I’m brewing a big barleywine that maxes out my mash tun. I plan to boil for 2 hours and I want to collect more wort than one sparge will give me. Is it better to calculate how much sparge water I’ll need and split that into two batches or maximize the runnings from the first sparge and then collect what I need from the second to make up the difference? I’m thinking a big first sparge will get the most sugar out of the mash but I’m curious if others have experience.
Figure out how much water is absorbed into your grain, then calculate the total amount of sparging water you’ll want (first runnings, second runnings, third runnings) and divide it by three, making your three sparges all equal volumes. A thread from a few days ago talked about why efficiency maximizes when you have equal volumes.
In reality, it doesn’t matter all that much.
Thanks. I may just do two equal sparges and make a very small beer with the last runnings. I guess it depends on how things are going otherwise.
To help that small beer be a little more interesting, you could either add some more grain to the MT up front and reserve a gallon or so of the first runnings to add to the small beer kettle or add some grain to the MT after draining the first sparge and do a short mash to boost the sugar content of the second sparge.