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Thread: Cold water sparging?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7

    Cold water sparging?

    I have a problem achieving the proper sparge water temp. but with this system I am able to heat my mash to 170 F. I have read someplace that there is no need to sparge at 168 F. If you can stop all activity at 170 and rest 10 minutes One can actually use cold water or possibly 120 F water ? This would solve a lot of costly work if this will not create new problems. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Steve Z

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Posts
    83

    Sparge Temps

    Steve,

    Maintaining your targeted mash temperature, by sparging with hot water, is crucial for reducing lautering viscosity or having slowed runoff rates. It will also help maximize your extract recovery. Cold water also absorbs O2 more readily, allowing increased amounts of oxygen in your mash bed, causing further processing problems carried into the finished product.

    Try cold water out. You may prove this theory wrong. Are there any other alternatives to storing hot water in your brewery? A fermenter perhaps, or another vessel?

    Cheers,
    Todd
    Think Tank Brewing Services
    www.thinktankbrewing.com
    todd@thinktankbrewing.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Homer, Alaska
    Posts
    93

    Mother of Invention

    Out of necessity because we ran out of hot we were forced to use cold water at the end of sparging and realized that there is significant energy savings to be had. Depending on geometry of your lauter tun we've found that up to the last 1/3 of sparge water can be cold without compromise on wort quality. At that stage of the game one is only trying to maintain hydrostatic pressure on the grain bed and the cold doesn't seem to blend with the hot weak wort below. To find out how much you can use start with the last 1/4 of sparge water being cold then watch the temp of the runoff (divert after you're done taking your regular volume) and when it starts to significantly drop you know the cold is making it all the way. Adjust on your next batch. Maybe someone else has experience with even more aggressive cold sparging and would share results? Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    1,097
    You are not really going to save that much energy because all that happens is that you have to heat the wort form lets say 50 C to boiling, instead of 76 C to boiling. Having said all that, I like the point about using cold water after you have gone past the break point, where the gravity drops rapidly. Also at this point, the viscosity should start dropping, so you might get away with reasonable extracts in a sensible time. If you are keen on maximising extract and reducing time take, then there is no contest - hot sparge it has to be
    dick

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    St.Louis->Tacoma
    Posts
    633
    I know a brewer who finishes sparging with cold water. I argued at first, but after thinking about it, really if you are just using the cold water to push the hot wort through the grain bed it should not effect anything. In this case you would be cutting your runoff before the cold water even gets through the bed, so in theory you would be saving a little energy. As Caynon pointed out, this late in the sparge the cold water is only used for hydrostatic pressure, not for extraction purposes.

    This practice also cools the mash making mash out a little more pleasant, and cold spent grain doesn't go funky as fast on those hot summer days if you don't have a farmer at your beck and call. I stick with hot sparge water, but the brewer i refer to has many medals under his belt, and its hard to argue with that.
    Last edited by Jephro; 06-01-2008 at 03:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    387
    I would tend to think as Dick stated that the energy savings would be wasted in heating the wort back up to boiling unless you had it down to where the cold was not making it to the kettle and merely pushing the hot through. I would think if there was any true savings with this method that the big boys would have been doing it a long time ago.
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    The big boys don't use single step infusion so they don't have the same bed integrity issues we have. If the cold liquor makes it to the kettle, it is not a real savings in energy. If you use enough to just keep the bed in good shape and push the hot liquor through, that could be like getting another 1 or 2 mpg in your car.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    1,097
    "The big boys don't use single step infusion so they don't have the same bed integrity issues we have." Ah but we do. Well OK, maybe not the really big guys, but I've worked a a couple of breweries pushing out 400,000 hl per annum) using single temperature infusion mashes, and I can think of a couple that are / were bigger than this.

    But seriously, if you only sparge with cold water until the runoff istarts to cool, then the chances are that you are not extracting all the sugars
    dick

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