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schiersteinbrewing 04-22-2013 03:36 PM

All Grain Brewing Horrible Efficiency
 
I just switched to all grain brewing and I am having issues hitting the proper numbers. I do a batch sparge with a DIY converted 10gal igloo water cooler and a 10gal kettle.

1st batch was a Brown Porter
Grain Bill:

9 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)
4.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
4.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)

Mash
heated 3 gal water to 169 deg,
poured into mash tun
covered and let set
grain temp 72 deg
poured in grains and 1tbs 5star 5.2, when water was 162 deg, stirred well
temp now 150 and falling, added 1gal boiling water, raised temo to 153
let sit for 60 min, after 60 min mash temp was 150
slowly opened valve and filled a 2qt pitcher with worth and poured back in (X3)
total water in 4 gal total water out 3.1gal
poured in 3.5 gallons of 168 deg sparge water let sit 20 min
slowly opened valve and filled a 2qt pitcher with worth and poured back in (X3)
total sparge in 3.5 gal, total sparge out 3.5 gal
Total volume to kettle 6.6 gal
Total volume to fermenter 4.6 gal (before pitching yeast starter)

sg 1.042 @ 85 deg (estimated 1.046)
og 1.052 @ 75 deg (estimated 1.056, before yeast starter)

yeast starter was 800ml

conversion efficency of 72%, brewhouse of 62%

2nd batch is a Saison
Grain Bill
5 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM)
3 lbs 4.0 oz Red Wheat (4.1 SRM)
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)

Mash
heated 3.5 gal to 171 deg
poured into mash tun, closed lid, let set till temp was 168
grain temp 72
poured in grain and 1tbs 5star 5.2, mixed well
temp 157
let sit 60 min
slowly opened valve and filled a 2qt pitcher with worth and poured back in (X3)
total water in 3.5 gal, total water out 1.5gal
poured in 3.5gal sparge water at 168 deg, let sit 20 min
slowly opened valve and filled a 2qt pitcher with worth and poured back in (X3)
total sparge volume in 3.5, total sparge volume out 3.5
total volume in kettle at this point 5gal
not quite to my estimated pre boil volume of 6.5gal
heated 1.5 gal water to 168, pourerd in mash tun mixed well let sit 20 min
slowly opened valve and filled a 2qt pitcher with worth and poured back in (X3)
total volume out 1.5 gal
total boil volume 6.5 gal
total volume to fermenter 4.5gal (before yeast starter)

sg 1.034 (estimated 1.044)
og 1.044 (estimated 1.050, before yeast starter)

calculations conv efficiency of 61%, brewhouse of 56%

My porter wasnt bad, just a little off from estimates and percentage wasnt bad. Now on the other hand the Saison was horrible and very difficult,, I tried to do it exactly like the Porter but it didnt work out to well.

Am I doing something wrong, or what can I change?

Mojzis 04-22-2013 04:00 PM

Hard to tell from just reading. I would look into these two threads:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/atte...brewers-30466/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/maxi...parging-77125/

I would first look into your crush and volumes. A lot of the time the crush from LHBS's is poor or the volume you expected to be in the fermentor is more or less, causing efficiency changes.

schiersteinbrewing 04-22-2013 04:13 PM

I forgot to mention all grains came crushed from AHS.

billl 04-22-2013 05:18 PM

Something is a little off in your measurements.

Batch 1 - lost 0.9 gallons to 10.5 lbs of grain + dead space. You should be around .125 gallons/lb+dead space = 1.3 gallon + dead space

Batch 2 - lost 2 gallons ti 9 lb grain + dead space. Should be around 1.125 + dead space.

So, I suspect batch 2 had some doughballs that didn't get properly wet and Batch 2 had some lautering issues due to the wheat.

For the next batch, I'd recommend adding some rice hulls so it is easier to drain well. Then, stir the heck out of it at dough in and at least once during the mash. Check the gravity at 60 minutes. If it isn't what you want, leave it another 30 minutes. When you sparge, you need to really stir well (several minutes), but you don't need to let it sit after that.

HawksBrewer 04-22-2013 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billl (Post 5131923)
Then, stir the heck out of it at dough in and at least once during the mash. Check the gravity at 60 minutes. If it isn't what you want, leave it another 30 minutes. When you sparge, you need to really stir well (several minutes), but you don't need to let it sit after that.

This was my first thought, along with the crush. I usually stir every 15 minutes or at least 2-3 times/mash. The first time I ever did AG I didn't stir after the initial dough-in and the beer was terrible and the efficiency was worse.

schiersteinbrewing 04-22-2013 05:44 PM

When I mash in, I have my wife pour as I stir. I also stir the mash every 15-20 min. For the sparge, I stir it after pouring in the water for 2-3 min and then let it sit.

For measuring in and out, I use an opaque white 5gal bucket from Lowe's with gallons in half increments on it as well as liter increments.

On batch 2, my first thought was dough balls. I checked for them before the sparge and didn't find any, nor did I find any when I cleaned the mash tun out. I too suspected the flaked wheat in this batch.

I 've ordered my next grain bill and ordered rice hulls also.

kblankenship11 04-22-2013 06:03 PM

Looks like you did your homework. In terms of your Saison, I wouldn't consider that horrible. Looks like your pale malt for the saison was Belgian? Those malts are sometimes undermodified and require a stepped mash to get full efficiency. I usually get in the 80-85% conversion efficiency with American 2-row but the last Belgian IPA I used Belgian 2-row and got 68%. I kind of expected that, I was too lazy to do a stepped mash so I just added more grain. That could explain some of it with your Saison.

The brewhouse efficiency is usually most impacted by leaving wort somewhere. Whether it be in your mash-tun or boil-kettle. I had a pretty poor brewhouse efficiency until I got a Blichmann kettle with a hop filter and a drain tube that is about 1/4" from the bottom of the kettle. The keggle i had before that was homemade with a very poor drain design and no hop filter--needless to say I got pretty poor brewhouse efficiency with that kettle. Try to determine any equipment that is leaving liquid behind before it hits your fermenter.

RmikeVT 04-22-2013 06:10 PM

What kind of thermometer are you using?

schiersteinbrewing 04-22-2013 06:30 PM

My kettle is from AHS http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=10460

After chilling with my wort chiller, I rack it to the fermenter.

I use 3 different thermometers, in conjunction with each other. A floating from AHS, a digital pen style, and a digital with wired probe. Also, my triple scale hydrometer is used for my gravity temp readings. For one temp reading I will use a digital and a non digital and compare the results.

ajf 04-22-2013 06:33 PM

In both cases you said "poured in 3.5 gallons of 168 deg sparge water let sit 20 min"
I suggest changing this a little bit to:
  • pour in 3.5 gallons 168 deg water
  • stir vigorously for at least 3 minutes

You then don't need to let it sit for 20 minutes (but it wouldn't hurt).


-a.


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