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Old 10-16-2013, 01:12 AM   #1
drat
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So, I've read a lot of information, but looking for a reason people use specific amounts of water in both the mash and the sparge.

In my first few brews, I have been using 1.25 quarts of water for every pound of grain for the mash because I read that somewhere.
In the sparge, I have just been using what the recipe recommended and have not always hit my numbers, although I've tried to sparge with extra when necessary.

Could people offer the amounts of water that they use and why? Thanks everyone that's willing to share!

 
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:51 AM   #2
Flipadelphia
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It's related to your boil off volume. You need to figure that out on your own. If you for example boil off a gallon an hour, you'd want approx 6.25 into the boil kettle for a 5 gallon batch. Your sparge water would be whatever amount of water gets you to that 6.25 gal after your first runnings.

 
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:09 AM   #3
Jdaught
 
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I figure it up by how much I want of finished beer. If I want 5 gal of beer then I start there and add however much is going to be left in the fermenter after racking, then add however much is lost to equipment during transfer. Then add how much is lost to kettle trub. Also account for cooling shrinkage, then figure in evaporation during boil. Next I would add the losses to grain absorption. Take that total and remove your water/grist ratio amount and mash with that. The remainder is to sparge with until you hit about 1.006 gravity in the runoff then stop and top up the kettle with the remainder of the sparge water. This is just how I have come to achieve the desired amount of finished beer. Hope this helps.

 
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:29 AM   #4
drat
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Both these responses are helpful. What about amount of water used for the mash and reasons for using that amount?

 
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Old 10-16-2013, 02:54 AM   #5
Jdaught
 
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The recommended ratio of 1.25-2 quarts per pound is for optimal enzyme concentration for breaking down the starches. less water per pound would mean a thicker mash with less room for enzymes to break the sugars down before saturation is reached leaving a complex sugar wort which is less fermentable. A thinner mash (more than 2 quarts per pound) would dilute the enzymes more and in turn the conversion would take longer. It would still happen just take longer. This is at least how I understand it. Hope that answers your question.

 
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:13 PM   #6
oconnorshomebrew
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What Jdaught said, 1.25 quarts per pound is kind of a happy medium (for infusion mashing, at least) in order to get proper enzymatic action in a roughly 60 minute period.

 
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:48 AM   #7
drat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdaught
I figure it up by how much I want of finished beer. If I want 5 gal of beer then I start there and add however much is going to be left in the fermenter after racking, then add however much is lost to equipment during transfer. Then add how much is lost to kettle trub. Also account for cooling shrinkage, then figure in evaporation during boil. Next I would add the losses to grain absorption. Take that total and remove your water/grist ratio amount and mash with that. The remainder is to sparge with until you hit about 1.006 gravity in the runoff then stop and top up the kettle with the remainder of the sparge water. This is just how I have come to achieve the desired amount of finished beer. Hope this helps.
How does one determine the loss to grain absorption? And "cooling shrinkage"?

 
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:26 AM   #8
kscarrington
 
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The grain absorbs approximately .1 gallon per pound of grain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drat
How does one determine the loss to grain absorption? And "cooling shrinkage"?

 
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:24 AM   #9
Jdaught
 
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If I am remembering correctly, shrinkage accounts for about a 6% loss in volume.

 
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Old 10-17-2013, 11:30 AM   #10
unionrdr
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For partial mash,I use 2 gallons of local spring water for 5-6 pounds of grains. then sparge slowly with 1.5 gallons to get a total boil volume of 3.5 gallons in my 5 gallon BK/MT. This mash amount has also given good conversion. Not too thick or too thin. Def need a happy medium for PH as well.
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Reason: 2G,not 3G for mash water amount!

 
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