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Grain To Water Ratio

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stugur

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Hi, im starting to plan my first all grain.

I cant find any info on what ratio of water to grain to use, or is ideal.
Maybe there is a ratio of grain/water/final brew ?
Is there a ratio? does it depend on what brew/grain im using?

Cheers

Stu
 

manticle

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The generally suggested ratio for strike water is between 2.5 and 3 kg per litre. 3 is generally for lagers although I've not yet tried to work out why that is. Most brews of mine aim for 2.5 - occasionally they'll go a bit beyond if I need to adjust temp with extra water.

You should lose roughly 1 litre per kilo of grain to absorption in the first part of the process.

I also generally aim for at least half my volume in my sparge water.

My mash out volume makes up for the liquor lost to absorption.

So basically for a 6 kg grain bill I'll mash in with 15 L and lose 6L=9L
Mash out with 6-8 L = 15-17 L in the kettle (theoretically).
Add 15 L Sparge water = 32 L in the kettle (theoratically).

Subtract the actual non theoretical loss (I don't get every drop from the tun) and I usually end up very close to 30 L for my boil. Roughly 8-10 L evaporation loss over 75 minutes. Everybody's system will differ slightly so you need to get to know yours.
 

Wolfy

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There is both a recommended and a variation depending on what you are brewing.

Both R. Mosher and J. Palmer recommend 1.5 Q/lb as the 'ideal' water/grain ratio, with 1.25 Q/lb suggested for a stiff mash (less fermentable but quicker conversion) and 2Q/lb for a thin mash (more fermentable but longer mash), in metric that works out to be about 3.1L/kg, 2.6L/kg and 4.1L/kg.
According to R. Daniels your grain will absorb Grain weight in lb x 0.2 (Gallons of water), which works out to be about 1.66L/kg of grain.

Using those numbers with your target preboil volume you should be able to determine how much water you need. If you're going to batch sparge it's often suggested to simply mash with 1/2 the water and sparge with the other 1/2, but you'll get slightly increased efficiency if you run several smaller sparge batches.

The online version of Palmer's book should have all the required information you need, in addition most brewing software (BeerSmith for example) will do all the calculations for you.
 

Screwtop

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Pretty sure if you asked most experienced all grain brewers you would find that we use round litres no matter what our preferred liquor to grist ratio. The ratio is as much to do with the brewers system as beer style etc. Most use a ratio and mash time that provides reliability and repeatability with each brewers system. Infusion mashers will often begin low for mash in at Protien Rest temp then add a second infusion to reach Saccharification Rest temp and a third infusion for Mash Out temp. Some use a single infusion with no mash out, preferring to reach mash out temp of their first runnings in the kettle while sparging. Some use two infusions Sacch and Mash Out, some single infusion and temp steps using direct heating of the mash tun or HERMS or RIMS systems to raise the temperature for each step/rest. There are fly or continuous spargers while others single batch sparge and some others multiple batch sparge, all depends on the capability of their system (mash tun capacity etc). Sorry if this has possibly confused you further, but a place to start would be say 2.75L/kg then round that up to the nearest litre (no need to try and hit something like 7.32L just round it to 8L) and mash for 75 min. Try varying the ratio and mash time later on after you have a few brews under your belt to see what effect it has.

Cheers,

Screwy
 

Fourstar

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As screwy said. ;)

I usually shoot for a target of 2.8L:G but if it calculates me out 13.23L of strike water, that always gets rounded to 14, etc etc.

Same thign goes for my mashout water and final sparge water. I always end up oversparging by 1L~ but it doesnt matter though. My boils and post boil gravity always seem to balance out as expected.
 

RdeVjun

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Hi, im starting to plan my first all grain.

I cant find any info on what ratio of water to grain to use, or is ideal.
Maybe there is a ratio of grain/water/final brew ?
Is there a ratio? does it depend on what brew/grain im using?
Hi Stu, firstly, good on you for stepping up! There's a pretty good chance you'll find AG quite rewarding, I know I did and kicked myself for not getting into it before I did as it is just so easy.

Now, you're not BIABing by any chance, are you? If so, this water to grain ratio question is a fairly common amongst beginner BIABers, I'd start around 5 to 6 litres of water per kilo of grain. Comparatively, this is a fairly large amount but it is basically all of the water combined that would normally be used at the various different steps in other mashing methods. Initially the first batch may be slightly too strong (just dilute it) or too weak (boil longer, but watch it doesn't overdo the bittering), that's no biggie- it should certainly get you in the ballpark and just adjust the ratio up or down for subsequent batches.
If you're not BIABing, then I'll just go and sit in quietly the corner and you should run with what the other guys said above!
 

stugur

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Thanks for all the replies chaps. Lots of useful info there.

RdeVjun, yes I am planning a BIAB brew.
Seems like a lot of water, I think im gonna need a bigger pot!
Any idea how many Litres I can expect to lose if im trying to make a 25ltr brew? I have a figure of 30% in my head for some reason.

Cheers

Stu
 

Wolfy

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Any idea how many Litres I can expect to lose if im trying to make a 25ltr brew? I have a figure of 30% in my head for some reason.
I tend to drop about 6L on the boil and another 2 to trub/kettle losses to make 22L in a full-to-the-brim 30L urn.
 

Margwar

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The generally suggested ratio for strike water is between 2.5 and 3 kg per litre. 3 is generally for lagers although I've not yet tried to work out why that is. Most brews of mine aim for 2.5 - occasionally they'll go a bit beyond if I need to adjust temp with extra water.

You should lose roughly 1 litre per kilo of grain to absorption in the first part of the process.

I also generally aim for at least half my volume in my sparge water.

My mash out volume makes up for the liquor lost to absorption.

So basically for a 6 kg grain bill I'll mash in with 15 L and lose 6L=9L
Mash out with 6-8 L = 15-17 L in the kettle (theoretically).
Add 15 L Sparge water = 32 L in the kettle (theoratically).

Subtract the actual non theoretical loss (I don't get every drop from the tun) and I usually end up very close to 30 L for my boil. Roughly 8-10 L evaporation loss over 75 minutes. Everybody's system will differ slightly so you need to get to know yours.
I have used Manticle's advice here on my 3 AG's and it has worked a treat.... By adding each amount from my HLT fermenter I can measure the water fairly accurately. So I really have no idea exactly what is in my kettle after the runnings. But at the end of the boil I have filled my no-chill cube, let it cool and had 21-23 litres of wortly goodness in my Fermenter....
 

Nick JD

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I BIAB mash 3.5kg in 12L and then boil the resulting 12L of 1.065ish wort with a little bit more hops.

The reason I like to mash with a small amount of water and boil with a small amount of high gravity wort is it makes everything much quicker. I use about $1 extra hops to allow for the increased SG boil. Bringing 12L to the boil is super quick; cooling it to pitching temp is also much quicker especially when it's only about 10L at the end of the boil. Dilution is done at the fermenter to whatever OG is wanted. I do 18L batches this way - sometimes 24L batches mashed high with some sugaz and extra hops to compensate.

You can do full strength, 24L batches with only a 19L pot on the stove.


Stugur - don't worry about hitting your target volume and SG at the end of the boil. Try to get close, or try to get under in volume; over in SG. A jug of boiling water or some cold water in the fermenter is effortless for adjusting your SG to where you want it.

It's very difficult to thicken a sugar solution and easy to thin it. Go for less volume if you're unsure.
 

manticle

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Not to be anal but a noob may not pick it up.

You mean 2.5 - 3 litres per kilo of grain right?
Shite yes I do.

Worth picking up.

2.5- 3 litres water per 1 kilo of grain and I apologise for the late night error.

I should also correct my evaporation losses to evaporation and OTHER losses (trub left behind etc) is 8-10 L. Where's the edit function when you need it?
 

haysie

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Stugur - don't worry about hitting your target volume and SG at the end of the boil. Try to get close, or try to get under in volume; over in SG. A jug of boiling water or some cold water in the fermenter is effortless for adjusting your SG to where you want it.

It's very difficult to thicken a sugar solution and easy to thin it. Go for less volume if you're unsure.
Stuger, complete opposite here, overshoot and risk over rinsing your grains which is minimal, then boil it off.... easy peasy, good caramels, cocoas, riasiens always come thru with longer boils IMO. I would rather overshoot and boil longer than add a liter or two of nothing.

edit> no idea how why or why not BIAB technolgy
 

crozdog

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The generally suggested ratio for strike water is between 2.5 and 3 kg per litre. 3 is generally for lagers although I've not yet tried to work out why that is. Most brews of mine aim for 2.5 - occasionally they'll go a bit beyond if I need to adjust temp with extra water.

You should lose roughly 1 litre per kilo of grain to absorption in the first part of the process.

I also generally aim for at least half my volume in my sparge water.

My mash out volume makes up for the liquor lost to absorption.

So basically for a 6 kg grain bill I'll mash in with 15 L and lose 6L=9L
Mash out with 6-8 L = 15-17 L in the kettle (theoretically).
Add 15 L Sparge water = 32 L in the kettle (theoratically).

Subtract the actual non theoretical loss (I don't get every drop from the tun) and I usually end up very close to 30 L for my boil. Roughly 8-10 L evaporation loss over 75 minutes. Everybody's system will differ slightly so you need to get to know yours.
I do something similar to Manticle. My regime is:
mash in with half the preboil volume
mash out with all losses (ie grain absorption, dead space, evaporation, kettle loss etc)
sparge with half the preboil volume

Its simple & doesn't involve much thinking :lol: Whatever the ratio is it is..... :ph34r:

beers
crozdog
 

RdeVjun

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Thanks for all the replies chaps. Lots of useful info there.

RdeVjun, yes I am planning a BIAB brew.
Seems like a lot of water, I think im gonna need a bigger pot!
Any idea how many Litres I can expect to lose if im trying to make a 25ltr brew? I have a figure of 30% in my head for some reason.

Cheers

Stu
Bingo! I thought as much Stu.

If it were me, I'd look to do a no- sparge BIAB to begin with, you can look at other alternatives later. Nick has mentioned batches bigger than the pot volume, sure that's a possibility, but to start with I'd do a straight no- sparge/ full- volume batch until you get your head around mashing and the mechanics of it all. Don't worry too much about your pot size, even if you've just got a 19L big double ewe stockpot, rest assured you can make much larger batches than that, just get whatever size you can afford. Here's a rough, simple guide:
Whatever your pot volume is, divide it by 6, that'll give you the kilos of grain you'll add. A bit more than half of the pot volume should end up being the brewlength (i.e. beer in bottles/ keg), that's realistic if you've never done this before, anything above that is a bonus*. So, prepare 1/6th of the pot volume in kilos of grain, fill the pot 2/3 full with water, bring it to the mashing temp + 4degC, then put the bag in, rain in the grain while stirring. Top up the pot with more water at the mash temp until it is full (you can also fine tune the mash temp with this top up water), insulate the pot and leave for at least 60 minutes. Lift the bag out and put the pot on the heat for the boil, drain the bag into a bucket (add drainings to the boil), suspending it from a cupboard/ door handle works fine. Boil the liquor (the pot should be at least 3/4 full), adding hops as per the recipe. Chill the pot in a laundry tub, pour through a sieve into the fermenter at pitching & happy days- welcome to All- Grain brewing!

This method probably isn't the most efficient and is fairly conservative, but greater efficiency will come with experience, with sparging and so on.
It doesn't get much simpler than this method but it is really only the beginning as far as BIAB goes, while your simple BIAB bag and stockpot can do just about anything achieved with another method, be it sparging, mashout, step mashing, decoction, cereal mash, over- gravity, partigyle etc. To get more brewlength out of this system (eg. the 25L you are after), basically you just add more grain, so reducing the grain to water ratio, but also by dunk sparging for some second runnings which will increase your efficiency but also make up for the extra grain absorption losses, plus by post- boil dilution. If you brew a sugar- friendly style (eg. ESB), the bigger volumes are easier to achieve... or you can just get a bigger pot!

Losses aren't that easy to predict until you try it on your setup, depending upon what your reference volume is, i.e. brewlength, post- boil volume etc, this method loses about 1/4 to 1/3 of the total volume in evaporation and grain absorption, but there are some sneaky ways to minimise that too.

Sorry for the epic essay, hope this helps! :icon_cheers:

* As Nick mentions, it is easier to thin than to thicken, this guide should give you a higher SG than your recipe needs, in the interests of simplicity just dilute it back to the target SG at pitching with cold, sanitary water (i.e. town water, not untreated rainwater).
 

rendo

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Thanks RdeVjun

Not that long for me now, until I get into BIAB.

THis post helps.

Rendo

Bingo! I thought as much Stu.

If it were me, I'd look to do a no- sparge BIAB to begin with, you can look at other alternatives later.
Sorry for the epic essay, hope this helps! :icon_cheers:

* As Nick mentions, it is easier to thin than to thicken, this guide should give you a higher SG than your recipe needs, in the interests of simplicity just dilute it back to the target SG at pitching with cold, sanitary water (i.e. town water, not untreated rainwater).
 

Mikedub

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Not to be anal but a noob may not pick it up.

You mean 2.5 - 3 litres per kilo of grain right?

thanks for the pick up, for a while that was really doing my (noob) head in :blink:
 

Mikedub

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I BIAB mash 3.5kg in 12L and then boil the resulting 12L of 1.065ish wort with a little bit more hops.

The reason I like to mash with a small amount of water and boil with a small amount of high gravity wort is it makes everything much quicker. I use about $1 extra hops to allow for the increased SG boil. Bringing 12L to the boil is super quick; cooling it to pitching temp is also much quicker especially when it's only about 10L at the end of the boil. Dilution is done at the fermenter to whatever OG is wanted. I do 18L batches this way - sometimes 24L batches mashed high with some sugaz and extra hops to compensate.

You can do full strength, 24L batches with only a 19L pot on the stove.


Stugur - don't worry about hitting your target volume and SG at the end of the boil. Try to get close, or try to get under in volume; over in SG. A jug of boiling water or some cold water in the fermenter is effortless for adjusting your SG to where you want it.

It's very difficult to thicken a sugar solution and easy to thin it. Go for less volume if you're unsure.
I like where you are coming from here Nick JD, I've just picked my my first 4kg of grain, (nice change walking out of the LBS with raw grain instead of the usual couple of cans) and a 20 L pot and this sounds like this could work for me, I was unsure about grain to water, but now I feel good, ta
 

Cortez The Killer

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I just aim for 2 equal drains of the mash tun

So say I was looking for a pre boil volume of 24L with 4 kg of grain

I'd go 24L / 2 = 12L per drain

So mash in would be 12L + 4L (as 1 kg sucks up about 1L of water)

And sparge with 12L

Total water for brewday would be 28L

My mash in ratio is dictated by batch size and grain weight and can range from 3L - 6L

I haven't found any adverse affects with a thin mash

There are some detailed experiments and discussion here http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Batch_Sparging_Analysis

Cheers
 
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