Water issue in my all grain

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Waldo913

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So I've recently switched to AG brewing and learning throughout the process. I have been using Palmer's "how to brew" as a bible to guide me. I recently brewed an Irish Red Ale from Northern Brewer, I mashed 8.75 lbs of grain. Using the "how to brew" guide, I should be using 1.5-2 quarts of water p/pound of grain. 8.75 lbs x 2= 17.5 quarts or 4.37 gallons. I rounded up to 5 gallons. After the mash out, my brew kettle had exactly 5 gallons. Boiled Willamette hops for 60 min, and then US Goldings for 30 min as instructed. When I transferred to the carboy, I yielded 2.5-3 gallons. That seems a like a small amount? OG was 1050 opposed to the 1040 in the instructions. What are your suggestions for the issue? Thanks Jarrod
 

ayoungrad

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Sounds like your volumes were off. If you mash with 5 gallons, you will not get 5 gallons of run-off bc water is absorbed by the grains (usually estimated between 0.1 and 0.2 gallons per pound). To get 5 gallons (or more) you have to sparge.
 

kh54s10

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I see no mention of sparging. I collect about 3.25 gallons at mashout and another 3.5 by batch sparging for 6.5 gallons to boil. After boil off I end up with about 5.25 gallons.
 
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Waldo913

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Thanks, is there a formula I'm missing or neglecting for determining how much water is needed to mash with and to sparge with?
 
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Waldo913

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I also assumed there is nothing I can do to the current batch which is 2.5-3 gallons ( like adding more water) that would result in a preferable batch.
 

RM-MN

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By not sparging you have ended up with too little wort and I have no idea what the specific gravity of that amount is because either you didn't take a hydrometer reading or neglected to mention it. Without sparging you left a significant amount of the sugars behind in the mash. You still may have more than the intended sugars for the recipe and need to dilute the wort with water to reach the projected original gravity (OG). Without the hydrometer reading we won't know.
 
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Waldo913

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I sparged, though I didn't mention it in my original post. And I did get an OG reading of 1050, as mentioned in my original post. I clearly didn't sparge enough water to end up with the appropriate amount after the brew/boil. I'm trying to figure out how much water is necessary for sparging? For future batches. Also if there is anyway to salvage the current low water yield batch?
 

Bobby_M

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Well you have found that your boiloff is about 2 gallons per (90 min?) The way you described it, I think you boiled for 60 then 30. That's a pretty common boil off rate so if you want to end up with 5 in the fermenter, you have to sparge to a 7 gallon preboil for a 90 minute boil.
 
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Waldo913

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Thank Bobby that helps. Can I add water now to the batch that is in the primary fermentation carboy?
 

joeybeer

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I don't know about adding water to the carboy, I'll let someone else answer that !

Water volumes were the hardest thing for me to figure out when I started. For my first batch I followed an online calculator, and ended up with about 11 gallons of 1.030 wort for a five gallon batch !! My solution has been to get a bucket with accurately marked volumes (I used a home depot bucket and did 1/2 gallon marks on it) then when I mash out, I measure the volume of first runnings, and subtract it from my target pre boil volume.. It'll make sense when you give it a shot, but basically if you put strike water in at 1.33 qt/lb and get 2.5 gallons of first runnings out, and target 7 gallons pre boil, you sparge with 4.5 gallons, as all of your sparge water comes out without getting absorbed.

Anyway, that's my solution and I think there's no way it can fail, because batch to batch, it's measured each time
 

Bobby_M

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Yes, absolutely. 3 gallons at 1.050 is 150 GU so if you want 1.040, 150/40 = 3.75g.

You can add .75 gallons or 3 quarts but I'd preboil it to get the oxygen out of it unless fermentation hasn't really taken hold yet in which case the oxygen in tap water is fine.

You don't want to dilute to 5 gallons because your beer will end up thin. You didn't sparge enough so your efficiency was low. What was your sparge process?

You and Joeybeer both refer to "mash out" to describe the runoff wort but it's a term that means something completely different so it could be confusing.

Strike Water - what you initially mix with the grain.
Running/Runoff - Wort you lauter off or drain from your tun. In batch sparging, you'll refer to this as "1st runnings", "2nd Runnings" etc.
Mash Out - The act of bringing your mash up to 170F through heat or additional infusions.
Sparge - Water added to the finished mash to rinse sugars. In a batch sparge, wort is run off prior to adding sparge. In a fly sparge, it's added at the same time.
 

barleyhole

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What was the OG? If it is much over you can add water to bring the volume up...just make sure it's been boiled then cooled (I also use generic spring water in emergencies as that seems to be very sanitary).

Typically I mash at 1.25 qts/lb and with my grain crush, the absorption is about 0.15 gal/lb. This is something that you need to figure out to calculate the amount of sparge water you need to hit your pre-boil volume. Like mentioned above, it's usually 6.5-7 gallons. You'll lose volume due to contraction as it cools, absorption by hops, and evaporation.
 

barleyhole

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Sorry I had text in the box and didn't hit reply right away so only half of what I said is still relevant! Typically you mash, then add some water to raise the temp, then collect the runnings. Then add more sparge water that will bring you up to 6.5-7 gallons, stir and let sit for a few, and drain off second runnings. So depending on your OG with this batch, you may not want to add water...and it sounds like if it is brought up to 5 gallons, then the beer will be thinned out.
 
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