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We are currently using a pump to circulate the mash through a coil in the heated sparge water, this works well and reaches mash out in under 20 min. The only worry is with the water in the sparge being around 90 c will that have an effect on the top half of the mash grain.

Once 78 c is reached in the mash we cool the sparge water and sparge as per normal.

Does anyone have any other equipment ideas such as a regulated temp coil.

  • To clarify - the sparge water gets heated, and the mash takes some of that heat via circulation, but the sparge water ends up too hot? And, you can chill the sparge water, but you are looking for a better method? – Pepi Dec 28 '14 at 14:26
  • Still confused. You are pushing your mash (grainy mud) through pipes which coil in your sparge water heating vessel. You're trying to raise the mash to its mash-out temperature but you want to do so both quickly and efficiently, using the same heat that is preparing your sparge water. Am I right so far? – Henry Taylor Dec 28 '14 at 19:41
  • If I am right so far, why not dillute your overheated sparge with chilled sterile water on its way to sparging? – Henry Taylor Dec 28 '14 at 19:43
  • sorry been away. Ye we are currently heating the mash via circulating the mash through a copper coil inside the sparge water. This water has been heated to 90 c and although the mash out temp is reached and we dilute with surplus cold water [ph 5.7 ] it only just occurred to me the top half of the mash is being heated with temps above 80 c, which probably is not good. My only solution is to heat the sparge tank to 80c which may take a lot longer to reach mash out, we normally brew 78 L at a time so I was wondering if anyone has any other equipment in use to speed things up without using direct – Maxi Jan 3 '15 at 6:09
  • Recirculating mash systems typically draw wort through a filter plate from the bottom of the mash tun, pump it through the heat exchanger, and return it to the top of the mash tun. This should result in the temperature rising equally throughout the mash tun. If you're worried that that top of the mash is heating faster than the bottom, does that mean your setup is different from this? – FishesCycle Feb 2 '15 at 19:40
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This arrangement sounds like it will always be a little slow to mov heat into the mash, but it could be improved. To start, heating transfer would be better if the mash was mixed more. Rearrange the pipes or do some manual stirring get the top of the mash to the same temp as the bottom.

Once you have a uniform mash temp, I'd think the sparge water and mash could be made to meet in the middle, as mashout temp, in a reasonable time. If it's too slow then add more copper to the coil in the sparge tank, or pump faster.

  • Thanks for the input, will probably make the coil bigger and pump quicker, stirring the mash using 80c. – Maxi Jan 4 '15 at 2:42
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I've only tried this setup once, but I tried to keep my sparge water at 180F (82C). Then recirculating through that was sufficient to bring my mash temp up to the 168-170F (76C) range for mashout. It might be worth mentioning that my temp probe is near the bottom of my grain bed, so I actually turn off the pump at 168F since the top of the mash is probably closer to 170.

I then turn off the sparge water heat and start letting it cool, but start fly sparging with the 180F (82C) water. I figure it is trickling in slow enough during a fly sparge that it will cool on the trip over to the mash tun and on making contact with the 170F mash. Since the usual goal is to leave an inch or 2 of water above the grain bed during a fly sparge, I figure even if the water in that top fraction of an inch is a couple degrees over 170F, it isn't in contact with the grains anyway.

That said, I usually don't even bother with a mash out. I just did it once because I had to to a step mash for a witbier, so had the recirculation pump and coil set up anyway.

  • Hot 170°+ or even boiling mash outs are fine IF you treat you sparge water to be below 6.0 pH. If not you will strip tannis from the grain husk, giving your beer astringency. If you do not treat, keep it at 168° – Evil Zymurgist Dec 31 '15 at 13:43

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