Should I "sparge" a full volume mash?

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code3kid

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I brew in a Mash & Boil all in one system which I have modified by adding a pump for recirculation of my mash which greatly increased brewhouse efficiency. I typically brew 4 gallon batches so that I can ferment under pressure in a corny keg. For this reason, it is very easy to do a full volume mash.

So when I "lauter" (pull my grain pipe out and let the wort drain), I am assuming that some of the sugars are left in that grain bed sitting up above my sweet wort. Many, at this point, sparge with hot or cold water to "rinse" the remaining sugar from the grain to get just a bit more in the way of efficiency and come up to their full pre-boil volume.

So being all about efficiency, my question is, since I did a full volume mash, do you think that 1. just using my pump to run some of my collected wort over the grain bed to "rinse" would remove the remaining sugars left behind? My thoughts being that it'Ss a liquid same as water. 2. If so, what volume of my wort do you think would be appropriate (heard that I should be aware of oversparging, u know tannins and what not)?

Assuming this question would apply to all of the all in one systems out there like the Grainfather, Robobrew, etc. Thanks for your help in advance.
 

Jocky

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Yes, you can sparge that grain, but you don't have to.

Recirculating systems are pretty good at rinsing the grain already so while sparging will gain a few points of efficiency, it really won't be a lot.
 
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code3kid

code3kid

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Yes, you can sparge that grain, but you don't have to.

Recirculating systems are pretty good at rinsing the grain already so while sparging will gain a few points of efficiency, it really won't be a lot.
Thanks for responding Jocky.

Yeah, recirculating gave me quite a kick in efficiency. I'm pretty sure that rinsing with the wort that I have already collected wouldn't be detrimental. I think I'm just trying to see how far I can push my efficiency. My last brew I mashed in with 7.25 lbs (3.3 kg) grain in 5.25 gallons of water and ended up with 4 gallons in the fermenter with an OG of 1.053. That's 80% effieciency!

Wondering if any other all in one system brewers "sparge" this way and what kind of results they have seen.
 

doug293cz

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Recirculating is not the same as sparging. Sparging is rinsing with fresh water. If you recirculated during the mash, then all the wort has a uniform sugar concentration. Think of the grain mass as a sponge, which absorbs and holds some of your wort. If you exchange some of the held wort with other wort of the same SG, you haven't reduced the amount of sugar held by the sponge. If on the other hand, you mix in some fresh water, the wort that was held in the sponge will mix with the fresh water, creating lower concentration wort. You then collect most of that lower concentration wort, and sponge contains the same volume of wort that it did before, but it is lower SG wort, so there is less sugar retained by the sponge. Sparging increases efficiency by dilution, so that the wort retained by the grain bed contains less sugar. If you don't have dilution, then you don't get an increase in efficiency.

Brew on :mug:
 
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code3kid

code3kid

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Recirculating is not the same as sparging. Sparging is rinsing with fresh water. If you recirculated during the mash, then all the wort has a uniform sugar concentration. Think of the grain mass as a sponge, which absorbs and holds some of your wort. If you exchange some of the held wort with other wort of the same SG, you haven't reduced the amount of sugar held by the sponge. If on the other hand, you mix in some fresh water, the wort that was held in the sponge will mix with the fresh water, creating lower concentration wort. You then collect most of that lower concentration wort, and sponge contains the same volume of wort that it did before, but it is lower SG wort, so there is less sugar retained by the sponge. Sparging increases efficiency by dilution, so that the wort retained by the grain bed contains less sugar. If you don't have dilution, then you don't get an increase in efficiency.

Brew on :mug:
Honestly WOW. Light bulb just turned on for me. Perfectly described. Makes absolute sense. Just like that I am convinced to try a new approach. Thank u so much doug293cz. Cheers
 

FatDragon

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In my experience, sparging a BIAB batch tends to give me an extra 3-5% efficiency versus full volume, though I've got a pretty small data set for full volume mashing since I almost always sparge. If you hoist your grains or otherwise drain them directly into the kettle, a quick pourover sparge is a nearly zero-effort way to get those extra points, and will probably save you a couple minutes getting your water to strike temp as well. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
 

sicktght311

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Have you tried making a plate that you can compress the grain bed with after it drains? Same thing as "Squeezing the bag" with traditional BIAB setup. It will likely give you a few extra points to rinse some of that liquid out thats trapped in that "sponge", even after its drained
 
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code3kid

code3kid

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Have you tried making a plate that you can compress the grain bed with after it drains? Same thing as "Squeezing the bag" with traditional BIAB setup. It will likely give you a few extra points to rinse some of that liquid out thats trapped in that "sponge", even after its drained
Yup. I use a pot lid that is the same diameter as the malt pipe. The handle keeps my hand from the hot grain underneath. I've heard of tannin extraction with squeezing, but I can't tell a difference and that's good enough for me.
 

augiedoggy

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Yup. I use a pot lid that is the same diameter as the malt pipe. The handle keeps my hand from the hot grain underneath. I've heard of tannin extraction with squeezing, but I can't tell a difference and that's good enough for me.
There is an old thread on squeezing causing tannin extraction which pretty much sums it up as an old homebrewing myth... I used to think the same thing though because I read it in some very old partial extract kit directions when I homebrewed with those types of kits.
lot of breweries as well as BIAB brewers squeeze the mash in some way..
 

Alex4mula

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I brew in a Mash & Boil all in one system which I have modified by adding a pump for recirculation of my mash which greatly increased brewhouse efficiency. I typically brew 4 gallon batches so that I can ferment under pressure in a corny keg. For this reason, it is very easy to do a full volume mash.

So when I "lauter" (pull my grain pipe out and let the wort drain), I am assuming that some of the sugars are left in that grain bed sitting up above my sweet wort. Many, at this point, sparge with hot or cold water to "rinse" the remaining sugar from the grain to get just a bit more in the way of efficiency and come up to their full pre-boil volume.

So being all about efficiency, my question is, since I did a full volume mash, do you think that 1. just using my pump to run some of my collected wort over the grain bed to "rinse" would remove the remaining sugars left behind? My thoughts being that it'Ss a liquid same as water. 2. If so, what volume of my wort do you think would be appropriate (heard that I should be aware of oversparging, u know tannins and what not)?

Assuming this question would apply to all of the all in one systems out there like the Grainfather, Robobrew, etc. Thanks for your help in advance.
Hi. I have a M&B and your post brought up some questions. So you say you mash with full volume of water for the recipe? Is that ok in general for a mash? Reason I ask is I see everywhere this water calculators that if you need like 8gal for 11lbs of grain then you mash with like 3.6 gal. and after mash then sparge the rest. So can I mash with more water that recommended? Do I need to recirculate if I use that method? Can you share which pump you are using?
I have done two all grain mashes in my M&B. I used the method in this video:
First one went kind of ok. I manually recirculated wort to keep temps top to bottom. Got about 71% mash eff. which is not great bit not super bad for a first time. Yesterday I did my second and it was a nightmare. Took me like two hrs to get the mash to the 150°F. I tried using my chugger pump to recirculate but wort was kind of draining fully out o the bottom no matter at what speed I was pumping and ran dry. After a while I just went to do it manually. It was like it was having a hard time to drain out of the mash. I don't know if maybe I moved the grains too much at the begining and maybe clogged the bottom screen. I was using a new wood paddle. This didn't happen the first time. I had 3.6gal of water for about 11.2 lbs of grain. At the end got an OG of 1.050 out of the predicted 1.066. Looking for what to mod. I have done 10 extract brews before all very good. This all grain seems like a big effort to save $4 on kit. Hopefully I get better tasting beer to keep doing it. The other AG batch is still conditioning. Thanks.
 

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Hi. I have a M&B and your post brought up some questions. So you say you mash with full volume of water for the recipe? Is that ok in general for a mash? Reason I ask is I see everywhere this water calculators that if you need like 8gal for 11lbs of grain then you mash with like 3.6 gal. and after mash then sparge the rest. So can I mash with more water that recommended? Do I need to recirculate if I use that method? Can you share which pump you are using?
I have done two all grain mashes in my M&B. I used the method in this video:
First one went kind of ok. I manually recirculated wort to keep temps top to bottom. Got about 71% mash eff. which is not great bit not super bad for a first time. Yesterday I did my second and it was a nightmare. Took me like two hrs to get the mash to the 150°F. I tried using my chugger pump to recirculate but wort was kind of draining fully out o the bottom no matter at what speed I was pumping and ran dry. After a while I just went to do it manually. It was like it was having a hard time to drain out of the mash. I don't know if maybe I moved the grains too much at the begining and maybe clogged the bottom screen. I was using a new wood paddle. This didn't happen the first time. I had 3.6gal of water for about 11.2 lbs of grain. At the end got an OG of 1.050 out of the predicted 1.066. Looking for what to mod. I have done 10 extract brews before all very good. This all grain seems like a big effort to save $4 on kit. Hopefully I get better tasting beer to keep doing it. The other AG batch is still conditioning. Thanks.
Heat the water hotter before you add the grain. Why would it take two hours to hit 150F. From what temp did it start?

You cant recirc a small system like this at faster that 1qt per minute either.
 

Alex4mula

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Heat the water hotter before you add the grain. Why would it take two hours to hit 150F. From what temp did it start?

You cant recirc a small system like this at faster that 1qt per minute either.
Strike water was 166F
 
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