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First Ag - Batch Sparge Process

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JaseH

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Hey crew, attempting my first AG tomorrow and I think have the process all sorted, except a little unsure on the ideal batch sparge process.

I'll be aiming for 24L into the fermenter. My system is 3V using 50L kegs(see link in sig). My recipe calls for ~7kg of grain.

According to Beersmith I should mash in with about 18.5L of water @ 73.2c to get 66.7c (Will have some cold/boiling water handy incase I need to adjust, being a new system with some unknowns?)

With the losses for grain absorption and boil off it tells me I then need to batch sparge with 20.75L of water.

Now should I say add 5 or 10L to the mash after 60min(mash out), recirc until clear, drain into the kettle, then batch sparge with the remaining 10-15L or so?

Or skip the mash out, recirc and drain the mash first and do a single or double sparge with the 20L or so sparge water?

Dont really want to fly sparge for the moment, batch sparge sounds a bit more fool proof until I get a bit more comfortable with the whole process!
 

pcmfisher

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Either way will work.
I have found that doing a mash out makes the your mash quite a bit runnier so its easier to drain out.
 

mckenry

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Hey crew, attempting my first AG tomorrow and I think have the process all sorted, except a little unsure on the ideal batch sparge process.

I'll be aiming for 24L into the fermenter. My system is 3V using 50L kegs(see link in sig). My recipe calls for ~7kg of grain.

According to Beersmith I should mash in with about 18.5L of water @ 73.2c to get 66.7c (Will have some cold/boiling water handy incase I need to adjust, being a new system with some unknowns?)

With the losses for grain absorption and boil off it tells me I then need to batch sparge with 20.75L of water.

Now should I say add 5 or 10L to the mash after 60min(mash out), recirc until clear, drain into the kettle, then batch sparge with the remaining 10-15L or so?

Or skip the mash out, recirc and drain the mash first and do a single or double sparge with the 20L or so sparge water?

Dont really want to fly sparge for the moment, batch sparge sounds a bit more fool proof until I get a bit more comfortable with the whole process!
Frothie - your 3V system. Is it a HERMS or RIMS? Or are you increasing temp by adding water?
By the pics, youre just adding water I assume.
You can set Beersmith up to work all this out for you, in the equipment section.
Before I had a HERMS it went like this.
Mash in at 2.5L/kg. Mash out with whatever volume (at about 90) Beersmith told me I needed to bring the temp up to 76
Recirc and drain the lot.
Then Batch sparge the 20.75L, mix
Recirc, drain again. Get boiling.
So basically - set aside some of your mash in water, again, BS will work it out, heat it right up, and use it to bring your temp up to mashout.
Note - Mash out is not essential - so you could skip this on your first run, just to work out other factors like evap, losses to trub etc.
mckenry
 

JaseH

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Frothie - your 3V system. Is it a HERMS or RIMS? Or are you increasing temp by adding water?
By the pics, youre just adding water I assume.
You can set Beersmith up to work all this out for you, in the equipment section.
Before I had a HERMS it went like this.
Mash in at 2.5L/kg. Mash out with whatever volume (at about 90) Beersmith told me I needed to bring the temp up to 76
Recirc and drain the lot.
Then Batch sparge the 20.75L, mix
Recirc, drain again. Get boiling.
So basically - set aside some of your mash in water, again, BS will work it out, heat it right up, and use it to bring your temp up to mashout.
Note - Mash out is not essential - so you could skip this on your first run, just to work out other factors like evap, losses to trub etc.
mckenry
No RIMS or HERMS yet. Just single step mash and will be bringing my mash out/sparge water up to temp in the HLT.

Beersmith is a bit vague with the sparge process, I have the default "Single Infusion, medium body, batch sparge" profile selected and all it says on the brew steps spreadsheet is "Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, ,20.75l) of 75.7c water."

I assume this to mean no mash out but a 2 step sparge using a total of 20.75l(so ~10l x 2)?

I like the idea of a mash out(by adding some additional hot water) and then a single batch sparge, but can this accomplished with my system? I'm thinking to get the mash out temp using my HLT I will then be overshooting the sparge temp. Maybe just a 2 step sparge will have to do?
 

Yob

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I moved to fly sparging from batch sparging, fly sparging IMO is a hell of alot easier and Ive nearly got my temps worked out to get to MO in the process, missed by about 1'c last effort. Meh.

I think I did 3 by batch before I cracked the shits and went to fly. It was the recirc that gave me the shits with batch sparging the most, Ive noticed only a few point difference which probably means I need to slow down my fly sparge a little.

Lots of variables to get the temps spot on, Day temp, grain temps.. Mash in is generally sopt on, but Im less inclined to care about MO at this point, I dont step mash either yet. It get to boiling pretty quick with the gas and the immersion element.

I need to build a beter fly sparge arm too, current one does the job but I think I can do better.

Yob
 

warra48

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I batch sparge, but completely ignore what BeerSmith2 tells me on volumes and temperatures.

I heat my strike water to about 6C above mash temperature in summer, and about 8C above in winter. I run about 3 or 4 litres into the mashtun, dump in half the grain, and stir, then dump the rest of the grain as I let the strike water slowly continue to run onto the mashtun. While I do this I monitor the temperature of the mash, and I stop adding water as soon as I hit the right mash temperature. I'm never more than about 0.5C out!

As for sparging, I know that with my system to get 24 litres into the fermenter, I need to have about 31 litres pre-boil. After my initial run-off, I measure what I have in the kettle. Then I calculate the difference between what I have and what I need, and that's my sparge volume to add to the mashtun. Dead easy, never misses.
 

mckenry

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No RIMS or HERMS yet. Just single step mash and will be bringing my mash out/sparge water up to temp in the HLT.

Beersmith is a bit vague with the sparge process, I have the default "Single Infusion, medium body, batch sparge" profile selected and all it says on the brew steps spreadsheet is "Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, ,20.75l) of 75.7c water."

I assume this to mean no mash out but a 2 step sparge using a total of 20.75l(so ~10l x 2)?

I like the idea of a mash out(by adding some additional hot water) and then a single batch sparge, but can this accomplished with my system? I'm thinking to get the mash out temp using my HLT I will then be overshooting the sparge temp. Maybe just a 2 step sparge will have to do?

Choose Single Infusion Medium body as the mash profile. This includes a mash out. Then tick the 3 boxes in the batch sparge options. It will work out whether you need 1 or 2 batch sparges based on the size of your mash tun.
 

QldKev

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It doesn't really matter it you do or don't, it may just be a couple extra point in efficiency. You already have the pump and re-circing so you should get decent'ish numbers anyway.

For me I'd rather save the extra time and effort, and dump the wort at mash temp, followed by a single batch sparge to wash the left over sugars out. It's how I'm doing mine and I'm up around 75% efficiency (2 batches through the new rig so far = 76% and 75%), which is plenty. The quicker and easier I can make brew day the better.

Of course if your interested in trying to hit 85%, ramp out or even fly sparging etc would them be worth while.


QldKev
 

JaseH

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Lots of good info here - I guess there is no right or wrong way, just as long as I get the correct pre-boil amount into the kettle and those sugary grains get a good rinse!

I batch sparge, but completely ignore what BeerSmith2 tells me on volumes and temperatures.

I heat my strike water to about 6C above mash temperature in summer, and about 8C above in winter. I run about 3 or 4 litres into the mashtun, dump in half the grain, and stir, then dump the rest of the grain as I let the strike water slowly continue to run onto the mashtun. While I do this I monitor the temperature of the mash, and I stop adding water as soon as I hit the right mash temperature. I'm never more than about 0.5C out!

As for sparging, I know that with my system to get 24 litres into the fermenter, I need to have about 31 litres pre-boil. After my initial run-off, I measure what I have in the kettle. Then I calculate the difference between what I have and what I need, and that's my sparge volume to add to the mashtun. Dead easy, never misses.
I like the sounds of this, simple to follow for my first attempt. And easy to adjust 'on the fly' with a new system that has a lot of unknowns.
 

bignath

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If you have the room in your tun, because its your first AG brewday, id go with just the infusion to get to mash out, and then just drain the whole lot to your kettle.

My reasoning is:

1. Mashouts improve the viscosity of your runnings, and therefore lessen the chances of a stuck sparge. You dont want it to get stuck on your first go. Would be very disheartening....and keep in mind, you dont know how any your gear will perform just yet.

2. You'll have enough to think about on your maiden brewday already. Keep it very simple first go.

What id certainly do, is document everything.....temps, times, volumes, gravity readings etc as much as possible. Doing this now will get you understanding your rig and how it performs on an actual brewday. The more info you have, the easier and quicker it will be to accurately dial in your efficiencies and temp/volume calculations for subsequent brews.

Also, youve probably done a dry run already with water to et a feel for it. Good idea. But keep in mind your rig will most likely behave differently when you are using grain and sticky, thicker fluids (runnings - soon to be wort).

Have a ball mate, and take heaps of notes. Let us know how it all goes!
 

JaseH

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Ok, this hasn't gone too well so far!

I heated my strike water to 75c but after transferring 18l to the MT and adding my grain the temp had dropped to almost 50c! :huh:

I've had all kinds of trouble trying to get the temp up, I've been adding boiling water but its taken about 45min to get it up to 65c and I now have about 28L of water in the MT with 7.3kg of grain! I dare not add any more water at the moment.

So what should I do? Rest it for 60min at that temp now? What does this slow ramp up and thin mash mean for the finished bear?

If its not going to turn out too well I'd rather call it quites now and I've only wasted $20 worth of grain and save the 240gm of hop pellets I had planned to add in the boil for another go? What does everyone think?
 

manticle

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I'm surprised the temp dropped that much.

Next time try preheating the tun with a few litres of boiling water. Ramping up through the enzyme ranges can actually be really good. Better to dough in too cool than too hot - you have done a kind of step mash.

Liquor to grain ratio importance is debatable. While there are documented reasons as to why certain ratios work, BIAB shows that you can mash with a much higher amount of water than those ratios suggest.

In short - there's nothing inherent in your process that means you should abandon the beer. Stick it out. Everyone's first has some element of 'OH NO!'
 

JaseH

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Yep surprised me too! Its a cool day but not bloody cold! The dry run I did only dropped about 4 degrees between HLT and MT so it must have been the grain that sapped it?

Ok I'll stick with it then. So I should still rest for 60min @ 65c even with the 45min ramp up?

Is it worth adding more water to get another couple of degrees?
 

manticle

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I would. A longer mash won't kill the beer - it may end up a touch drier with higher attenuation. If you had the easy means to do it I would suggest 30 mins at 65 and the other 30 at 70 but I reckon you've given yourself enough stress for one day.

Don't expect the beer to be perfect, just make it, relax and enjoy the process. There's more to stuff up with fermentation and packaging processes than there is with mashing.

Any mistakes are a learning curve for next time. I've been mashing for a few years and still make basic errors, have disaster brewdays etc. It happens. No drama. I still enjoy it enough to do every weekend or so.
 

JaseH

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Sweet, I'll soldier on then!! Cheers manticle :beer:

I'm brewing an AIPA so thin body shouldnt be too much of a problem I hope, I've got 300gm of medium crystal in there too.

A positive is that the MT appears to be holding a steady temperature now its within range.
 

kelbygreen

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how are you measuring the temp?? maybe you measured it wrong in the HLT? as the hot water will raise and sit ontop its best to stir the water and then measure it.
 

JaseH

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how are you measuring the temp?? maybe you measured it wrong in the HLT? as the hot water will raise and sit ontop its best to stir the water and then measure it.
I think this could have accounted for some of it, I have bi-metal thermometers in the HLT and MT, I also have a hand held digital probe thermometer which I use to double check temps, I meant to give the HLT a stir before taking a final measurement but not sure I did? The bi metal thermo is at about the 22L mark and I had about 42L in the HLT. I suppose there could have been a pool of slightly cooler water at the very bottom. The element does create some thermal currents in the vessel though which tends to keep things moving around.
 

kelbygreen

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yeah I had a digital probe and it measured 3 degs out from my lab thermometer which they check for calibration at the LHBS before they sell them. It was only a cheap one but I thought there may be a calibration setting but there is not so in the bin it went lol. You are right when the water heats up it should make a current and mix threw but not sure if 75deg is high enough so I always stir plus I use gas so not sure if you say the element may make more difference then a flame.

Maybe check the temp probes for accuracy. I also found the mash hard to measure even if its been stirred really well one part can measure different to another part on the other side of the MT. Although thats usually more so towards the end of the mash.

I hope everything else went well with the brew day and you can figure out what went wrong. Did you put the right amount of water into the MT? I forgot to put in 4tls once as I measure my water out of a 8lt bucket thing so gotto add it up as I go and missed something some where.
 

JaseH

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Yeah there's about a 1.5 degree difference between the digital probe and the bi-metals, but I dont know which one is correct! The bi-metals have a calibration screw in the back so I'll take to work next week and calibrate them against an accurate thermometer.

The rest of the brew went pretty well! I ended up with about 23L into the fermenter(was aiming for 24L), but there is a fair bit of hot break settling out in there too. I'm just waiting for some of the break to settle before taking an OG reading.
 

kelbygreen

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yeah I wouldnt worry to much if you get cold brake in there just try keep as much of the hot break out as you can. A refractometer makes life easy just take a few drops out at the end of boil let it cool for a few mins then you can get a reading then.
 

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