Well… Not sure what to say about this brew day.
I took a stab at doing a no-sparge brew. Mixing all the grain (15lbs) with all the water I would need (7 gallons + absorption + deadspace) and draining everything after an hour rest and going with what I got.
No problems with the concept and everything proceeded smoothly. I took a pre-boil reading, which I never do, just out of curiousity and ended up with 1.072. My brewing software, BeerSmith, was estimating a preboil gravity of 1.065 on a regular batch sparge formula. I seemed to be WAY ahead of the game on this one!
In the little bit of reading that I had done, including this page, it seemed that I would end up with a lower efficiency and lower gravities on a similar quantity of grain for a no-sparge batch. My initial reading certainly didn’t show that.
I continued on with a pre-boil volume of 6.5gal which was a little below what I had estimated. Boiled for 60 minutes, cooled and drew a sample for OG reading and came up with 1.068. What?! I should have been somewhat higher than my pre-boil reading of 1.072, not lower. Something was not right…
Oh well. As I say most every brew day, “It’ll be beer.”
I like the idea of a no-sparge batch but in my set up doing stove top it was no time saver as had been reported by others. My stove takes too long to bring the full volume to a boil and usually that time is filled with lautering/sparging, so no savings there.
My MLT is plenty big enough to accommodate the quantities of grain and water involved by I do find the end result is somewhat less than manageable for me. A full mash tun is pretty heavy and having to lift it up to lauter height is just plain awkward. It’s not impossible but I usually do that kind of lifting with a brew partner, not on my own. So, again, no savings there.
We’ll have to see how the end result is to really determine whether the process is worth it. It didn’t save me time and the efficiency seems to be about the same whether I sparge or no-sparge.
Stay tuned for tasting results.