# Strike Water Volume

After doing 4 AG batches, I’ve got questions regarding strike water. What is the purpose of the water/grain ratio? What is the reason to get equal runnings? Is grain absorption already calculated into the water/grain ratio? Is it just lucky if the water/grain ratio = first runnings?

For my first 3 batches, I calculated my strike water to get equal runnings, 3 gallons. My first batch was 11 lbs of grain.

3gal + (0.13gal * 11lb) = 4.5gal for strike water
So with the grain absorption, I have 1.6qt/lb
Without I have 1.1qt/lb.
Which is the correct ratio?

My last batch I used the water/grain ratio of 1.5qt/lb and didn’t get equal runnings.
1.5qt * 6.25lb = 2.3gal and it resulted in 1.5 gallon of wort so I had to add 4.5gal to reach my final 6gal volume.

Which way is better? I’ve hit my numbers using both methods but I’m wondering if I should shoot for equal runnings or a certain water/grain ratio.

Thanks all!

First, forget 3 equal runnings. Unless your tun isn’t big enough to hold all the water at once there’s no reason to do 2 sparges. I use a mash ratio that gets me about (within a gal. or so) equal runnings from the mash and sparge runoffs. Usually I mash at about 1.6-1.7 qt./lb. Graiabsorption is not calculated into that. Equal runnings get yu the best efficiency, but I’ve found that as long as thet runnings are within about a gal. it doesn’t make a world of difference.

+1 to what Denny said. Just shoot for 1-3 qts/lb, I usually shoot for 1.5-2 because that is what gets me equal runnings. Don’t get stuck on a specific water to grist ratio and then try to measure 4.832 gallons of water, pick some amount that is easy for you to measure accurately.

Having equal runnings has an effect on efficiency, but the drop off is gradual
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Batch_Sparging_Analysis#Effect_of_the_relative_run-off_sizes
. If you can keep the sparge between .5 to 1.5 times the size of the 1st runnings, the max efficiency you’ll lose due to runoff size is about 1.5%.

I don’t do 2 sparges either, it’s not worth the extra time or effort for me. The most you’ll gain is about 2-3% efficiency (over 1 sparge), and for me it’s better to use more water and have a nice, easy to stir mash.

Thanks guys.
I just do the 1 sparge also, equal runnings is 3 gallons for my system.

Do you guys adjust your ratio so you don’t have to add mashout water? I have been mashing around 1.25 qt/lb, then usually having to add 10-13qt for mashout. It would save me an extra step if I could just add more water for the mash, as long as it doesn’t have a negative affect on efficiency. I would use a ratio of 1.7 to 2 qt/lb to get the volume I need.

Yep, I do. I found that my efficiency increased when I increased my ratio. I sparge with 190ish water which not only ensures complete conversion but does as much of a mashout as I was getting with a separate water addition.

[quote=“Denny”]

Yep, I do. I found that my efficiency increased when I increased my ratio. I sparge with 190ish water which not only ensures complete conversion but does as much of a mashout as I was getting with a separate water addition.[/quote]

Great, thanks! Just shaved 20 minutes or so off my brew day.

Yep, I do. I found that my efficiency increased when I increased my ratio. I sparge with 190ish water which not only ensures complete conversion but does as much of a mashout as I was getting with a separate water addition.[/quote]

At 190F are you concerned about tannin extraction or does it equalize at a low enough temperature given the mass of the mash?

If I understand a mashout:

1. Adding 190 water to 150 grain probably won’t get too much over 170.
2. The water is immediately drained so is not in contact with the grain for too long.

Absolutely not, becasue I know my pH is correct. As long as you have the right pH, temp is really not an issue in tannin extraction. If it was, no one could do decoction mashes, right?

[quote=“mvsawyer”]If I understand a mashout:

1. Adding 190 water to 150 grain probably won’t get too much over 170.
2. The water is immediately drained so is not in contact with the grain for too long.[/quote]

And 3…if your mash pH is correct, you won’t extract tannins because of water temp

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“mvsawyer”]If I understand a mashout:

1. Adding 190 water to 150 grain probably won’t get too much over 170.
2. The water is immediately drained so is not in contact with the grain for too long.[/quote]

And 3…if your mash pH is correct, you won’t extract tannins because of water temp[/quote]

is this another of the “if denny says it, it must be true” things, or is there some data on this?

Higher temperature and higher pH both increase tannin solubility. But it is generally accepted that if the mash pH is correct then the effect from temperature is minimal. A good example of this is decoction - the mash is boiled for extended periods of time without extracting “excessive” tannins (i.e. not noticable in finished beer).

I had never thought about it like that and it makes perfect sense. What pH range is safe?

Staying at or below 5.8 should be sufficient to prevent excessive tanning extraction. It’s usually only an issue when sparging with alkaline water, so even if your mash pH is acceptable acidifying the sparge water is not a bad idea if you have alkaline water.

Ever done a decoction mash? If so, you boiled the grains but didn’t get excessive tannins, right? That’s becasue of the low pH.

is this another of the “if denny says it, it must be true” things, or is there some data on this?[/quote]
You posted a reply, yet you had nothing to say to the OP, no advise, no words of wisdom, nothing. WE can see thru your B.S.

kinda because I was posting about the reply, which had a direct tie to the OP, which yours does not.

Kinda is a lot like sorta. Weren’t you sorta, er, kinda trying to bait someone? My reply was to your smart @ss reply, witch somehow, had a direct tie to the OP.

Oops sorry. Didn’t know I had to to run responses to questionable replies past you first. Good thing every post agrees with your new position.