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I have done a few extract kit beers and now a few partial mashes. I am starting the process of ramping up to all-grain.

In many online "brewing calculators", such as this mash water chemistry tool by Beersmith, they indicate that the total water volume is different than the mash water volume:

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I can understand that total water volume might be equal to mash volume plus sparge water volume, but is any other water (besides the sparge) added to the "total" at any point in the all grain brewing process? Why is it added, and when?

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  • As a comment- don't get too intimidated by the all-grain process. It's really nothing too difficult- but it will likely take you a try or two as you'll be learning on the fly. My simple advice is to have your brewing liquor hotter than you think (it's always easier to go hot->cold than the other way) and sparge nice and slow. Happy brewing!
    – rob
    Sep 27 at 12:00
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Total water in your kettle is typically Mash liquor + sparge liquor - grain absorption, which you've essentially stated.

I can't speak for this calculator, but for the purpose of simple all-grain brewing don't let it throw you off too much. These calculators are an assistant at best and will get close (and tbh have gotten much better over the years)- but will never really match up 100%

There are certain brewing processes in which one might start with a more concentrated wort solution and top off with water (among other things) but these are typically for pretty special processes.

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