# Amount of water, first all-grain caribou slobber ale

Greetings and thanks in advance for any help.

Planning my first all grain brew. I will be brewing a 5 gal. batch of Caribou Slobber Brown Ale.

I have a question about my total volume of water. Going by the basic Northern all grain instructions, it looks like I’m going to use 10 gallons of water. Even with grain absorption and boil off, seems like to much.

Receipt has 10.5 lbs. of grain.

Mash calls for 1.25 to 1.5 qts. of water for every pound of grain, which equals 3.5 gallons for mashing.
Boil 1.5 gallons of water for the mash-out.
Sparge calls for 2 quarts of water for every pound of grain, which equals 5 gallons of water.

3.5 + 1.5 + 5 equals 10 gallons

I believe I would need to start the boil with 6 to 6.5 gallons of water. It appears I need to reduce total water to something closer to 8 gallons. But where do I reduce? Mash or Sparge?

A second question: Can you really have a general rule for mash and sparge water? If you always used the same amount of water to grain ratio, wouldn’t you always end up with the same gravity of beer?

Thanks, Dan

Try the Mashwater3.3 in the 1st link and the other link to see how the numbers add up.

The volume needed will depend on the amount of grain. The grain will absorb water so more grain will need more water.

Your on target with needing 6-6.5 gallons in the pot. Depending on how long you boil and the rate of evaporation.

Use a set water to grain ratio. You can then drain that without adding any new water. Get your volume and add the amount needed to the grain to get to your pre boil amount.

Looks like those instructions are for fly sparging.
Are you going to fly or batch sparge?
I like this calculator for water volume:

http://onebeer.net/batchspargecalc.shtml

I use the brewheads calculator for batch sparging and until I made a stupid error and decided I needed 7 gallons, not 6.5 for boil off (6.5 is better) I hit my numbers dead on.

In answer to your second question the grainbill has the biggest effect on the gravity of the wort. More grain = more sugars = higher gravity.

I’m using Northern Brewers Deluxe All Grain System which is a fly sparge setup. The instructions I’m following are from Northerns DVD on All Grain Brewing using a fly sparge. It is a basic, generic guide.
It has basic, simple formulas for mash water, mash-out water, and sparge water.

Am I making this harder than it really is… After I Mash, Mash-Out… do I simply sparge until I have my 6.5 gallons of pre-boil then stop sparging?

That is, if I calculated I need 5 gallons for sparging, and after sparging with 3 gallons I’m at 6.5 gallons of pre-boil, am I leaving something important behind in the grains?

Thanks,
Dan

I’m using Northern Brewers Deluxe All Grain System which is a fly sparge setup. The instructions I’m following are from Northerns DVD on All Grain Brewing using a fly sparge. It is a basic, generic guide.
It has basic, simple formulas for mash water, mash-out water, and sparge water.

Am I making this harder than it really is… After I Mash, Mash-Out… do I simply sparge until I have my 6.5 gallons of pre-boil then stop sparging?

That is, if I calculated I need 5 gallons for sparging, and after sparging with 3 gallons I’m at 6.5 gallons of pre-boil, am I leaving something important behind in the grains?

Thanks,
Dan[/quote]
Yep, sparge until you have your pre-boil amount. Any sparge method is going to leave some sugars behind, but that’s the nature of things.

Coming from extract to all-grain recently, so I understand your confusion. The amount of water is a big difference in the two.

It’s better to have too much sparge water than not enough. Mash, recirculate and sparge until you have the pre-boil volume.

Yes you may leave behind sugars and when you are ready, you could consider harvesting those sugars for a yeast starter.

When I started AG, I only had a 5-gallon pot so I was completly confused about the need for so much water. I was used to adding water after the boil, but the liquid malt extract has much more sugar than what we will most likely extract in AG so that is why you can add water to the primary.

Thank you… that makes sense. Tomorrow is brew day… wish me luck!
Dan