# Determining max grain amount possible for 12 gallon mash tun (5 gallon no sparge)

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#### CyberFox

##### Well-Known Member
I was thinking about doing no sparge for a 5 gallon batch. I'm trying to figure out the max amount of grains that can fit in a 12 gallon mash tun (cooler). Here's an example using numbers I came up with in Beersmith:

Grain amount: 35 lbs.
Grain absorption: 2.56 gallons
Pre-boil volume: 6.69 gallons
Total mash water volume: 9.25 gallons
Mash volume needed: 11.99 gallons

I feel like I'm missing something and I'm sure it's something obvious. If anyone could help me out, I'd really appreciate it!

#### bracconiere

##### Jolly Alcoholic
HBT Supporter
I feel like I'm missing something and I'm sure it's something obvious.

qt/lbs ratio? that gives you 1.05...you'd probably do better closer 1.2, so closer to 30lbs malt with that much strike water...otherwise you're just wasting malt, without a bit of a rinse....(my opinion)

i just punched the math into beersmith2, figuring some abissmal effec like 68% with the 35 pounds, you'd get an OG of 1.174, (and an ABV assuming a FG around 1.035 of ~19%)

if you use only 30lbs, plan on sparging with 1 gallon of water, and a better effec, same OG for the end 5 gallons....bit more boil off though....

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#### CyberFox

##### Well-Known Member
qt/lbs ratio? that gives you 1.05...you'd probably do better closer 1.2, so closer to 30lbs malt with that much strike water...otherwise you're just wasting malt, without a bit of a rinse....(my opinion)

i just punched the math into beersmith2, figuring some abissmal effec like 68% with the 35 pounds, you'd get an OG of 1.174, (and an ABV assuming a FG around 1.035 of ~19%)

if you use only 30lbs, plan on sparging with 1 gallon of water, and a better effec, same OG for the end 5 gallons....bit more boil off though....
So I guess I'm not too far off then? I was doubting my numbers because it surpises me that I would be able to do a 12%+ ABV beer in a 12 gallon mash tun. I know that 1.25+ qt/lb is best, but I figured that 1 qt/lb is considered the minimum even though it's not ideal. Thanks for the input!

#### bracconiere

##### Jolly Alcoholic
HBT Supporter
So I guess I'm not too far off then? I was doubting my numbers because it surpises me that I would be able to do a 12%+ ABV beer in a 12 gallon mash tun. I know that 1.25+ qt/lb is best, but I figured that 1 qt/lb is considered the minimum even though it's not ideal. Thanks for the input!

wel i've done 23-24lbs in a 10 gallon cooler? with 7 gallons water....but that's for a 10 gallon batch and i can sparge with a bunch of water up to 11-12 gallons pre-boil...without gluco it'd be a 6% beer so it'd be reasonable to get a 12% for a 5 gallon batch?

#### day_trippr

##### Structural Duct Tape Applications Engineer
fwiw, a whole bunch of "will it fit?" mash calculators here:

Cheers!

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#### CyberFox

##### Well-Known Member
fwiw, a whole bunch of "will it fit?" mash calculators here:

Cheers!
Thanks, I actually have that link bookmarked! I was just wondering if my numbers were off due to it being no sparge. With the research I've done, a lot of people act like it's not possible to make a high ABV no sparge beer in a 10-12 gallon mash tun. My numbers told me otherwise, so I just wanted to confirm on here.

#### catalanotte

##### Well-Known Member
I use strike water plus .0933 gallons per pound of grain, so for a 1.25 qt/lb it is about .41 gal/lb. This gets me close with a small margin.

#### catalanotte

##### Well-Known Member
Thanks, I actually have that link bookmarked! I was just wondering if my numbers were off due to it being no sparge. With the research I've done, a lot of people act like it's not possible to make a high ABV no sparge beer in a 10-12 gallon mash tun. My numbers told me otherwise, so I just wanted to confirm on here.
Wont make a difference because you would either batch sparge out the volume before you add more or fly sparge and replace it as it drains.

#### hotbeer

##### Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
was thinking about doing no sparge for a 5 gallon batch. I'm trying to figure out the max amount of grains that can fit in a 12 gallon mash tun (cooler).
The question above seems only concerned about volume of grain that can fit. Title also suggests that.
I was doubting my numbers because it surpises me that I would be able to do a 12%+ ABV beer in a 12 gallon mash tun. I know that 1.25+ qt/lb is best, but I figured that 1 qt/lb is considered the minimum even though it's not ideal. Thanks for the input!
Now you seem to be interested in how high a SG you can get from that grain in a particular size vessel. This has quite a few variables. Grain crush, the particular mast efficiency you get and amount of wort are some of the variables
With the research I've done, a lot of people act like it's not possible to make a high ABV no sparge beer in a 10-12 gallon mash tun.
So you are saying I can't make a high ABV beer with a 3 gallon mashtun? Well I did!

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#### CyberFox

##### Well-Known Member
The question above seems only concerned about volume of grain that can fit. Title also suggests that.

Now you seem to be interested in how high a SG you can get from that grain in a particular size vessel. This has quite a few variables. Grain crush, the particular mast efficiency you get and amount of wort are some of the variables

So you are saying I can't make a high ABV beer with a 3 gallon mashtun? Well I did!
Yeah, like the title and the question suggest, I was concerned about the max amount of grain that can fit in a 12 gallon mash tun. Like I said, I thought I was missing something and I wanted my numbers confirmed, which they have been. I'm not interested in the max SG I can get from the mash tun; I said that I was surpised that I would be able to make a 12%+ ABV beer. I never said that you couldn't make a high ABV beer in a smaller mash tun (others said that), but it's good to know that you did.

#### catalanotte

##### Well-Known Member
I was concerned about the max amount of grain that can fit in a 12 gallon mash tun. Like I said, I thought I was missing something and I wanted my numbers confirmed, which they have been. I'm not interested in the max SG I can get from the mash tun;
Grain volume in a tun is pretty standard, water ratio, the PPG of the grain in the mix, and the Brewhouse efficiency, boil additions, yeast attenuation, all drive the ABV potential of the wort. One brewer/recipe may only get an 8% beer out of the same size mashtun than another can get 10% with the same amount of grain, but the grain will take up the same amount of space in both mashtuns.

I make 10gal of 8-9% Belgian Tripple in my 10.8 gal mashtun because of high attenuation of yeast and the sugar addition to the boil. If i make an IPA I am limited to about 7%.

#### doug293cz

##### BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
I was thinking about doing no sparge for a 5 gallon batch. I'm trying to figure out the max amount of grains that can fit in a 12 gallon mash tun (cooler). Here's an example using numbers I came up with in Beersmith:

Grain amount: 35 lbs.
Grain absorption: 2.56 gallons
Pre-boil volume: 6.69 gallons
Total mash water volume: 9.25 gallons
Mash volume needed: 11.99 gallons

I feel like I'm missing something and I'm sure it's something obvious. If anyone could help me out, I'd really appreciate it!
Typical grain absorption for a traditional mash tun is about 0.12 to 0.125 gal/lb, which would make your total grain absorption about 4.2 - 4.4 gal, so you're only looking at about 5 gal pre-boil You are going to have a huge challenge trying to stir a thick (1.06 qt/lb) 11.99 gal mash in a 12 gal vessel. Also, at 0.08 gal/lb grain volume, I calculate your mash volume at 12.05 gal.

I think you are being unrealistic, but go ahead and try it if you want to.

Brew on

OP
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#### CyberFox

##### Well-Known Member
Typical grain absorption for a traditional mash tun is about 0.12 to 0.125 gal/lb, which would make your total grain absorption about 4.2 - 4.4 gal, so you're only looking at about 5 gal pre-boil You are going to have a huge challenge trying to stir a thick (1.06 qt/lb) 11.99 gal mash in a 12 gal vessel. Also, at 0.08 gal/lb grain volume, I calculate your mash volume at 12.05 gal.

I think you are being unrealistic, but go ahead and try it if you want to.

Brew on
I wasn't actually going to try this as it's completely impractical. This is more theoretical and a worst-case scenario.

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#### jerrylotto

##### Well-Known Member
Any time my grain bill is too much for my mash tun, I just split it in half and do an iterative mash. I never want it "full" so I can't break up dough balls.

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