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No Sparge Question

[quote]No-sparge brewing differs from conventional all-grain brewing by incorporating the full boil volume of water into the mash, instead of adding it afterwards during the lauter as a separate sparging (rinsing) step.

The amount of water used for continuous sparging (3 to 5 gallons) is typically 1.5 times as much for the mash. When you brew with the no-sparge method, this 3 to 5 gallons is added to the mash tun at the end of the mash, before recirculation, and allows the mash tun to be simply drained to achieve full boil volume.[/quote] http://www.byo.com/stories/techniques/a … the-sparge

I like to do 6.25 gallon batches with my 10 gallon Boiler Maker pots – used for both mash and boil. I simply don’t have enough space in my mash tun to comfortably fit ALL the brewing water and the grains at once.

I have two options:

  1. Drain off some of the wort and then replace the empty mash tun space with the rest of the water (essentially sparging)
  2. Drain off all the wort I can fit and then top-off the rest in the kettle pre-boil

I’m leaning towards #2 since pH isn’t too much of an issue anymore once the wort is separated from the mash. Any suggestions?

Your efficiency will suffer with option 2.

I would add a second amount of water to meet your preboil volume.

I’m messing around with a new 24-gallon kettle and have found that the 30-gallon cooler MT isn’t quite big enough to no-sparge 20 gallons of wort. So the last two batches, I’ve drained a couple gallons from the MT, then added the same volume of 180F water to the point furthest from the braid, without stirring (and thus not disturbing the grain bed), and it’s worked so far.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Your efficiency will suffer with option 2.

I would add a second amount of water to meet your preboil volume.[/quote]

Yeah, this was my thought, as well. But I’m thinking that with a high grist/water ratio, up to even 3Q / LB, efficiency won’t be affected much. This is what I noticed when I brewed like this last weekend. I got about 65% which is fine.

But that brings up another issue… if having a really high grist/water ratio will have a negative affect. I believe Palmer is saying I should use my regular grist / water ratio, which is about 1.5Q / LB, and then add a bunch of water at the end of the mash. Since I haven’t drained anything, all the pH buffering is still in the tun and the added water won’t mess up the pH.

Having all that water will impact your pH but it can be accounted for in Bru’n water or what ever you use (if anything). I just did a Mild and did what you mentioned; mashed at my normal grist/water ratio, after the mash was complete I added in the rest of my water, stirred and drained into my boil kettle. Still managed to end up with 70% efficiency.

Why not do a mini-batch sparge? I don’t see the reason behind adding water to a partially drained mash. Adding an extra gallon to a drained tun won’t be diluting the wort much when you consider that 10lb of grain has 1.25gal of wort in it.

When I no-sparge I mash with nearly the total volume I want, but if it doesn’t fit I do a small sparge. Honestly I don’t find no-sparge to be much different than a sparged wort, but it is handy to just mash with all your water and I’m getting about the same efficiency with a 1.050’s brew.

[quote=“alanzo”][quote=“Nighthawk”]Your efficiency will suffer with option 2.

I would add a second amount of water to meet your preboil volume.[/quote]

Yeah, this was my thought, as well. But I’m thinking that with a high grist/water ratio, up to even 3Q / LB, efficiency won’t be affected much. This is what I noticed when I brewed like this last weekend. I got about 65% which is fine.

But that brings up another issue… if having a really high grist/water ratio will have a negative affect. I believe Palmer is saying I should use my regular grist / water ratio, which is about 1.5Q / LB, and then add a bunch of water at the end of the mash. Since I haven’t drained anything, all the pH buffering is still in the tun and the added water won’t mess up the pH.[/quote]

Maybe I am reading your 1st post wrong.

If you only mash/drain 5 gallons (because that is all that will fit) and then add 1.5 gallons of water (to the boil pot), you are diluting the wort.

There is no way around it. Mash thickness/thinness will not make up for this type of drop in efficiency.

blue text is my edit

I guess it depends on why you’re doing no sparge. if you think that some undesirable flavor compounds come out of sparging, then adding water to the boil to get the right preboil volume is an OK option, as well as adding your additinal water after running off just enough wort for the rest to fit. The latter would give you slightly better efficiency, although that isn’t typically a priority for a no-sparge brewer.

Good point, I should have stated my goals at the start: Tastier beer, a shorter brew day, and a stable mash pH.

The stable mash pH issue is why I’m being careful about adding a bunch of hot water at the end of the mash. I could treat it with lactic acid down to 5.2, but it would be a bit of a PITA. I’d rather use a high grist / water ratio and let the buffering from the mash take care of it over the course of the mash.

But if I do add the water at the end, will the mash’s buffering take care of the 7 pH water? I imagine it would take a while for the pH to stabilize and during that time, the pH would be around 6 which can lead to astringency.

Good point, I should have stated my goals at the start: Tastier beer, a shorter brew day, and a stable mash pH.

The stable mash pH issue is why I’m being careful about adding a bunch of hot water at the end of the mash. I could treat it with lactic acid down to 5.2, but it would be a bit of a PITA. I’d rather use a high grist / water ratio and let the buffering from the mash take care of it over the course of the mash.

But if I do add the water at the end, will the mash’s buffering take care of the 7 pH water? I imagine it would take a while for the pH to stabilize and during that time, the pH would be around 6 which can lead to astringency.[/quote]

From what i understand, pH isn’t likely to be a big issue when you aren’t fly sparging. Either way is probably fine and probably won’t affect the time for your overall brew day that much. If it were me, I’d batch sparge in equal volumes- you’ll be running off the same volume and so it shouldn’t affect time at all.

I’ve been playing with no-sparge brewing quite a bit over the last year or so. For the typical gravities I brew, I get about ~87% efficiency from an equal volume batch sparge and 70-75% from no-sparge. On some beers that had grain bills too large for a straight no-sparge in my relatively small tun I’ve used a method proposed in BYO a few years, a hybrid sparge.

The hybrid sparge involves draining the first runnings to just above the grain bed, then adding any additional sparge water needed, stirring, vorlaufing, then draining completely. The original goal of this proposed technique was to reduce oxidation of polyphenols, which I have no idea if it accomplishes. It does knock efficiency down a bit (~80% for me) and probably reduces tannin extraction slightly, so it should be somewhere between no-sparge and batch sparging.

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