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Old 07-20-2008, 04:18 PM   #1
TheBug
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Just got done doing my first AG yesterday, went reasonably well, up until the batch sparge. I had 13.25 lbs of grain, mashed in with 16.5 qts at 171 degrees. The grain bed was measuring 156 degrees initially, so I stirred it around till it came into my target 154. This held perfectly for 60 mins, so I was quite pleased at this point. I planned on sparging with two 10qt batches, I divided beersmith's 19.88 sparge in half. According to Beersmith the temperature was suppose to be 182.3 to hit 168 degrees for sparge. Well I put my 10qts in at 183 degrees and the grain bed temperature only came up to 160 degrees. I quickly started heating the remaining 10qts to a boil and slowly started adding it in. Well I ended up adding all the remaining sparge water and only got the temperature up to 164-165 degrees. I stirred it and stirred it, checked the temperature in multiple spots. So I am pretty confident I wasn't just measuring a cold spot.

I was able to hit 70% efficiency so I'm somewhat satisfied with my first attempt, but there was definitely something screwy with that sparge temperature.

Is it because I split the water volume in half? Should the temperature been higher for that first sparge? Would I have been better off just leaving that first sparge at 160 degrees and trying to correct with the second sparge. Not sure if temperature is more critical, than getting the two sparges in??

That was really my only problem, fermenting nicely in the basement so I'm calling it a success. Just at a loss for the temperature issues on the sparge.

 
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Old 07-20-2008, 05:11 PM   #2
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Logistically I would think it would take a lot of 168 degree water to bring your temperature up from 154. Maybe if it would have all been added at the same time it would have done it.

By no means am I an expert, but I would add a mashout to your mash schedule. Then do your double batch sparge. My last batch I added 8.5 quarts of 202 degree water to mashout at 168. Then I batched sparged with 168 degree water.

 
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Old 07-20-2008, 05:18 PM   #3
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Splitting the sparge water was the problem. Half as much water, half the temperature change. I tend to use near boiling water, because I do two sparges.
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Old 07-20-2008, 11:34 PM   #4
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Thanks, kinda what I figured. Will see what happens next time.

 
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:19 AM   #5
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If you get the whole volume of sparge water up to say 190F, you'll infuse half and get up in the mid 160's. By the time you infuse the second half, it will have cooled to 175-180ish and it will further raise the temp to near 170F. Don't sweat it if the first infusion doesn't crank it to 169F. Getting it over 160 seems to be the threshold between decent and great efficiency for me.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:41 PM   #6
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Take a grainbed temp reading right before you start your sparge next time. It may have cooled off a good amount in between draining your initial runnings & pouring your first sparge water. 160's is pretty good, I wouldn't put all the blame on that for a lower effeciency. However 70% is great for first time.
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:48 PM   #7
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I had the same problem on my first brew. I usually heat my sparge water around 190. Its usually easier to lower the temp if you hit it too high.

 
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:58 AM   #8
TheBug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMD87 View Post
Take a grainbed temp reading right before you start your sparge next time. It may have cooled off a good amount in between draining your initial runnings & pouring your first sparge water. 160's is pretty good, I wouldn't put all the blame on that for a lower effeciency. However 70% is great for first time.

Thanks again for the additional replies guys!

Although I know that there can be many factors, I am placing most of the blame on the lower efficiency on the fact that I only ended up doing one sparge and then secondly the sparge temperature. Next time I will be somewhat less concerned with the temperature, but utilizing the advice above and insuring that I get two sparges in to see if that makes a difference. The grain was milled by AHS and I've read posts that they do an ok job, but not really knowing the difference I couldn't say.

 
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:57 AM   #9
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Well I just heard that getting a high sparge temp is not critical. I have been brewing in -10-30F weather and I have added 3 gallons of 205F water all at once and didnt ever get much over 160F! Anyone ever had this problem? I believe it is because I use a large 30 gallon rectangular cooler that is pretty heavy.

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Old 03-11-2009, 02:59 AM   #10
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I tend to not worry about the temperature, I just make sure my sparge water is at least 170 degrees and I split my sparge into 2 (without mashing out). I guess technically that means my rest goes a few minutes longer, but generally I fire up the burner after the first sparge, so I generally see a mash out as unnecessary.
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