does amount of water used for sparging grains matter for extract brewing?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

hoppedup

Active Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
42
Reaction score
0
ive never really used a specific amount of water when steeping/sparging the grains that i add to the extract brews. of the top of my head im guessing i usually used 1/2gal at most for a 1.5 lbs of grains for example.

is using a specific amount per pound recomended tho? or is "some" ok. just curious if id be getting more of the characterists out the grains im using if there was some recommend amount.
 

budbo

Beer is good
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
2,288
Reaction score
21
Location
La Plata, MD
If you are just steeping just sparge until it runs clear.. For 2ish lbs of grain 3/4 to 1 gal is plenty.

My rule of thumb was after steeping sparge them with the rest of the initial volume.. ie. for a 2.5 gal boil where I'd sparge 2lbs in 1 gal I'd sparge into the brew pot with 1.5 gal.
 

gonzoflick

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2006
Messages
466
Reaction score
2
Location
Orlando, FL
Why does it matter to sparge with hot temp water? Or does it with extract.? Should I be getting my sparge water up to 170 degrees in another pot while my grains are steeping in the brew kettle? or can I just use room temp water to sparge w/?
 

johnsma22

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
1,978
Reaction score
104
Location
Taunton, MA
The risk you run in rinsing specialty grains with too much plain 150˚F water is the same as steeping a given amount of specialty grain in too much water (dilute steep). That risk is a pH that is too high, and that will lead to excess tannin extraction.

You should use no more than .5 qt per pound of specialty grain for rinsing. The temp of the water should at or below the steeping temp. All you are doing is rinsing of liquid already extracted during the steep, so there's no reason to rinse with hotter water.

If you would like to rinse with a larger volume of water you can use this method, which I use. While you are steeping the specialty grains, heat up to 2 qts per pound of grain to 150˚F in another pot. When the steep is done, put the grains (in grain bag) aside and pour the grain tea into the pot of rinse water. Now put the grains in a strainer over the empty boil kettle and rinse them with that entire amount of liquid. Mixing the grain tea with the larger amount of rinse water allows you to rinse with a larger volume, but the pH is still low enough to avoid extracting excess tannins.

John
 

david_42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Messages
25,582
Reaction score
182
Location
Oak Grove
Ratios in mashing control eznyme concentration and pH. The amount of steeping & sparge water for specialty grains doesn't matter much because you are only extracting flavors, there are no enzymes to speak of and since there are no enzymes and no starch conversion, pH only matters for tannin extraction.

When I steep, I'll use lots of water. Typically 2-3 gallons. Once the steeping is done, I add the extract. If I'm doing a full boil, I add more water at this point.
 

johnsma22

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
1,978
Reaction score
104
Location
Taunton, MA
david_42 said:
Ratios in mashing control eznyme concentration and pH. The amount of steeping & sparge water for specialty grains doesn't matter much because you are only extracting flavors, there are no enzymes to speak of and since there are no enzymes and no starch conversion, pH only matters for tannin extraction.

When I steep, I'll use lots of water. Typically 2-3 gallons. Once the steeping is done, I add the extract. If I'm doing a full boil, I add more water at this point.
I am fully aware of the fact that in the steeping of specialty grains there is no starch conversion occurring, only the dissolving into solution of the sugars that have already been converted during the roasting process, and the extraction of the colors and flavors of the grains. pH is still a factor though.

Steeping in too much water, or sparging with too much water, will cause the pH to be too high and that will lead to excessive tannin extraction. Steeping or sparging with water in excess of 170˚F will also lead to the extraction of excess tannins.

So as you stated, the steep and sparge water ratios are not important with regard to starch conversion or enzymatic activity in specialty grains, but the ratios are still important with regard to pH levels and excess tannin extraction, leading to astringency. That has been my experience, and Chris Colby wrote a great article about it in the May-June '05 issue of BYO magazine.

1-3 qts of water per pound of specialty grain is sufficient to accomplish the steep and still keep the pH low enough. .5 qt/lb sparge water or up to 2 qts/lb sparge water if added to the grain tea and the entire amount used to rinse the grains. This is just one of the many ways to make extract beers the best that they can be.

John
 
Top