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Sparge the wort or just "be careful" - does it matter?

The NB DVD suggests "be careful to not pour the sludge at the bottom of the wort when you transfer it into the fermenter.

The Joy of Homebrewing guy seems emphatic about sparging.

What’s your take? Does it matter?

Sparging is actually something that takes place before teh boil when you are doing all grain. Essentially you mash(soak the grains at a certain temp) then drain the wort into the boil kettle. The sparging part comes in here. To sparge you soak the grains again for a shorte amount of time to extract as much sugar as possible.

I think your talking about siphoning? This is where you whirlpool your cooled wort to get the gunk in the middle and get just liquid into the fermenters.

I say it doesnt matter. Just dump it in. All of the gunk(also known as trub) settles to the bottom first anyway.

There is a lot of debate amongst homebrewers about this topic. Personally I’m one of those who thinks that while there might be some effect, I don’t care and I dump it all in together, and I haven’t noticed any real problems.

I’m with Dave.

I’m with Dave and Denny.

I take a middle of the road approach to trub - I’ll make a minimal effort (whirlpool and leaving behind the last bit of wort) to put clean wort in the fermenters, but I don’t sweat it when some gets in. Having done side-by-side comparisons with one fermenter getting all the trub and another getting none, I’m confident that it doesn’t make a noticeable difference in the end product. Really, the only reason I leave trub in the kettle is to make it easier to judge the amount of beer in the fermenters.

I typically dump it all in.

The only time I ever worry about it is when using whole hops in my keggle and drain through the ball valve, in that situation, I whirlpool some just so the whole hops don’t clog the dip tube.

The February 23rd episode of Basic Brewing Radio discusses an experiment comparing beers with lots of trub vs no trub. I think nineteen people sent in results, which were mixed, some liked beer one way, other the other way. I don’t think it really matters unless you are reusing yeast.

All great answers, guys. I really enjoy the NB forum here. Thank you all…

Just made my first batch and it appears to be fermenting fantastically.

Something occurred to me when all was said and done, though, about the sparging.

If I’d sparged, I would’ve removed the wort from the heat, and -instantly- began transferring the wort to the fermentor (already holding a few gallons of cold water), using a sanitized pot and a strainer. After topping it off, I would’ve waited for 70 degrees, aerated, then pitched the yeast.

I didn’t sparge and I did an ice bath to cool the wort, so the wort sat with all the hops in it, including the finishing hops, for quite awhile as it cooled to 70 degrees (at which point I poured it all, or most of it, into the fermentor, aerated, then pitched the yeast).

So does it affect much, having the finishing hops sitting in the wort all that time as it cools in the ice bath?

I’m confused by your use of the word “sparge”. Sparging is rinsing sugar from the grain. Is that what you’re talking about?

I think he confuses sparging and syphoning.

IIRC, in NCJOHB Papazian used the word sparge incorrectly to refer to rinsing wort from hops.

To those of you mentioning that you “whirlpool” your wort, is this something you do manually, or are you using one of those immersion/whirlpool chillers (a la Mr. Malty
, and others I’m sure)? Something else?

No, i’m talking about transferring wort to the fermenter. And yes I’m studying the Joy of Homebrew book referred to in a prior post. Is there a term for this act, or should I stick with referring to “trub” so people know what I mean?

No, i’m talking about transferring wort to the fermenter. And yes I’m studying the Joy of Homebrew book referred to in a prior post. Is there a term for this act, or should I stick with referring to “trub” so people know what I mean?[/quote]

You’re quite confused, but that’s ok. That’s what these forums are for.

‘Sparge’ is rinsing the grain after the mash to extract as much sugar as possible.
‘Siphon’ is using a tool that utilizes gravity to move the wort from one vessel to another.
‘Trub’ is all the hop bits, cold break material and other gunk left at the bottom of a brew kettle after the wort is cooled.

You rinse or ‘sparge’ your grains after the mash to collect more sugary wort before your boil. You ‘siphon’ your wort from your brew kettle into your fermentor after it’s cooled while trying to leave as much ‘trub’ behind in the kettle as possible. Or just dump it all and don’t worry about the ‘trub’ in the kettle.

Does the term “racking” only apply when moving from one carboy to another (e.g., primary to secondary), or does it also apply to moving from the kettle to primary?

It depends on what you mean by “trub”! Trub is the gunk at the bottom of the kettle of fermenter. Racking pretty much means any wort xfer, AFAIK.

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