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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * September 2, 2003 * The time has come and I still don't have it right! < Previous Next >

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ChuckV (
Posted on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 09:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Okay, I've been planning and building, and testing and now am finally brewing my first AG beer on Sunday! I have several questions. But first here is my setup

17lbs of grain total:
13lbs of British 2-row Pale Malt
2 lbs of Flaked Maize
2 lbs of Belgian Special B

I plan to use a dough-in of 5.5 gallons of 166 degree water to bring my mash temp to 152 degrees in my 54 quart cooler with a slotted copper manifold for lautering. I plan to mash for 60mins.

Now here is where my questions lie. I plan on batch sparging. Having a 54 quart cooler, I can go two ways with this. Either add 2.5 gallons of 212 degree water to raise mash to 170 degrees for a mix and 15 minute mash out and then draining off all of the wort which would give me about 7.5 gallons of wort in my kettle (0.5 gallons lost to grain considering a 0.125quarts/lbs absorption). I would then add 4.5 gallons of water back to the mash, mix, settle and complete the final sparge to collect a total of 12 gallons of wort. Or I could just add 7 gallons of water to the mash, mix, mash out for 15 minutes and then sparge and collect 12 gallons of wort.

Sorry for the long post but finally here are my questions.

1. Which method of sparging would you use considering the grain bill and tun size?

2. Even though the 4.5 gallons seems low for the amount of grain left in the tun after the first sparge, what temp should the second water addition be once the grain bed is drained?

3. In the event that I choose to do a single water addition and then batch sparge what temp should the 7 gallons of water be to bring the mash up to 170 using the single charge of batch sparging water.

4. Finally, what kind of efficiency can I expect using either method, assuming thorough mixing before sparging, and a slow drain rate? My manifold has 4 longitudinal pipes with slots cut every 1/2 inch. (I ask cause the guy at the brew store said I should expect a 50% efficiency based on John Palmer's book regarding flow dynamics and manifold construction)

Greg Beron (
Posted on Friday, August 15, 2003 - 10:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A few notes:

1. You should re-check all your math. I think you'll find that the correct formula for the amount of water absorbed by the grain is .125 gallons/lb., not quarts, which will mean that you'll lose 2.125 gallons, not .5 gal. Actually, I find that .15 gallons/lb. is more accurate, but ymmv.

2. With your grain bill and mash tun size, batch sparging should work fine. I think your efficiency estimate may be low, though. My 54 qt. mash tun (with a 4 tube manifold) gets about 65% efficiency with batch sparges.

Greg Beron

Ian Forbes (
Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 12:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I think 1.25 QUARTS sounds CORRECT!

Jeff McClain (
Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 02:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Get Promash. It is the single best thing you can do to help out with AG brewing, and probably the cheapest single thing you will add to your AG system. You have to start using it and doing "what-if" scenario's, and it really helps to plug the numbers in from a REAL AG brew that you have done. Once you do it a couple times, you will quickly begin to know what you need to watch and what needs to be recorded. Maybe you already have it, given that you seem to be hitting about all the right numbers.

Just for numbers sake, I plug some of that into promash for you. You didn't mention what OG you were trying to hit, but I'm showing the following:

OG: 1.041
SRM: 14.7

and I would mash in 5.5 to 6.0 gallons initially. With 6 gallons initial, you will hit about 4 gallons post mash initial runnings. You are going to want to boil AG for about 75 minutes, so you probably need to bump up your boil losses (or end up with less than 10 gallons final and a slightly higher OG). I think you are going to end up needing 7.5 to 8 gallons additional water (either sparging or boil top off) to hit 10 gallons final.



Bill Pierce (
Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 04:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Greg is correct; the usual figure for grain water absorption is 0.125 US gallons per pound or a little more. This is approximately a pint of water per pound of grain.

Walter Price (
Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 05:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Can you ever make a firm statement?
.125 gal is not APPROXIMATELY one pint.

Bill Pierce (
Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 05:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The "approximately" refers to the fact that some people experience a little more absorption than 0.125 gallons of water per pound of grain. I'm assuming it depends on the crush and the moisture content of the grain.

ChuckV (
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 06:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Jeff,

Yes I do have ProMash, however, I can't get it to take into account a second possible sparge when doing batch sparging. Gives me a 0 value for water to add. And I can't get the final numbers to come out right using it. I guess it's probably because I don't know the loss of liquid to my equipment yet, since I've never used my equipment. The numbers that I posted earlier were calculated using John Palmer's "How to Brew" website, execpt the water lost to grain ratio which I was quickly corrected on. Maybe playing with ProMash after this first run, and knowing my losses and rates will help me get ProMash to yeild the right numbers. At least I have good ole hand calculations to fall back on. Judging by the lack of answers to my earlier questions, I assume all-grain brewing is a sort of learn it yourself kind of thing, being that all systems and methods are different. But thanks to those that provided useful help, I'm off to figure it out for myself.

Jeff McClain (
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 02:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good luck. I'm still learning...will probably quit brewing if I ever totally figured it out...grin.


Hacek (
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 09:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think I get your question. Batch sparge in two batches, or in one big-volume batch?

I'm trying to figure out similar questions, as I'm planning to try my hand at all-grain for the first time in a couple weeks. I've seen at least one source say that said batch sparging should be done in volumes equal to the original mash volume. Maybe adding water (at SG 1.000) back into the lauter tun after the first running will coax more good stuff out of the grain than using one large volume for one large running. What difference that would have on tannins, pH, or anything else I don't know.

Anyway, I'm going to do a partial mash pretty soon with the two-equal-volumes method and check my efficiency so I have a ballpark to use for my all-grain batch. I'm going to use a 5 gal Zapap lauter tun for my AG, and a smaller one for my partial, so hopefully they'll be similar enough to give me similar numbers. And I like the idea of expecting a low efficiency, so I can be pleasantly surprised.

I'm starting to think it's largely witchcraft, anyway.

ChuckV (
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2003 - 05:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

testing, seems that my last post didn't go up.

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