Sparging

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

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Sparging

Postby Freon12 » Sun Oct 27, 2002 1:35 pm

How are you guys that do all grain sparging and recirculating and what is you normal mash efficiency with your method?

I want to max out this Imperial to about 74% by adding grain as I drain using my bearly big enough 5gal rubbermaid mash tun.

Freon "The 68% masher"

P.S. And don't say move to Florida, I might end up as your next door neighbor! Due to recent events, Dade county is no longer safe, it seems the mechcanical science community is lacking there.(and I know how to vote! pocket protector and all.)
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I'm curious too

Postby jayhawk » Sun Oct 27, 2002 3:53 pm

What are the keys to an effiecient mash? I am still new to the all grain thing, and I am currently running 60-70% effeciency, according to the finished beer analysis tool found here. How can I bump this number up?
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The Keys

Postby BillyBock » Mon Oct 28, 2002 2:25 am

Hey, guys....there are numerous keys to an efficient mash. I'll list as many as I can recall:
(1) sparge water temp
(2) mash pH
(3) whether or not you perform a mashout
(4) grist grind
(5) method and length of sparging, fly sparge vs. batch sparge vs. no sparge
(6) mash method: decoction, multi-step infusion, or single infusion

There's probably a few more, but I can't remember 'em right now. To give you a better answer, please let me know how you mash & sparge right now. As you can see there are many variables. But if I had to pick some to concentrate on first they'd be mash pH, and grist grind. Let me know....

v/r
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My methods

Postby jayhawk » Mon Oct 28, 2002 9:26 am

For last few batches I have used the batch sparge technique. I will be trying the standard sparge method next time to see if that increases effeciency. I use the a single infusion mash @ 68C for 60 mins. The last two mashes I raised the grain bed temp to 72-75C to "mash out", if that is what mashing out is. My sparge water temp is between 75-80C. I don't have a definitive pH reading, but I am on the same water as my HBS guy, and he says he has measured it to be within range. He does throw in 1 or 2 tsp gypsum when he's not using dark malts in the grist.
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PH sparge

Postby Freon12 » Mon Oct 28, 2002 1:16 pm

I tend to think my PH is not the problem due to almost 3# of dark malt in the grist for this beer.
But it matters not because my paler beers PH ends up at 5.2-5.4 with a starting PH of 8.25.( I have one of those wonderful red PH meters).

Sparge water temp is almost always 170f.
I don't mashout and I use a JSP mill that works great.
Phils sparger at about 45min. or until the PH starts dropping using a rubbermaid 5gal water cooler modified with a 1/2" valve.
As far as mash method, I use single infusion at 155f, but for wheats I use decoction mash from 122f to 154f.
Could it be the mash tun is narrow? Could using a 14" false bottom in a wider tun make any difference?

Steve.
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Appendix I

Postby jayhawk » Mon Oct 28, 2002 1:23 pm

Here is a bit more info: I use a 6 US gal wine bucket to mash/lauter in. It is fitted with a PVC pipe manifold with 80 to 100 holes drilled in the bottom to allow for draining of the wort. My sparging takes about 1 hour. With the batch sparge, the grain bed does run dry near the end of sparging. Would this affect extract? The grain is milled at the HBS with a flour mill.
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sparge slowly

Postby Mark M » Mon Oct 28, 2002 3:34 pm

9# of grain gets me a original gravity of 1.052-1.054. After conversion raise mash temp to 165-170 degrees, sparge with 5gal of 175 dgree water, slowly, 30 - 45 minutes.
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Thanks

Postby Freon12 » Tue Oct 29, 2002 3:18 pm

Are you also saying that the more the grain bill the slower? I'll try raising to 175f and slowing the flow. Cool!


Freon ---They don't call us "hurrin' Hoosiers" for nothing.
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Batch

Postby Freon12 » Tue Oct 29, 2002 3:20 pm

I'm gonna try that batch sparge someday. I think it has some good points as far as extract potential.

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Definite upside to the batch

Postby jayhawk » Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:24 pm

The batch is great for two mashes at once. You can have both tuns sparging at once, without having to closely monitor the water level in each. Next time I do the batch sparge, I am not going to let the grain bed run dry after adding the first round of sparge water. I will top up the tun, restir and recirculate just before the water level is below the grain bed. I think this will help in extraction.
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Stirring

Postby jayhawk » Tue Oct 29, 2002 5:26 pm

I have recently read a couple of sites that suggest stirring the mash every 20 mins to increase extraction. Palmer's How to Brew was one of them. Worth a shot.
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Extraction

Postby BillyBock » Wed Oct 30, 2002 3:10 am

Well, ya know the cheap solution is to compensate for your low extraction w/ more grain :-) That aside, from your earlier post it seems your mash pH is unknown. The best investment I ever made was to buy one of those $30 Hanna pH meters (the red one), I got tired of reading pH strips. Anyway, I'd take a look at that. Make sure your mash is in the right range, 5.2-5.5. Do a search here for "mash ph" and look for my responses if you want some details I've dole out before.

As far as milling, does your HBS guy mill his grains with the same mill that yours is milled with? What kind of extraction is he getting? Milling can have an effect on efficiency as well. If it's not cracked open enough, the enzymes can't get at the starches. Of course, you don't want flour either, then you'll gum up your mash.

I typically do batch sparges w/ my system, and when I tend to all the variables my extraction efficiencies are in the 80-85% range. Remember, batch sparging is less efficient, but not by too much (just add more grain).

v/r
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Assuming too much

Postby jayhawk » Wed Oct 30, 2002 11:11 am

I have always assumed that the HBS guy gets good extraction. I know he brews in store, so he uses exactly the same mill and grains as his customers. I will be heading down that way this weekend, so I will have a chat and see what his effeciency is. I have never tasted his beer, so I may be assuming too much when he says "everything will take care of itself" when I ask him about pH. I know the micro he is attached to has some shaky beers out there, but I am not sure if it is from poor handling by bars, or just bad brewing. Thanks for the input.
Chris
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Freon, WAIT

Postby stumpwater » Fri Nov 01, 2002 10:46 am

Don't do the 175 degree thing. Raising your water temp past 168 is bad as you will be dissolving large starch granules and you will be increasing the extraction of husk tannins. (increased haze and tannins = yuck :/)
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He's right but...

Postby Mark M » Sat Nov 02, 2002 5:16 am

By the time I get the sparge water into the lauter tun, a 5 gal plastic bucket, and actually start sparging the temp drops to 170 and in another 10 minutes the temp falls even more, by the time I'm done the temp is usually around 155-160 this is why I start at the higher temp. If you are using equipment that can mantain constant temperatures, which mine does not, for the duration of the sparge then yes do not exceed 168. Maybe we should start an equipment bragging post just for fun to see what kind of equipment we are using.
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