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Old 06-23-2013, 07:05 AM   #1
Cajun_McChicken
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Default Over 100% mash efficiency

So I recently took about a 10 month hiatus from brewing during which time I made some improvements to my system by adding a chugger pump that I use to transfer water and wort, recirculate the mash, and whirlpool after boiling. Pretty much everything else is as it has always has been: 10g drink cooler for HTL with 1500w element controlled by my ranco temp controller, another 10g round cooler with a copper manifold and lock-line return tubing for the MLT and a 10g winco aluminum kettle.

So here's my issue: each of my first two mashes on my new pump system have come out to (according to beer smith) 124-6% efficiency. The mash I just finished was an American Amber franken-brew that I used 5lb of fresh 2-row for and the leftovers of every other specialty grain I had in the freezer (most over a year old).

Estimated pre-boil volume 7g
measured pre-boil volume 6.67g (pump mishap spilled some sparge water; I'm still learning to use it)
Estimated pre-boil gravity 1.041
Measured pre-boil gravity 1.064

I just checked my hydrometer and it seems to be working fine (1.000 in cool tap water)

Any ideas on what might cause this?

recipe printout below

File Type: pdf Untitled.pdf (28.3 KB, 23 views)
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #2
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Maybe it wasn't stirred when you took that sample and you got the heavier sugars?
What was the OG into the fermenter?

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Old 06-23-2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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I'm not expert but i don't think you can take out more sugars from the grains then available.

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Old 06-23-2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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You always want to stir before you take a hygrometer reading. You will get sugar stratification.

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Old 06-28-2013, 05:21 PM   #5
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Default didn't stir

Yup, I didn't stir the wort. Duh...

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Old 06-28-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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This is not due to lack of stirring. It's most likely that you're comparing your first runnings to the OG, which is based on the 1st runnings + sparge water.

How did you measure your water volume? Are you measuring the first runnings or first runnings + sparge?

It's my guess that you're measuring your first runnings, which is less volume and more concentrated sugars.

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Old 06-28-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novahokie09 View Post
This is not due to lack of stirring. It's most likely that you're comparing your first runnings to the OG, which is based on the 1st runnings + sparge water.

How did you measure your water volume? Are you measuring the first runnings or first runnings + sparge?

It's my guess that you're measuring your first runnings, which is less volume and more concentrated sugars.
I'm pretty sure it's a stirring issue. I pulled my hydrometer sample from my kettle once the sparge was complete and the full boil volume was in there. Since the first runnings went in first and they are more dense than the final runnings it makes sense that they would hang out at the bottom and give me a too-rich reading if I didn't stir it up.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:53 AM   #8
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Did you account for temperature and/or use any adjuncts?

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Old 06-29-2013, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun_McChicken View Post
I'm pretty sure it's a stirring issue. I pulled my hydrometer sample from my kettle once the sparge was complete and the full boil volume was in there. Since the first runnings went in first and they are more dense than the final runnings it makes sense that they would hang out at the bottom and give me a too-rich reading if I didn't stir it up.
Did you pull the sample from the bottom?

Boy, I can't see stirring being an issue here, I would think that combining runnings (however you do it) would mix it up pretty good....

How did you calculate efficiency?
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
Did you pull the sample from the bottom?

Boy, I can't see stirring being an issue here, I would think that combining runnings (however you do it) would mix it up pretty good....

How did you calculate efficiency?
It happens. I used to see this sort of stratification in my boil pot. I also would have thought that they would mix better.

Though, I think a lot of the wild efficiency stories are just due to measuring the volumes wrong, or measuring the wrong things altogether.

I think it's possible to get better than 100% in a lab setting, where extraction of sugars doesn't rely on mashing, but instead on some other method. I read that somewhere.
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