Mash out water volume

I have the NB All Grain instruction video and have a question about the mash out water volume. I’ve only done about 6 AG batches so far and am hoping some of you with more experience could help me out. In their example they are brewing with an 8# grain bill (cream ale). They use 3 gal strike water, 4 gal sparge water, AND 1.5 gal boiling water for the mash out (10 min rest). That ends up being a total of 8.5 gallons of water for an 8# grain bill. Is that right? In the past I’ve always used part of my Sparge water for the mash out. Should I be using an additional 1.5 gal of boiling water and not part of my sparge water volume for the mash out? Thanks!

Nope, not necessarily. I assume you’re batch sparging and in that case a mashout is really unnecessary anyway. I stopped doing it several years ago under most circumstances. I use a higher mash ratio (1.65-75 qt./lb.) so that I get about half my total boil volume out of the mash run off. Then I sparge with enough 185-190F water to get to my total boil volume. The only time I ever add water pre mash runoff is when I’d have to use a veryhigh mash ratio otherwise. In that case I mash at 1.75-2 qt. lb., add enough water to get 1/2 my boil volume and then sparge enough to get the other 1/2.

Hey Denny thanks for the quick reply and info I appreciate it! Yes, I am batch sparging, forgot to mention that. In the NB video they are fly sparging. I get what your saying, sounds good, saves a step too. Just so I can have a baseline to run my numbers on, in their example, 8# grain bill, I would bump up my strike water volume to 3.5 gal ( that’s using your 1.75 qt to # ratio). Then for sparge volume would I then use more than the 4 gal (2 qts. per pound per the NB example) or less to get to my boil volume? I understand that different recipes might have different boil volume targets but I’m just trying to come up with a water volume baseline. Thanks again.

Sometimes I’ll hold back my grain absorption volume, get it boiling and add it as a pseudo mash out, very seldom does it bring the temperature up enough to denature the enzymes but it does give me a couple points bump in efficiency.

My boil volume target is based on batch size, not recipe. I want to end up with 5.5 gal. so I start out with 7.5. One way to do it is to measure how much wort you get from the mash runoff. Subtract that from the amount you want to boil. The answer you get will be how much sparge water to use.

FWIW, that’s not really for grain absorption. It’s just to equalize runoffs, and that may not always be due to absorption.