Just finished brewing a 12 gal batch of Janet's brown and my OG is really low (1.056, should be 1.068). The brew day went exactly as my last batch with the exception of sparge water. Today I added more water to the HLT after the strike water was transferred to Mash Tun because the last batch was a little short of wort. During the sparge I emptied the HLT and there was quite a bit left in the MT. End of running gravity was 1.020, last batch was 10.10. So am thinking that I put too much sparge water into the Mash Tun. I know in Kal's Step by Step brew day it says to empty the HTL which I have always done but have never added extra water before either. Appreciate any comments as I would like to understand this better. Thanks, Harry
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10846 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA
Link Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 3:48 am Post subject:
You can't really add too much sparge water to the MLT if you're fly sparging as you're only sparging until you hit your pre-boil gravity. Whether you have 1" of water on top of the grain bed or 10", it will not affect your efficiency/sugar extraction. Sometimes when I reach my pre-boil volume in the boil kettle I have 1 gallon left in the mash tun, sometimes 5 gallons. It's not something to worry about.
Tell us more about these items in your setup that will affect mash efficiency:
What kettles / what false bottom?
How long did fly sparging take?
What is your mill gap set to?
When you say your OG was 1.056, when was that measurement taken? How? Did you compensate for temperature?
Joined: 22 Sep 2013 Posts: 33 Location: Canmore, AB
Link Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:07 pm Post subject:
I have Blichmann 20 gal kettles and false bottom, mill is set to .050". My normal sparge time is 45 to 60 min, although I did not time this batch am pretty confident it was still in that time frame. Gravity readings were all taken at room temp with a hydrometer.
Interesting comment you made in your first statement "fly sparge until you hit preboil gravity". I don't do this, I fly sparge until I hit my preboil volume. All but the first few batches on my new system have been consistently close to calculated numbers. Once I figured out the correct efficiency numbers to use in beersmith my brews have worked out really well.
I have gone back and read your Step by Step Brew Day and see you recommend 60 to 90 min sparge. Could the problem be to fast of a sparge? Would this be more pronounced on higher gravity beers? The other item that was different on this batch was the sparge water PH was in the 5.1 range(room temp) as I put a little to much acid in.
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