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Batch Sparging - Summary

batch sparge equipment set up

1. Ten or fifteen minutes before the 90 min is up, check the temperature in the boiler. You want the sparge water to be about 78 deg C

batch sparge temperature measurement 1

, so if necessary, turn the elements on and increase the temperature.

2. When you've got the hot liquor up to sparge temperature and your 90 min is up (don't be too obsessive here, a little under won't hurt, neither will going significantly over, it just depends how much time you have for your brewday), remove the covers from your mash tun and open the lid.

mash tun ready for batch sparge

Check and record the temperature.

batch sparge temperature measurement 2

If it's still the same as when you started, excellent, your mash tun is spot-on. If it's dropped, you might want to consider more insulation (although losing a couple of degrees is pretty normal).

3. Drain the top-up volume from the boiler into the mash tun (see below for top-up volume).

batch sparge draining top=up volume from boiler

4. Stir the mash and wait a minute or so. Drain a little wort into a jug to clear the tap of grain

batch sparge draining wort into jug

(if necessary - I find that this works well - thanks trucker!). Pour that back in the mash tun and wait a few minutes for the grain-bed to settle. Gradually open the tap and get the wort running into a jug

batch sparge wort jug full

- I find it's best not to open the tap all the way to start with, otherwise I get a stuck mash; your system may well allow you to open up fully - just experiment when you're starting. Re-circulate the first few litres back into the mash tun until the wort clears.

batch sparge recirculating wort to clarify

The wort won't be crystal clear, you're just trying to get it free of bits of grain, although it's difficult to get it completely free, one or two bits every now and then isn't going to hurt.

5. Once you're happy with the clarity, drain the mash tun, through a sieve into the underback (your spare FV!). Now you can open the tap all the way, provided your manifold or false bottom is up to it.

6. The run-off into the underback

batch sparge run-off into underback

batch sparge run-off into underback 2

will usually take anywhere between 10 and 20 min; while this is happening, check the liquor temperature in the boiler and make sure it's about 78 deg C for the next batch.

7. Record the volume you've collected and put the underback to one side.

batch sparge collected runnings

8. Drain the liquor for batch two from the boiler into the mash tun (see below sparge volumes).

Batch Sparge Calculator

9. When the boiler is empty, refill it from the underback (I use a small jug until it's light enough to lift up and pour in). Once the elements are covered, you can turn them on to save a little time with the upcoming boil.

batch sparge bringing the wort to a rolling boil

10. Repeat steps 4 to 5 and record the volume you've collected. Empty the underback into the boiler.

batch sparge 2 collected

batch sparge 2 run-off

batch sparge 2 top-up

11. The empty mash tun

batch sparge empty mash tun

12. If you wish, you can now check the SG and make any adjustments that are necessary

OPTIONAL: Checking the Gravity

I like to check the gravity at this point to determine how close I am to achieving my eventual target gravity. When you know what the SG at this stage is, you can calculate how to get to target SG (see below for the calculations).

1. Stir the boiler and run off some wort into a jar.

2. Cool the wort to around 20 deg C and measure and record the SG.

batch sparge checking mash gravity

3. If necessary (or desired) make adjustments to the wort.

Thanks to Jerry Cornelius for this article.

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