Author Topic: Batch Sparge Mashouts  (Read 5677 times)

Offline makemorebeer

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Batch Sparge Mashouts
« on: August 09, 2019, 05:56:08 AM »
I was doing some thinking as i'm preparing for to brew tomorrow.  I've been doing AG for nearly two years now, always done batch sparge using the blue 12gal. cooler that you can find so many conversion instructions for.  my extraction is decent enough, generally in the low to mid 70's.  so my question however is about dryness of my beers vs. body.  it seems to me all my beers hit their marks for OG, however FG is generally in the range of 1.002 to 1.006, despite the predicted FG being something more like 1.012.  My understanding here is that dryer beers finish lower and sweeter more body full beers will finish higher.  the biggest example i can give is when i make an amber its always very dry and not real malty tasting.

My question then is why do I finish so low, and i wonder if it's not because of my Batch Sparge technique.  my process is to mash (I also find i get better results from stirring vigorously every 15 minutes), lauter, sparge, refill, rest 10-15min, lauter, and sparge.  Once that's all done i move the kettle to the burner and start heating.  I've always Drained the Tun before my first and only addition.  i'm wondering what difference it'd make if i did a mashout, so instead of draining first, if i did an addition at near boiling to raise the grain bed to mashout temps, then continued as I normally do with a smaller second addition.  is this just a waste of time as it'd be a negligible result or should this be done?

I've read it both ways but the consistent answer i get from ten year old forum posts is that there is no point in doing this but some insist it should be done.  i'm wondering what others do.

Thanks,

Offline BOB357

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2019, 06:48:53 AM »
Hard to predict a reasonable FG without seeing a specific recipe, but consistent FGs in the 1.002 to 1.006 range would be quite low for most styles, especially something like a typical Amber Ale. Even though you perceive your beers to be lacking body, which would be common with high attenuation, I'd start by checking the calibration of your hydrometer and thermometer(s). Also be sure you're using distilled water and correcting hydrometer readings for sample temperature.

If your hydrometer isn't in calibration and you find that your FGs are actually within reasonable expectations, your water could be causing the beers to seem dry and thin.

If your thermometer is off by a few degrees you could be mashing at a low enough temperature to create a more fermentable wort.

Have you set up an accurate equipment profile? Predicted volumes and gravities in BeerSmith are heavily dependent on your inputs.

What's the average OG range of the beers you are referring to? Lower OG beers are more likely to finish lower.

What yeast strain(s) are you using? Some attenuate much better than others.

A mash out is used primarily when fly sparging, which takes much longer than batch sparging. It is meant to denature the enzymes and set the fermentability of the wort. When batch sparging you're getting the wort up into the 170 degree range quickly as you begin to heat for the boil, so a mash out isn't necessary. Also, I doubt your spargeing technique is making your worts more fermentable.

If you include a specific recipe I'm sure you'll get more specific help.




Bob

Offline makemorebeer

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2019, 07:21:47 AM »
attached is the example that got me thinking.  I'd have expected some malty quality to this beer but it's very dry and bitter. 

I was just curious.  Naturally my goal is to make the best beer my skills will allow ;) 

To that end, I calibrate my thermometers with every brew, and check calibration on my hydrometer, and refactometer every few brews.  (Note, I don't use the refractometer after pitching yeast).  Since i'm batch sparging I don't bother with PH readings.  My profile information should be in the export, but yes, i tend to hit my profile numbers pretty much dead on every time, except if need to correct the mash temp.

I thought beersmith automatically temperature corrected the hydrometer readings though when you enter them on the session tab.  generally my readings are taken at around 70F as that is the usual ambient temperature of the room my beer ferments in.  If that's not the case why's it bother asking for the temp?  but that would account for some variance if it does not.

most of my beers fall in the OG range of 1.045 to 1.065.  for example I had a really good cherry wheat that was OG 1.062 but ended at 1.008 (before adding the cherries)

this example was using American Ale WL1056 which I do use pretty frequently.  I also almost always use a starter.

So I know mashout is generally used with fly sparging, but I wondered as the batch process still takes the better part of an hour to complete before that worts getting heated.  I read things that state specifically it'll lock in the wort profile before you start sparging?  or i could just be reading into it too much.  One thing i've never looked at is my water profile, but i've been wondering lately if i should be.  I use my well water straight from the faucet.


Offline Oginme

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 08:09:26 AM »
Looking at your example, you are starting at a gravity of 1.048 and ending at 1.004.  This is a 91.7% apparent attenuation, which is way outside of what WY1056 can do with an all maltose wort.  It highly suggests that you have some form of infection coming into your process.  As the residual sugars get consumed, your body will drop and without the balancing malt balancing it, the bitterness will be very dominant. 

Looking at your process, there are a few things to consider to help with retention of body.  You are doing a double sparge, is this because you don't have enough room in your mash tun to fit all the water you need between the mash and a single sparge step?  The mash tab certainly indicates a single sparge, but this is not what you have written down as your process.  Combining to one sparge step will save on time and activity.  The next thing to consider is to start heating your kettle with the first runnings while you are doing your sparge step.  While the answer is most likely above, there are things you can do to help save time, effort, and preserve the body you want in your beer. 


« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 12:58:17 PM by Oginme »
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Offline BOB357

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 11:01:39 AM »
Oginme may be right in suspecting the possibility of an infection, but there are a couple of things you might want to check before settling on that.

First, BeerSmith doesn't correct your hydrometer readings for temperature. If correction brings your hydrometer readings to within a couple of points of expectation, then I would really suspect water as being the bulk of your problem. Mineral content is an important part of the flavor profile, among other things. I won't even get into the importance of pH.

Just a suggestion. Next time you brew, Use RO or distilled water. Most super markets have RO water dispensing machines and sell RO for about $.40/gallon. Add a teaspoon of Calcium Chloride to your grist before you dough in and another teaspoon to your kettle at the beginning of the boil. If this gives your beer the body you expect, water is your problem. You may well be able to adjust your well water to brew with, but you'll need to have it analyzed first so you have a starting point.
Bob

Offline makemorebeer

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 12:56:17 PM »
You are doing a double sparge, is this because you don't have enough room in your mash tun to fit all the water you need between the mash and a single sparge step?  The mash tab certainly indicates a single sparge, but this is not what you have written down as your process.

maybe i explained it wrong or my terminology is bad, but this confused me a bit.  when the mashing is done I lauter it and then drain(sparge 1).  then refill, lauter and drain (Sparge 2), and then i'm done.  so I see that as a 2 step batch sparge.  I was questioning if I should put in an extra step in which i bring it up to mashout temps, but the feedback I'm reading here is that this will likely not help me. 

Hope it's not an infection issue.  I use starsan and always check the PH before using it to make sure it's below 3.0  that said i mix my starsan with well water, and it's cloudy which i recently read could be bad.

BeerSmith doesn't correct your hydrometer readings for temperature. If correction brings your hydrometer readings to within a couple of points of expectation, then I would really suspect water as being the bulk of your problem. Mineral content is an important part of the flavor profile, among other things. I won't even get into the importance of pH.

Just a suggestion. Next time you brew, Use RO or distilled water. Most super markets have RO water dispensing machines and sell RO for about $.40/gallon. Add a teaspoon of Calcium Chloride to your grist before you dough in and another teaspoon to your kettle at the beginning of the boil. If this gives your beer the body you expect, water is your problem. You may well be able to adjust your well water to brew with, but you'll need to have it analyzed first so you have a starting point.

so I corrected the temperature differentials on this recipe and they are only a couple points from where they read so i don't think that's the problem.  So, what is calcium chloride.  is that something household or something I should pick at the LHBS?  I've got gypsum, but I don't think that's the same thing.  I think i'll take your advice on using RO water and see where that comes up, but if i'm going to do that i'll do it with a recipe i'm familar with.  the one i'm doing this weekend is a new recipe so i wouldn't know if it made a difference or not.

Offline makemorebeer

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 01:00:14 PM »
on a side note, where/how do i get my water tested?  i've done water testing with my local county but that was well contamination testing and I don' thtink it has the details i'd need to setup a water profile.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 01:08:26 PM »

maybe i explained it wrong or my terminology is bad, but this confused me a bit.  when the mashing is done I lauter it and then drain(sparge 1).  then refill, lauter and drain (Sparge 2), and then i'm done.  so I see that as a 2 step batch sparge.  I was questioning if I should put in an extra step in which i bring it up to mashout temps, but the feedback I'm reading here is that this will likely not help me. 


OK, I think it may be a terminology issue.  Lautering is draining the wort from the mash tun.  So for your description, you are lautering (draining off the first runnings) and then refilling the mash tun with the sparge water and draining the mash tun again (sparge, second runnings). 

Bringing the wort up to mash out temperatures will help with improved drainage of the wort from the spent grains and will stop the enzyme reactions.  Draining the wort into your kettle and starting to heat it up right away will do the same thing. 

Nothing in your description would explain why you are getting such a high attenuation in your wort. 
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline makemorebeer

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 02:10:41 PM »
Gotcha.  I thought lautering and Vorlaugh could be used interchangeably.  i.e. I've always referred to lautering as the part where you recirculate to clear the wort and set the grain bed.  thanks for that.  now i gotta go reteach a few things to some people :)

Offline Oginme

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2019, 05:11:25 PM »
3 years of German and there are only a few things I really remember but some of it comes back when I use it regularly.

Lauter is 'to clear' which is the act of filtering the wort through the bed of grains

Vorlaugh is to recirculate

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Offline BOB357

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2019, 10:23:26 AM »

[/quote]

so I corrected the temperature differentials on this recipe and they are only a couple points from where they read so i don't think that's the problem.  So, what is calcium chloride.  is that something household or something I should pick at the LHBS?  I've got gypsum, but I don't think that's the same thing.  I think i'll take your advice on using RO water and see where that comes up, but if i'm going to do that i'll do it with a recipe i'm familar with.  the one i'm doing this weekend is a new recipe so i wouldn't know if it made a difference or not.
[/quote]

You can usually find Calcium Chloride anywhere that sells canning jars and supplies. The most common brand is Ball and they call it Pickle Crisp.  As for having your water tested, https://www.wardlab.com/water-services.php is a good place. The test you want is W-5A Brewers Test.
Bob

Offline makemorebeer

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2019, 01:25:40 PM »
thanks for the information on water testing.  i think i'll probably do that.  i've got a bag of Mrs. wages pickling salt in my cabinet.  wonder if that's it.  i'll make sure before i test.  appreciate the input though.  I've got a recipe all picked out to test with as my next brew.  I am slightly concerned however about the risk of contamination.  i've used the same sanitary procedures since i started brewing.  the only difference is i changed from OneStep (i know it's not a sanitizer now), to starsan about a year ago.  so if it's infection what could i be doing wrong, and i must have been doing it wrong for a long time.

Offline BOB357

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2019, 02:26:08 PM »
Pickling salt is Sodium Chloride. Pickle Crisp will list the only ingredient as Calcium Chloride.

A couple of points from where they read? You need to say in which direction. Did the corrected numbers get you closer to the estimates or further away. Are you sure about the temperature you're correcting for, or are you guestimating? Real numbers are what will get you real answers.

If you aren't sure about the actual temperatures you're correcting for, you need to make a choice. Do you want to chase down a possible infection problem or a water and measurement problem? Only you can decide. This is where detailed brewing notes come in handy.
Bob

Offline makemorebeer

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2019, 07:40:36 AM »
so my OG read in at 1.048 on my Refractometer which is ATC so there should be no need for adjustment.
my FG reading came in at 1.004 at 66F, and my hydrometer is calibrated for 60F so that would convert to  1.005 (using the hydrometer adjust tool in beersmith)
Yes these are real numbers.  I try to keep good notes throughout the process.

so one possible point of conflict is the temperature of the FG sample.  I take the temp off the Fermometer on the bucket/carboy.  i'm not sure how accurate that is so in the future i'll take a temp reading straight from the sample.  I'd like to invest in a TILT, but they're spendy.

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Batch Sparge Mashouts
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2019, 08:29:56 AM »
Look for a hydrometer with a thermometer built into it. There is a company called Brewing America that makes one that is very good.
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