From the HBD Archive
From: (Jack Schmidling)
Subject: Sparging, Mashing
Date: 1992-03-19 19:47:00 GMT

To: Homebrew Digest
Fm: Jack Schmidling

>From: Alan Mayman <>

>I tried out my new wort chiller recently and was slightly bummed by how
thick and viscous my wort became. How do you veterans handle sparging thick

I think you need to post your process for review as the above indicates
either a lack of communicating the problem or understanding of the process.

It would appear, from the above, that you are trying to chill somewhere in
the mashing process instead of after the boil.

>Finally, I am ready for a big, all grain size brewpot (10 gal?). I have
heard something about brewpots with spigots on the side. Is there some
advantage to these other than convenience that I should know about?

I suppose it all boils down to convenience but when you spend a whole day
doing something, enhancing the convenience is very convenient.

For one thing, with a spiggot and strainer as described in "EASYMASH"*, you
can mash, sparge, boil and ferment in the same kettle.

It eliminates using a syphon and all the problems of gunk getting stuck in

If you have two kettles, you can heat sparge water more conviently with the
one with a spiggot. (see below)

* email to arf for EASYMASH. No charge :)

>Subject: Re: Sparge question

>I generally brew with about 10 lbs of grain for a nominal 5 gal batch.
I mash with about 3 gallons and sparge with at least 5 gallons. I know
that's supposed to be a no-no, but I feel that when I carefully monitor
the runoff there should be no problem.

In what sense is this a "no-no"? It sounds perfectly "nominal" to me. You
could squeeze a lot more out of it using more sparge water or you could waste
a lot by using less.

>Subject: Sparge temp

>Basically, what Jack's experimental
data shows, is that a 212F sparge water into a shallow bowl resting on
the top of the grain bed results in a significant drop in temperature
when measured in the grain bed and in the runoff. I can't find my
copy of Jack's post, but suffice it to say that the temp in the grain
bed was about 170F and the runoff temp was somewhere around 160F.

It was closer to 135.

>Here's what I'm thinking: maybe the 170F sparge water *already accounts*
for the drop in temperature. Maybe we *don't* want 170F in the grain bed
- -- maybe we want 145F in the grain bed and 130F in the runoff (I'm making
these numbers up -- I've never measured)?

>It's Mike's post that led me to wonder about what temp we *really* want
in the grain bed. Comments?

By coincidence, I adressed most of this, this morning but I just wanted to
add some comments as a followup. I think most of the experts agree that the
ideal temp for sparging is around 170F. This seems to be based on chemestry,
biology and physics and I am not about to yell momily.

I will however, point out that in many cases, homebrewers are victims of
scale-down from what works for commercial processes and what works in
mega-barrel batches simply does not work on a 5 gal batch.

The heat loss from a small batch is much greater than from a large one. If
it is important to sparge at 170F, then I suggest that the sparge water
temperature should be determined by measureing the temperature within the
mash and not by what is hoped for.


I just completed a new gadget to make brewing more "conveninent" and thought
I would share it with yall, before I actually use it on the next batch.

I have been tying up my brew kettle by using it to heat (boil) sparge water
while sparging. This means I can not start boiling till all the sparge is in
the tun. It also means that I have to anticipate my sparge water demand in

I made a simple continuous boiler that heats hot tap water to the boiling
point about as fast as it runs into (and out of) the lauter tun.

It consists of a 6 qt enameled stock pot with a barb fitting near the top
that is connected to the water tap.

Near the middle are some fittings that provide about a foot of copper tubing
going out, to run into the lauter tun and a couple of inches on the inside to
draw water about an inch below the surface (to avoid dross) and an inch above
the bottom (to avoid sediment).

When ready to sparge, the mash tun is moved from stove top to a stool and
becomes the lauter tun. The boiler is placed on the stove to line up with
the tun and fired up. Water is boiling by the time the mash has settled and
I have an infinite supply of it.

I can now start boiling the wort as soon as I have a few gallons and have cut
several hours off the brew time. I also eliminate having to bring 7 gals of
water to a boil while mashing. I doubt that there is any energy savings
because I have to keep the burner on full heat for the entire sparge whereas
with the big kettle, I could throttle it way down once it came to a boil.

BTW, not the least of the reasons for boiling sparge water is to get rid of
the chlorine. I suspect, however, that my continuous boiler is not as
effective at this as boiling the whole kettle and keeping it hot for hours.


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