The Mash

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

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The Mash

Postby brewhaha » Tue Apr 23, 2002 6:10 am

after reading some of C Pap's stuff, he mentions that when sparging to leave a inch or inch and a half of sparge water on the surface of the grain bed. I take this to mean that the entire luater tun is full of water about an inch or two abovve the surface. Can someone please clarify this for me ? (getting ready to do my first all-grain batch) : )
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Postby Push Eject » Tue Apr 23, 2002 6:19 am

Yes, you want to have that much water going to avoid compaction and a stuck mash.
Basically do your mash (e.g. 155 deg for 90 minutes) then begin running your sparge water over the grain with your spigot closed until about an inch of water builds up above the top of the grain bed. Then open your spigot a bit and get your wort running (recycle the first quart or two until your grain husks form a natural filter and clarify your runnings).
Collect your wort and start boiling!
For more info:
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Ollie is right

Postby Azorean Brewer » Thu Apr 25, 2002 1:05 am

The trick is to get the incoming (sparge water) to flow just a wee bit quicker than the outgoing water. Also I generally recycle about 1 gallon of outcoming mash. I have heard of guys recycling the entire batch ... wicked over kill if you as me. Also obviously you will eventually run out of water and the 1" head of clear sparge will dissipate, just let it run it's self off and you will be good to go ... Hope all this info helps.

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When to stop sparge runoff...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Tue Apr 30, 2002 4:09 pm

There are only two appropriate ways to determine when to stop lautering... 1) When the gravity of the liquor reaches 1.010 or better yet, 2) when the pH is 5.9~6.

Reasons that this works every time:

By gravity: Runoff that is <1.010 will only serve to dilute the wort's SG unless you greatly lengthen the boil time. If you still want more volume, just add water. At least that way you avoid excessive tannins.

By pH: This is the best possible way to determine the stopping point. The reason is that if your runoff is >6.0 all that you are contributing to the wort is water and tannins. To make sure that you don't leach tannins with the sparge water, it should be <= 5.7 pH. If you can measure pH, also make sure that your mash is conducted in the 5.2~5.4 range. This range provides the best conditions for enzymatic reduction of starches and therefore maximizes conversion.

Either of these practices relieve you of doing sparge water volume calculations. Simply produce more than enough water at the desired sparge temp. Put the foundation water in your lauter tun so that it is 3/4 - 1" above the false bottom (keeps the grain bed from compacting and pre-warms the lauter tun), add the grist and fill to 1" above the grain bed. Wait about 5 minutes prior to beginnining a SLOW runoff (allows the bed to "fluff"). Recycle (vorlauf) this inital runoff until it is as clear as possible then add just enough sparge water to maintain the 1" of water above the grain. Make sure you do not disturb the top of the grain bed when introducing the recycled wort or sparge water or the bed may channel and reduce your extraction. Never let the water go below the top of the bed or you begin compacting it and extracting excessive tannins. If you see ANY bubbles in the runoff, you are running off too fast and sucking air through the bed. Keep measuring the runoff by the gravity or the pH method and stop whenever you reach either value. A lautering session for a 5 gallon batch final yield if done properly will take a minimum of 45 minutes, but the time required may increase for more proteinaceous worts (wheats, using 6 row malt, unmalted or malted adjunct grains that are grasses (spelt, flax, millet...etc) or high gravity brews.) Top up the kettle if you need to and proceed with the boil. Following these procedures will produce significantly less trub in the fermenter which will lead to better flavor, easier clarification and therefore more finished beer to enjoy !

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