Recipe calls for more sparge water than mash water?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

OP
RickyBeers

RickyBeers

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
41
@TracerBullet
I've just checked on the brewers friend advanced water calculator for an american stout I made
21 litres mash and 14 litres sparge, 7.1 kg grain, my tap water pH 7.4 and to acidify sparge water ( no salts added ) to pH 6 required 0.44 ml Lactic acid.

Checking what it would be for a sparge water pH of 5.2 required 0.66ml. If phosphoric 10% used then it would need 6.5ml.

So for a 3 gallon batch with 1 gallon sparge that does seem the right ballpark

A few hydrogen ions do go a long way in plain water. Chuck in some grains and then there is buffering which complicates things.
My NE ipa I’m brewing (hopefully tomorrow) is 8 liters sparge. So maybe around .25ml lactic acid in sparge water sounds safe?

Water profile plan for mash (giving the salts another shot):

Sulfates – 100 ppm
Chloride – 200 ppm
Calcium – 100 ppm
Magnesium – 20 ppm
Mash pH – 5.2 (hopefully)

Gypsum 2 grams
Cacl2 11 grams
Epsom salt 4 grams
Nacl salt 1 gram
 

MicroMickey

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
49
Reaction score
45
as far as tannin extraction, from sparging....i believe if you keep the temp low on the sparge water like 160f or so, should be alright, even when the ph goes up and gravity gets lower?
There's no need to use low temp sparge water if you maintain the pH. Read this: Astringency
 

doug293cz

BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
12,412
Reaction score
8,890
Location
Renton
Well I was thinking Because a thinner mash means less sparge water and therefore a shorter sparge and a less efficient lauter, but as Doug has shown that's not correct, so disregard
For a fly sparge things are different. When fly sparging, it's advantageous from an efficiency standpoint to mash as thick as practical, and use as much of the total water for sparging as you can. Fly sparging can be thought about as an infinite number of batch sparges, but because of mash thickness limitations, you can't have a equal run-off volume for the mash. So, you use as much water as needed to get a manageable mash thickness, and split the remaining water into an infinite number of infinitesimally small batch sparge steps.

When you start doing multiple batch sparge steps, the formula for strike volume becomes:

Strike Vol = Max( Max Mash Thkness [qt/lb] * Grain Wt , Absorb Rate * Grain Wt + Pre-Boil Vol / (1 + No. of Sparge Steps) )​
Note the position of the "comma" in the formula, it separates the two formulas. Max Mash Thkness is the lowest value for qt/lb that you will accept (a little counter intuitive, buts that's how we characterize mash thickness.)

Brew on :mug:
 

doug293cz

BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
12,412
Reaction score
8,890
Location
Renton
Doug I just had a thought...

your simulation is looking at batch sparges, so the results of your sparge gravity reflect the average gravity of the sparge runnings of a fly sparge (effectively).

but a fly sparging generates a vertical sugar gradient through the grain bed. So visualizing the curve of SG reaching the boil kettle if this were plotted: SG that reaches the boil kettle at the beginning of the sparge is much higher than the average value, and the SG near the end of a fly sparge must be far below the average value

If that's the case, then at least the upper portions of the grain bed would be subjected to a lower than desired SG

Following this out, as a thought experiment, consider a brewer conducting a 60 minute fly sparge with a high sparge water to mash water ratio:

The sparge water near end of the sparge starts at the top of the grain bed with a very low SG approaching 1.000.

Because the grains below have already been rinsed for 50 mins by a relatively high volume of water the gravity of this sparge water may not rise above 1.010 until it's passed through a significant portion of the grain bed and extracted polyphenols which it then carries through the remaining portion of the grain bed and into the boil kettle.

If the brewer reduces the total volume of sparge water but keeps the fly sparge time the same, then there would be more sugar remaining in the grain at the 50 minute mark, OR the "line" within the grain bed where the SG of the sparge rises above 1.010 sits higher up and thereby reduces the amount of grain that the low SG sparge water passes through
Looking at the bolded part of your comment: Yes the sparged wort above the 1.010 demarcation plane in the grain bed will have had a chance to extract tannins and other nasties, but little if any of the sparged wort above the 1.010 demarcation plane will make it into the BK, if you stop collecting wort when the run-off reaches 1.010. This is probably the saving grace of the process.

However, if you do a hybrid fly sparge, where you only use as much water as if you were batch sparging, then stop adding water, and fully drain the MLT into the BK, all that low SG wort will make it into the BK, but then there will be less of that wort, then if you had continued to add water.

How fast the SG in the upper portions of the grain bed drops will depend on the mixing (inter-diffusion) rates of the sparge water and wort, and how fast the wort coating the grits gets washed away.

Brew on :mug:
 

TheMadKing

Western Yankee Southerner and Brew Science Nerd
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,042
Location
Gainesville
However, if you do a hybrid fly sparge, where you only use as much water as if you were batch sparging, then stop adding water, and fully drain the MLT into the BK, all that low SG wort will make it into the BK, but then there will be less of that wort, then if you had continued to add water.
So this is in fact what I do (as of my last 10 or so brews) in that I fly sparge from my HLT and I monitor how much water I've added to the mash tun. I cut off the flow of sparge water when I've added the amount that BeerSmith calculated plus a 20% fudge factor (I don't have my losses fine tuned in BeerSmith) and end up draining all but a couple pints from my mash tun into the boil kettle.

Perhaps this is the cause of my recent oversparging issue. I've had 2 batches displaying consistent symptoms of oversparging, both with small grain bills and thick mashes.

Prior to this method of monitoring and stopping my sparge water flow, I simply fly sparged to a given boil volume with no thought for measuring either end of running gravity or sparge water volume. I think I was simply lucky that I never had issues doing this.

Thank you for taking the time to talk this through with me and I hope this has been helpful to the OP as well
 

Oleson M.D.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
184
Reaction score
169
My water calculator always calls for more sparge water than in the mash.

Last brew using 20 pounds of grain:

7 gallons mash water
9 gallons sparge water

And we used every drop. Came in at 1.056 OG.
 

TheMadKing

Western Yankee Southerner and Brew Science Nerd
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,042
Location
Gainesville
Looking at the bolded part of your comment: Yes the sparged wort above the 1.010 demarcation plane in the grain bed will have had a chance to extract tannins and other nasties, but little if any of the sparged wort above the 1.010 demarcation plane will make it into the BK, if you stop collecting wort when the run-off reaches 1.010. This is probably the saving grace of the process.

However, if you do a hybrid fly sparge, where you only use as much water as if you were batch sparging, then stop adding water, and fully drain the MLT into the BK, all that low SG wort will make it into the BK, but then there will be less of that wort, then if you had continued to add water.

How fast the SG in the upper portions of the grain bed drops will depend on the mixing (inter-diffusion) rates of the sparge water and wort, and how fast the wort coating the grits gets washed away.

Brew on :mug:
So just following up on this with a data point

I am brewing a best bitter today with an 8lb grain bill and I followed my usual process of shutting off sparge water when I had added 5 gallons (beersmith calculated 4.28 needed)

I took the time to measure my end of runnings gravity after I finished the sparge and it was 1.004!

So I have indeed just been running off for too long and need to adjust my process

On the plus side I acidified my entire HLT to 5.5 pH so hopefully I won't have any issues with this batch
 

bleak

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
78
Reaction score
6
Location
Campbell River
I haven't read in this thread any discussion about using boiling water for the mashout. Usually I have to add 2-3 gallons of boiling water to get my mash up to a temperature that will stop the enzyme activity. That significantly changes the mash/sparge water ratios discussed here. Am I to assume that I'm the only one who can only control the mash temperature by adding boiling water?
 

doug293cz

BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2014
Messages
12,412
Reaction score
8,890
Location
Renton
I haven't read in this thread any discussion about using boiling water for the mashout. Usually I have to add 2-3 gallons of boiling water to get my mash up to a temperature that will stop the enzyme activity. That significantly changes the mash/sparge water ratios discussed here. Am I to assume that I'm the only one who can only control the mash temperature by adding boiling water?
A lot of brewers don't bother with mash out. It only makes sense to mash out if you are doing a long fly sparge, and are truly worried about your wort becoming too fermentable during the sparge. With batch or no-sparge, you can start heating to the boil as soon as you get a few gallons of wort in the BK and get up to mash out temp just as fast (or faster) than any mash heating method, other than a boiling water infusion.

Step mashing by boiling water infusion is beyond the scope of this thread.

Brew on :mug:
 

bleak

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
78
Reaction score
6
Location
Campbell River
All of my brews were over-attenuating, coming in below 1.010 final gravity, until I started to mash-out. Since then they've come in at 1.012 to 1.016 and are much nicer to my palate. I could start heating the wort after the first runnings as you suggest, but since it's working for me this way I'm hesitant to change it.
 

hottpeper13

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
1,292
Reaction score
488
Location
Mequon
I think the OP is looking for why he has tannin and astringency in the brews.
I think step mashing with boiling liquor can solve it. I strike with a 1:1 qt/lb at 143-148 rest 60 min then add enough boiling liquor to reach 158-160 for 30 min then drain into BK and batch sparge with the rest of the HLT. With this procedure I can't mash out but turn on the burner at 2 gal in the BK.
I use RO water and only salt the mash for the gal used then put the rest in the boil.
 
OP
RickyBeers

RickyBeers

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
41
I think the OP is looking for why he has tannin and astringency in the brews.
I think step mashing with boiling liquor can solve it. I strike with a 1:1 qt/lb at 143-148 rest 60 min then add enough boiling liquor to reach 158-160 for 30 min then drain into BK and batch sparge with the rest of the HLT. With this procedure I can't mash out but turn on the burner at 2 gal in the BK.
I use RO water and only salt the mash for the gal used then put the rest in the boil.
Ya, I never thought about sparge volume UNTIL I had astringency. That's what made me think about it.

On a somewhat unrelated note... I may just be crazy because after letting two lagers rest a week, I retried them both last night and neither were as bright and astringent as I had thought... I didn't think astringency went away with time so I have no idea what is going on with my beer.
 

eric19312

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
3,671
Reaction score
2,233
Location
Long Island
Ya, I never thought about sparge volume UNTIL I had astringency. That's what made me think about it.

On a somewhat unrelated note... I may just be crazy because after letting two lagers rest a week, I retried them both last night and neither were as bright and astringent as I had thought... I didn't think astringency went away with time so I have no idea what is going on with my beer.
I've read astringency is harder to detect that a lot of the literature suggests. You mentioned early on the flavor was like a punch in the mouth, I've heard it described as something presenting a lot more subtly. Maybe your issue wasn't actually astringency but your mind went there naturally based on the higher sparge volume and your adventures into water chemistry (swapping out the 5.2 stabilizer).
 

eric19312

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
3,671
Reaction score
2,233
Location
Long Island
I haven't read in this thread any discussion about using boiling water for the mashout. Usually I have to add 2-3 gallons of boiling water to get my mash up to a temperature that will stop the enzyme activity. That significantly changes the mash/sparge water ratios discussed here. Am I to assume that I'm the only one who can only control the mash temperature by adding boiling water?
I'd consider all the water used in your step additions to be part of the mash water. Sparge water would only be counted once you start lautering.
 
OP
RickyBeers

RickyBeers

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
41
I've read astringency is harder to detect that a lot of the literature suggests. You mentioned early on the flavor was like a punch in the mouth, I've heard it described as something presenting a lot more subtly. Maybe your issue wasn't actually astringency but your mind went there naturally based on the higher sparge volume and your adventures into water chemistry (swapping out the 5.2 stabilizer).
A good point. I'm fairly certain a few of my brews were legitimately astringent. My mom visited and tried one and thought it was a sour, but when described it was def a tongue puckering.

But yes at this point I may just be stuck on believing all my beers are astringent. Need to let them rest and try again!
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,780
Reaction score
5,193
Location
Whitehouse Station
I didn't pick up in any of the posts in this thread if you actually use RO water or tap water. If tap water, did you get a water test done for all the relevent ions and total alkalinity? If the answer to either question above is no, that's where you need to start. The 5.2 stabilizer is garbage.

It may be that your mash pH is just too high to begin with so acidifying your sparge may not be a cure though it would help.

It's possible that you're mistaking another off flavor for astringency. IBUs too high/out of balance. Carbonic bite from too much carbonation or from burst carbonation (which would explain why the flavor mellows over time). Acetaldehyde is another fault that is hard to nail down but it smells a bit like latex paint.
 
OP
RickyBeers

RickyBeers

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
117
Reaction score
41
I didn't pick up in any of the posts in this thread if you actually use RO water or tap water. If tap water, did you get a water test done for all the relevent ions and total alkalinity? If the answer to either question above is no, that's where you need to start. The 5.2 stabilizer is garbage.

It may be that your mash pH is just too high to begin with so acidifying your sparge may not be a cure though it would help.

It's possible that you're mistaking another off flavor for astringency. IBUs too high/out of balance. Carbonic bite from too much carbonation or from burst carbonation (which would explain why the flavor mellows over time). Acetaldehyde is another fault that is hard to nail down but it smells a bit like latex paint.
RO or distilled water
All good points. And yes I’ll do some research on identifying those other off flavors!
 

TheMadKing

Western Yankee Southerner and Brew Science Nerd
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,042
Location
Gainesville
It's possible that you're mistaking another off flavor for astringency. IBUs too high/out of balance. Carbonic bite from too much carbonation or from burst carbonation (which would explain why the flavor mellows over time). Acetaldehyde is another fault that is hard to nail down but it smells a bit like latex paint.
Great advice here too

Astringency isn't really a flavor at all, it's a mouthfeel. It's that feeling of when you suddenly have high friction between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Go wet and then suck on a black tea bag, ignore the taste and focus on the feeling you get, similar to dry mouth. That's astringency.

Acetaldehyde smelling like latex paint is a new one on me though Bobby, I usually describe it as fake green apple flavor, or fresh cut grass + woody. That's not to say your wrong as we all smell and taste things differently, I've just not heard that one before
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,780
Reaction score
5,193
Location
Whitehouse Station
My NE ipa I’m brewing (hopefully tomorrow) is 8 liters sparge. So maybe around .25ml lactic acid in sparge water sounds safe?

Water profile plan for mash (giving the salts another shot):

Sulfates – 100 ppm
Chloride – 200 ppm
Calcium – 100 ppm
Magnesium – 20 ppm
Mash pH – 5.2 (hopefully)

Gypsum 2 grams
Cacl2 11 grams
Epsom salt 4 grams
Nacl salt 1 gram
Now that I know you're using RO or Distilled, you have to use at least a couple mL of 88% lactic in the mash and also in the sparge.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,780
Reaction score
5,193
Location
Whitehouse Station
Acetaldehyde smelling like latex paint is a new one on me though Bobby, I usually describe it as fake green apple flavor, or fresh cut grass + woody. That's not to say your wrong as we all smell and taste things differently, I've just not heard that one before
I didn't for a long time either. I always perceived it as raw pumpkin flesh but a few club meetings ago, I was pushing everyone to taste this one beer someone brought that had very high level of acetaldehyde and someone else said it smelled like latex paint when you first open a can. I'll be damned, I can't disassociate from it now. It still has to be a near worst case scenario
 

Beer666

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
485
Reaction score
527
When I do a 54l batch I use 30l in the mash and spare with 42l. No issues with astringency. Might be worth trying a full volume mash or and RO water.
 
Top