Author Topic: Mashing Ratios  (Read 2311 times)

Offline dons

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Mashing Ratios
« on: July 08, 2011, 10:10:34 AM »
I thought I could find an answer to my question (it is SO basic), so I looked a ways through the forums and, REALLY, I couldn't.  So, I will once again display my newbness and ask the following:

It seems as though the amount of water to use in the mash is anywhere between 1.25-2 quarts per pound of grain - depending on "something" (grains? beer style? perference?).  For example, Beersmith for my latest brew (to be done tomorrow), calls for 14 quarts for 11.5 pounds of grain.  That is just about on 1.25 (if I know how to divide).  That is workable for me.  However, some recipes that I've read (and some experts) call for 2 quarts per pound.  Okay, here's my question:

If you have 10 pounds of grain and use the 2 qts/pound suggested, you end up with 5 gallons of mash water.  If you use the, iirc, suggested 150% of mash water for sparge water, you will have to use 7+ gallons for the sparge.  If 10 pounds of grain absorbs 1 gallon of water, that leaves you with a final result of over 11 gallons of water.  If you boil out a gallon, that leaves you with 10 gallons.  Exactly how do I fit 10 gallons of wort into a 5 gallon carboy?

I KNOW I'm missing something here.  Help??
Thanks.
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Offline denny

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 10:29:58 AM »
I thought I could find an answer to my question (it is SO basic), so I looked a ways through the forums and, REALLY, I couldn't.  So, I will once again display my newbness and ask the following:

It seems as though the amount of water to use in the mash is anywhere between 1.25-2 quarts per pound of grain - depending on "something" (grains? beer style? perference?).  For example, Beersmith for my latest brew (to be done tomorrow), calls for 14 quarts for 11.5 pounds of grain.  That is just about on 1.25 (if I know how to divide).  That is workable for me.  However, some recipes that I've read (and some experts) call for 2 quarts per pound.  Okay, here's my question:

If you have 10 pounds of grain and use the 2 qts/pound suggested, you end up with 5 gallons of mash water.  If you use the, iirc, suggested 150% of mash water for sparge water, you will have to use 7+ gallons for the sparge.  If 10 pounds of grain absorbs 1 gallon of water, that leaves you with a final result of over 11 gallons of water.  If you boil out a gallon, that leaves you with 10 gallons.  Exactly how do I fit 10 gallons of wort into a 5 gallon carboy?

I KNOW I'm missing something here.  Help??
Thanks.

Where did the recommendation to use 150% of mash water volume for the sparge come from?  I've never heard that one before!

I don't know if you fly sparge or batch sparge.  Here's what I do for batch sparging.  First of all, I kinda work backwards (like much in my life!)  I decide what I want my boil volume to be.  In my case, that's 7.5 gal.  I want, as closely as possible, to get about half of that volume from the mash runoff and the other half from the sparge runoff.  So, I use a mash ratio that will get me into that area.  Typically, that's about 1.6 qt./lb., but I'll accept anything from 1.25 to 2 for most mash circumstances.  That means that I'll sparge with enough to get to my total boil volume. 
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Online theDarkSide

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 10:34:31 AM »
First of all, I kinda work backwards (like much in my life!)

It's not working backwards, it's called Reverse Engineering.  Kind of like it's not being cheap, it's being pragmatic.  ;D
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Offline aviking427

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 10:44:21 AM »
That seems like a ton of water for a final volume. I'm an all-grain newb to so take this with a grain of salt unless someone confirms I'm correct. Regardless of wether i want a thicker or thinner mash for whatever reason, I just make sure i have enough hot liquor to sparge with so i wind up with the correct amount if liquid i need in my boil kettle (i fly sparge). I've learned that i will need about 12 gallons of water for a 5 gallon batch so i have left over that i use to clean my pumps and such after.

This might be a helpful article too. I just found it.

http://www.brew365.com/technique_calculating_mash_water_volume.php
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2011, 11:05:10 AM »
Are those recipes calling for 2qt/lb no-sparge recipes? If you start with 10lbs of grain at 2qt/lb you mash in with 20 qts or 5 gallons. approz .125 gallons per pound will be retained by the grain leaving first runnings of 3.75 gallons, so if you then sparge with 3.75 gallons (balance first and second runnings is another good ROT) you get the starting 7.5 gallons pre boil.

For no sparge you use more grain as you will not get the same efficiency because you are leaving lots of sugars behind so

20lbs of grain at 2qt/lb is 10 gallons with 2.5 left behind in the grain for your pre-boil of 7.5.
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Offline dons

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 01:53:05 PM »
Thanks, guys.  I'm fly sparging, but doubt it makes very much difference.  I'm not sure where I saw the ratio of sparge to mash water, but clearly it was wrong.  I've seen the 2qts/lb somewhat frequently, but might have been no-sparge.  That would make the most sense.

Bottom line is that backing into the quantity is what I have been TRYING to do, I just didn't understand what I'd been hearing. 

Denny, if your boil goal is 7.5 gallons, are you really boiling off 2.5 gallons, or are you making bigger batches than 5?  If the former, that's a lot of boiling - or else my stovetop is just not vigorous enough.  I'm getting MAYBE a gallon per hour boil-off.

I've finally figured out my problem.  I have Cenosillicaphobia.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2011, 02:51:58 PM »
I would never speak for Denny but I can easily boil off 2.5 gal. doing a 90 minute boil.  60 minute boils will typically drop 1.75 gal.  I usually have fairly hard boil rolling.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2011, 02:53:42 PM »
Thanks, guys.  I'm fly sparging, but doubt it makes very much difference.  I'm not sure where I saw the ratio of sparge to mash water, but clearly it was wrong.  I've seen the 2qts/lb somewhat frequently, but might have been no-sparge.  That would make the most sense.

Bottom line is that backing into the quantity is what I have been TRYING to do, I just didn't understand what I'd been hearing. 

Denny, if your boil goal is 7.5 gallons, are you really boiling off 2.5 gallons, or are you making bigger batches than 5?  If the former, that's a lot of boiling - or else my stovetop is just not vigorous enough.  I'm getting MAYBE a gallon per hour boil-off.



I generally aim for 5.5-6 gallons into the fermenter to account for losses to sampling and racking.  I figure with 5.5 into the fermenter I can take a couple of 3 oz samples and leave behind nearly .5 gallons and still end up with 5 gallons of beer.
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2011, 03:16:01 PM »
Just to throw in some loose change, I always mash in at 1.25 qt/# and fly sparge with 1.75 qt/# regardless of OG.  I just boil longer for big beers or dilute for small beers to get to my target gravity.  Keeps things simple and makes my efficiency predictable.  (I used to use 1 qt/# strike and 2qt/# sparge, but I've found that my mash converts more reliably at 1.25 qt/#.)  Of course, everyone else should do what's best for their process and their beer.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2011, 06:59:01 PM »
I frequently use 2 qts/pound for a batch sparge.  For 5.5 gallons at the end of boil, I'd start with 7 gallons into the kettle (for 1.3 gallons evaporation plus shrinkage from 212°F to 60°F).

That means I might add 5 gallons strike water, and drain off 3.8 gallons (after 1.2 gallons absorption).  Then I could add 3.2 gallons to sparge.  The equal volume 1st and 2nd runnings is approximate, and ±1 gallon will have a negligible effect on efficiency.

Offline dons

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2011, 08:19:35 PM »
Well, 2 points:

1.  I clearly need to look at shelling out $ for a 6.5 gallon carboy.  Sigh.

2.  Found my source of 1.5 times mash water = sparge water. 
John Palmer "How To Brew" - 3rd Edition (?) 2006
Page 181, What Is Sparging: "Typically, 1.5 times as much water is used for sparging as for mashing".

Not that I'm trying to argue, but I KNEW I saw it someplace and I'm thinking most people would agree
that this is a credible source.

But, thanks for the feedback!!!
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Offline denny

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2011, 08:56:42 AM »
Denny, if your boil goal is 7.5 gallons, are you really boiling off 2.5 gallons, or are you making bigger batches than 5?  If the former, that's a lot of boiling - or else my stovetop is just not vigorous enough.  I'm getting MAYBE a gallon per hour boil-off.



I shoot for 5.5 gal. in the fermenter.  I also boil in a converted keg on a propane burner, so I assume my boiloff i a lot higher than boiling on a stove.  The 7.5 gal. also accounts for the absorption of a normal hop schedule.  If I'm using more or less hops, I adjust the volume.
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Offline denny

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2011, 08:58:23 AM »
Not that I'm trying to argue, but I KNEW I saw it someplace and I'm thinking most people would agree
that this is a credible source.

Geez, you must not know Palmer.....;)

That's a JOKE, people!   ;D
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Offline malzig

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2011, 09:48:16 AM »
2.  Found my source of 1.5 times mash water = sparge water. 
John Palmer "How To Brew" - 3rd Edition (?) 2006
Page 181, What Is Sparging: "Typically, 1.5 times as much water is used for sparging as for mashing".
There is the potential for an efficiency advantage to fly-sparging with more water.
For batch sparging, equal volume runoffs are ideal, give or take 20% or so of the total volume.

Offline sailortodd

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Re: Mashing Ratios
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2011, 05:08:17 PM »
What would the point be of sparging with 1.5x the mash volume (as opposed to sparging with equal amount, or with volume necessary to reach boil volume if you work backward like Denny)? Better efficiency? Get more of the good stuff out? I really think, at least for home brewing purposes, Denny's approach makes the most sense. I don't think you'd lose enough in efficiency not using exactly 1.5x mash water to sparge.
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