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Old 06-15-2009, 03:23 AM   #11
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ok, re-read kaiser's wiki on mash and lauter eff.
based on this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/firs...iciency-68555/
and this spreadsheet: http://braukaiser.com/documents/effi...calculator.xls

Edit:

Ok I found this cool spreadsheet on kaiser's page.
I plugged in my numbers and here's what it spit out:

Mash Efficiency: 99% (mash pH, crush are obviously not a problem)
Efficiency into Kettle: 92%
Lauter Efficiency: 87% - I doubt this
Efficiency lost in wort held back by spent grain: 12%
Extract Potential that made it to the boil kettle: 73%

I'm not sure what to make of that, because it seems wrong.... All that doesn't add up to the 71% eff I got. The mash efficiency lets me know it's not a mash problem rather a getting the sugar into my pot problem.
Anyone else have a take on this?

I'm brewing Wednesday or Thursday and I'll take all the same readings, but this time have the sparge water at 180 and let it sit 15mins after vigorously stirring before sparging. That's all I can think of.


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Old 06-15-2009, 04:39 AM   #12
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I've changed my mind about letting the mash settle after stirring. That's what I do, but I don't think it has any effect. I updated my post to say this. Sorry.
I ran your numbers through Kaiser's spreadsheet, and came up with 84% mash efficiency. (That was taking the mean gravity for your first runnings.)

-a.

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Old 06-15-2009, 04:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
I've changed my mind about letting the mash settle after stirring. That's what I do, but I don't think it has any effect. I updated my post to say this. Sorry.
I ran your numbers through Kaiser's spreadsheet, and came up with 84% mash efficiency. (That was taking the mean gravity for your first runnings.)

-a.
Ok, see I didn't know if he really meant first wort into kettle literally, or not.. so I took it literally and used only the very first number. If that is not the case then yes there is significant problems with the mash. Of course not doing so would make more sense since it would get the number down to what I expected it to say.
Which is it?
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:08 PM   #14
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If you get constant gravity for each running, it wouldn't make any difference, except right at the start of the running when you could be collecting liquid from under a false bottom, or already in the plumbing. As your gravity is decreasing, you have to calculate the average gravity

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Old 06-16-2009, 03:12 AM   #15
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ok well I need to figure out what to change with the next batch and it can really only be one thing at a time if I want to spot the problem. I was thinking crushing even finer and risking a stuck sparge OR mashing thinner, like around 2qt/lb that everyone is raving about. Then I will check the mash ph and if that's off adjust with some acid.
Of course with the thinner mash I should be able to crush finner without risking a stuck sparge as much.

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Old 06-16-2009, 03:54 AM   #16
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People are saying that siting time doesn't matter, but in Death Brewer's simple stovetop AG thread, when he went from 5 minutes of rest to 10 minutes, he bumped up quite a few percentage points.

I'd give it a try if I were you. I let mine sit that little extra bit to give time for the sugars to leach out form the grain bed some; if the first runnings were say 64, then everything including the water in the grain was 64. If you just pour more water in and don't give it enough time to equalize out and pull the sugar from the grain bed, then you're not getting everything that you should be.

Either way, waiting 5 more minutes isn't really going to kill your brew day....

Still, nothing at all wrong with 70%; that's what most recipes are formulated for, so you're really hitting recipes right on!

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Old 06-16-2009, 05:03 AM   #17
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I think you've made an excellent start by collecting and analyzing data that can give you an insight into what could be improved. This data has shown that your gravity decreases substantially during each of the runnings, which it shouldn't if the wort is stirred enough before draining.
Having established this from the data you have collected, I would suggest that you work on that problem before introducing new variables such as a finer crush or thinner mash.

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Old 06-16-2009, 06:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
I think you've made an excellent start by collecting and analyzing data that can give you an insight into what could be improved. This data has shown that your gravity decreases substantially during each of the runnings, which it shouldn't if the wort is stirred enough before draining.
Having established this from the data you have collected, I would suggest that you work on that problem before introducing new variables such as a finer crush or thinner mash.

-a.
yeah I know I should not introduce new variables, but I want to see it go up and I'm impatient on that. I can probably do 2 brew days in the next week or so, but then I'll have all my carboys full. Damn sour beers.

I was considering doing some tests with like a pound of grain, that way i can introduce a new variable each time and see how it changes. (and get some wort to make starters with)
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:00 PM   #19
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I too use pH 5.2 stabilizer although I cannot comment on its effectiveness because I added a bunch of different procedures when I started using this process. What I can say is that I increased my efficiency from roughly 55% to 91% by implementing the following.

1. Performing a double batch sparge with hotter water. I was previously using sparge water at 168 before adding it to the grain and not a grain bed temp of 168. I was also doing a single sparge.

2. I began using pH 5.2 stabilizer which stabilized the pH from about 5.0 to 5.2 using the litmus paper sold at LHBS. On my next batch I will be using my newly acquired pH meter which will help to clarify with more accuracy in readings.

3. I allowed a longer time for conversion 90 minutes as compared to 60 minutes. I don't think this made much difference based on iodine tests showing near conversion in about 30 minutes after starting mash.

4. I STARTED CRUSHING MY OWN GRAIN. I do not have a grain mill but I was relying on the advice of my local home brew shops. Everytime I mill grain there they look at me like I have 2 heads because the grain is actually crushed like it should be. I always get the comment "You don't want to mill it that fine you're going to get a stuck sparge". I then tell them I never have and I have milled it finer than this in the past. They have no idea what type of system I have and whether I have a copper manifold, false bottom or stainless braided hose. I think my copper manifold is very resistant to a stuck sparge.

5. I allowed 10-15 minutes for the sparge water to dissolve or allow more conversion in the grain bed.


I drain at a moderate pace and the cooler is empty of sparge water in about a minute. I think the things that gave me the best increase in effeciency were 1, 4 and 5. As I get more AG batches under my belt I will try removing some variables from my process to see what actually makes a difference. It's hard not to use a "shotgun" approach when your effeciency is poor and you want to correct it now and not 4 batches from now. I hope that might help a little.

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Old 06-16-2009, 10:03 PM   #20
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hot sparge water, 15 min rest, s l o w drain.

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