Author Topic: Step Mash Batch Sparging?  (Read 961 times)

Offline EThome

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Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« on: August 25, 2016, 03:22:50 PM »
I have been brewing for several years with a couple dozen extract w/grains batches under my belt and have decided to make the jump to all grain (batch sparging). Have already converted a cooler to a mash tun, read up on the process, and have decided on the inaugural brew - Bell's Two Hearted clone. My initial questions come from the recipe published in Zymurgy back in 2011.

The recipe calls for a step mash; 45 minutes @ 150 with 4.5 gallons of water then ramp to 170 by infusing with 2.5 gallons of boiling water for 10 minutes and then vorlauf. The recipe calls for collecting 6.6 gallons total (I will probably collect more like 7 gallons based on my actual boil off numbers) from the mash and sparge, sparging with 175 degree water.

If I use the average absorption of 0.1 gallons per pound taking up 1.22 gallons (12.16 lb grain bill X 0.1) with the 7 gallons total in the mash that leaves only 1.22 gallons needed for the sparge. (7 gallons (4.5 strike and 2.5 infusion) - 1.22 = 5.78 expected from the mash; 7 - 5.78 = 1.22 gallons required for the sparge)

So is that all the sparge water I should heat up - just 1.22 gallons?

Or should I heat up and actually sparge with more and just collect the 6.6 or 7 gallons? If more, is there a limit to how much more I should sparge with?

Or am I not figuring something right?


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Offline txk54

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Re: Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2016, 03:48:55 PM »
The ramp up to 170 looks like a mash out to me. I don't do a mash out batch sparging. For me, I would mash at 150 for 60 minutes, vorlauf, collect first runnings, add sparge water, stir, vorlauf, collect second runnings. I try and have my first and second runnings about equal. If you're looking to collect 7 gallons total, I'd target about 3.5 for each running.

Offline denny

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Re: Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2016, 04:25:44 PM »
The ramp up to 170 looks like a mash out to me. I don't do a mash out batch sparging. For me, I would mash at 150 for 60 minutes, vorlauf, collect first runnings, add sparge water, stir, vorlauf, collect second runnings. I try and have my first and second runnings about equal. If you're looking to collect 7 gallons total, I'd target about 3.5 for each running.

Pretty much this, except I don't worry much about equal runnings.  I mash with whatever ratio I want, usually 1.65-76 qt./lb., then sparge enough to get my boil volume (7-7.5 gal. for a 5.5 gal. batch).  I heat that sparge water up to 185-195F which gives me a grain bed temp around 170.  There's no need for a mashout when you batch sparge since you get to the boil so quickly and that denatures enzymes like a mashout would.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2016, 04:28:52 PM »
Your thinking is sound.  Below is how I would do it, YMMV.

I like to sparge with just what I think I need using a 1 qt/lb absorption factor and later adding water to the boil kettle if it looks like I'm going to be short of my target (which generally isn't necessary). 

Using more water than necessary for the sparge water tends to lower efficiency particularly when the sparge volume is so low.  However, some of what I do has more to do with my process or brewing habits, i.e., I generally don't measure preboil volume. 

Offline EThome

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Re: Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2016, 06:48:25 PM »
Thanks guys. Maintaining the typical batch sparge routine certainly makes it simpler with my setup (single burner, no-heat mash tune, etc).

Any thoughts as to why the guys from Bell's who posted the original clone recipe would suggest the step mash when undermodified malts likely would not be used nor are listed in the recipe?
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2016, 07:31:13 PM »
I don't think they are specifying a step mash.  They are simply following the normal process of a single infusion fly sparge recipe.

A "step mash" is generally something like 20 minutes at 128f, raise to 142f for 15 minutes then raise to 152F for 25 minutes.  All followed by a rise to 170F for 10 minutes to Mash Out.  (Those temps are random numbers and not any kind of real recommendation.)

Like Denny said, the mash out isn't required with batch sparging due the quick process of dumping 2 batches of water through the mash and done.  Fly sparging is a slower process and it is necessary to shutdown the enzymes during the sparging process to keep the wort from becoming too thin (no body).  Raising the temp to 170F for 10 minutes will denature the enzymes that convert the starch to sugar.

Your wort from a batch sparge will be boiling before you'd be done with the vorlauf on a fly sparge.   ;D

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Offline denny

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Re: Step Mash Batch Sparging?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2016, 07:38:40 PM »
Thanks guys. Maintaining the typical batch sparge routine certainly makes it simpler with my setup (single burner, no-heat mash tune, etc).

Any thoughts as to why the guys from Bell's who posted the original clone recipe would suggest the step mash when undermodified malts likely would not be used nor are listed in the recipe?

As has been said, it's not what you're thinking of in terms of a step mash, where you go through various rest temps.  The reason a large brewery does it is because it takes so long for them to lauter and bring the wort to a boil.  In a small scale batch sparge setup, it has no use.  Another case of what commercial brewers do having no bearing on homebrewing.
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