In the most recent Zymurgy, there is a recipe that involves step infusion mash. It's not quite explained how to get the wort off the grain.

So I was wondering how a step infusion mash works? I currently brew BIAB, with my own sparge/rinse system, getting about 75-85% efficiency.

This step infusion calls for some water at 140 degrees (30 minutes), then some boiling water (again 30 minutes, mixing with previous water, the boiling temp is mitigated), then "lauter and sparge" with 3.5 gallons to get 6 gallons runoff. My question is what is 'lauter and sparge'? Aren't they the same thing? This is related to my question here, but this question is about a specific recipe and method. That question is more general.

  • If you get Zymurgy, the recipe is Blinky Session IPA, pg. 85
    – CDspace
    Jan 10, 2015 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


Lautering is the separation or wort from grains, sparging is the rinsing of water through the grains to get more wort.

Most recipes call for a sparge to get a good effeciency, and if you fly sparge then you would be doing your lauter and sparge at the same time. (Some people ladle water onto the grain bed and call it batch sparging... but I think it works the same way).

As mentioned in the wikipedia article from the other question, you don't necessarily have to sparge (add water) after mashing. You could just drain (lauter) the wort and have small amount of really strong wort.

OTOH you can 'over sparge' - which is to send all of your wort through the grain bed. It is undesirable since, assuming the lauter tun has good unidirectional flow, the sugars will removed from the grains early in the process, and wort coming off later will only contain tannins (and taste bitter). This is made worse by using excessively hot sparge water.

  • That first paragraph is exactly what I was look for. Short, simple, and clear. Thanks.
    – CDspace
    Jan 10, 2015 at 12:49

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