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Preferred water to grain ratio

Is there a consensus water to grain ratio? I have heard that 1.25 qts/lb or 1.33 qts/lb is typically. I recently brewed a batch with a step mash schedule. I mash in a cooler so I started thick (right at 1.0) and then after the infusion to the Sacch rest I was at 1.54 qts/lb.

Both mashes seemed fine and not difficult to deal with from a process perspective. I understand that a higher ratio can help with efficiency.

Do people have preferred ratios? Are your reasons practical, theoretical or empirical?

Anywhere from 1 to 2 qt/lb is fine. It really just doesn’t matter that much. The old standard was 1.25-1.33 qt/lb. Now some experts are recommending more like 1.8-2 qt/lb, so I’ve been trying that lately with some batches. It doesn’t seem to matter. It’s probably better to be consistent one way or the other than go back and forth. Try it for yourself and decide for yourself. There are no hard ‘n’ fast rules of thumb at this point in time.

I use whatever ratio will get me close to half my total boil volume drom the mash run off. Usually that’s around 1.65-1.75 qt./lb.

One thing I notice is if I use a higher amount of mash water, the grain all settles relatively quickly in my mash tun (S.S. Pot with S.S. False Bottom). At that point, I have a gallon of water under my false bottom in the dead space, and a gallon of water “on top” of my grain bed…

I guess that would be a question I would have - If the water ends up just sort of “sitting on top” of the grain anyway - what difference could it/would it make in the beer/mash??

Mainly just curious.

To be honest, amount of mash water might be the least precise aspect of my brewing. I lose a gallon to dead space in every batch. And, to be honest, I basically either put 4 total gallons of water in my mash tun, or 5 total gallons of water in my mash tun depending on if my grain bill is 10lbs or less or gets up into the 12-15 lb range…

What problems am I potentially causing myself if I am doing this?? Probably something I should be more precise about . … . just never have been.

Are you still doing a mash-out with these ratios Denny, is it batch specific, or has that fallen by the wayside?

Mash out isn’t necessary with batch sparging [quote=“Edelstoff”][quote]I use whatever ratio will get me close to half my total boil volume drom the mash run off. Usually that’s around 1.65-1.75 qt./lb.[/quote]

Are you still doing a mash-out with these ratios Denny, is it batch specific, or has that fallen by the wayside?[/quote]

Are you still doing a mash-out with these ratios Denny, is it batch specific, or has that fallen by the wayside?[/quote]

No, I don’t. One reason for going to a higher ratio is so I don’t have to mess with that. It’s not truly a mash out, anyway…just a post run off water addition. Then I use 180-190F sparge water.

Thanks for all the input. I like the flexibility of varied ratios.

I have used up to 3.5 qt/lb for no sparge mashes. Works just fine. If Im not no-sparging I just choose a volume that fills my MLT for good temp retention.

I use 1.4 qt./lb. ratio and I fly sparge.

I’ve been doing what Denny does and all works out well. Efficiency about 75%, and no off flavors.

+1, though my ratios are typically around 2 with an efficiency around 80%

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