# Good Grain Absorption Factor and Water/Grain Ratio?

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#### Mr. Mojo Rising

##### Well-Known Member
I am using BeerSmith to plan my next batch, in combination with the Batch Sparge Calculator at TastyBrew to plan my water usage. They disagree a bit. My target volume is 14.24 to the boiler. I have to scale up to 22lbs of grain to meet my 1.052 FG at 75% EFF. When I put in the values from TastyBrew, BeerSmith puts my ratio up to 1.8 something for a Mash Ratio. Is that too high? It seems that way. What is a good absorption factor?

#### Bugeaterbrewing

##### Well-Known Member
Actually you can use anywhere between 1.0 and 2.0 quarts per pound of grain. The standard seems to be about 1.25 qt/lb but I use 1.5. If you get the mash too thick or too thin you will have conversion problems. 1.8 qt/lb is a bit on the thin side but okay. I would go a bit less in case you miss your strike temperature. This would give you room to add hot or cold water to fine tune the temperature.

As a rule of thumb for figuring grain absorption, I figure on a pint per pound of grain (0.125 gallons/lb). Most software uses something like 0.1 gallon/lb but my way is much easier to figure in my head.

Wayne
Bugeater Brewing Company

OP
OP

#### LS_Grimmy

##### Well-Known Member
This is what I use :

Absorption Loss:
(lbs of Grain) x 0.20) = Absorption loss in gallons
Note each system can be a little different and therefore may use a different constant than 0.20 gallons per lb of grain.

Mash Water:
Mash Water = Mash Ratio x Lbs Grain
For the mash ratio you can use between 1-2 quartz per pound of grain... I use 1.30 myself

Cheers
Grimmy

#### TexLaw

##### Here's Lookin' Atcha!
HBT Supporter
Your target volume to the kettle shouldn't affect your mash ratio. Use whatever mash ratio you want, and then sparge to reach your target volume. If you are can't sparge enough to reach that target volume, then there is something wrong with your recipe or process (e.g., your target volume is too high or your conversion is off).

TL

#### scottfro

##### Well-Known Member
i'm a bit confused on this grain absorption business as well. i used .125 per lb last weekend and ended up quite short on my boil water. now i'm seeing .2 per lb which seems a bit more accurate. is this something that really varies from setup to setup? it doesn't seem like it would be dependent on anything other than the type of malt you are using.

#### reshp1

##### Well-Known Member
scottfro said:
i'm a bit confused on this grain absorption business as well. i used .125 per lb last weekend and ended up quite short on my boil water. now i'm seeing .2 per lb which seems a bit more accurate. is this something that really varies from setup to setup? it doesn't seem like it would be dependent on anything other than the type of malt you are using.

It depends on how patient you want to be for every last bit of wort to drain out of the grain. Also, if you don't draw off wort from the lowest point in the mash tun then you will be leaving extra liquid behind as well.

#### TexLaw

##### Here's Lookin' Atcha!
HBT Supporter
Whatever the absorption and deadspace is for your system, it should be constant for your system. Just have some extra water on hand, measure the volume of your first runnings, and figure out what you need for your sparge from there. After your first runnings, you should get out whatever volume you put is, as your grain is saturated and your deadspace is filled. If you work it that way, there is no reason you should come up short on your pre-boil volume.

You do not have to calculate this like you are travelling through hyperspace. This is more like dusting crops. Go with the flow, literally.

TL

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
...and don't take "total water needed" so literally. There's no harm in heating up an extra gallon or two of water and later disposing of it if it's not needed. It's very annoying to find your runnings to fall short and realize you have no more hot water.

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