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Old 04-03-2007, 07:39 PM   #1
scohop
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Default Amoung of infusion water and efficiency?

I've been brewing for a while, but am new to AG (just finished my second batch).

To increase brewhouse efficiency, is it better to mash with more or less water? My problem with mashing with more water is that my full boil pot is only 7.5gallons, so I have to be careful not to sparge too much.

Which scenario is better?
(A) Start with a really stiff mash (~.75qt/lb) and step with hotter water so that you can do a beta and alpha rest with only a few gallons of watter? and then sparge more... OR
(B) Use more water, thinner mash, but not be able to sparge as much.

My last batch was a wheat beer: 6lb of 2-row and 4lb of malted wheat. I did a protein rest with too much water (misread my book!) and so had a hard time raising the temperature to 150 then 158F. This meant I could barely sparge at all. My OG 1.046, which I think is on the high side for the style, but works out to a pretty bad efficiency (~69%). What should I be doing instead?

Thanks much! (This is basically my first real post on the board... great site!)

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Old 04-03-2007, 07:43 PM   #2
Steve973
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Your efficiency will be greater with a longer, slower sparge in the upper 160s. But your mash should be dictated by the style of beer that you want to brew, not efficiency concerns. If you know your usual efficiency, you can plan your recipes with that figure and get the starting gravity that you're shooting for.

Actually, your efficiency was pretty good for not being able to sparge very much.

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Old 04-03-2007, 07:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve973
Your efficiency will be greater with a longer, slower sparge in the upper 160s.
Okay, so efficiency is mostly the result of sparging and not the mash? When you drain out the water used in the mash, are you calling that part of the sparge?

Generally speaking, is hotter water mean a more efficient sparge (provided I don't go so hot that I'm pulling out tannins)? Or is there something special about a particular number (say, the upper 160s)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve973
If you know your usual efficiency, you can plan your recipes with that figure and get the starting gravity that you're shooting for.
Okay, yeah, this time I didn't know (since I'm new at it), so I just bought too many grains.

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Originally Posted by Steve973
Actually, your efficiency was pretty good for not being able to sparge very much.
Thanks. I'm happy it wasn't a complete disaster (like my first AG effort. ha!).

Sorry for all the questions, but thanks for your help!
Scott
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scohop
Okay, so efficiency is mostly the result of sparging and not the mash? When you drain out the water used in the mash, are you calling that part of the sparge?
Efficiency comes from the percentage of sugars that you pull out of the grains. It doesn't matter if they are fermentable, or if they are dextrins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scohop
Generally speaking, is hotter water mean a more efficient sparge (provided I don't go so hot that I'm pulling out tannins)? Or is there something special about a particular number (say, the upper 160s)?
Yes. The sugars dissolve more readily in warmer water, so you leave less behind. Be sure to adjust your pH in order to keep from pulling out tannins, too.

Good luck in your future efforts!
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:53 PM   #5
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Use pH 5.2 and sparge hot (180F). Works great.

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