Bob, you do use strange words sometimes mate.
I didn’t invent them. Sparging comes from the Latin word spargere meaning “to sprinkle” or “to scatter.” There, you see? Not. My. Fault.
Sparging is a brewing technique used by grain brewers where they spray heated water over the grains to extract the sugars, creating the wort.
I’m glad you asked. It’s an efficiency thing. When you sparge, you reduce the amount of grain you need to use because you can’t possibly get all the sugar out of the grain
In a normal sparging setup (from top to bottom) you have:
- a reservoir for boiling water
- something to help disperse the water at the top of the pile of grains (sparger)
You can buy a sparger or make one.
I’m rather fond of using a hand-held shower head.
- a sparge bucket
a bucket that has a spigot or hose coming out the bottom
a seive of some sort to elevate the grains above the exit hose
- a collecting bucket for the wort
When brewing, you need to be careful with the temperature of the water, as water that is too hot can extract unwanted tannins and bitterness from the grains, although that’s often more of a pH level issue than a heat issue.
Since you have a step between the water boiler and the sparging bucket, you can often control the temperature better. If you’re a grain-brewer, get on the band wagon and look at sparging your next brew.
Here’s the sparging process:
- Heat your water to no more than 175°
- Spray the water over the top of the grains
- Collect the first few quarts of wort and pour back over the top of the grains.
This is because the first few minutes of water flow will contain bits of the ground grains with it.
By pouring it back over the top, the grains will start to act as a filter and your wort will soon run clear.
- Once the wort is running clear, let it flow into your collecting bucket
- That was easy!!