Question concerning sparge

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Teufelhunde

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I brew on a Brewzilla 35L. In a typical 5 gallon recipe, I am only using 1.0-1.5 gallons of sparge water per Brewfather. I am concerned that I am not getting a good rinse of the grains with that little water.

My question is, would it be beneficial, at the beginning of the sparge, to drain off a gallon or two of the wort and pour that down through the grains, followed by the sparge water? Would that help to get a better rinse? I do use the recirc arm and recirculate the wort during the mash.

TIA for input

Lon
 

hotbeer

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If you are going to sparge with water, then I don't see why not. I'd think you'd get cleaner wort and the sparge water will rinse any sugars back through.

Seems to me that some use pumps to recirculate wort during the mash and that results in very clean wort if done correctly.

Don't know any of this from experience though since I don't mash the same way you are.
 

doug293cz

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Pouring sugar rich "first runnings" over a grain bed doesn't sound like a winning proposition to me.
If there's a way to do the mash using less water and move that water volume difference to the sparge, that might provide a net gain...

Cheers!
Correct.

At the end of the mash, you have a bed of grain remnant bits surrounded by basically sugar water. Pouring more sugar water of the same composition over the grain bed wouldn't rinse any sugar out of the grain. You're just replacing some sugar water with more of the same. You don't rinse dishes by putting them back in the soapy water.

Sparging requires fresh water to dilute the sugar water left due to grain absorption.

Brew on :mug:
 
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doug293cz

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If you are going to sparge with water, then I don't see why not. I'd think you'd get cleaner wort and the sparge water will rinse any sugars back through.

Seems to me that some use pumps to recirculate wort during the mash and that results in very clean wort if done correctly.

Don't know any of this from experience though since I don't mash the same way you are.
Your first paragraph is known as a "vorlauf." It is used to filter out much of the particulate matter suspended in the wort (particularly wort under a false bottom.) Wort recirculation during mashing makes vorlaufing unnecessary (and redundant.) If done, a vorlauf comes before sparging.

Brew on :mug:
 

hotbeer

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I do use the recirc arm and recirculate the wort during the mash
I didn't read down to here before I answered. If this is true, then I'd say just do your sparge with clean water only. I don't see were taking any wort and pouring it back over the malts would be beneficial to anything. Unless by chance for some reason your recirculation is not pulling uniformly all the wort from below and there is some wort you can get out of another spigot that has grain pieces in it.
 

bracconiere

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i'd be surprised if a gallon would even make it through a grain bed of ~12lbs malt?

what qt/lb ratio are you using for the mash?


edit: as an unexperienced AIO brewer that uses a mash tun. i keep an inch or two of clean water above the grain when sparging, can you pull the basket slowly? and something similar? kinda like a squeegee?
 

doug293cz

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i'd be surprised if a gallon would even make it through a grain bed of ~12lbs malt?

what qt/lb ratio are you using for the mash?


edit: as an unexperienced AIO brewer that uses a mash tun. i keep an inch or two of clean water above the grain when sparging, can you pull the basket slowly? and something similar? kinda like a squeegee?
The grain bed has a certain capacity to retain liquid. If you drain the wort, and then add water, all that added water (and maybe even a little more) will drain because the liquid volume after the water addition exceeds the grain bed's capacity.

Brew on :mug:
 

bracconiere

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The grain bed has a certain capacity to retain liquid. If you drain the wort, and then add water, all that added water (and maybe even a little more) will drain because the liquid volume after the water addition exceeds the grain bed's capacity.

Brew on :mug:



for some reason the thought of an hour long 1 gallon sparge makes me chuckle.....

(gives me another thought, would there be a way to check the runnings on a AIO...sparge with more water then needed? but pull the basket when the running are <1.012 or something?
 

Bobby_M

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for some reason the thought of an hour long 1 gallon sparge makes me chuckle.....

(gives me another thought, would there be a way to check the runnings on a AIO...sparge with more water then needed? but pull the basket when the running are <1.012 or something?

It really doesn't matter how long that sparge takes because the wort will not reach a boil for about an hour anyway. If I were going to sparge an all in one with a basket, I would hook lift the basket and add the gallon right to the top of the malt pipe all at once and let it drain while ramping up to a boil.
 

bracconiere

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It really doesn't matter how long that sparge takes because the wort will not reach a boil for about an hour anyway. If I were going to sparge an all in one with a basket, I would hook lift the basket and add the gallon right to the top of the malt pipe all at once and let it drain while ramping up to a boil.


what about channeling? i think that stradegy would be best attempted as a batch sparge somehow?
 

Bobby_M

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What about channeling? A solid disk of sparge water on top of the grain should flow through the grainbed equally unless channels were already established throughout the mash recirculation. (Edited to add this) If there is a fear that the grain bed has developed channels throughout a constant recirculation, it would be a good idea to stop recirculation about 5 minutes prior to ending the mash, gently stirring the mash and letting it settle for about 5 minutes with the pump off. Then gently recirculate for a final vorlauf, add the sparge water and pull the basket.

A batch sparge is completely different. That would look like draining the entire basket of wort, dropping the basket into another vessel and briskly stirring the sparge water back into the grain, then draining that.

When you first lift the basket on an AIO, it takes at least 60 seconds for the liquid above the grain to soak down and disappear. You'd want to get the sparge water in there pretty quickly, or even before lifting the basket but it will perform generally like a fly sparge in a traditional mash tun.
 
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