Is Sparging necessary?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Clover Homebrewery, May 22, 2018.

  1. Lake Wylie Brewing Co.

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    As a relatively new brewer with some successes and failures (as expected) but I've never done sparging before. Can someone explain to me what sparging is, and if it's necessary to create a beer?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    after you're done mashing, you're basically rinsing the grain with more water. You don't necessarily have to, there are some that don't sparge. but it does at some extra gravity points, so you would need to account for your drop in efficiency in your recipe by using more malt.
    if you brew in a bag (BIAB), simply squeezing the bag to get out the extra wort is easy enough to do if you can't sparge
     
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  3. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I no sparge 5 gallons batches. You lose a bit of efficiency but I've never had an issue.

    Check out http://brulosophy.com/?s=no+sparge for some more information on it.
     
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  4. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    Sparging is essentially just rinsing sugars off of the grains after a mash. For example (and easy math so we're ignoring grain absorption), if you wanted 7 gallons for the boil, had 10 lbs of grain, and mashed in at 1.2 qt/lb you'd have 12 qts (3 gallons) of high gravity wort. Since you're still 4 gallons shy, you could run those 4 gallons through the grainbed to rinse sugar off of the grain.

    Brewers sparge to increase efficiency. If you mash with your full volume of water for the boil, sparging isn't possible. FWIW, I don't sparge since I BIAB and mash with the full volume of water needed. Some BIAB brewers do sparge.

    In short, it's not necessary to produce beer but it can boost your efficiency numbers
     
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  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I hear no aparge may give your beer.more bodie too...

    I Biab and sparge for exra points and it also gives me something to do whilst the wort is comming to boil.

    I lift my mesh bag and dump plop it in a cone shaped bucket with holes drilled in bottom i then trickle about 5 lt over the grains to rinse off them sugars i just spent an hour making.

    Good luck try it only way to learn:)
     
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  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't consider brewing without sparge. I fly sparge as slow as I can and have always gotten good efficiency and excellent beer.
    Even BIAB dunk sparge probably beats BIAB full volume, but I don't know that for sure. It takes more of a set up to do it, but even just a simple slow pour-over is worth the trouble IMO.
     
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  7. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Just as in BIAB, you can use a fine mesh bag in your mash tun and mill your grain finer. By doing this, squeezing the bag and extending your mash time, you can make up for the lost efficiency many see when doing no sparge.
     
  8. Vallka

    Vallka Well-Known Member

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    I batch sparge every time I brew, I pour 20+L of hot hot sparge water into the tun, not gently at all, give it a good stir and sit for 10min, I have crazy high efficiency and good beer.
     
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  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I fly sparge and hit ridiculous numbers sometimes, it’s actually too much alcohol for some styles but it’s what I do and no it’s not a big deal for most people but I will say that sparging in general you have many ways of doing it, fly sparging correctly has its advantages but it does take an hour extra so it's not for everyone but true fly sparging will rinse the sugar off the outside of the grain as well as through the grain wall and release what’s left inside the grain giving many more points extra than batch sparging so it’s up you, save time or money or add 2 pounds extra of grain or dme and your good with no sparge
     
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  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, Ozarks hit's magical numbers sometimes, it's pretty impressive. But I can hit 75% with a no sparge and a mash in a bag where I squeeze the bag so I call that a win rather than take the extra hour.
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Do you have to sparge? No. Should you? Depends on what you want to brew. I sparge to get a "normal" result. Some don't. BIAB brewers generally don't. It's all about efficiency. If you don't sparge, you leave sugar in the spent grain. If you do, you recover some of that sugar. Your choice, depends on what you choose to brew, your equipment, and your choices as a brewer.
     
  12. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Another point as per above posts is as a biab brewer if you sparge your going to get better efficiency so less grain = easier handling with that hot sticky heavy bag too;). My average batch is 4kg makes some difference when you have to physicall lift out your grain eh?
     
  13. I_playdrums

    I_playdrums Well-Known Member

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    I sparge enough to achieve pre boil volume, and the wort needed for a yeast starter, which is just a quart.
     
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  14. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Same here, except I don’t save extra wort for starter.
     
  15. Lake Wylie Brewing Co.

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    Thank you for the replies guys, always help to get some advice from more experienced brewers. So, in theory, I could just squeeze the grain bag to get extra sugars off the grains? If thats the case, I might try doing that for an extra ABV boost for my upcoming IPA today. Wish me luck, and I may post my progress on it.
     
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  16. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    You got it. I use some silicon kitchen gloves to keep my hands clean and relatively cool
    Good luck!
     
  17. Lake Wylie Brewing Co.

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    Do you think squeezing the grain bag would give me a noticeable ABV boost, or is it not worth it?
     
  18. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Idk about noticeable (however you define that) but it will boost it, youre getting exrra sugars you wouldnt otherwise. No sense letting that wort and your money go to waste when a nice squeeze is easy
     
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  19. Lake Wylie Brewing Co.

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    Fair point, squeezing it is.
     
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  20. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Comparing a few squeezed and un-squeezed batches, the difference seems to be 5 or so points in efficiency, maybe up to 10 in the extreme case. That probably translates to a .25 to .5 percentage increase in ABV . It's not going to be noticeable, but the increase in body and flavor might be somewhat.
     

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