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Old 11-29-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
traviswalken
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Default Adjusting for efficiency while mashing

I have a few BIAB batches under my belt and will try batch sparging for the first time this weekend. I am brewing a dry stout with a pretty low OG. I have been getting 70-78% efficiency with BIAB, but figure I might get efficiency as low as 60% batch sparging until I get the process dialed in.

Since the recipe has a low OG, I am a little conerned about undershooting gravity and making a watered down beer.

I was thinking about cutting back my sparge water by about 1 gallon and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Then I could check the gravity of the first runnings and second runnings. If it looks like I am getting reasonable efficiency, I would add the last gallon of sparge water. If not, I would just end up with 4.5 gallons of wort after boil. I'd rather get 4.5 gallons of beer at a reasonable FG/ABV than 5.5 gallons of watered down stout.

I used a similar method when sparging BIAB and was able to hit my target gravity pretty accurately. I just ended up with extra beer if I got good efficiency.

I suppose another strategy would be to lengthen my boil. However, I know there are things happening to the wort in a prolonged boil that aren't all desirable.

Sorry for the long question, just curious what others do when they are unsure about efficiency.

Thanks.

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Old 11-29-2012, 08:28 PM   #2
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1) Mash and sparge as usual. Take a gravity reading and then just add some DME at flameout to hit your target.

2) Mash and sparge as usual. Boil down your wort to concentrate it to desired gravity. This is a great method for dark, malt forward styles.

Either work fine and hopefully you only need to do them a time or 2 before you start dialing in your efficiency.

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Old 11-30-2012, 08:12 AM   #3
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I've been BAIBing for about a year and tried sparging. Ya know it ain't worth the effort or time. I just did one today and got 80% eff so who needs to sparge?

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Old 11-30-2012, 11:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traviswalken
I have a few BIAB batches under my belt and will try batch sparging for the first time this weekend. I am brewing a dry stout with a pretty low OG. I have been getting 70-78% efficiency with BIAB, but figure I might get efficiency as low as 60% batch sparging until I get the process dialed in.

Since the recipe has a low OG, I am a little conerned about undershooting gravity and making a watered down beer.

I was thinking about cutting back my sparge water by about 1 gallon and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Then I could check the gravity of the first runnings and second runnings. If it looks like I am getting reasonable efficiency, I would add the last gallon of sparge water. If not, I would just end up with 4.5 gallons of wort after boil. I'd rather get 4.5 gallons of beer at a reasonable FG/ABV than 5.5 gallons of watered down stout.

I used a similar method when sparging BIAB and was able to hit my target gravity pretty accurately. I just ended up with extra beer if I got good efficiency.

I suppose another strategy would be to lengthen my boil. However, I know there are things happening to the wort in a prolonged boil that aren't all desirable.

Sorry for the long question, just curious what others do when they are unsure about efficiency.

Thanks.
Not sure i get the question. Are you trying to switch from BIAB to traditional techniques and asking for help or are you trying to BIAB with a batch sparge addition?
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Rider View Post
I've been BAIBing for about a year and tried sparging. Ya know it ain't worth the effort or time. I just did one today and got 80% eff so who needs to sparge?
I also get good efficiency with BIAB. I am switching for a couple reasons.

First, I recently brewed a batch of high gravity beer with BIAB. I reached the limit of my equipment with 20 lbs of grain in an 8.5 gallon pot. It was total pain in the a$$ and a giant mess. I got 78% efficiency, but sparging with 20 lbs of grain was not a lot of fun. I also question the quality of the wort I produced due to mash:water ratio, temp control, HSA, and other factors.

I have also had a lot of trouble controling mash temps. I have an alumium pot. A blanket over the pot isn't giving me the control I really need. I am forced to add heat during mash. When I add heat, sometimes I overshoot and then need to add ice cubes. This is especially challenging when I have a lot of grains.

I could solve the problem by upgrading to an insulated keggle. However, the reason I started BIAB was I wanted to keep it cheap and simple. Building an MLT only costs about $60 and solves my mash temp problem. Batch sparging is also very simple. It also allows me to keep brewing in my kitchen. Finally, I can keep it super simple by doing a no sparge in my 13 gallon cooler.

My 2 cents.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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Not sure i get the question. Are you trying to switch from BIAB to traditional techniques and asking for help or are you trying to BIAB with a batch sparge addition?
Since I am switching from BIAB to batch sparge, I expect I might get poor efficiency for a couple batches. I was just looking for advice regarding compensating for this. A previous post recommended adding a little DME or lengthening the boil. I will use one of these solutions.
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