Author Topic: batch sparge process/volumes  (Read 1055 times)

Offline trapae

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batch sparge process/volumes
« on: June 01, 2014, 05:43:10 PM »
Denny and others please chime in...

So I've done about 10 all grain batch sparge brews now and all went well until my last debacle where I mashed way too thin that I extracted tannins and screwed up the entire batch.  Made me do more research and rethink my process.  I think my process had no issues before because I've never made any beer with OG less that 1.060.

My process up to now has been this:
-Calculate my strike water volume (taking into account MT dead space and grain absorption) so my 1st runnings are about 1/2 of my preboil volume.   Vorlauf.
-Measure my 1st runnings, subtract from pre boil volume, and sparge with a volume that should be about 1/2 of pre boil volume. (temp about 190, after it is in MT it is about 167).  Vorlauf, collect.
-Start the boil, laugh, have a beer and make some beer.

I do take a ph of the mash and it has always been between 5.1 and 5.3.  I never really worried about quarts/lb ratio.
Now I realize that with weaker beers, the ratio matters.  I haven't really gotten into water chemistry yet, but I read that you don't want to go over 2q/lb for ph reasons in the mash.  Is there a similar rule for amount of sparge water?  I think I read somewhere Yooper said don't go over 3q/lb in the sparge. 

For instance, I am brewing tomorrow and the total grain wt is 8.75lb.  My pre boil volume is 8gal.  My old way would say I loose 1.34gal to absorption and MT dead space so my strike would be 5.34gal.  1st runnings would be 4gal.  I would sparge with 4 gal, and get my 8 gallons pre boil.  But that is about 2.45q/lb, and now I worry about ph problems, tannin extraction....

So should I:

Strike with 4.25gal (about 1.8q/lb), get about 2.9gal 1st runnings, then sparge with about 5 gal?  Or is 5 gal sparge for 8.75lb too thin?

Or:

Strike with 4.25gal (about 1.8q/lb), add about 1gal of 190deg water to MT (top off/mashout?), then get about 4gal 1st runnings, and sparge with 4 gal to get total pre boil volume?

Damn, this tannin thing has me upset.

thanks
I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2014, 05:54:51 PM »
I think your tannin issue is probably more a pH issue, especially since you say you haven't gotten much into water chemistry yet. Using pH strips to get an accurate reading can be dicey - I used to use them regularly. Thing is, with AG beer, pH is huge. I fly sparged for years without a good handle on pH (info on pH was often dubious), and therefore some styles came out much better than others. I recommend software like Bru'nWater, which actually helps you predict accurately what your pH will be. It takes the guesswork out. Good luck !
Jon H.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2014, 06:53:00 PM »
pH I agree

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2014, 08:11:29 PM »
If you're checking pH and it's from 5.1 to 5.3, I don't see where the problem is, unless you're only looking at the mash and not the sparge, but with batch sparge... gosh, I really don't see the problem.

That being said, my own process is very close to your second option:

"Strike with 4.25gal (about 1.8q/lb), add about 1gal of 190deg water to MT (top off/mashout?), then get about 4gal 1st runnings, and sparge with 4 gal to get total pre boil volume?"

I have always mashed at a ratio between 0.8-1.8 qt/lb, almost always add an infusion of some amount of boiling water to get half the boil volume out of the first runnings, then sparge with half the boil volume.  Works for me.

I suppose it's possible that by skipping the infusion and mashing and sparging "thin", you were extracting more tannins than I would.  But I really question this, if you know your mash pH was okay, and I would think the "okayness" of the pH would carry to the sparge when batch sparging.  But I could be wrong.  Maybe there is an impact, and the infusion really does protect against this.

I'm not going to say I've never experienced astringency in my own beers.  I have, a few times, but it is typically very slight.  Probably due to pH problems, also could be because I grind my grains so dang fine, down to flour.  But I can handle a slight astringency on rare occasion.  Nobody's perfect, 'cept maybe Jamil & Gordon & Denny, right?!  Maybe you just had one of those days.  There are a lot of variables, and we can't all be perfect all the time.  :)
Dave

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Offline trapae

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2014, 09:52:14 PM »
Thanks Dave.  The bad brew session in question was for sure due to high ph.  I mashed very thin (against Denny's advice) to get my volumes because the recipe called for 2 lb of honey late in the boil.  When I took the ph of the mash it was 6.2!
The rest of my brews have gone well with good ph's.  It just made me question my whole process and volume calculations which is what my post was really about.  Was just wondering how the rest of you do it.
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Offline drjones

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2014, 09:50:16 AM »
Quote
Measure my 1st runnings, subtract from pre boil volume, and sparge with a volume that should be about 1/2 of pre boil volume. (temp about 190, after it is in MT it is about 167).  Vorlauf, collect.

With a high pH you'll risk producing significant tannins with a 190-degree sparge, even if the mash grain bed drops it down a bit.  So, I agree with the others that this was primarily a pH issue.   
In keeping with the spirit of batch-sparging, my process is very simple.  For a 5-gallon batch, mash in with about 4 gallons of appropriately heated water to hit the target (I'm flexible with grain/water ratios but with a "typical" 11-lb grain bill the mash is about 1.5 qt/lb).  Drain the tun, check the volume and add the necessary sparge water heated top about 170-degrees to hit the preboil volume (it's usually also close to 4 gallons unless it was for a bigger beer).  Stir well, rest ten-minutes and drain (I mash in an 8-gallon kettle with a simple bazooka filter).  I'm usually looking for about 6.5 gallons pre-boil. 
So, I don't do a low-volume, higher-temp mash-out between these steps as you do and I feel things have worked well enough.  I don't see any reason to be concerned about the grain/water ratio for the sparge if that is what you were also concerned about.  That step is about getting sugars off the grain - the mash is done.
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Offline ticktock

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 03:08:30 PM »
I thought the release of the tannins was from having the sparging water temperature being above 170F, or having some grain in your boil kettle, not the water/grain ratio.

Offline Kinetic

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 03:34:45 PM »
Tannins from sparging can be from a high sparge water pH or from sparge water that is too hot or both.  I sparge with 175F water always.  The mash pH is 5.0-5.5.  The sparge water pH is 5.5.

Not sure where tannins from mashing occur, but I mash at 1.5qts/lb.  Tannins have never been a problem for me.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 04:07:49 PM »
Poor pH control can extract unpleasant tannins, regardless of sparge temp . I control my pH by using Bru'nWater, I mash ~ 2 qts/lb,  and sparge @ 190F and extract no tannins in my beer. Getting control of pH gave me the control I always wanted over the process (and my beer).
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Offline Kinetic

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 04:12:07 PM »
190F is the hottest sparge water I've ever heard of, but I believe every word you said. 

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 04:21:48 PM »
I batch sparge with 180-190 RO water. No tannins.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 04:22:37 PM »
Denny either still does at that temp or did for a while, aside from a few others here. Actually, it's between 185-190F typically. But if your pH control were marginal or poor, astringency could be extracted at any sparge temp, and with good control it's just not sparge temp related at all. Good pH is huge.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 04:52:27 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 09:31:28 PM »
I always sparge around 180F. I want to hit that mash out temperature and you're not going to go from the low 150s to the upper 160s with 170F water. I want to lock in the mash profile as I designed it. You definitely need to account for the ph when sparging, especially with hotter water.
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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2014, 03:20:33 PM »
Tannins from sparging can be from a high sparge water pH or from sparge water that is too hot or both.  I sparge with 175F water always.  The mash pH is 5.0-5.5.  The sparge water pH is 5.5.

Not sure where tannins from mashing occur, but I mash at 1.5qts/lb.  Tannins have never been a problem for me.

Water temp plays almost no role in tannin extraction.  It's all about pH.  Ever heard of a decoction mash, where you boil the grain?  That's obviously significantly hotter than 170, but you don't get tannins because the pH is low enough to be safe.
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Offline Kinetic

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Re: batch sparge process/volumes
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2014, 07:12:20 AM »
Tannins from sparging can be from a high sparge water pH or from sparge water that is too hot or both.  I sparge with 175F water always.  The mash pH is 5.0-5.5.  The sparge water pH is 5.5.

Not sure where tannins from mashing occur, but I mash at 1.5qts/lb.  Tannins have never been a problem for me.

Water temp plays almost no role in tannin extraction.  It's all about pH.  Ever heard of a decoction mash, where you boil the grain?  That's obviously significantly hotter than 170, but you don't get tannins because the pH is low enough to be safe.

There are plenty of books written by brewing scientists and pro brewers that don't agree with your assertion.  Their consensus is tannins are more soluble at sparge temperatures above 170F and more tannins are extracted at higher temperatures.

That doesn't mean a tasty beer can't be made using hotter sparge water.  Taste is subjective.  Every beer has tannins.  Some beers have a lot more than others and still taste good.  Some lambic brewers sparge with 200F water, but they are considerably more tannic than a typical American pale ale.

I agree that a high pH is more problematic than a high sparge temperature.