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For less than around 2 pounds of milled grain in a nylon bag, do you need an elaborate sparging process?

Do you need much of the equipment for an all-grain setup, or can you basically just soak the grain in fresh water for a few minutes and then add that to the boil?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've done all of the following in extract + grains brewing with 1 - 4 lbs of grain and I can honestly say I've never noticed a difference in the final product:

  • Remove grain bag from brew kettle, place in bowl, pour hot water over it, press it with spoon, add liquid back to kettle.
  • Remove grain bag from kettle, hold above kettle while spraying with hose.
  • Remove grain bag from kettle, say "meh, I'm too lazy to sparge today," and do nothing.
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When I did partial-mash batches, I usually placed the bag of grain in a mesh strainer above my brew pot and poured my sparge water over the bag. It helps to find a strainer wide enough so that it's handles rest on the rim of your pot, otherwise you'll need a brave friend to hold it while you pour your sparge water.

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I do relatively small batches of grain on the hob (up to 2.5Kg) using a mashing and sparging bag. I have 2 stockpots, one of which is used for the mash, and the second which I half-fill with water near the end of the mash period, and heat to 80 deg C. When the mash is complete I sparge by lifting the bag from one pot to the other. It then sits in the other pot for 10-20 minutes or so before removing. I sometimes support the mash bag above the pot while the remaining wort runs out, but as often as not the bag gets put in a big mixing bowl while I add the sparge wort to the 1st volume of wort.

I started with the full AG kit, I did not realised that all I really needed was a thermometer and a mashing bag, and some kitchen pots.

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