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Author Topic: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG  (Read 3973 times)

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Offline steplad

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Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« on: January 04, 2011, 07:43:24 PM »
Hi all,

 Just been watching the off-line all grain dvd video from "Basic Brewing", Arkansas, USA.

The video gives a subtle warning about exceeding the terminal gravity when AG fly sparging, for the obvious reason of tannin astringency. I gather this could make a beer almost undrinklable, at worst.

In a test I did recently fly sparging with my Herms rig I managed to balance the sparge flow in the mash tun  to .46 litres per minute for 28 litres in the HLT ie., a 60 min sparge.

The video also mentioned that if one has to prematurely terminate the sparge to avoid exceeding the terminal SG then one has two options viz., (1) add water to the boil to come up to the required volume with a resultant lower fermentation FG OR (2) live with the lower boil/fermentation volume & a higher FG.

So it occured to me, to avoid the problem, that whilst there may be no hard & fast rules for sparge flow rate and consequently sparge times , that experienced brewers most probably use some tricks of the trade or rules of thumb, or both.  It's reasonably easy to set a sparge flow rate for say 30 to 60 mins (& at the same time avoid a too fast a rate  that could cause a stuck sparge), but what does practical experience tell us regarding the implications of that timing on terminal gravity?

That raises the matter of the iodine test which seems to have a fair reputation for not being very helpful as a measure of terminal OG.  I  personally will be using an RTC refractometer.

I would prefer to be reasonably accurate and not have to revert to the extract/partial adjustment of adding water to the boil kettle, so I am looking for some good advice on this.

Thanks all,
steplad
 <->
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 07:59:17 PM by steplad »
"KISS"
The acronym was first coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others).

While popular usage translates it as 'Keep it simple, stupid', Johnson translated it as 'Keep it simple stupid'

Offline Ed

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 08:14:48 PM »
In the "Downloads" section of this site there's a very interesting sparging article I uploaded some time back. Well worth a read and should answer your questions.

Cheers, Ed
"Pull my finger Grab" ...... Dogger Dan, 2006

Offline steplad

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 12:04:40 AM »
Ed wrote;
Quote
In the "Downloads" section of this site there's a very interesting sparging article I uploaded some time back. Well worth a read and should answer your questions.
Cheers, Ed

Thanks very much for your input, Ed, but I'm afraid that article is way above my head as it's technical language is really talking to the converted technocrats & commercial brewers.

In answer to my questions, If someone could explain their views in a manner with a simpler home brewer slant, I would be most appreciative.

cheers
steplad

"KISS"
The acronym was first coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others).

While popular usage translates it as 'Keep it simple, stupid', Johnson translated it as 'Keep it simple stupid'

Offline Dogger Dan

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 01:34:32 AM »
Time during sparging is irrelevant. It simply is what it is. 

Everything is driven by flow rate which should not exceed 1 L per minute.  Excessive flow rates will not result in a collapsed grain bed provided you can keep the inflow matching the outflow, however it can result in chanelling therough the grain bed and the lack of residence time and non grain contact will result  in sugars not being washed from the grains meaning a lack of efficiency

You need to do your math ahead of time to ensure that the recipie you are using makes sense.  If my system is 60 percent efficient and yours is 85 percent efficient you will need less grain than me to achieve the same result.  Those things need to be taken into account ahead of time and then you dont need to worry about adding or subtracting water during the boil.

Dogger
"Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you're coming home his face might burn up."
-Deep Thoughts, Jack Handy-

Offline Screwy

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 06:08:45 AM »
Have never really subscribed to the "cease sparge at x gravity" or "cease sparge at x volume" conventions here.  Beersmith calculates total brewing liquor required, this is heated in the HLT, strike/mash in liquor is drawn off to the mash tun.  While mashing, the liquor remaining in the HLT is heated to sparge temp.  All of this remaining liquor is sparged through the tun and drained to the kettle.  No need to check gravity of runnings, used to do it years ago, at 85% brewhouse efficiency using my system and process runnings at the end of sparge are usually around 1.008 - 1.010.  I sparge at 77 with PH adjusted water to prevent risk of astringency in any case.

Set your brewing software efficiency figure and the volume of total brewing liquor will be calculated to match the amount of grain for that efficiency figure.  Using the volume specified, at the end of sparge with all runnings in the kettle you should have the estimated volume at the estimated gravity.  If not, and you have followed the brewsheet, and recorded volumes and gravities correctly then your efficiency is either above or below the efficiency set in your software and needs to be adjusted.

Iodine test: My 2c - It works great, used it many times until I realised it does not differentiate between long and short chain sugars.  Lengthening mash time out to 75min minimum improved all of my quaffing style beers which I like to finish low/dry.  Going by the iodine test starch conversion would have been complete at 20 min.

Hope this helps,

Screwy
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Offline steplad

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011, 09:02:02 PM »

Quote
I sparge at 77 with PH adjusted water to prevent risk of astringency in any case.

Do I have this right, screwy. You not only make salt adjustments to the mash & boil, but also to the sparge water in the HLT, or alternatively and more likely, do you mean that you adjust the sparge runnings in the boil. Just need clarification, mate, based on discussions we have already had which seem to support the latter method.

cheers
steplad
"KISS"
The acronym was first coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others).

While popular usage translates it as 'Keep it simple, stupid', Johnson translated it as 'Keep it simple stupid'

Offline Screwy

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 07:05:17 AM »

Quote
I sparge at 77 with PH adjusted water to prevent risk of astringency in any case.

Do I have this right, screwy. You not only make salt adjustments to the mash & boil, but also to the sparge water in the HLT, or alternatively and more likely, do you mean that you adjust the sparge runnings in the boil. Just need clarification, mate, based on discussions we have already had which seem to support the latter method.

cheers
steplad

Sorry, have not explained myself correctly again, I adjust PH of sparge water only.  Do not add flavour Ion Salts to sparge water, only mash and kettle.

Cheers,

Screwy
Now Hear This!....... Beer Is Here

Offline TidalPete

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 07:41:05 PM »
So you adjust your sparge liquor pH Screwy? I suppose that just adding a teaspoon of 5.2 stabiliser to your sparge liquor would bring about the happy sparge medium you require? THAT is after you have mashed your grains in the (brewing salt adjusted) liquor you require for the particular beer you're making?

TTBOMK it's the mash liquor that's important as that's where the "deed is done" as it were & NOT in the first 20 minutes either as a lot of threads say but in the extra time it takes for BOTH alpha & beta amalyse to do their thing hence a 70 minute minimum mash.
As you know I sparge at 90 deg C.
Your thoughts?
Not criticising here Just curious.

TP
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 08:07:51 PM by TidalPete »
'Twas TidalPete from UptheCoast who caught the brewing craze,
He turned aside the staid XXXX that served him many days.

With apologies to A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson)

Offline steplad

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2011, 08:52:25 PM »
Screwy said:
Quote
I adjust PH of sparge water only.

I read that to mean you adjust only pH of sparge water  ;)

I can use  88% or 80% lactic acid.

Are there guidelines for how much 88% or 80% lactic acid would be needed to reduce the pH of sparge water by a given amount?

Should the target pH of the sparge water be the same as what EZ calculates for the mash/boil or do other factors come in to play?

Cheers
steplad





 
« Last Edit: January 22, 2011, 11:02:37 PM by steplad »
"KISS"
The acronym was first coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others).

While popular usage translates it as 'Keep it simple, stupid', Johnson translated it as 'Keep it simple stupid'

Offline Screwy

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2011, 07:57:11 AM »
So you adjust your sparge liquor pH Screwy? I suppose that just adding a teaspoon of 5.2 stabiliser to your sparge liquor would bring about the happy sparge medium you require? THAT is after you have mashed your grains in the (brewing salt adjusted) liquor you require for the particular beer you're making?

TTBOMK it's the mash liquor that's important as that's where the "deed is done" as it were & NOT in the first 20 minutes either as a lot of threads say but in the extra time it takes for BOTH alpha & beta amalyse to do their thing hence a 70 minute minimum mash.
As you know I sparge at 90 deg C.
Your thoughts?
Not criticising here Just curious.

TP

Screwy said:
Quote
I adjust PH of sparge water only.

I read that to mean you adjust only pH of sparge water  ;)

I can use  88% or 80% lactic acid.

Are there guidelines for how much 88% or 80% lactic acid would be needed to reduce the pH of sparge water by a given amount?

Should the target pH of the sparge water be the same as what EZ calculates for the mash/boil or do other factors come in to play?

Cheers
steplad

Pete, you would remember that I used to sparge quite warm, at 90 or above.  After some feedback from beer judges re astringency (that I could not detect) I dropped sparge temp.  I now pump sparge water via the HE coil with the temp still set at 77C (mash out temp).  As I used to do, still adjust the water using acid (phos).  Remember I used all kinds of acids years ago Pete, even vinegar.  However all I want to do now is adjust sparge water to PH neutral to reduce any risk of lowering the PH during my long sparges, and not upset calculated (EZ calc) sparge (kettle) additions too much.  After adding salts to the mash water, any further PH adjustments are made using acid or chalk.  Lately I've been using lactic that I got from somewhere a fair while ago, G&G I think, its 88%.

Brenton, the EZ calculator doesn't give a PH figure for water from the Ions etc entered, well not that I've found anywhere on the page.  I have a roundabouts figure from my water report, last was 7.59  In reality this swings about the place so I adjust to suit.  Suppose what I do is a bit of a mix of the past and present, stuff I used to do and sits comfortably and is easy, and some due to more recent tools like EZ calc which makes calculating salt additions easier.  Where I used to have problems was with how much of each salt to use, every time I added a salt it threw out other levels.  Using EZ it's easy to adjust each to obtain a mid point within recommended ranges, then adjust ph using acid or chalk that has no effect on the chloride to sulfate ratio.

Cheers,

Screwy

Now Hear This!....... Beer Is Here

Offline TidalPete

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2011, 09:50:43 AM »
Thanks for your reply Screwy.
I now know that I CAN adjust the pH as well as adding my salts & that was something I was unsure of. O0
I have tended to shy away from water adjustment for the very reasons you mention above but EZ Calculator certainly has simplified things for this brewer.
Interesting that you dropped your sparge liquor temp down to 77 Deg c as I've never noticed any astringency in your beers. I take it that your Brewhouse Eff hasn't suffered?
Last question --- How do you test your (unheated) sparge liquor? Test strips or pH meter? Will give you a real quizzing on water adjustment on Thursday week.  :cheers:



TP
'Twas TidalPete from UptheCoast who caught the brewing craze,
He turned aside the staid XXXX that served him many days.

With apologies to A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson)

Offline Screwy

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Re: Sparge time, sparge rate & spargeSG
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2011, 06:30:37 PM »
Thanks for your reply Screwy.
I now know that I CAN adjust the pH as well as adding my salts & that was something I was unsure of. O0
I have tended to shy away from water adjustment for the very reasons you mention above but EZ Calculator certainly has simplified things for this brewer.
Interesting that you dropped your sparge liquor temp down to 77 Deg c as I've never noticed any astringency in your beers. I take it that your Brewhouse Eff hasn't suffered?
Last question --- How do you test your (unheated) sparge liquor? Test strips or pH meter? Will give you a real quizzing on water adjustment on Thursday week.  :cheers:



TP

Tested after filtering Pete, if 7.5 or below I don't bother with acid.  After drawing off mash water and heating to 77C a few drops of acid are added (depending on PH) then a sample taken and cooled for testing.  Still use my old PH meter Pete, adjusting is becoming more difficult, the adjustment is all but gone, maybe I'll pick up some test strips on the 10th and retire it.  Ya know when those judging sheets came back I could taste the astringency, bloody Judges.  Brennan Fielding picked it up as did two others, think Ian might have been one.  No change in Eff% at all Pete.  Lots of the UK boys sparge lower than 77 without problems, following a MO step it probably doesn't matter much.

Cheers,

Screwy

Now Hear This!....... Beer Is Here