The Benefits of holding back sparge water v full volume mash BIAB

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NSMikeD

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Aside from efficiency and kettle size, strictly from a flavor mouthfeel perspective does mashing the sparging have a different affect on beer than a full volume mash it’s the recirculating pump? I see any traditional mash threads talk about the mash consistency, but they are doing other steps that I don’t think apply to full volume BIAB or do those things apply.

Forget about efficiency. I understand that holding back some water at 170* and pouting it over the grain bed after lifting the bag/malt pipe will rinse some sugars but my efficiency is fairly consistent and adjusting the grain bill is ok with me.

I brew 2.5 gallon batches in an Anvil Foundry 6.5 and mash full water volume with the circulating pump. I was wondering if holding back a gallon of water (removed from the the kettle after the salts were added so mash and sparge water are the same profile) and then sparging at 170* after I lift the malt pipe will change the character of the beer.

My water volumes are typically in the 4.5gal vicinity for beers with ABV in the 4.5 - 5.5 range and grain bills in the 6-8lb range.
 
I've always sparged or rinsed if you prefer since I do BIAB. I still do roughly 1.25 quarts per pound of grist for the mash.

Mostly that was due to the size of the equipment I originally had. I've thought about doing the full volume since my equipment will support that now. But old habits are hard to get out of.

I too say just try it several times with recipes you are very familiar with the resulting beer. I've been thinking about trying a full mash when I get back to the ales I'm familiar with.
 
I suspect the answer is that it will have a minor impact. The impact is likely very minor on a setup like a Anvil where most people are doing more of a "quick rinse" of the grain bed than a more controlled fly sparge or a batch sparge.

I do mostly full volume mashing (in a kettle with a bag, not an all-in-one with a pipe and recirculation). I will occasionally add in a sparge step either due to a larger grain bill, or larger target volume. I don't have any great apples to apples comparisons, but no major differences have jumped out at me between full volume and my dunk sparge batches. I notice better efficiency with a dunk sparge.
 
My beer quality notably increased after going no sparge, and I suspect it has to do with ph stability and less oxygen exposure. I certainly didn't deoxygenate my sparge water, or carefully deliver it onto the mash bed back then.
Bobby, so you put all of your water in the kettle for the mash?

I am transitioning to BIAB and am concerned about having a water to grist ratio greater than 1.5 qts per pound of grain. That was something that was always stressed as being important for whatever reason.

In your experience it really isn’t something to be worried about?

Thanks
 
Bobby, so you put all of your water in the kettle for the mash?

I am transitioning to BIAB and am concerned about having a water to grist ratio greater than 1.5 qts per pound of grain. That was something that was always stressed as being important for whatever reason.

In your experience it really isn’t something to be worried about?

Thanks
It seems that people have found that diluting the mash tends to get higher conversion than a thicker mash. Nothing to worry about.

In a conventional mash tun that ratio is more important because it would tend to overflow the mash tun, not that it would cause other problems.
 
+1 @doug293cz

Check out this article and read the contributions from Palmer. I think you'll find the answer depends on your brew water. But if you do have high alkalinity water you can always add acid to lower the ph. My water has a total alkalinity of 83 and I still add lactic acid and or phosphoric acid to my water.

https://byo.com/article/biab-tips-from-the-pros/
 
I've done almost exclusively full-volume, no sparge brewing without any major issues. You do lose some efficiency, but it's easy to make that up in the grist. Most importantly, it allows consistency.

There are fermentability and flavor impacts of thin vs thick mash for sure. I have learned that a longer mash time is more effective for me with higher liquor-grist ratio, suspect this is due to dilution of the mash enzymes within a larger wort volume.
 
It seems that people have found that diluting the mash tends to get higher conversion than a thicker mash. Nothing to worry about.

In a conventional mash tun that ratio is more important because it would tend to overflow the mash tun, not that it would cause other problems.

Bobby, so you put all of your water in the kettle for the mash?

I am transitioning to BIAB and am concerned about having a water to grist ratio greater than 1.5 qts per pound of grain. That was something that was always stressed as being important for whatever reason.

In your experience it really isn’t something to be worried about?

Thanks
Lower extraction efficiency is the only downside that is consistently true. The only time a more dilute mash would start getting sketchy is if your overall diastatic power is particularly low with a high percentage of non-malted adjuncts. The other is if your water was too alkaline and the lower ratio of grain couldn't acidify it enough. In that case, the advice would be to get better control of your water and/or anticipate the need to add some acid to make up for it rather than keeping your mash thicker.
 
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