Water to Grain ratio for doing an Imperial

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Water to Grain ratio for doing an Imperial

Postby avatar » Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:38 pm

How much water do I need to use for mashing (I know that it is based on the amount/weight of grains used) and sparging to collect five gallons of high gravity wort? Does anyone have a formula for this? I am concerned that I would use more water than is necessary to mash and have less for sparging.
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Postby alms66 » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:01 am

I believe it is generally accepted that .9-1.1 quarts of water per pound of grain is the "standard". I just always go middle-of-the-road and use 1 quart per pound of grain.

Mash with that amount of water you choose and sparge with an equal amount. If you've collected enough wort (the grain will soak up some), then boil, add hops, etc. If you don't have enough wort, add more water then boil, add hops, etc. If you have too much wort, boil for longer to boil off more water than usual and/or just live with it and don't worry about it.

I don't know offhand what rate water boils off at, maybe there's a formula to figure that out, but I don't know what it is since I do mini-mashes and have never had to worry about having the proper volume for a full boil.
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Postby yeastmeister » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:41 am


is a good place to start if your looking for equations. Generally, 1qt per pound is a good place to start.
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Postby aleguy » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:14 pm

That is in range for a good mash. My tun is too small so I end up only being able to fit a little under a pint per pound. My mash is thicker than cold oatmeal and very difficult to stir. I don't recommend this ratio. As far as sparge water is concerned, just refill your HLT and heat it up while your mash is sitting.
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Postby Imakewort » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:00 pm

your sparge water and mash water are considered a total amount, say your preboil amount is 6 gallons so if you want a thicker mash your sparge water amount will be 3.5 gallons (all amounts are for example only) if you want a thinner mash your sparge water will be 3 gallons. But your total into your boil kettle will be the same, some mash grain to water ratios are based on your equipment my ratio is 2 quarts per pound, but I have a 1 gallon space below the grain bed so my real ratio is 1.5 quarts per pound, here is a copy from one of my study books on pro brewing that discuss grain to water ratio. there is a lot more to efficiency than this like grain crush, mash pH, calcium ratio in PPM, temp. of mash.

The thickness of the mash doesn't seem to effect the fermentability of the wort that is produced but thinner mashes can significantly improve the conversion efficiency. As a result brewers who see low efficiency from their mashing may try to use a thinner mash (3-4 l/kg or 1.5 - 2 qt/lb) as they were shown to convert more starches.
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