Author Topic: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio  (Read 378 times)

Offline rboulier4077@gmail.com

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Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« on: March 14, 2018, 03:17:02 PM »
What are your recommendations for the ratio of water to grain for mash? Is less water better, or is more (1.25.  Or 1.50)? Also same question for sparging. I usually batch sparge due to lack of equipment.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 04:58:01 PM by rboulier4077@gmail.com »

Online dmtaylor

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 03:32:42 PM »
It really doesn't matter that much, for us batch spargers especially.  One thing you do need to understand is the temperature effects of using more or less water in mash vs. sparge.  I typically use anywhere from 1.3 to 1.75 qt water per lb malt in the mash.  At end of mash I like to add at least a couple quarts of boiling water for a pseudo "mashout" which is really just to slightly reduce the viscosity more than anything else.  Then take first running, then add however many gallons hot ~190 F water that will give me the total preboil volume that I want.  I have a spreadsheet to calculate all this stuff, volumes & temperatures.  Without software, you can only get good at this through experience in doing the same things over and over.  With software (or a spreadsheet), you can fiddle around as much as you like.

Exceptions:

For very high gravity beers (like 1.085 or more), I prefer to mash in with as little as 0.9 qt/lb, then batch sparge twice to maximize efficiency.  This way, instead of getting only like 55% efficiency, I can still hit the 70s on efficiency, or once or twice I think I even got 80-85%.  This is only possible with a super thick mash, large sparge, and longer boiloff time, like 2 or 2.5 hours instead of just 1 hour.

Then for very small beers around like 1.040, I might BIAB at up to 3 qt/lb, don't squeeze the bag, and skip a sparge entirely.

Ask 100 homebrewers what to do, and we'll give you 100 different answers.  In the end, it's all good.  Do whatever you like.  You'll make good beer any way you do it.  It really just doesn't matter.  Learn by doing.  Do it your own way.  It'll be great.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 04:34:41 PM »
I run between 1.33-3 qts/lb.  I don't like going less than 1.33 because there isn't excess water making stirring the mash difficult and dry spots in the mash more likely.  My formula for estimating strike water is 1/2 water that I'm supposed to collect in boil + 1 pint/lb and for sparge water is 1/2 water to be collected in boil kettle subject to the 1.33-3 qts/lb limitation.

Offline denny

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 04:56:50 PM »
I found that increasing my ratio increased my efficiency a bit.  My average is around 1.67 qt./lb.
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Offline rboulier4077@gmail.com

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2018, 05:03:43 PM »
There is a bit of a watery mouthfeel and taste in my brews. This is why I ask. Am I not sparging long enough or hot enough? Or is it something else?  This time around I did 1.5qts/lb. for mash, and 1.3qts/lb. for sparge. Mashed at 152 for 1 hr, and it stayed at 152, batch sparged at 170 degrees. 

Offline denny

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2018, 05:14:18 PM »
There is a bit of a watery mouthfeel and taste in my brews. This is why I ask. Am I not sparging long enough or hot enough? Or is it something else?  This time around I did 1.5qts/lb. for mash, and 1.3qts/lb. for sparge. Mashed at 152 for 1 hr, and it stayed at 152, batch sparged at 170 degrees.

Likely to be a recipe issue.  Ratio will have no bearing on that.  What kind of efficiency are you getting?
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2018, 06:44:17 PM »
My 1.110 OG Stout is mashed at 3qts per pound. Twice

Offline rboulier4077@gmail.com

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Re: Grain to strike/sparge water ratio
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 08:38:34 PM »
I am relatively new to all grain. I am unsure how to measure efficiency. I also didn't take notes on this brew. I probably should start talking more detailed notes.