Do you ever feel like you have to be bilingual to brew beer?… I mean you come across all this brewing lingo that makes Telenovelas on Telemundo easy to understand, but it doesn’t have to be that way… in fact, you can forget about the word sparging for now….

Instead learn what you are doing and why you are doing it…

In this case we are trying to extract sugars from grains, and after we mash or steep grains we “Rinse” off the grains to get more sugar out of the grains and into our brew…

I’m not German or anything, but I’ve heard several people mention that the word Sparge means ‘To Sprinkle’ or ‘rinse’ in German… I can’t verify that with Google Translator so even if it is a total lie, it did help me remember…

So, now you know that “Rinsing” off the grains is supposed to wash off the sugars from the grains to increase your Specific Gravity and make a stronger beer off of the same grains, but how do you do it properly?

There are a couple things you need to remember when sparging… ooops, I meant “Rinsing”…. One is temperature… if you go above 170 F, you may end up extracting harshness out of the grain husks… So keep the temperature of your sparge water below 170 F…

The second is pH… This is more of a problem with All Grain Brewing, but it also affects Extract brewers who steep grains… If your water is highly alkaline (meaning you see a lot of bubbles when you serve your tap water)… well that’s more or less my rule of thumb, but the actual way to know is to measure you pH and if its above 7 then it’s alkaline…

I don’t know exactly what is considered highly alkaline since my only experience with Chemistry was the C’s and D’s I got back in High School thanks to a little memorization which faded away after turning in my exams, but that just goes to prove you don’t need a Ph.D. to brew good beer…

Anyways… if you are brewing pale, or light colored beers and they are just not tasting as good as your Pitch Black Stouts, then that may be a sign that your water is highly alkaline and you may need to use Distilled water to “Rinse” off your grains.

Extract brewers who steep grains usually don’t need to worry about this as long as they don’t use more than one gallon per pound of malt they are steeping, but then again, if your water is too alkaline, then distilled water or some Gypsum or Calcium Chloride may help…

So there you Have it… Sparging is the complicated process of “rinsing off” your grains after a mash or steep…


    1 Response to "What Is Sparging?"

    • […] first off, I don’t know why we call it a stuck sparge, because if you ask “what is sparging?“, it’s just rinsing off the sugars from the grains… lautering is what we are […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.