Gravity thrills: no sparge cont'd

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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Gravity thrills: no sparge cont'd

Postby jayhawk » Wed Sep 04, 2002 10:49 pm

I am an all grain newbie, bear with me.
How long is your rest before beginning the second runnings? Can you elaborate on the "greater control you get" with your method? Do you ever need to acidify the water for your second runnings? Do you need to increase your grain bill with this method?

PS This is in regards to a previous thread from earlier in August.
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The beauty of the batch sparge

Postby Gravity Thrills » Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:28 am

Jayhawk,

Welcome to the land of the hardcore all-grain brewers!

Batch sparging is really simple, and I wish someone had turned me on to it when I first started all-grain.

First, credit to Ken Schwartz, who has a lot of great online info and raelly spelled out the concept of batch sparging nicely (I forget the site, but have it somewhere - I'll dig it out).

batch sparging is good for the homebrewer because it is very hard with out cobbled together brew-works to get sparging right - matching the inflow with the outflow to maintain 1 inch of water over the grain, etc. Plus, as was pointed out in a thread yesterday, pH gets very high toward the end of the sparge and this can make your beer astringent. Most people carefully monitor gravity and/or pH during the sparge and start when pH gets too high of garvity falls below 1.009 of so.

Instead, figure out the total boil volume you want to collect. Divide that number in half and these are the approximate volumes of water you want to catch in you batch of first runnings and your batch of second runnings. I collect 16 gallons (usually for two simultaneous brews), so I need to collect 8 gallons of first runnings and 8 gallons of second runnings.

Now, there has been a lot of talk about optimal mash thickness. I think for starting out, and especially if you are doing an infusion (single temperature) mash, you can use the higher ratio of 1.33 qt. water per lb of grian. One nice thing about this ratio is it works out to an even gallon for every 3 lbs of grain. If I have 21 lbs of grain in my grist (a target value I m generally close to, depending on what I am brewing), that's 7 gallons of water to start off with in the mash tun. I may or may not treat w/gypsum depending on what I am brewing or what percentage of dark grains are in the grist (roasted grains naturally bring pH down toward your optimal range).

After mashing, I mash out with 4 gallons of 170F water, stirr it up and let the mash rest for 10 minutes. I do acid-correct my mash water with 10% food grade phosphoric acid to match the mash pH. After 10 minutes, adjust your outflow (slower is usually better so you don't get a stuck mash), collect a few quarts of turbid runnings and return them to the top of the masg tun. Here, you are using the natural filtering ability og the grain bed, called the "Vohrloff" (sp?) method, and basically what thos fancy RIMS (recirculating) systems do for you. When your wort starts running off clear, collect to your kettle.

Now, even though I have now put 7+4=11 gallons of water into the tun, I will not get that entire amount out. That's because about 0.125 gallons of water is absorbed for every pound of grain, and also because the false bottom gremlins like to keep a little for themselves. But in my system, that gives me 8 gallons in my first runnings.

Then I just add 8 more gallons (acid-corrected) of 170F water to the dry grains (they are already saturated with water so you won't lose any more to absorption, and the false bottom gremlins have already had their fill). Stir, set 10 minutes, Vorhloff, and run to the kettle.

The "greater control" comes from teh fact that if I know how much water I want to end up with, and I know how much will be lost in the system (to grains and gremlins), I can put exactly that much in and not worry about low gravoty/high tannin wort running to the kettle by the end of the sparge. It also cuts about 45 minutes off of my brew day.

Try it, you'll like it!

Cheers,
Jim
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Sounds good

Postby jayhawk » Thu Sep 05, 2002 8:53 am

Hey, this method sounds great. I will definetly try it next time, it sounds a whole lot easier. Thanks for the detailed breakdown.
Just curious, but do you ever find it necessary to use anything but the single infusion mash? Can this method be used for other mash shedules besides a single infusion mash?
Chris
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different mash schedules

Postby Gravity Thrills » Thu Sep 05, 2002 9:42 am

I do almost exclusively ales that are conducive to single temperature mashes. I have done a Vienna lager that needed a protein rest, but the batch sparge works fine here too. My mash tun is an insulated, converted keg that I cannot directly heat, so for a step mash I start with the low-end grain:water ratio (1 qt./lb). Then I step up to saccharification temp with enough boiling water to bring me to the 1.33 qt./lb. level and also into starch conversion temps. From here on out, mash and batch sparge is the same as usual.

Here's a question for anyone out there regarding the need to step-mash for a witbier (my first)I am gearing up to make. Certainly, from a beer clarity standpoint (or lack thereof for this style), a protein rest would not be necessary. But, if half the grain bill is unmalted wheat, a protein rest (and a pound or so of rice hulls) may keep the stuck mash headaches to a minimum. What if I use flaked unmalted wheat (is that even available)? Would I still be better doing a step-mash?

Cheers,
Jim
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