Author Topic: Water to Grist Ratio  (Read 3988 times)

Offline factory

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Water to Grist Ratio
« on: May 22, 2013, 06:21:39 AM »
I've been doing some searching on-line and haven't found an adequate answer to this question:

Is there a chart/table that outlines water to grist ratios for the different styles of beer?

I've read a lot about people's personal preferences for the ratios, and that people sometimes experience a higher efficiency with a thinner mash.

I'm asking because I'm rebrewing a witbier this weekend and I would like to use a thinner mash than my usual 1.25qts/lb, but I don't know how high I should go.  I have the capability to do a 2qts/lb with my 10 gal Blichmann Boilermaker MLT and a 10 pound grain bill.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 07:59:39 AM »
I don't think there are any standards by style. At least I have never found any.

You can sometimes find some cool historical descriptions of brewing practices on the internet with some searching. Check out the Shut Up About Barclay Perkins blog.

I mash pretty thin when possible. Sometimes, with a big beer it's jut not possible to fit enough water in my tun for 4 l/kg but I do aim for that. That also tends to mean that my first addition is half my pre-boil plus absorbtion and my mashout, second step, or sparge is the other half of the pre-boil.
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Offline duboman

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Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 08:44:35 AM »
I will typically use 1.5 qt/lb for most of my ales and 1.25  qt/lb for my recipes that are predominantly wheat.

Not really sure why other than in reading about a lot of wheat recipes use this ratio and the beers turn out great!

With both methods my efficiency is always 82% so I can't really comment in which way is better;)
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 09:10:31 AM »
When I first started doing all grain, I was using the "standard" 1.25qt/lb ratio.  After about 6 months, I switched to 2qt/lb and my efficiency went from the mid-high 70's to the low 80's.  I've recently done ratios at 1.5/lb and my efficiency was just over 82%, so not much of a difference with 1.5/lb and 2/lb.  I haven't gone back and tried a mash of 1.25/lb, so maybe it was something else that changed my efficiency, however, the grist ratio was the only factor that I changed. 

Also, with my batch sparge/ cooler system, when I use 2qt/lb I get equal amounts of first runnings (mash) and second runnings (sparge).  When I was using 1.25qt/lb, I was getting  a much lower amount of first runnings than compared to the second.
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Offline factory

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 09:13:38 AM »
When I first started doing all grain, I was using the "standard" 1.25qt/lb ratio.  After about 6 months, I switched to 2qt/lb and my efficiency went from the mid-high 70's to the low 80's.  I've recently done ratios at 1.5/lb and my efficiency was just over 82%, so not much of a difference with 1.5/lb and 2/lb.  I haven't gone back and tried a mash of 1.25/lb, so maybe it was something else that changed my efficiency, however, the grist ratio was the only factor that I changed. 

Also, with my batch sparge/ cooler system, when I use 2qt/lb I get equal amounts of first runnings (mash) and second runnings (sparge).  When I was using 1.25qt/lb, I was getting  a much lower amount of first runnings than compared to the second.

I think that I like the idea of equal amounts of first and second runnings.  Makes math easier.

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 07:45:58 PM »
Check this out. It's geeky stuff and I love it. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Effects_of_mash_parameters_on_fermentability_and_efficiency_in_single_infusion_mashing#Mash_thickness

Scroll down and choose mash thickness

I use 1.75qts/lb on everything. This basically gives me a 50/50 for mash/sparge
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 07:49:37 PM by quattlebaum »

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 09:28:21 PM »
I BIAB/No-Sparge. While I don't have enough data points to make an across-the-board generalization, I have brewed a couple of smaller beers recently and I'm seeing a decrease in efficiency when my mash gets thinner than about 3 qt/lb. I'm kind of curious if anyone else who mashes this thin has noticed a dropoff once you hit a certain point.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 07:05:44 AM »
I BIAB/No-Sparge. While I don't have enough data points to make an across-the-board generalization, I have brewed a couple of smaller beers recently and I'm seeing a decrease in efficiency when my mash gets thinner than about 3 qt/lb. I'm kind of curious if anyone else who mashes this thin has noticed a dropoff once you hit a certain point.

I don't go quite that thin till all my water is in, not doing BIAB. but I can see that if you got to a really thin mash it would take a lot longer for conversion to complete as the same amount of enzyme is spread more thinly throughout the mash.
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Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 06:34:10 AM »
I've been doing some searching on-line and haven't found an adequate answer to this question:

Is there a chart/table that outlines water to grist ratios for the different styles of beer?

I've read a lot about people's personal preferences for the ratios, and that people sometimes experience a higher efficiency with a thinner mash.

I'm asking because I'm rebrewing a witbier this weekend and I would like to use a thinner mash than my usual 1.25qts/lb, but I don't know how high I should go.  I have the capability to do a 2qts/lb with my 10 gal Blichmann Boilermaker MLT and a 10 pound grain bill.



If you are using brunwater or other, you'll see that the water to grist ratio of mash can also be modified to hit a desired ph. I sometimes mash at 1.25 or up to 1.85 qts per pound depending on my grist, brewing salts, and desired ph.

Offline Malticulous

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 11:45:49 AM »
Kia has pointed out that Germans mash thin. I have read some old British writings and they seemed to mash  thick, but then do several different mashings much like batch sparging but with different temps and rest times.

Me I tend to mash thin, around 2 qt/lb. I try to have two equal runoffs single batch sparging. I get lazy sometimes and just mash with five gallons and sparge with the grain absorption and boil off amount. It tends to be close for a five gallon batch.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 11:52:55 AM by Malticulous »

Offline knafrancis

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2013, 06:01:29 PM »
I think a lot of this is anecdotal, unless you're using hard math like Kai's calculators offer.

I will +1 the idea of 1.5qt/lbs - 2qt/lbs as optimal for efficiency.  Reading the posts here confirms for me why I keep beating the efficiency in some recipes by as much as +0.010 

Efficiency is great and all, but there's of course more variables.  Pg.32 of Gordon Strongs' Brewing Better Beer has some good reminders that mash temp, the type of sparge you intend to perform, and (as the original post mentioned) style are all important to consider. 

I want to say that I've heard thinner mashes (more to the 2qt water-to-grist ratio) run the risk of lighter body in the finished product, and picking up more tannins from dark-roast grains.  I'm not sure I've noticed that, but it's also something to keep in mind.  Maybe stick closer to the 1.25-1.5qt range for darker beers?

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 06:42:17 AM »
I've certainly run into trouble going lower than 1.25 quarts. For me the optimum ratio is 2 quarts. I guess it is theory reinforced with anecdotal evidence. After all, we gotta do the mash to see how it ultimately turns out no matter what we've read.

The dark-roast grain tannin extraction is interesting. Will have to think about that one...
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Offline factory

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 09:11:40 AM »
I've been doing some searching on-line and haven't found an adequate answer to this question:

Is there a chart/table that outlines water to grist ratios for the different styles of beer?

I've read a lot about people's personal preferences for the ratios, and that people sometimes experience a higher efficiency with a thinner mash.

I'm asking because I'm rebrewing a witbier this weekend and I would like to use a thinner mash than my usual 1.25qts/lb, but I don't know how high I should go.  I have the capability to do a 2qts/lb with my 10 gal Blichmann Boilermaker MLT and a 10 pound grain bill.



If you are using brunwater or other, you'll see that the water to grist ratio of mash can also be modified to hit a desired ph. I sometimes mash at 1.25 or up to 1.85 qts per pound depending on my grist, brewing salts, and desired ph.

I have manipulated only the salts and acid numbers in bru'n water.  I never considered adjusting the water to grist ratio to hit a specified ph.  More homework.  :)

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Offline denny

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2013, 09:34:40 AM »
The dark-roast grain tannin extraction is interesting. Will have to think about that one...

I'd guess that it's becasue as you increase the amount of water you use, you decrease the amount of buffering you'll get from the grain.  If that's the case, all you'd have to do would be to treat your water appropriately and you'd avoid problems.
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Offline euge

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Re: Water to Grist Ratio
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 10:11:34 AM »
The dark-roast grain tannin extraction is interesting. Will have to think about that one...

I'd guess that it's becasue as you increase the amount of water you use, you decrease the amount of buffering you'll get from the grain.  If that's the case, all you'd have to do would be to treat your water appropriately and you'd avoid problems.

Now would this apply when steeping darkly-roasted grains?
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