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is a sparge necessary?

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johnnybutt35

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when using grains and the recipe says to steep with 2.5 gal and then sparge with 2.5 gal, couldnt i just steep with the full 5? i was just wondering on if sparging was really that necessary.
 

Bobby_M

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It sounds like you're describing an all grain instruction there and it wouldn't be steeping. If it's an extract with steeping grains recipe, there is no sparge.
 

mkling

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If you're doing a mash instead of just steeping, then it can make a big difference.

The most crucial issue is what your grain to water ratio is. Most homebrewers work somewhere in between 1 qt per lb of grain to 2 qts per lb of grain. I would encourage you to aim for establishing a mashing ratio rather than just think about the total volume.

How much grain are you working with?
 
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johnnybutt35

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How much grain are you working with?
i dont have an example at the moment but i was reading recipes that mentioned sparging and i made a stout a couple weeks ago thats now in the secondary. when i made the wort i used around 3lbs of total grains but i steeped it in the full 20qt pot. i just wasnt sure that if for future use it would be more beneficial to steep the grain in less water and sparge it before bringing it to a boil and adding my extract.
 

beerthirty

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As Bobby mentioned sparging is for all grain. Sparging rinses the grain of sugar to get your target OG. Steeping on the other hand has very little to do with sugar production and more to do with flavor and body compounds. Since you are brewing with extract that is where your sugar comes from. Sparging is done at higher temps and might cause the extraction of unwanted tannins.
 

BearsWickedBrew

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In defense of the OP- my "CLONE BREW" book has several "Extract" recipes that instruct the homebrewer to steep specialty grains (not base grains) and then sparge.
 
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johnnybutt35

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In defense of the OP- my "CLONE BREW" book has several "Extract" recipes that instruct the homebrewer to steep specialty grains (not base grains) and then sparge.
thats where im getting my information from...from my "clone brew" book. for the majority of the recipes it uses dme and has you steeping the specialty grains and sparging them before adding the dme.
 

kryolla

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for specialty grains you can just steep in 5g of water no need to sparge.
 
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Does it explain their definition of reasoning behind the sparging of the specialty grains? There is no reason. It would be as pointless as sparging a teabag when making a cup of tea. Same process of steeping grains in extract recipes
 

BearsWickedBrew

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Yea- i'm not sure why...never really made sense to me either. Even the amount water they instruct you to use seems off to me.

Johnny- what I have done for those recipes is get 2 pots of water going...1.5 gal to steep...then about 1.5 gal to drop in the grain bag at the end of the steep...swirl it around a lil bit...and the 2 together for 3 gal boil volume. Not sure what the pro's/con's are....just did it so that I feel like I'm sticking to their recipe.
 

beerthirty

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I too have this book and checked their process. They are "sparging" at 150*. This is steeping temp. They are steeping in very small volumes of water(1/2G) and "sparging" with another 1/2G. When I was using extract, steeping was done with 2-3G of water. They only reason they would want you to "sparge" the steeping grains would be for the low volume of water they start with.
 
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