About to brew 1st AG - Sparge Question

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DD2000GT

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I have been researching like crazy the last few days in preparation for my 1st AG batch I am brewing in a few hours. I finally figured out sparge volume, but am on the fence as far as sparge temps. Beer Smith shows 4.5 gallons of sparge water at 168 degrees - this seems low to me. My recipe has 11 lbs. of grains and I am mashing at 150 (this is a Kolsch) for 70 minutes. My brew setup is a 40 quart brew pot and a Igloo 10 gallon DIY MLT setup that I found in the DIY section here.

From what I am reading, most pour in 180+ degree water into their MLT to get around 168 degrees sparge water. Beer Smith is telling me to pour in 168 degree water - won't that result in sparge water too cool after absorption and eaqualization?

What say you all?

Dan

P.S. Hopefully I won't have any more last minute "panic" questions (grin). Wish me luck, I'll need it.
 

Big10Seaner

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I get pretty good efficiency by heating the sparge water to 175-180F then doing the sparge.
 

mbird

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Yeah, 180f. should get you there. And as a side note, take your time sparging. I would recommend spending at least 30 minutes for the process.
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ewbish

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Also depends on what you are using to sparge with and how it's set up. If you are using the spinning sparge arm type, and it sits fairly high above your grain bed.......you will lose a LOT of heat, and may want to go to 185 or 190. If you are using something like a plastic coffee can lid floating on the grain bed, and run your HLT line straight onto that, you won't lose as much heat, and may only need to go to 175-180.

I keep my digital thermo probe in the grain bed, and watch the temp.....adjust accordingly.
 
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DD2000GT

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Well - I just finished the sparge and have 6.5 gallons in the boil pot going to town. I heated the sparge water up to 180 degrees (4.5 gallons), but I only got a temperature of 164 degrees in the MLT after stirring and letting the temps settle - not too good. This is batch sparging BTW.

I just blew it off and kept going - not wanting to screw anything up by trying to add more sparge water and chaulked it up to a learning experience. I put the lid back on the MLT, let it sit for 10 minutes, then sparged REAL slowly. It took about 35 - 40 minutes to run through that 4.5 gallons.

Any thoughts on the effect of sparging at 163 degrees?
 

freddyb

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And as a side note, take your time sparging. I would recommend spending at least 30 minutes for the process.
Do you mean let the grains rest for a while after mixing in the sparge water, or drain the MLT slowly?

Any concern with going wide-open on the ball valve and draining as quickly as possible? Compacting the grain bed is all I can think of, but if you have a screen/FB/manifold setup that will allow fast draining, I say go for it.

Then again, I have 0 AG batches under my belt (hopefully doing my first this weekend.)
 

GunnerMan

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Do you mean let the grains rest for a while after mixing in the sparge water, or drain the MLT slowly?
QUOTE]

Well I only have 1 ag under my belt but I assumed that was to release slowly, I read somewhere, if you are fly sparging you should be releasing wort at a rate of 1 -2 qts per minute. Batch sparging you want to let it rest for 10-20 minutes, I heard letting it sit to long can potentially extract some tannins, you also want your sparge water to cold rather than too hotm for the same tannin reason.

I had my valve wide open when I was sparging and I got 80 sum odd efficiency into the boiler. I think in a batch sparge if you let it rest long enough you can give it a fast release, if you don't want to rest it maybe slow it down a bit.

Im about to do my second ag on friday and I am hoping I get a good efficiency again.:ban:
 

Yankeehillbrewer

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A few batches back I decided to sparge with my water at 185*, I saw a pretty big jump in efficiency. When it comes time to collect your runnings, start slow and let the grain bed setup then gradually open it up to top speed. Seems to work well for me.
 

usurpers26

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It's not the end of the world and I bet you won't notice any difference - just take good notes and shoot for a grainbed temp closer to 168 next time (165-170 range is fine).

In our setup, I have to use 185-190* water to get our grains up to 168*.

You don't need to drain *that* slowly.

Well - I just finished the sparge and have 6.5 gallons in the boil pot going to town. I heated the sparge water up to 180 degrees (4.5 gallons), but I only got a temperature of 164 degrees in the MLT after stirring and letting the temps settle - not too good. This is batch sparging BTW.

I just blew it off and kept going - not wanting to screw anything up by trying to add more sparge water and chaulked it up to a learning experience. I put the lid back on the MLT, let it sit for 10 minutes, then sparged REAL slowly. It took about 35 - 40 minutes to run through that 4.5 gallons.

Any thoughts on the effect of sparging at 163 degrees?
 
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DD2000GT

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Thanks all for the good advice. In the end - Beer Smith shows me at 74% brewhouse efficiency into the boil, and 65% efficiency post boil. Not sure how I did that, may not have shook the carboy up real well(?) Anyway - I added an extra pound of grain to the bill as I expected to miss my numbers a bit on the first go-round, and hit my estimated final OG spot on at 1.052. A little strong for a Kolsch - but I prefer the stronger beers even for a Summer brew :)

Thanks again - I really had fun on my first all grain batch and learned quite a bit in the experience. Can't wait to taste it in a few months.

Dan
 

giligson

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Yeah - there's something funny about the Beersmith Sparge water calculation. After my first go with Beersmith - I have since decided to sparge with high temp water (almost up to boiling if I am using a lot of grain). The bottom line is that the liquid in the grainbed THAT YOU WILL BE COLLECTING as wort should not exceed 77 Celsius. After that you get tannin extraction. This does not apply to the "tail" water that remains in the bed after you finish collection - this stuff just "pushes" the wort in front of it and I don't particularly care what temperature it gets to. So if you could draw a cross sectional diagram of your Lauter tank near the end of your fly sparge. The last remnant wort at the bottom would be close to 77C and the excess sparge water up at the top of the grain bed column would be closer to 100C.
BTW the only harm in fly sparging a little too cool is some drop in efficiency - nothing to cry about.
 
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DD2000GT

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Yeah - there's something funny about the Beersmith Sparge water calculation...
Yeah - real funny as it does not tell you at all what to heat the sparge water up to before adding to the grains. It ONLY showed me what the sparge water needed to be once it was in the grains (168 degrees). If I hadn't been on the ball and been more of a newbie, I would have heated the sparge water to 168 (as it says) and dumped it onto the grains - that would not have been good at all. I had to guesstimate thanks to the fine folks on this site as to what I needed to heat my water up to.

Not sure WHY Beer Smith shows what to heat the stike water up to before adding to the MLT, but not the sparge water. Maybe there is a reason, but I sure couldn't figure it out.
 

ewbish

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Well - I just finished the sparge and have 6.5 gallons in the boil pot going to town. I heated the sparge water up to 180 degrees (4.5 gallons), but I only got a temperature of 164 degrees in the MLT after stirring and letting the temps settle - not too good. This is batch sparging BTW.

I just blew it off and kept going - not wanting to screw anything up by trying to add more sparge water and chaulked it up to a learning experience. I put the lid back on the MLT, let it sit for 10 minutes, then sparged REAL slowly. It took about 35 - 40 minutes to run through that 4.5 gallons.

Any thoughts on the effect of sparging at 163 degrees?

No worries. Beer will be fine. The 163 degrees may mean that not as much of the sugars dissolved as you would have liked. IMHO, you did the right thing by avoiding over sparging. Take it as a lesson learned, and now you know to raise your water temp a bit more to hit your target, try 185 next time.

With batch sparging [opinion] the flow rate out isn't so important, let it flow as fast as you can, you'll get a feel for what you can get away with, heck, that's one of the reasons to batch sparge......shave time on the brew day [/opinion]

"Brewhouse Tuning" is often something not really stressed enough (or often not mentioned at all). We tend to arm ourselves with a ton of advice, build and assemble our equipment, put together a recipe.........and expect everything to come out just like on the forums. It's not that you won't make great beer right off the bat (you probably will barring a major disaster), or that you did anything wrong, it's just that your particular setup isn't "tuned" and your numbers may be off. Elevation, stove type, pot type, your particular MLT design, your weather, humidity, temp......, where you got your grain from, the crush, the mineral content of your water......all these little variables play a role. It may take you a dozen batches to get it all dialed in exactly right, to where you hit your numbers in your sleep. The most important thing to do during this "tuning" phase........is to take a ton of notes. What you want to achieve is a repeatable process that achieves identical results every time you use it.
 
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