From the HBD Archive
From: Darren Evans-Young <>
Subject: Sparge water level / Amount of sparge water
Date: 1992-05-20 23:25:10 GMT

First, a thanks to all those who responded to my queries.

Sparge water level:

The consensus on sparge water level is 1-2" above the grain bed
to "float" the bed and keep it from settling/compacting and the
water from channeling. I use a Listermann sparger (and love it).

Amount of sparge water:

When I started all-grain, I went by Millers recommendation of 1.33 qts/lb.
Then I started reading about various brewers using only 1 qt/lb to keep
from diluting the enzymes. I now use 1 qt/lb. I was rounding to the
nearest gallon in my previous post when I said I would use 4 gallons for
15 lbs of grain. I would use 15 qts for 15 lbs for mashing.

In general:

My last all-grain batch, I used a thick mash of 1 qt/lb. My pH after
doughing in the grains was still 4.6-4.8. This time I didnt NOT add CaCO3
to adjust the pH since it didnt have much affect anyway. I thought it might
actually interfere with conversion. I also sparged a LOT slower...a little
above a trickle. Took about an hour to sparge 8 lbs of grain with 5 gallons
of water keeping the water level 1-2" above the grain bed. The result?
My efficiency went from a consistent 75% to 82-83%!!! I was shooting for
a gravity of 1.044 (which I could consistently achieve), but instead got
a final OG 1.053. Main points: RUN YOUR SPARGES SLOW!!! I think this was
the main enhancement of my procedures. Still pondering the pH adjustment.
But, hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!


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