Beer Brewing – Partial Mash w/ Sparge

The next step in home beer brewing is learning how to incorporate sparging into the partial mash system. This tutorial assumes you have an understanding of the Malt Extract Version of brewing and the standard Partial Mash Version of brewing. Incorporating a sparging procedure, or grain washing technique, into the partial mash system of brewing requires that you have an additional piece of equipment known as a lauter tun. I have included plans for a simple version of this on the articles page of this site but there are also many commercial systems available for sale. You might be asking yourself why we would want to go to this extra trouble? There are several reasons for using a partial mash with a sparge. One is that it is about half the cost to use crushed grain than it is to use malt extract. The other is that some of the more delicate beer style colors are impossible to attain using strictly malt extract. The most important, however, is the the added control you have over the final product. For this tutorial, we will be using the same Flaked Barley Stout recipe from the previous tutorial.

Beer Brewing Equipment

  • Stock pot of at least 4 gallons in size (16 quarts)
  • Long spoon to stir the brew
  • Fermenter (a 6 1/2 gallon food grade plastic bucket or glass carboy)
  • Airlock (available at your local home brew store)
  • A sanitizing agent (chlorine bleach, iodophor is better)
  • A large pot of at least seven quarts in size that you can put in the oven
  • 1 brewing thermometer
  • A brewing hydrometer
  • 54 cleaned and sanitized bottles (non twist-off type)
  • Bottle caps
  • A bottle capper
  • Optional secondary fermenter (a 5 gallon food grade vessel)
  • A 5 gallon food grade bucket for bottling
  • A brewer’s racking cane with hose (for siphoning beer)
  • Optional bottle filler

Additional Equipment

  • Lauter Tun

Ingredients For A Flaked Barley Stout

  • 6 lbs Amber Liquid Malt Extract
  • 1.5 lbs Crushed British Pale Malt
  • 1 lb Crushed Flaked Barley
  • .5 lb Crushed Caramel/Crystal Malt — 120L
  • .5 lb Crushed Chocolate Malt
  • .5 lb Crushed Roasted Barley
  • 2 oz Kent Goldings Hops
  • 1 oz Fuggle Hops
  • 1 vial of pitchable White Labs Irish Ale Yeast
  • 1 teapoon Irish Moss
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar

The Process

  1. The brewing day begins by making sure that all of your “tools” have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. This means that every piece that will come in contact with your brew has been thoroughly cleaned and has been soaked in a solution of one tablespoon chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water for at least an hour. After everything has been cleaned, sanitized, and rinsed well, it is time to begin the brewing procedure.
  2. Make sure you allow the yeast you are using to warm to room temperature for at least 6 hours before you begin your brew.
  3. Bring 1.2 quarts of water per pound of grain to 150 degrees on your stove in your large pot or Dutch oven. For this particular recipe, this amounts to 4.8 quarts. While you are waiting for the water to get to the appropriate temperature, turn your oven on and set it to its lowest setting.
  4. Place your crushed grains into the water and thoroughly mix them. Put the top on the Dutch oven or large pot and place the vessel in your oven. Leave it in the oven for exactly one hour. During this time, enzymes are activated in the grains and the fermentable sugars are extracted.
  5. While the mash is in the oven, heat 2 gallons of water on your stove to approximately 170 degrees.
  6. After the hour mashing process is complete, remove the pot from the oven. Pour enough of the 170 degree water into the bottom of the lauter tun to just reach the bottom of the inside bucket. The water you have just added is known as foundation water.
  7.  Dump the grain/water mixture from your large pot into the lauter tun and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.
  8. Take your large stock pot (16 quart or larger) and place it under the spigot of the lauter tun. This usually means that you will need to elevate the lauter tun by sitting it on a chair or a kitchen counter.
  9. Open the spigot slightly and allow the hot wort to flow from the lauter tun and into the large pot. At the same rate that the liquid is leaving the lauter tun, gently sprinkle the 170 degree water on top of the grain bed. I would suggest using a small coffee mug to ladle the sparge water onto the top of the grain bed. Be careful not to disturb the grain bed too much. The idea is to stretch this process out for as long as possible.
  10. After all of the liquid has been transferred to the top of the grain bed, allow all the remaining liquid in the grains to drain into your large stock pot and discard the spent grains.
  11. Place the large stock pot on the stove and bring the solution to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, turn off the heat and dump your Amber Malt Extract into the water. Use the hot water to soften the extract left in the container and dump the remains into the boil kettle. Make sure to stir the wort to avoid having your malt extract scorch.
  12. Place one of the one ounce Kent Goldings Hops packets and the one ounce Fuggle Hops packet into the kettle and begin boiling your wort. Make sure you pay attention, it is possible to have a sticky boil over when the boil begins. This wort boiling procedure will take exactly 60 minutes. During this time, the bitterness, flavors, and aroma of the hops will be extracted and the wort will be sanitized.
  13. 45 minutes into the boil, place one teaspoon of Irish Moss into the liquid. This will aid in the coagulation of proteins and will result in a cleaner tasting final product.
  14. 50 minutes into the boil, place the remaining one ounce packet of Kent Goldings Hops into the boil. This is the Hops addition that will add a nice aroma to your beer.
  15. After the 60 minute boil process has completed, it is time to cool the wort to yeast pitching temperature. This means putting the boil kettle into your sink filled with ice and water. Frequently stirring the ice around the boil kettle will assist the cooling procedure. Also stir the boiled “beer” with a sanitized spoon in order to speed the process.
  16. Once the liquid has cooled to approximately 80 degrees, it is time to transfer it to your sanitized fermentation bucket or carboy. Use sanitized water to bring the final liquid volume up to 5 gallons. It is at this time that you might want to use your brewer’s hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of your beer (including the added liquid). Fill the hydrometer’s tube with the beer and allow the hydrometer to float in a container. Read the number that appears at the liquid line. It should be a number that looks something like 1.052. This number can allow us to determine the final alcohol content of our brew.
  17. Pitch your yeast into the beer and vigorously shake your fermentation tank. This agitation will help to increase the amount of oxygen in the beer. At this point, the yeast need a lot of oxygen in order to begin a healthy fermentation. Seal your fermentation vessel with the water-filled sanitized airlock.
  18. For most beers, fermentation will begin within 36 hours. Depending upon the style of beer you are making, the fermentation process will last anywhere between 4 to 7 days. If you have a secondary fermentation tank, it is at this time that you would siphon your beer off the yeast sediment in the primary fermenter and transfer it to the secondary. Fermenting beer that is treated in this manner and left in the secondary fermentation tank for at least 2 weeks will become much clearer and have a cleaner flavor. This process, however, is completely optional.
  19. Once fermentation is complete, transfer the beer to a bottling bucket. Add 3/4 cup of corn sugar that has been boiled with a cup of water. Stir the beer well to make sure the sugar solution is evenly mixed into the solution. Be very careful not to splash the beer at this point. Splashing can cause oxidation in the beer which can lead to off-flavors.
  20. The beer may now be transferred to the cleaned and sanitized bottles. It is also at this time that you should use your hydrometer to measure the final gravity of your beer. Place bottle caps on the bottles and allow them to sit in a warm place for approximately 14 days. You can enter your original and final gravities into the Beer Statistics calculator on my Calculator and Texts page in order to find out the alcohol content, calories per 12 ounces, and carbohydrate content of your beer.
  21. Enjoy your home brewed beer. Home brewed beer is best enjoyed in a clean glass. Pour all but the last quarter inch of beer from the bottle into the glass. This will leave behind the spent yeast cells that have finished performing their duties.