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Top Up Water to Kettle

How many of you add top up water to the boil kettle instead of just adding more water to the sparge?

How much is too much when you batch sparge?

Thanks
John

Being new to AG, I’m still working on my brew house efforts. But I learned a little on my last batch (13# of grain). I actually worked out my volumes of sparge water to yield my full boil and only had about 16 ounces to spare. In my limited experience I’d say why wouldn’t you run all needed water through the grain?

Good conversation. This is exactly what I’m working on right now with my setup. I’ve been BIAB partial boils on my stove top for about a year, but recently bought a turkey frier. So now I’m BIAB full boils outside. I have 2 pots. 1 is 7gal the other 5. I use the 7gal for my mash tun and kettle. I use the 5 gal for my sparge. Since I’m now doing full boils I have to up the amount of water used. So here’s my thinking and someone please correct me if I’m wrong. This is for a beer I’m brewing this weekend.

5gal batch
10lbs of grain
1.5qrt/lb for mash = 15qrts (or 3.75gal) of water for mash
.75gal of water lost to grain absorption
90mi boil will boil off 1.5gal

So I need to start with 6.5gals at the beginning of the boil.
3.75gal - .75gal = 3gal post mash
6.5gal (total needed) - 3gal (from mash) = 3.5 sparge water needed

Does this sound right?

Well I noticed in ProMash they have a “top up water to kettle” addition on the water needed tab so it got me to thinking why do they have that? In my case in recent history my boil off rate is 2.35 gallons per hour due to the large diameter of my boil pot. I know that your not supposed to fly sparge past a certain point in SG and with my equipment I could fly sparge if I wanted to but it seems to not be worth the effort. So the question in the back of my head is during a batch sparge do you want to limit the total amount of water going through the grain for any reason?

Thanks
John

I’m new to this as well, so I’m not sure, but I don’t think it matters. I would think that topping off is fine, but why not run some more water through the grain to extract as much sugar as possible? As long as your temps and PH are in line I think that’s the way to do it.

from John Palmers book http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter17.html

“Typically, 1.5 times as much water is used for sparging as for mashing”

fly sparging he says

“The goal is to gradually replace the wort with the water, stopping the sparge when the gravity is 1.008 or when enough wort has been collected, whichever comes first.”

[quote=“johnplctech”]How many of you add top up water to the boil kettle instead of just adding more water to the sparge?

How much is too much when you batch sparge?

Thanks
John[/quote]
I don’t think it matters when you add the top off water honestly. You’ll sparge and combine and at some point because you need to get your preboil volume correct.

This is what I used to do for calculations (before BeerSmith). It’s a little more complicated for two pots vs no sparge biab.

Two Pots:
Mash volume – Multiply the total grain bill by the quart volume (typically 1.25).
Anywhere between 1 and 1.5 qts is fine.

Next, figure out:
Absorption – Account for absorption at the rate of .1 gal per pound.
Boil-off – This differs per elevation…it’s around 1 gal per hour on a stovetop but will be more on a turkey burner (depending on how hard you boil).

To get:
Sparge volume – Calculate by adding the absorption, boil-off, and difference between your batch size (5.5) and mash water volume. A typical scenario would be:

Mash water = 13lbs x 1.25 = 16.25qts / 4 = 4.1 gal
Sparge water = (5.5 – 4.1) + (13lbs x .1) + (1 gal boil-off) = 3.7

Total volume of water needed = 7.8 gal

One Pot:
For no-sparge BIAB, just start with 6.5 gallons (which includes boil-off) and add the amount of water that will be absorbed by the grain. 6.5 + (13lbs * .10) = 6.5 + 1.3 = 7.8

It’s the same as with all of this stuff, I don’t worry if it’s not perfect. If you’re off a 1/2 gallon somewhere–it will be fine and you can make an adjustment next time.

[quote=“dobe12”]5gal batch
10lbs of grain
1.5qrt/lb for mash = 15qrts (or 3.75gal) of water for mash
.75gal of water lost to grain absorption
90mi boil will boil off 1.5gal[/quote]

.75 gal lost to absorption sounds low to me. Is it based on past experience? Most of what I’ve read suggests 1.0 - 1.25 gallons of water absorbed per 10 lbs of grain. That’s about what I experienced during my first all grain last weekend.

[quote=“ickyfoot”][quote=“dobe12”]5gal batch
10lbs of grain
1.5qrt/lb for mash = 15qrts (or 3.75gal) of water for mash
.75gal of water lost to grain absorption
90mi boil will boil off 1.5gal[/quote]

.75 gal lost to absorption sounds low to me. Is it based on past experience? Most of what I’ve read suggests 1.0 - 1.25 gallons of water absorbed per 10 lbs of grain. That’s about what I experienced during my first all grain last weekend.[/quote]

I just started figuring out these numbers for my system (boil off, absorption, etc), but this is what I got from the batch I brewed last week. I BIAB and let the grain sack sit in a strainer over the pot (mash tun) for about 10min and drain. I came up with .30qrt/lb of grain for absorption. But I definitely plan on looking at these numbers again to see what I come up with. I assume different grains will absorb different amounts? The beer I’m brewing tomorrow has 50% flaked wheat!! No idea kind of absorption I’ll have with that makeup, but we’ll see.

I personally never add any top up water directly to the kettle, I prefer to sparge additionally if I need more kettle volume.
If the pH of the sparge water is around 5.5-6.0 you shouldn’t extract any tannins.

I’ve added top up water to a kettle that was maxed out, as evaporation allowed for it during the boil.

While I could run it through the grain bed w/ the rest of the water and just reserve it as wort to be added over time in the boil, it would not have the benefit of the full boil time, like driving off DMS.

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