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Old 03-07-2011, 04:58 AM   #21
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can you tell us what's wrong with your beer that you want to change? I seriously doubt it has anything to do with your efficiency. Tannins and astringency can happen when your running gets below 1.010, but your say you're above that. I've never heard anyone artificially lower their efficiency to make better beer.

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Old 03-07-2011, 11:31 AM   #22
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can you tell us what's wrong with your beer that you want to change? I seriously doubt it has anything to do with your efficiency. Tannins and astringency can happen when your running gets below 1.010, but your say you're above that. I've never heard anyone artificially lower their efficiency to make better beer.
There may or may not be anything wrong with the beer. I'd like to compare a beer on my system with 70-75% efficiency along with my current 85% efficiency to see if I notice any difference. Obviously there are a bunch of factors other than mash efficiency, but I'd like to see if I notice any improvement with the lower efficiency.

There are people out there who advocate a NO sparge, so that would result in a very low mash efficiency. I don't know if I want to go this far yet, but these people say there is a difference in taste.

I guess maybe this is a better way to look at the issue:
Where does Tanin (or other off flavor) extraction occur during a mash? Is it time? Is it only when it gets below 1.012? Is it based off grain crush? what else?.... If it only happens at lower SG with low pH, then I think my simple answer would be to stop sparging when I get my runnings under X SG and then top off with pure water. But then is there any harm on doing this? Don't know if something magical happens during the mash, where I wouldn't want to add straight water to achieve the correct preboil volume.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:17 PM   #23
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If you're worried about tannin extraction, why don't you measure the pH of your runnings (especially as you get near the end of the sparge) and determine if you're in the range where that might be a problem? I would certainly try that before just arbitrarily looking for a way to lower my mash efficiency.

But, if you *really* want to lower your efficiency, I would try dropping back from 1.25 qt/lb to something lower, like 0.75 or even 0.50 qt/lb. You could also try milling your grain a little coarser (widen the gap on your mill). Don't get me wrong, I'm with those who say that there is no reason to lower try and lower your efficiency. But if you want to do it, those are some things you might try.

Brian

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:20 PM   #24
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When you say mash efficiency, are you referring to how much sugar is converted during the mash (i.e. conversion efficiency)? Or lauter efficiency?

I think the largest factor affecting tannin extraction is pH, and second is a hot sparge. The reason that you don't want to get below a certain gravity in a sparge is because you aren't going to have the right balance of ions left in the mash to maintain the correct pH. It makes sense if you consider that ideal mash pH is 5.2-5.4, and your water is ~7. If you keep adding water, then your pH is going to creep up. If you're worried about tannins, why don't you get a pH meter and check on your mash/sparge pH values?

Personally, I would want to keep my mash efficiency high and lower the lautering efficiency. You can try to do this by just stopping your fly sparge earlier and adding water to your BK to top up with instead of wort from the tun.

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:24 PM   #25
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If you are worried about tannins, I would recommend taking gravity readings of your runoff. This is super-easy if you have a hydrometer. The rule of thumb is is to stop if you get below 1010.

If 1) your runoff is above 1010, 2) your grains are not overcrushed, and 3) you sparge with water under 170 degrees, you can be very confident that you're not getting tannins from the grains.

Good luck!

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:40 PM   #26
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I came into this thread thinking it would be like a list of DON'Ts. Boy, was I wrong.

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Old 03-07-2011, 01:25 PM   #27
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Okay - getting to the point...

Why would you want to lower your mash efficiency?
That's what I'm thinking!
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:41 PM   #28
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When you say mash efficiency, are you referring to how much sugar is converted during the mash (i.e. conversion efficiency)? Or lauter efficiency?

I think the largest factor affecting tannin extraction is pH, and second is a hot sparge. The reason that you don't want to get below a certain gravity in a sparge is because you aren't going to have the right balance of ions left in the mash to maintain the correct pH. It makes sense if you consider that ideal mash pH is 5.2-5.4, and your water is ~7. If you keep adding water, then your pH is going to creep up. If you're worried about tannins, why don't you get a pH meter and check on your mash/sparge pH values?

Personally, I would want to keep my mash efficiency high and lower the lautering efficiency. You can try to do this by just stopping your fly sparge earlier and adding water to your BK to top up with instead of wort from the tun.
Good point in seperating the 2. I'm really not sure what type of mash efficiency to shoot for. I would tend to agree that I probably want high conversion efficiency and that lowering lautering efficiency is the "better" way to lower the mash efficiency. ( i understand that most people think I'm crazy on this issue).

So stopping the lauter early and topping off with pure water to the kettle is fine?

Nate
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:59 PM   #29
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Good point in seperating the 2. I'm really not sure what type of mash efficiency to shoot for. I would tend to agree that I probably want high conversion efficiency and that lowering lautering efficiency is the "better" way to lower the mash efficiency. ( i understand that most people think I'm crazy on this issue).

So stopping the lauter early and topping off with pure water to the kettle is fine?

Nate
I would think it would be fine it is, after all, what people who brew extract do (more or less).

I think that having as close to 100% conversion efficiency is always desirable, because otherwise it seems to me that it could be more inconsistent. Say most people get 90% conversion efficiency on average and you stop yours somewhere before that. It's probably way easier to stop at the top end of conversion efficiency where it plateaus than somewhere in the middle where it would be more rapidly changing. It may also lead to having starch dissolved in your wort, which you obviously don't want in your finished product.

Of course, I may be talking out of my behind here, so someone correct me if I'm wrong .
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:58 PM   #30
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There are people out there who advocate a NO sparge, so that would result in a very low mash efficiency. I don't know if I want to go this far yet, but these people say there is a difference in taste.
I haven't seen any threads on no sparge on here.. not that HBT is the end all/be all of brewing, but we tend to be an experimental group (ie. no chill, etc).

Anyhow, if you're really concerned it sounds like you have the basis for a good experiment. Tricky part of course would be getting the same OG with the no sparge vs. the sparge. You'll have to use considerably more grain in the no sparge to get the same pre-boil gravity.
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