Author Topic: batch sparge question  (Read 2345 times)

Offline melferburque

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batch sparge question
« on: February 17, 2012, 08:26:47 AM »
it has occurred to me that my efficiency problems likely lie in my sparging techniques.  I know I'm not hitting the proper pH, but I suspect that was due to sparging too quickly.  I'm going to experiment with letting the sparge water soak for a solid 30 minutes this weekend to see if that helps.

but I'm curious about the temperature.  my understanding was you mash around 150 and sparge around 170.  I add hotter water, calculated by beersmith and usually about 165 for the mash to hit my 150-ish target.  I generally ad my sparge water at 185 or so to raise the grain bed temp to 170.  is this wrong?  should I be adding 170 degree water?  it might explain my astringency problems, but that doesn't make sense.  adding 170 degree water to 140-ish degree bed isn't going stop the enzyme process, right?  the bed would act as a heat sink and drop the water below 170 pretty quickly.

anyone want to share their batch sparge procedures?

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 08:43:53 AM »
I follow the Denny Cheap'n'Easy method and add sparge water at 185-190F, stir, vorlauf, and sparge.  I believe the fly sparging people use 170 degree water since it is constant, and will keep the grain bed at 170 once it reaches there.  But you are correct that your water needs to be hotter than 170 to raise a 148-155 F grain bed to 170. 

Let us know how the extended rest on sparge goes.  Some have said it doesn't seem to matter, but 'm curious since I can never seem to get above 70% myself.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 08:44:35 AM »
I'm thinking your astringency problems are primarily due to your PH being too high. IMO if you get your PH down in the mid to lower 5's your astringency will go away. Cheers!!!
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Offline bluesman

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 08:54:30 AM »
Are you measuring the final resting mash temps after doughing-in and sparging? Have you calibrated your thermometer? Measure the mash pH...it should be between 5.2 and 5.7. The sparge pH should not exceed 6.0, because if it does the sparge water will begin to extract tannins from the grain husks which will lead to astringency in the finished beer.
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Offline nateo

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 08:55:53 AM »
I always pre-acidify my sparge water to make sure there's no way my pH will rise during sparging. I also keep my batch sparge water temp under 170. I could probably get slightly high efficiency with a higher temp, but getting a high efficiency is not that important to me. 
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Offline melferburque

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 09:03:35 AM »
Are you measuring the final resting mash temps after doughing-in and sparging? Have you calibrated your thermometer? Measure the mash pH...it should be between 5.2 and 5.7. The sparge pH should not exceed 6.0, because if it does the sparge water will begin to extract tannins from the grain husks which will lead to astringency in the finished beer.

I'm thinking your astringency problems are primarily due to your PH being too high. IMO if you get your PH down in the mid to lower 5's your astringency will go away. Cheers!!!

my pH is definitely not too high.  I use the 5.2 stabilizer now, but even before that I was never more than 5.4 on the mash, and the sparge was usually just a tick or two higher than that.  I was trying to figure out why I wasn't closer to 6.0 on the sparge.  I figured it was not doing the rest.

I've taken temps pre- and post-mash after thorough stirring and don't lose more than a degree or two.  I use a ten gallon orange igloo cooler, and it's been awesome.  the sparge temp usually hits about 170 as well after dumping in the 185 degree water.

sounds like I have been doing it right.  I'll see if letting the sparge water soak a bit longer helps.  I've only been letting it sit 5-10 minutes before draining up until now.

Offline nateo

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 09:13:42 AM »
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline bluesman

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 09:23:13 AM »
I use the 5.2 stabilizer now,

Yeah, don't do that:
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1125.0

+1

It is only useful when your water is a good fit for it but it is not "be all...to end all" solution to your water profile. What is your water source?
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 09:30:39 AM »
I follow the Denny Cheap'n'Easy method and add sparge water at 185-190F, stir, vorlauf, and sparge.  I believe the fly sparging people use 170 degree water since it is constant, and will keep the grain bed at 170 once it reaches there.  But you are correct that your water needs to be hotter than 170 to raise a 148-155 F grain bed to 170. 

Let us know how the extended rest on sparge goes.  Some have said it doesn't seem to matter, but 'm curious since I can never seem to get above 70% myself.

I follow Denny's easy batch sparge method.  I'm only doing 3 gallon batches in a 48qt cooler, so my mash in H2O is about 175 which will give me a 152-154 mash temp for an hour.  For the batch sparge, I add in 180 degree H2O, stir very well and maybe let it sit for just a couple of minutes before quick vorlauf and drain into the boil.  I've done three all grain batches now and each have come out great.  My second, an APA, won bronze in a LHBS homebrew competition, so keeping things simple has worked well for me so far. 
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Offline denny

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 09:45:21 AM »
it has occurred to me that my efficiency problems likely lie in my sparging techniques.  I know I'm not hitting the proper pH, but I suspect that was due to sparging too quickly.  I'm going to experiment with letting the sparge water soak for a solid 30 minutes this weekend to see if that helps.

but I'm curious about the temperature.  my understanding was you mash around 150 and sparge around 170.  I add hotter water, calculated by beersmith and usually about 165 for the mash to hit my 150-ish target.  I generally ad my sparge water at 185 or so to raise the grain bed temp to 170.  is this wrong?  should I be adding 170 degree water?  it might explain my astringency problems, but that doesn't make sense.  adding 170 degree water to 140-ish degree bed isn't going stop the enzyme process, right?  the bed would act as a heat sink and drop the water below 170 pretty quickly.

anyone want to share their batch sparge procedures?

In batch sparging, you can run off as quickly as your system will allow.  As long as you're not getting a stuck runoff, you're not sparging too quickly.  Taking longer for runoff will not increase your efficiency.  Neither will letting the sparge water sit.  I've experimented dozens of times with waiting from 30 min, to no wait at all, and it makes absolutely no difference.  I simply stir in the sparge water, vorlauf and runoff.   It takes me a total of 15 min. to vorlauf the mash, run it off, stir in the sparge water, vorlauf again, and run off the sparge.  My sparge water is between 185-200 degrees.  As long as your ph is OK, you won't extract tannins with those temps.  I average 80-85% efficiency.

Are you sure you;re getting astringency?  I've seen it misdiagnosed so often that I always have to ask that question.

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Offline melferburque

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 10:00:13 AM »
I use the 5.2 stabilizer now,

Yeah, don't do that:
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1125.0

+1

It is only useful when your water is a good fit for it but it is not "be all...to end all" solution to your water profile. What is your water source?

water source is seattle municipal.  should be pretty good water, I know it's some of the best drinking water in the country.

Offline denny

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 10:05:56 AM »
water source is seattle municipal.  should be pretty good water, I know it's some of the best drinking water in the country.

But that doesn't mean that 5.2 will necessarily be effective for all beer styles or that it won't leave unpleasant flavors in the beers.  Just avoid it.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 10:08:31 AM »
Here's a link to your water report. It's stating your PH is in the 8+ range. http://www.seattle.gov/util/groups/public/@spu/@water/documents/webcontent/02_015257.pdf
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Offline melferburque

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 10:15:31 AM »
Here's a link to your water report. It's stating your PH is in the 8+ range. http://www.seattle.gov/util/groups/public/@spu/@water/documents/webcontent/02_015257.pdf

I had done several batches without the 5.2 stab and my pH had been fine, mash is always 5.4 or under.  I didn't really notice any difference with the stabilizer but figured it couldn't hurt.  I think I'll go back to au naturel after reading up on it more.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: batch sparge question
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 10:31:06 AM »
Seattle water is great.  Don't use 5.2, you've got that covered.  It might not be astringency, as Denny pointed out.  Hmmm . . . Where do you get your grains milled?  Are you sure your thermometer is accurate?  High temp would explain some of your problems, as well as high pH.  Low efficiency + astringency indicates a chemistry problem to me, rather than a procedural problem.
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