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Batch sparging at 168*

So we’ve been heating our sparge water up to 168 and then dumping it into our mashtun which I’m sure means that when combined with the 154* mash that the temp will average out some where in the middle.

But, we want our sparge water at 168* when it is mixed in with the grains right? So we should be heating that sparge water up hotter than that to achieve the correct temperature right?

And if this is all correct and we have been sparging with cooler temperatures than recommended could this lower sparging temperature be affecting our efficiency which has been a bit low? I mean, our beer has turned out fine but upping the efficiency would be nice and this is just something I was thinking about.

No, Kai proved that the temperature of the sparge water has no effect on the extraction, even when using room temp water. But I find that a hot wort drains out a lot faster and it helps to make worts with lots of rye flow better.

I agree with Shade and with Kai’s data. Sparge temperature has nothing to do with efficiency. If you want to crank up your efficiency, then you most likely need to crank tighter your mill settings. As for the temperatures, personally I add water anywhere between 190-200 F for the sparge and I’m still lucky to hit 160 F, and I’ve never been able to hit 168 F. Maybe I should try adding boiling water. With batch sparging, it just doesn’t matter that much. Get the water as hot as you care to, dump it in, and run it off. It’s just that simple. You’re probably not going to hit 168 F, so once all the wort runs out, just get it up to a boil as quickly as you are able and you don’t need to worry about hitting the mashout temperature. It really just doesn’t matter. I don’t say it often, but in this case, just sit back, relax, have a homebrew.

I’m glad this came up because I’ve been wondering the same thing. I usually get my sparge up to 170-175 assuming the 148-154F grains would level off somewhere around 165 range. But it’s good to know that it really doesn’t mater. I never understood why it would. Your just rinsing the grains right?

It only matters if you care about denaturing the enzymes and stopping the conversion. It also helps lautering.

Well, it kind of does matter… if the temperature gets too hot, more than 170 F, which is more a problem for fly spargers, you could extract tannins into the beer. 168-170 F is also the magic temperature where enzymes are denatured. This matters more for commercial brewers, where it probably takes a good hour or two or whatever to bring their wort to a boil because they have so darn much of it. But for homebrewing batch spargers, these effects are nil because you won’t hit 170 F in the mash tun like almost never if ever, and you can bring your wort up past 170 F and boil within 30 minutes or less, which will denature the enzymes pretty quickly. So… it sort of matters, but for us lucky homebrewing batch spargers… it doesn’t. Just so we’re clear.

It makes a difference in how long it takes to get to boiling.

Tannin extraction is due to pH more than to water temp. I regularly sparge with 185-200F water and don’t have tannin problems. Hotter sparge water may increase your efficiency a bit by gelatinizing and converting any starches that haven’t been previously converted. But I’ve found that if there’s any gain, it’s very small.

FWIW, 190 is my standard temp for batch sparge water, and for a normal 151-ish mash that gets me damn close to 168. Works for me, YMMV.

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