. I was obviously doing something wrong.
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Old 09-07-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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Batch sparging..... If I'm using 5 gal of sparge water at 170 degrees.

Is this correct?

1. drain mash volume
2. add 2.5 gal and drain
3. add final 2.5 gal and drain

Is it that simple?
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:09 PM   #6
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I let BeerSmith calculate it for me, so I can account for water loss in the grain. Let me make sure I am following your question:

You are making a 5-gallon batch. You are mashing-in with 2.5 gallons, draining and then sparging with 2.5 gallons?

If so then you probably need to adjust a little. You want figure out the amount of water based off of the amount of grain. 1 - 2 quarts per pound of grain, I think 1.25 is the most common. Your strike water would typically have more volume than your sparge water. I like to have a little more water, I would much rather have extra wort than too little.
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Old 09-07-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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Mashin in with 2.5.... sparging with a total of 5 gallons.... batch sparging in 2 batches.

first - before any "sparge" water hits the mash.... drain the mash - and then...

add 2.5 gal sparge water, drain..... (5 gallons so far)

add the final 2.5 gal sparge water, drain.... (7.5 gallons total)
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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I stir all the time before sparge, ive sparged slightly different my last several brews and my efficiency stays about the same. The following describes easiest to achieve proper volume and still get good efficiency.

After mash is done open up and stir.
(Vorlauf)Drain first runnings
Add about 2 gallons of water and stir like crazy
(Vorlauf) as this water is draining do an improv fly sparge until i hit my preboil volume.
Ive gotten around 72-75% mash efficiency with this method
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smccarter
Mashin in with 2.5.... sparging with a total of 5 gallons.... batch sparging in 2 batches.

first - before any "sparge" water hits the mash.... drain the mash - and then...

add 2.5 gal sparge water, drain..... (5 gallons so far)

add the final 2.5 gal sparge water, drain.... (7.5 gallons total)
That sounds like a solid plan. You need to keep an eye on your gravity with the second sparge. Once you drop below a certain gravity you want stop because you will get off flavors.
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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Too late. I stirred about 5 minutes after the 60 minute mash. Drained that.... added 2.5 gal, stirred for 10 min, drained that.... added the final 2.5, stirred for 10 min and drained. Re-setting the grain bed between each.

I actually brewed the same beer twice today.

1st one... fly sparge. Pre-boil gravity was 1.033
2nd one... batch sparge. Pre-boil gravity was 1.040

I'll fill in the details at the end of the brew day. I have to say though, that a batch sparge just makes sense. Especially with the stirring. I've often wondered how much sugar I've been wasting when I throw my "spent" grain away. I used to throw the grain in my mulch pile... the flies REALLY love it.


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