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Double batch sparge water volume question

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Moody_Copperpot

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I brewed a batch of beer today where the grain bill was 16.75 lbs. My effieciency on my last three brews has been 80%-90%...well on this brew I got a whopping 65%. I believe there are two reasons:
1) The grain crush from the closest LBHS is really bad. I've been driving about 35 minutes to a different one but didn't have the energy just recently.
2) I needed 4 gallons to sparge with. Well I've been double batch sparging the past month or so with fantastic results, so that's what I did here. I split the sparge into two 2 gallon batches. It dawned on my later that 2 gallons probably isn't enough to rinse sugars from 16.75 lbs of grain, so this might've been a factor in my terrible efficiency as well.
What does everyone think?
 

Northcalais40

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It's pretty normal for efficiency to suffer with a big beer. I think your right though, you sparged twice with 2 gal. Your final runoff was probably high in gravity.

I batch sparge, and would try to use a thick mash (like 1-1.2 qts/lb) to maximize my sparge volume.

What was your strike water ratio, and did you measure your sparge gravities?

Oh, and 65% isn't terrible, just a bit lower than what your used to. You pass with a D+.
 

Kugster

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Talking about your 2 sparges...I punched in the Arrogant Bastarad recipe into Beersmith and this beer has like 14# of grain. I always do double batch sparges and the program is telling me to do 3 this time. I thought it was strange cause I have never had it tell me that...till the last brew I did had 12.5# and I only did 2 sparges and i missed my OG by..i dunno...trying to remember...5-8 points? (if that) I then contributed that to me only sparging twice. Plus I was a little short on my boil volume as well...live and learn...right?
 

DrinkNoH2O

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When batch sparging (in general), the bigger the beer the lower your efficiency unless you runoff more than your typical pre-boil volume then boil longer. You simply need more water to rinse that larger amount of grain.

Kugster - if you're ever short on your boil volume just run more water through your grain until you hit your pre boil volume.

The entire sparge section of Beersmith is pretty lousy in my opinion.
 

ne0t0ky0

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DrinkNoH2O said:
The entire sparge section of Beersmith is pretty lousy in my opinion.
Do other software packages do any better? I'm not terribly happy with the sparge section either, looking for alternatives.
 

Kugster

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Do other software packages do any better? I'm not terribly happy with the sparge section either, looking for alternatives.
Kugster - if you're ever short on your boil volume just run more water through your grain until you hit your pre boil volume.

The entire sparge section of Beersmith is pretty lousy in my opinion.
Well...I ran out of useable water...the place I did the beer has really, really bad water...so I just delt with it...It'll be fine...I ended up just a bit under 5 gal. I sometimes keep an extra gallon around just for instances like this but had forgot that day...i did kick myself for a sec.

I agree with sparge section in BS...not very good...but still helps.
 
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Moody_Copperpot

Moody_Copperpot

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I know that bigger beers sometimes suffer, but I even mashed 90 min and everything. So to keep my sparges bigger, is it taboo to sparge all four gallons at once, then once it's wort, run it through again?
Oh and I used 1.25 quarts per lb of grain, so my strike was 5.25 gallons.
 

Shinglejohn

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There is a nice little write up on batch sparging technique here.

When batch sparging, you want to get half of your boil volume from your original runoff, and your other half from your second runnings. You should use the entire sparge at one time for rinsing, otherwise you might as well fly. Expect a %65 efficiency with batch sparging and adjust your grain bill accordingly.

If your getting 65, 80, 75, 90 % efficiencies and not a consistent number than your brews are hard to duplicate. Try to get a system down that gets a good consistent efficiency.

When playing with beersmith, you have to go through and set it up for your equipment, evaporation rate, all that BS or you wont get accurate numbers. It takes some careful note taking and precise measuring to figure out some of the numbers but once you have done it, its cake.
 

Walker

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When batch sparging, you want to get half of your boil volume from your original runoff, and your other half from your second runnings. You should use the entire sparge at one time for rinsing, otherwise you might as well fly. Expect a %65 efficiency with batch sparging and adjust your grain bill accordingly.
Yup. this is how I learned it, too. I personally use a fixed amount of water per pound of grain when I mash and sparge (3 qts/lb total), and I set it up so that half my liquid comes from the initial runnings and the other half comes from my sparge water.

For a small beer, this leaves me with low starting volume, so I add top-off water to the kettle before I start.

For a big beer, this leaves me with a LOT of collected wort, and I have to boil for a longer time than 60 minutes. I've had beers that needed boiled for 2 hours to get down to my target volume.... 8.5 gallons in the kettle at the start of the boil.
 
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Moody_Copperpot

Moody_Copperpot

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I've been pretty consistently getting 85%-90% efficency for my last four or five brews, and I'd been double batch sparging every time. My first runnings generally leave me with about 3 gallons and then I do the rest with my sparge, which I split into two halves generally. I guess with bigger batches I'll have to stick with a single batch sparge.
And I know that the crush of the grain was a factor as well. This particular LHBS has a mill that isn't so good. When I first started all grain I got terrible efficiency always. I posted up about it and heard three things:
1) Grain mill at LHBS could be bad, try a different place
2) Mash longer than 60 min
3) Double batch sparge
I did all three things and my efficiency sky rocketed. I did everything the same as I've been doing it for this batch, except I went back to that LHBS this time and sure enough my efficiency suffered.

So what is the answer here? I hear so many different things when it comes to batch sparging, meaning a lot of people say go for the double batch sparge and everyone in this thread seems to say single batch is the way to go.
 
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Moody_Copperpot

Moody_Copperpot

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I was saying that because my sparge volume was so low at only 4 gallons. Splitting it into two halves didn't seem to rinse the sugars the way it should've.
The other option would be to increase my sparge volume and boil it all down before starting my "60 minute boil" if I'm to double batch sparge, correct?
As I understand it, you can use a max of .5 gallons per pound of grain for the sparge if need be. I wouldn't use that much, but if I'm doing a double batch I might have to increase my sparge volume...that or I could do 1gallon per pound for my strike instead of 1.25, which would make my first runnings volume lower and therefore my sparge would be larger.
Again though, I'm positive a big factor here was the crush of the grain. As I was doughing in, I looked at the one bag and literally questioned if I'd remembered to crush all of the grain because the crush was that poor.
 

Shinglejohn

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And I know that the crush of the grain was a factor as well. This particular LHBS has a mill that isn't so good.
Hes got a Listermann double roller mill, its a good mill but its preset and doesnt allow you control over the crush for different grains.
 

Walker

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I was saying that because my sparge volume was so low at only 4 gallons. Splitting it into two halves didn't seem to rinse the sugars the way it should've.
The other option would be to increase my sparge volume and boil it all down before starting my "60 minute boil" if I'm to double batch sparge, correct?
Ok, I understand what you were saying now.

For me, it doesn't matter whether I intend to do a double or single batch sparge. I just always use the amount of water that my grain bill calls for.

10 lbs of grain = 30 quarts of water, at some point, are going through my mash tun.

15 lbs of grain = 45 quarts of water.

20 lbs of grain = 60 quarts of water.

etc, etc

This is the only way I can predict my efficiency, because I know that if I use 3 quarts of water per pound of grain, I will get a certain efficiency. I might have to boil that stuff for along time to get down to my volume, or I might have to add water to get it up to volume, but I know how much sugar will be in the wort at the end.
 
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Moody_Copperpot

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Yeah that mill at JW Dover isn't great. When I drive out to Leener's or order grains from Northern Brewer I'm always hitting my OG dead on or surpassing it. The grains yesterday didn't even look crushed for the most part. Like you said, the mill at JW is set and that's it.
At Leener's you can adjust the crush of the grain, which is great. It's just so far away.
I need to just buy a mill.
As for the sparging, I see what you're saying, Walker.
I am going to give this exact recipe a shot with grains from Leeners instead and see what happens. I may adjust my mash volume so that my sparge volume is larger and the mash/sparge volumes are more even.
 

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Yeah that mill at JW Dover isn't great. When I drive out to Leener's or order grains from Northern Brewer I'm always hitting my OG dead on or surpassing it. The grains yesterday didn't even look crushed for the most part. Like you said, the mill at JW is set and that's it.
At Leener's you can adjust the crush of the grain, which is great. It's just so far away.
I need to just buy a mill.
As for the sparging, I see what you're saying, Walker.
I am going to give this exact recipe a shot with grains from Leeners instead and see what happens. I may adjust my mash volume so that my sparge volume is larger and the mash/sparge volumes are more even.
The only time I used that mill it stopped working about three pounds in. The guy tending the counter (not Jerome or Joe) had no clue, so I basically repaired it.

Are you otherwise happy w/ Leener's? I've been using TBK malts, but the 2-row (and Vienna) are pre-milled, I'm moving towards getting a mill myself.

-d
 
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Moody_Copperpot

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Honestly I only go to JW for keg hardware if I can help it or sanitizer, other stuff like that. Their hop prices are insane. $3.50/ ounce of Cascade? $4.50/ounce of Amarillo? Leeners charges $1.50 and $2.10 for the same hops. So if it's a beer with a lot of hops I won't buy from there. They just started carrying US-05 in the past month, so that's good. The base malts are pricey in comparison as well IMHO. 10lbs of 2 Row is like $14 or $15 there in comparsion to $10.50 at Leeners. I also don't like that you have to buy in 1, 5 or 10 pound increments. Don't get me wrong, I like the guys who work there and I like a lot of other things about the store but when it comes to the actual ingredients I'm getting to make the beer, I'm looking else where. At Leeners the 2row is pre-milled, but they also have it whole so you have a choice. I use the premilled and have gotten fantastic results.
I'm not trashing JW at all, but there are other options out there. I get TONS of stuff from there, equipment wise but for me and my efficiency it's worth the drive for the better grain crush.
 

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Walker's method is certainly one way to get consistency. I just wouldn't want to boil for more than 90 minutes and I dread the idea of intentionally sacking brewhouse efficiency by topping up. I don't regularly split my batch sparge into two volumes unless the tun size requires me to. I simply mash at a ratio that yields half of my preboil volume in first runnings leaving the other half to a single sparge. What I do is anticipate an efficiency loss for higher OGs. I'm always adjusting my baseline but I start with 80% for 1.050 OG and reduce it by 2% for every .05 of gravity (70% for 1.075 OG for example). It gets me pretty close.
 
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Moody_Copperpot

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So to make up for the loss in efficiency by adding more grain, do you increase all malts being used or just the base malts?
 

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I agree. If I were already duplicating a recipe to the exact ounce of specialty grain, I'd scale the whole thing. In practice, I already sort of round off and jerk around with the recipe so sometimes I feel completely comfortable just adding an extra pound of base.
 

ne0t0ky0

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Bobby_M said:
Walker's method is certainly one way to get consistency. I just wouldn't want to boil for more than 90 minutes and I dread the idea of intentionally sacking brewhouse efficiency by topping up. I don't regularly split my batch sparge into two volumes unless the tun size requires me to. I simply mash at a ratio that yields half of my preboil volume in first runnings leaving the other half to a single sparge. What I do is anticipate an efficiency loss for higher OGs. I'm always adjusting my baseline but I start with 80% for 1.050 OG and reduce it by 2% for every .05 of gravity (70% for 1.075 OG for example). It gets me pretty close.
I was reading in another thread that when you split sparge you add the sparge water, stir for two or three minutes, run off the wort, and IIRC, pour a gallon or so back in to the tun and then run that out a second time. Do you use this method for the none-split sparge as well?
 

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I was reading in another thread that when you split sparge you add the sparge water, stir for two or three minutes, run off the wort, and IIRC, pour a gallon or so back in to the tun and then run that out a second time. Do you use this method for the none-split sparge as well?
That is the vorlauf: recirculating after stirring to reset the grain bed as a filter for grain particles.
 

Walker

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Walker's method is certainly one way to get consistency. I just wouldn't want to boil for more than 90 minutes and I dread the idea of intentionally sacking brewhouse efficiency by topping up.
I don't consider topping up "sacking brewhouse efficiency".

If an old school fly-sparger was making some english mild, and was monitoring the gravity of their wort to know when to stop sparging, there is a good chance that they would have to stop sparging and then add top-off water to the kettle in order to avoid over sparging their grain.

My method is sort of the same here. if I have a small grain bill, I am not going to sparge the crap out of it in order to achieve a pre-boil volume of 7 gallons so that I can end up with 5.5 after the boil. Instead, I sparge a reasonable amount, and then I top off with water.

Granted, the over-sparging isn't a big concern with batch sparging, but when I started AG, batch sparging wasn't super common. I based my methods off rough guidelines from Papazian and other on-line sources that indicated that (roughly) 3 quarts of water per pound of grain were going to be used.

Now.. on the Big Beer side of things and a long boil. I've done it a couple of times. It isn't exactly fun. I am not opposed to just using more grain and factoring in a lower efficiency for a bigger beer to avoid the crazy long boils.
 

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INow.. on the Big Beer side of things and a long boil. I've done it a couple of times. It isn't exactly fun. I am not opposed to just using more grain and factoring in a lower efficiency for a bigger beer to avoid the crazy long boils.
I do extra sparge water and a longer boil sometimes too, but you have to be careful here cause a longer boil will create a somewhat different beer. There will be more carmelization of sugars and it tends to darken the color.
 

ne0t0ky0

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That is the vorlauf: recirculating after stirring to reset the grain bed as a filter for grain particles.
I'll have to find it again, but as I understood the description, it wasn't a vorlauf, but a second washing with the wort, so maybe it wasn't just a gallon, but the whole sparge volume.
 

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Well I will probably stick with my double batch sparge for most brews, doing it that way is where I've gotten the best efficiency. On bigger beers where my grain bill is 16+ lbs, I will definitely increase my grains to make up for the lack of efficiency.
 

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I don't regularly split my batch sparge into two volumes unless the tun size requires me to. I simply mash at a ratio that yields half of my preboil volume in first runnings leaving the other half to a single sparge.
First off Bobby I want to thank you for taking the time to put together your all-grain primer, it's really helped me.
In re to the above quote, doesn't increasing your mash water volume throw the L:G ratio out of whack? Or is this not so much of an issue? In a 10# mash with my system that would put me at about 1.75:1

-d
 
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*Update*
I did a brew today where the projected OG was 1.069 and I got an OG of 1.080, which is 86%, it's safe to say that it was the crush of the grain.
I got all the grains for today's brew from Leener's instead and the crush of the grain is clearly much better. Did the double sparge and a 90 min. mash. Mystery solved!
 

triangulum33

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*Update*
I did a brew today where the projected OG was 1.069 and I got an OG of 1.080, which is 86%, it's safe to say that it was the crush of the grain.
I got all the grains for today's brew from Leener's instead and the crush of the grain is clearly much better. Did the double sparge and a 90 min. mash. Mystery solved!
How can you say its the crush if you changed to the double sparge also?
 

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triangulum33 said:
How can you say its the crush if you changed to the double sparge also?
Double sparge shouldn't really give more than a 2-3% improvement over single sparging.
 

emjay

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logdrum said:
First off Bobby I want to thank you for taking the time to put together your all-grain primer, it's really helped me.
In re to the above quote, doesn't increasing your mash water volume throw the L:G ratio out of whack? Or is this not so much of an issue? In a 10# mash with my system that would put me at about 1.75:1

-d
Sacc rest at 1.25:1, and then mash out to make up the balance?
 

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try to tighten up you mash to 1qt/# when doing bigger beers and do the 90 minute sacch rest. it will leave you with more sparge water for rinsing.

Like others have said.. the bigger the beers, the more your efficiency suffers when using a normal water amount for the batch volume (may go down to 60%). using more water, then boiling it down forever, will get your numbers up higher at a cost of time, and fuel.
 
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