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.

About It's what's on tap...

I'm a bass trombone player. I make beer. I take pictures. View all posts by It's what's on tap...

8 responses to “Spargeless

  • Roger Beal

    Time to buy a pump. Get in on that bulk order Dan’s putting together.
    Weird about those pre-boil gravity readings. I’ve had similar illogical results doing batch sparges. I’m at a loss to explain it.

    • It's what's on tap...

      Oh, time to buy many things, Roger!

      Grain is next on my list on Saturday at the group buy. I also won one of the Ontario Beer Kegs $10 gift certificates the other day so there may be another coupling head in my future and therefore a second tap.

      I’ll have to do a few more pre-boil readings to see where I’m at. My temps were fine in both cases and it was clearly just over 1.070. I chalk it up to beer voodoo!


  • Clay

    Very easy to get a false gravity reading in a spargeless brew. You would have to make sure everything was very well stirred and still probably need to take a bunch of readings and average them out.

  • Lawrence

    So how did the no sparge turn out? Are you a convert?

    • It's what's on tap...

      Wow! That was a while ago. LOL

      No, not a convert. It was definitely good to try but I thought it might shave some time off my brew day. Brewing inside I’m on a stove top that works just fine but takes about an hour to come to a full boil. This isn’t really an issue in a normal brew day because my lauter takes about 45 minutes so there’s only a 15 minute lag time from end of lauter to boil.

      With the full volume method the wort just gets transferred to the BK in one fell swoop, no need to take time for sparge/lauter. So in about five minutes I have a full boil kettle and that then takes almost an hour to come to a boil.

      And, call me weak, but a very full mash tun is heavy and I have to lift it up fairly high so that it can drain into the boil kettle that is stove top. That’s a pain!

      So, no convert here. 😦

      • Lawrence

        How did the beer turn out compared to regular batches you made? Did you notice any taste difference. Did you find it tasted more malty? Did you add more malt to your mash then usual?

      • It's what's on tap...

        Definitely more malty but I made a substantial error in strike temps so I ended up with a rather hot mash. It turned out fine but it finished in the mid to upper teens for final gravity (+1.015), not my usual sub 1.010.

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