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Sparge Water Temps?

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Justin

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Greetings and salutations,

I have a question. I assume that most people are sparging with water around the 78oC mark (actual figure not important for this thread), but how hard are people striving to maintain this temperature at the grain bed. I understand that it should be 78oC water feeding onto the grain bed, but while brewing an English Pale ale on the weekend I noticed much to my distress that my sparge water was a lot closer to 50oC by the time it was hitting the grain bed (and my grain bed temp was also 50oC). Now in my system there is only possibly 30cm between HLT and grain bed (including tap and submerged sparging manifold) so it's not travelling a long distance but still the temperature drops considerably. The temp of my HLT was 78oC, but I'm now thinking that perhaps my HLT should be perhaps 85/90oC.

I don't cover my mash tun while sparging which may be a possible source for a great deal of the heat loss but I wouldn't have thought it would be that much. What are you other all grainers doing about this problem? Is this going to be affecting efficiency or the ratio of fermentable to non-fermentables in my wort, due to the fact I am not really achieving a mash out.

P.S. I know this is similar to the Sparge arm thread but I thought I would build on it a bit. Plus, if you are sprinkling your sparge water onto your grain bed I would be interested to see if you are experiencing an even greater temp loss.

Thanks

Justin
 

Doc

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I too noticed this, especially when I was fly sparging.
That was another reason I moved to batch sparging.

I have my HLT water at 78 deg C also.
I fill up the MLT at the end of the mash then close the lid.
This helps keep the temp up.
The first runnings then avg between the temp of the mash (eg 66-69 degC) and the temp of the HLT water.

When I refil the MLT for the second runnings the temp is a lot closer to the temp of the HLT water.

I'm producing great beer so am not going to analyse this part of it any more :D

Beers,
Doc
 

Justin

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I had considered going to batch sparging too Doc, now that I have picked this up. I'll be interested to see what others have to say also. Thanks.

JD
 

Murray

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I like to use boiling water to bring the grain bed to 78C (or target), then if necessary continue with 78C water.
 

Gout

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I normally heat the water above 80deg, and measure the temp of the grain bed - not the water in the tank. that way i cover the heat loss factor. I am interested in the batch sparge though, how do you go about filtering through the bed, for example when you fill it up with sparge water do you stir it in to ensure it gets all the sweet wort, and then drain? returning the initial amount untill it clears? and again for the second sparge batch... i better go look in my brewing notes hehe
 

Murray

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When I batch sparge, I simply add the volume of sparge water required to achieve my pre-boil target volume directly to the grains, mix without splashing and leave it stand for a while (still comparing variables). I've also tried halving the sparge water and using two batch sparges, but the smaller volume makes it somewhat impractical.

Yep, then drain. I'm not too fussed on getting the runnings clear before collecting, I'll return a little. There is a school of thought that some grain matter in the boil improves the formation of break by providing surfaces for break to cling to.
 

joecast

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Murray said:
When I batch sparge, I simply add the volume of sparge water required to achieve my pre-boil target volume directly to the grains, mix without splashing and leave it stand for a while (still comparing variables). I've also tried halving the sparge water and using two batch sparges, but the smaller volume makes it somewhat impractical.
i havent heard of doing this before. but wouldnt this give you a less efficient sparge. it seems like the mixture would average out and be more of an even runnings and possibly leave more sugars behind with the grains?
 

Murray

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Yes it will give you a slightly less efficient sparge. However I think brewers often try to get too much out of their sparge. I'm getting around 80% efficiency, I can't see any reason why I should use a more difficult and time consuming procedure to squeeze a few more percent and/or tannins etc out of the grain.
 

Justin

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How quick do you drain the grains after you mix in your sparge water? As far as I can tell there is no real benefit for a slow drain in a batch sparge, do you just open the tap and let it flow?
 

Murray

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Yes, the goal is to drain it out as quickly as possible (while, of course, minimising splashing etc). Like I said, I'm still testing how long to leave it after adding the water and before draining it, whether to mix it in and run it out ASAP, leave it for around 10 minutes, or do as the English used to and work it as a second mash (I don't think this is necessary with modern malts but I might try it).
 

Doc

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Before I sparge I recirculate the runoff until I have clear runnings (usually about a litre or so).

Then my batch sparge technique is to add water from the HLT on top of the grain bed. I don't worry about unsettling the grain bed however I don't stir it up with a spoon either. My grain bed is thick enough not to disturb the bottom of the grain bed by doing this. I also make sure I get an even distribution of the hot water over the grain bed.

I then let the wort out slowly. I just open the tap slightly to get a reasonable runoff. I then refill and repeat. Total sparge time usually about 45-60 mins.

Beers,
Doc
 

Goat

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excuse my ignorance here but when you are talking about 'sparge water' is that different and in addition to the 'mash' water ar are they being referred to as one and the same?

(Howtobrew.com here I come)
 
J

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the mash bed cools down as soon as the wort is run out of it.

I was having efficiency problems with my 51L tun, then read in one of Dave Millers books that for rectangular tun+manifold you need to sparge for an hour. That would really cool the mash bed!! No way!

So I partigyle, run out the first wort, immediately add in the mash liquor for the second runnings wort, stir all in, close the mashtun, run out when the first beer has been boiled and chilled (and I use the left over hops from beer one as the bittering hops for beer 2)

This gives me good efficiency and as I don't sparge I have less probs with the temp dropping






Jovial Monk
 

Doc

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The sparge water is the water used to rinse the grains to get your precious wort.

Mash water is the water used with the grain and left for 90 odd minutes (the mash) to convert the starches to sugar.

Beers,
Doc
 

Justin

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What effect does lowering/raising the temp after your mash have on the converted sugars? I guess this question re-worded is can you reverse the changes that have already occurred in your mash.

eg. You are aiming for a 60min mash @ 68oC which you hit, but during your sparge you temp drops to 63-64oC or lower to say 50oC-are you going to thin your wort out? ie. move from dextrinous/unfermentables to more fermentables.

I think the idea of mash out is to denature and halt the enzymes working in your mash, but this is generally an optional step, but can you reverse all your good work?

Thanks,

JD
 

Goat

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Thanks Doc. I think I'm going to have to get in this AG caper sounds too interesting...... :)

So the mash water is calculated by recipe and / or grain to water ratio desired and the remainder (to get to boil volume) becomes the sparge water divided into 'batches' ?, so the HLT would need to be in the order of 10-20 L capacity to get a 26L boil ?

What do people ususally use for a HLT? would an electric hot water Urn do the trick? I'm sure I could pick up a second hand one somewhere....
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Raising the mash temp with a mashout is done to liquidise the sugars, making the run off and sparging easier, and also starts denaturing the enzymes

Once the enzymes have done their work, you can't reverse it

Sparge too hot or cold and you could end up with an astringent beer

Jovial Monk

Admin edit: Sparse post
 

Justin

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Thanks JM.

Goat, yep people are using them. You could also mount an old kettle (jug) element in a vessel of some sort to do the same job.

JD
 

Doc

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I use a 30 litre hot water urn for my HLT.

If I had a 15 amp plug where I brew I'd go for a 40 litre urn.

If you can find a 25 + litre urn then snap it up.

Beers,
Doc
 

Snow

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I'm only partial mashing, but I put a grain steeping bag over my mash manifold and this is enough to filter out the crud, so I don't have to return any runnings. After the first runnings, I batch sparge with 80c to make my boil volume, then leave it covered for about ten minutes. After a good stir, I drain it quickly. I have found that this gives me around 75% efficiency, which is good enough for this martial masher. I must admit, I have never taken the temp of the grain bed during a sparge.

Cheers - Snow.
 

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