Author Topic: Over sparging / using too much sparge water / low gravity / tannin astringency  (Read 24826 times)

Jolly McStanson

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I know this subject has been touched on a lot., However I am getting some astringency in my beer.  I noticed on  my last batch as well as a bunch of others that the running’s coming from the second sparge were getting really watery toward the end. I was doing everything  exactly the way Beer Smith told me, using the correct water volumes on each batch sparge.  I'm ending up with a full kettle of wort with out having to add water to achieve  pre boil volume.

 Foolishly I didn't check the gravity, but I'm almost certain it was below 1.010 at the end of the second sparge.  From what iv read, 1.010 is the point to stop sparging  so you don't extract tannins or astringency from the grain husks.

My equipment is dialed in correctly to my knowledge with a dead space of 1.5 gallons in the 13.5 gallon cooler. I'm entering the correct grain weight.  I use 5.2 stabilizer for the mash water.

 Is Beer Smith telling me to sparge with too much water? I doubt that it is.

 If Beer Smith is correct, and I'm entering in the wrong numbers, perhaps there could be a warning  to stop sparging at a certain gravity such as 1.010. Then add water to achieve pre boil volume.

Thank you guys

John Erik


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My first two all grain beers both had astringent flavors. I did some research and started making notes to myself to watch the crushing of my grains, ( lighly cracked but not torn) to watch my temperture and ph of the mash. I started adding 5.2 ph stabalizer to my mash as you've indicated and sparging slow and not  using to much sparge water. I fly sparge and it takes me anywhere between 30 - 45 minutes. Hops can also contribute to astringent flavors.

I to have forgotten to check my pre boil gravity and made notes to myself to do so. Remember that when checking your pre boil gravity, to mix your collected wort before checking, and to take into account the temp of your wort to make adjustments for an accurate reading. Beersmith gives a correction for this.

I've never added top up water and when in doubt I simply just taste my running to see if they still taste sweet. Not very technical but it works for me.

Good luck,

Offline MaltLicker

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watch the crushing of my grains, ( lightly cracked but not torn) to watch my temperture and ph of the mash. I started adding 5.2 ph stabalizer to my mash as you've indicated and sparging slow and not  using to much sparge water.

+1 on monitoring crush, sparge water temp, mash pH, and the sparge speed. 

Also, since you fly sparge, do you adjust pH of the sparge water itself?  If your water is much above 6.0 pH and you're fly sparging, then that high alkaline water could possibly leach tannins from the grain. 

You mention hitting pre-boil volumes, but not pre-boil gravity or final gravity, after the prescribed boil length.  I'd recommend brewing a cheap-n-easy blonde ale and measuring everything possible and taking some of the precautions Jeff outlined.  Maybe an experienced fly sparger knows, but if the efficiency % setting is wrong (low), would that make BeerSmith calculate more sparge water to reach a certain pre-boil gravity/volume?   

Jolly McStanson

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It took me a month to figure out that I didn't make any sence on the first post. When batch sparging the gravity doesn't change ones you mix the water with the grains. The end runnings are going to be the same gravity as the beginning runnings when  batch sparging.

When fly sparging the gravity changes, as the grains get rinsed, but I'm not fly sparging. When adding the water for batch sparging, that's when you check the gravity. Before the run off valve even gets opened.

Offline SOGOAK

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I am an AG rook, but I only sparged once on my first batch.  Obviously, the jury will be out until the beer is in the pint glass.  But I did roughly 4gal at mash and sparge for my 7gal. Then I added 2 more gal for 2nd runnings at 1.028.  One other thought... Since I'm not dialed in, I use 60% in beersmith
Good Recipe, Good Ingredients, Good Procedure, Good Sanitation = Good Brew.


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The first couple of times I started doing all grain, I had BS set at 80% efficiency.  After a cuople of batches i found the calculator in BS to adjust and reset my efficiency.  This is done using the corrected bre-boil gravity, OG, volumes into boil, volume into fermentor.  I believe that the first portion of the calulator will help in dialing in your brewhouse efficiency all based on OG.

However there ore other portions in the calculator that I am not quite sure how they relate to the efficiency.