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Mashing at 2+ quarts per pound of grain question

Hi All,
On an upcoming batch, I want to do an overnight mash of an 11.5 pound bill at 2 quarts per pound. My goal is to achieve pre boil volume of 7 gallons (1/2 mash in and 1/2 batch sparge), which should end me out at 5.5 in the fermenter. My calc’s give me a mash in of 5.75 gal’s with a loss of 1.5 gal’s and then I’d batch sparge with 3.5. In doing this, it leaves me -0.755 water to add to loosen up the grain prior to my sparge. Just looking for a little confirmation that it would be okay to add some of my sparge water to do the loosening prior to first running. Or do I really need to loosen up the grain bed before my first run?? Or should I mash in with as much water as the cooler will hold?? I use .13/lb for absorbtion. Thoughts on this “no big deal” idea?
Thanks, Mike

Rather than reduce the sparge, I would mash a little thicker and add the extra water, boiling, to the MT before running off in the morning. Or not worry about it, it’ll work as-is, too.

1.5 per lb is my standard if my grain bill isn’t too big. I try and follow Brother Denny’s procedure of half first runnings half batch sparge for total preboil volume. I’ll drop back to 1.5, which gives me a little less than 3/4 gallon to loosen the bed. Then my batch sparge will be 3.5 gallons to rinse the grain.

What am I missing about “loosening the bed”? That is certainly a step I have never done.

[quote=“560sdl”]What am I missing about “loosening the bed”? That is certainly a step I have never done.[/quote]After a longer mash you’ll end up with a really compact grain bed that has a thick layer of protein sludge on top which is pretty impermeable to wort, so unless you break up the grain bed (or poke a hole in the sludge with the mash paddle) you’ll drain out what’s under the layer but then it’ll run dry.

So only applicable to fly sparging?

I’ve done one overnighter with great success but as Shady mentions, the mash was very tight/compact in the morning. So I loosened it up with 180 degree water and performed first runnings. Then according to my calc’s I batch sparged with enough water to extract my full boil, which was in fact 1/2 of my preboil vol.

Ok, just wondering why stirring would not accomplish the same thing, but I have never try “luke warm” runnings.

The way I look at it, there’s nothing to hurt and it makes mixing that much easier too. Gettin all those sleepy sugars back in a suspension of sorts. Also by adding enough HOT water back, first runnings are back up at the 150 mark. I managed to lose only 10 degrees during the night when I tried it on a cold January.

[quote=“560sdl”]Ok, just wondering why stirring would not accomplish the same thing, but I have never try “luke warm” runnings.[/quote]Stirring is loosening, at least that’s what I meant. And I batch- and no-sparge, but the need to break up the protein layer would be applicable to fly-sparging too.

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