Author Topic: Help with process. Mashing, Mash out, Sparge.  (Read 9165 times)

Offline WenValley

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Help with process. Mashing, Mash out, Sparge.
« on: August 13, 2009, 08:21:22 AM »
I posted this on Homebrew Talk.com

OK, my first attempt at All Grain was less than spectacular, not a dumper, but a disappointment. I’ve been all over the web and I’ve read a ton of posts. I have a flaw in my process and need to sort out where I’m going astray.

I’m using BeerSmith, and I have a 48 quart cooler for a LauterTun. I’m OK with the first part, the strike temp, and the mashing. The next part is where I get fuzzy.

Here’s what the BeerSmith blog says:

“Leave your mash mixture in the cooler for at least 45 minutes to assure that the sugar conversion is complete”.

OK, no problem so far, but then it says:

“After 45 minutes, sparge the mash with hot water to extract the sweet wort that will be your beer. Sparging is nothing more than rinsing the mash with hot water to extract the sugars and create wort that you will later ferment to make beer”.

So, it doesn’t say to drain out the first batch of wort from the MLT. Other websites say to vorlouff (sp) the first quart or two, and then collect for the brew pot. Do you just add more water to the mash tun? Or do you drain the mash tun, close the valve, and then add the sparge water to a mash tun that has just (wet) grain?


“Heat several gallons of water to 178F and slowly add it to to the top of your mash tun while drawing wort from the bottom of the grain tun using your false bottom and collect it in your boiler. The wort coming from the mash tun will start out cloudy with bits of grain and husks, but will soon run clear. Take the first few quarts of wort from the tun (the first runnings) and add them back to the top of your mash tun”.

This seems to be more like fly sparging, and now they recommend the vorlouff (sp) step. Is this step the Mash Out? I’ve been adding the sparge water, then give it a stir, wait five or ten minutes, then drain at maximum flow into the brew pot.

“As you continue to sparge, it is important to keep the flow rate slow to maximize the sugars extracted. Lautering a 5 gallon mash tun should take at least 40-50 minutes to collect 6 gallons of wort”.

Is this right? 40-50 minutes to lauter a mash tun? I’ve been taking maybe ten minutes or less. So BeerSmith is recommending a slow trickle out of the mash tun. Crack the valve and walk away. I haven’t read this instruction on other All Grain tutorials.

I need to adopt a process that’s proven to work. Thanks for your help and input.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Help with process. Mashing, Mash out, Sparge.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2009, 02:18:03 PM »
First off, Welcome to the forum. Next let me say they process you choose is ultamatly up to you. That being said I will try to explain as best I know how.

OK, no problem so far, but then it says:

“After 45 minutes, sparge the mash with hot water to extract the sweet wort that will be your beer. Sparging is nothing more than rinsing the mash with hot water to extract the sugars and create wort that you will later ferment to make beer”.

So, it doesn’t say to drain out the first batch of wort from the MLT.
This is up to you and your MT's ability to hold that amount of liquid. There is a check inside BeerSmith under the Mash Profile to drain the MT before starting the Sparge.
Quote
Other websites say to vorlouff (sp) the first quart or two, and then collect for the brew pot.
You will always want to do this so you have good clean wort going into the kettle.

Quote
Do you just add more water to the mash tun? Or do you drain the mash tun, close the valve, and then add the sparge water to a mash tun that has just (wet) grain?
Thats what I do. Drain then add the "batch" sparge water.
Quote
“Heat several gallons of water to 178F and slowly add it to to the top of your mash tun while drawing wort from the bottom of the grain tun using your false bottom and collect it in your boiler. The wort coming from the mash tun will start out cloudy with bits of grain and husks, but will soon run clear. Take the first few quarts of wort from the tun (the first runnings) and add them back to the top of your mash tun”.

This seems to be more like fly sparging, and now they recommend the vorlouff (sp) step. Is this step the Mash Out? I’ve been adding the sparge water, then give it a stir, wait five or ten minutes, then drain at maximum flow into the brew pot.
That's how I see it also. Usually this requires more equipment than Batch sparging.
Quote
“As you continue to sparge, it is important to keep the flow rate slow to maximize the sugars extracted. Lautering a 5 gallon mash tun should take at least 40-50 minutes to collect 6 gallons of wort”.

Is this right? 40-50 minutes to lauter a mash tun? I’ve been taking maybe ten minutes or less. So BeerSmith is recommending a slow trickle out of the mash tun. Crack the valve and walk away. I haven’t read this instruction on other All Grain tutorials.
The object is to extract all the sugars off the grains as possible. Your Efficiency will go up if you can slow it down. If you split the sparge in two batches, with 15-20min each you will be surprised at what efficiency you can get. I promise, You will see it out there.
Quote
I need to adopt a process that’s proven to work. Thanks for your help and input.
I make beer is that proof enough? It also sounds like you do to. The more you brew the better you will get at it. RDWHAHB!

Cheers
Preston

The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline switzead

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Re: Help with process. Mashing, Mash out, Sparge.
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 08:45:53 PM »
There are many methods for sparging.  The easiest method is batch sparge and you will get almost as good efficiency as you would with fly sparging.

Lets say you want 7 gallons in your pot to start the boil.

The Saccharification Rest is the workhorse of the mash.  All the sugars are converted out of the wort in this step at 150-158 degF.  This rest is usually about 45-60 minutes.  At the end of that rest I like to bring the temperature of the mash up to the mash out temperature which is 168-170.  To do this, add boiling water a quart at a time, stir and then measure the temp.  When you get to mash out temp, the vorlauf, or drain out 1-2 quarts then slowly pour back into the tun.  Slowly is key, dont disturb the grain bed that is forming in the tun.  Also drain from the tun slowly, valve about half way open.  Continue draining 1-2 quarts at a time until what you drain is pretty clear then you can stop the vorlauf.  Sometimes this take 1 vorlauf, sometimes 5 or 6 vorlaufs.

Next drain the tun empty, slowly, about 1 quart a minute.  I actually drain into a 3 quart measuring cup and open the valve so that it take 3 minutes.  After the first quart you will see if it is running too fast or too slow.  If your using the measuring cup like I do you will know how much you got from the tun when it is empty.  Now lets say for example you got 8 qts in that first running.  You still need 5 gallons or 20 quarts of wort runoff to reach your 7 gallon boil volume.  Divide that 5 gallons by 2 (2.5 gallons/10 qts) and pour that much water at 170 deg into the tun.  Stir thoroughly.  Vorlauf as described above, and drain again til empty.  Sometimes you wont get out what you put in.  For example you put in 10 quarts but only get 9 out.  Add that difference to the next addition of water and perform the same steps.  You should have your boil volume in the pot.  Boil as usual.  Wordy but simple.

If this doesnt confuse you then the next brewing evolution step is using a refractometer and Brix points.  Let me know if you need further assistance and I can try to explain better.

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: Help with process. Mashing, Mash out, Sparge.
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 07:19:50 AM »
Well Said!

The only thing I would add would be that after you add your Sparge Water additions. It is best to wait 10 min for the water to dissolve the sugars. Think of adding sugar to hot tea/coffee it takes time to dissolve the sugar.

I'm not a fan of refractometers. I have spoken with several "Pro" brewers that have told me that if you take the same wort and use several different refractometers you will get different readings every time. And these were not the $50 units available to us from the LBS. If expensive equipment is not as reliable as the $6 Hydrometer, then why use it? IMO Hydrometers are the only reliable reading.

Cheers
Preston
The woodpecker pecks, Not to annoy, But to survive!

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Help with process. Mashing, Mash out, Sparge.
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 08:06:38 PM »
There are many methods for sparging.  The easiest method is batch sparge and you will get almost as good efficiency as you would with fly sparging.

I must say I'm happy with the fly/continuous method I am using.  I looked at many people's systems and saw that since we're supposed to keep 1 inch of water on the surface of the grains, it doesn't matter too much how you put the water in the MLT.  So I run a short length of hose from the HLT into the MLT and rest it on a small dessert plate to break the flow and prevent channeling.  The only chore is balancing the flows of the two valves to keep the inch of water steady.  Seems to work and I vorlauf just once.