From the HBD Archive
From: R_GELINAS@UNHH.UNH.EDU (Russ Gelinas)
Subject: sparge method
Date: 1992-07-07 17:53:33 GMT

Some history: It was suggested by Micah M. that it is better to
not recycle the sparge runnings at all, but rather to just allow the
mash to rest for a period of time, and then allow the lauter-tun to
drain. His reasoning is that the extra particles in the wort that
result will give a clearer final product, as there will be more surface
area for flocculation.
What I did: Unfortunately, this is completely un-scientific, and
really proves nothing. With that caveat.....I brewed 2 (actually 3, but
I'll get to that later) similar batches: 10 lbs 2-row pale with another
pound of specialty malt. All 20+ lbs. was ground at the same time. Both
batches were mashed at 154 deg. Both were mashed-out and sparged by pouring
the mash into a 10 gallon water cooler fitted with a straining bowl, and
then filling the cooler with boiling water. The sparge set at 170 deg.
Let sit for 30 minutes. I recycled the wort in the first batch until it
ran clear, probably about 1 gallon. For the second batch, I just
opened the drain and let it run. Big chunks of stuff could be seen in
the second batch. Both batches were then boiled up (90 min), with hops
in a hop bag (mistake!)
The result: Batch 2 was *slightly* clearer going into the carboy, and
after fermenting out. Unfortunately, both batches were quite cloudy, and
truthfully, so is the result. I attribute the cloudiness to the use of
a hops bag, because....

In batch #3 (I told you I'd get to it), I mashed the same way,
with similar ingredients and grind, mashed-out and sparged the same
way, but with recycling the first 1/2 gallon or so. I got a stuck sparge
after about 6 gallons. (?) I poked some holes in the mash, and got out
another .5 gallon. Boiled with loose whole hops (no hops bag), and
the wort was crystal clear. The obvious next step is to do it the same
way again, but with no recycling at all.

So, what does it all mean? It seems to imply that the resulting wort
is clearer if there is *something*, whether chunks of stuff from the mash
or hops, for easy flocculation, and that hops might be more important in
the clearing than the mash stuff. But, again, this is really all just
speculation, and I'm only posting this in hopes of getting a maltmill ;-)
I'll let you know how comparitive batch #4 turns out (in about a month).

Russ

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