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Wort Collecting and Sparging

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Equipment You Will Need

DIY Corner

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Water Treatment

A Walk Through A Brew

  The Mash

Wort Collecting and Sparging

Boiling and Topping Up

Cooling and Pitching

Initial and Secondary Fermentation

Bottling

Kegging

A Few Recipes

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Danger - Quicksand!

Frequently Asked Questions

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On this page we run through how we collect the wort from the mash tun before going on to explain sparging.

The easiest set up I've found is to place the mash tun by the edge of a worktop as shown and place a fermentation bin on a chair underneath the tap. Open up the tap and allow ALL the liquid to pour into the bin. This takes a long time - 15 minutes or more - so relax, sit down, put the kettle on and have a sandwich. DON'T attempt to cut corners at this stage however tempting it might be.

 let gravity and a kitchen chair do the work...

Pour the sweet wort from the fermentation bin into your stockpot; this gives you the opportunity to rinse the fermentation bin and wash away all the debris, the bits and twigs that have come through the tap of the tun. Then take the lid off the mash tun, replace the fermentation bin and open up the tap. Pick up your sterilised recirculation sprinkler and jug the sweet wort out of the stockpot into the sprinkler which obviously you're holding over the bed of grain, as shown in the picture...

 

 

 

a time consuming job but well worth the effort

 

Do this until all the sweet wort has passed through the bed of grain and again, wait until the trickle has completely stopped, which will take a frustratingly long time. Just like the fermentation bin, take the opportunity to rinse your stockpot to get rid of the debris in it. You will find that, on the first 'run through', you will have to stop from time to time to rinse out your recirculation sprinkler as the holes get clogged with debris.

Repeat this TWICE - yes, TWICE. (For the avoidance of doubt, what I'm saying here is that once you've collected your sweet wort you should run it through the grain THREE TIMES). Don't forget to keep rinsing your stockpot and fermentation bin on each occasion they are emptied. Many brewers only run the wort through once, but each time the wort passes through the grain it is 'polished' and refined a little bit more, in the sense that more and more debris is trapped and left behind in the tun. Put your rinsed out stockpot to one side as you'll need it again later.

When all the sweet wort has finished pouring off the grain for the third 'run through' you'll be left with about 8 litres from the 16 litres we started off with. Once your water has reached 62°C it's time to sparge.

Sparging

Place the lid back on the mash tun ensuring the revolving arm and plastic elbow is in place. Connect the tube from your sparging jug to the elbow, as shown in the picture. Jug your sparging water into the sparging jug; let gravity do the work - as you can see I simply place the jug high up and constantly refill it.

Gravity fed with sparging jug set on high; outside burner already set up in the background.Water enters through the lid of the tun and drives the sparging arm which revolves and releases the water in a fairly fine spray as it does so. The water washes most of the remaining sugars out of the grain into your fermentation bin where it mixes with your sweet wort.

 revolving sparge arm with tun lid raised so you can see it doin' its thang...

 

 Keep sparging until you have 25 litres in total in your bin (ie 8 litres of sweet wort and 17 litres of sparge water) and put this to boil in your big pan on the outside burner. In order to do this you'll have to empty the big pan of all remaining water if you used this pan to heat up your sparge water - put a few litres of this in your stockpot and use your stockpot as a temporary holding container for the sparge water; temporary because you‘ll need the stockpot to hold your excess spargings.

long way to go... running off the spargings

You will lose some litres of liquid during a 90 minute long boil. Although you need to achieve a vigorous rolling boil, if it's too vigorous your evaporation rate will be fantastically high and you could lose 8 or 9 litres, so be prepared to turn the gas down during the boil if things get too lively. Do a little more sparging using the water in the stockpot, say 4 or 5 litres, collecting this in your now empty fermentation bin. When done, transfer from the bin back in the stockpot, put the stockpot lid on to keep out the flies and put to one side.

Now the sparging has ended, you have 25 litres of wort in your big pan and more than enough excess spargings in your stockpot to compensate for loss through evaporation so it's time for the next step, which is boiling and topping up...

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