sparging

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Arbe0

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when I sparge I fill my HLT with more than enough water to sparge with. I sparge until I get the amount of wort I want in my boil kettle, doing it this way leaves me with a mash tun with about a gallon or more of unused wort.
My question is, do you think the way I do it effects anything? Should I try to get closer to an empty mash tun, with the right amount of water in the HLT?
I have never had any problem hitting my Gravity and pH but was just maybe overthinking things here.
 

RM-MN

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When you get the amount of wort you want in your boil kettle, stir up the mash/sparge and measure the gravity to see what amount of sugar you are leaving behind. If it is somewhat high (above 1.020) you may want to collect a bit more wort.
 

FruityHops

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In addition to sugars left in the grain as RM-MN mentioned, keep in mind the pH of your sparge water and how it could affect the pH of the grain bed.

I use distilled water to sparge with which, despite having a relatively high pH of 7, doesn't have any residual alkalinity. So I don't worry about it, but if you are using tap water with a pH of 7 or 8 and a lot of buffering capacity (residual alkalinity), you could be raising the pH of the grains as you sparge.

Supposedly the high temp of 170F sparge water combined with a high pH above above 5.8 or so can lead to "excessive tannin extraction."

http://beersmith.com/blog/2016/04/06/should-you-treat-your-sparge-water-for-home-brewing/

If it ain't broke don't fix it. If you have been getting good results then don't sweat it. More sugars to extract vs sparge pH might be things to consider if you ever need to drastically change your sparge rate or water treatment.
 

bobeer

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There's usually extra wort left in my mlt too but the gravity is always less than desirable so I don't sweat the weak wort.
 

JaymzMF

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I like using exact amount of sparge water BS tells me to use. Plus taking into account the loss. Program hits it everytime. I just sparge until dry. End up with right volume
 

Qhrumphf

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Real easy to get it right.

Start with baseline of grain bill in pounds * 0.12, plus preboil volume (in gallons), plus known dead space. That's your total water volume.

Assuming a five gallon batch, 12.5# grain bill, and 6.5 gallon preboil, with a half gallon loss to dead space and hoses.

6.5 + (12.5*0.12) +0.5

7 + 1.5

So you need 8.5 gallons total. If you want 1.25 qt/lb for your strike water, that's 3.9 gallons. Subtract that from from the total, meaning you need 4.6 gallons sparge.

This is making a few assumptions.

1) all volume readings are done at the same temperature- the same mass of water will have different volumes at 65 vs 165.

2) 0.12 gallons per pound is a "standard" grain absorption figure. Unless you're using a lot of flaked or non-barley grains, it should be close enough.


The fool proof easy on the fly way:

Measure your volume after first runnings. Add difference between that and preboil. If you want 6 gallons, you got 2.5 gallons from your mash, add another 3.5 gallons sparge water. All the grain absorptions and dead space are taken care of for you.

Or just continuous sparge instead of batch sparging, and then stop when you reach one of the following: you hit your preboil volume, runnings gravity too low, or pH too high (the pH is far more important than the gravity). In the latter two cases, swap wort with water instead.
 

Qhrumphf

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And all this means is you're getting a lower efficiency than you're capable of. Which unless you're REALLY pinching pennies (there are a few on this site who don't actually like brewing, they just wanna get drunk as cheaply as possible), doesn't matter all that much
 
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Arbe0

Arbe0

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I always watch my PH and adjust when necessary, also the Mesh gravity, preboil gravity and gravity in the carboy and of course the final gravity. I go by the numbers that Beer Smith gives me and normally hit my numbers if not right on they are pretty close. Been brewing for 6 years and have won awards in several competitions.
just wondering if I got my hlt water for the sparge closer if I would get better efficiency with out leaving wort in the Mash Tun.
 

Qhrumphf

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What do you do with the unused wort? You can always boil and use to make starters when in the 1.030ish range.
That's actually a damned good idea, with minimal tweaking to process needed.

If the gravity is still that high though (barring a monster high gravity beer) that's pretty inefficient.

But if you're using those sugar elsewhere (like a starter) then consider it a "partigyle" and be done with it ;)

My last runnings are typically 1-1.5°P (so 1.004-1.006), but I run low-mid 90s efficiency into the kettle.
 

cactusgarrett

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What do you do with the unused wort? You can always boil and use to make starters when in the 1.030ish range.
I add extra sparge water and save about 2gal of 1.015-1.020 wort for starters; frozen. Thaw as needed, and add DME to make up the difference to a reasonable starter gravity. Saves me from using twice as much DME as i otherwise would.
 
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