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Old 01-07-2009, 10:12 PM   #1
Decojuicer
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Default Batch Size & Efficiency

Yesterday I brewed a Schwartbier that-at 70% efficiency- should have come in at 1.057. Instead it came in at 1.050. That means that my efficiency was only 66% or so.

I did a couple things differently that SHOULD have brought my efficiency way up. I also did a couple things that I know messed with my efficiency.

1.) I had the LHBS crush my grain much finer than usual. They normally crush at 37 or 38(I can't remember) and had them crush it at 25.

2.) I sparged differently than what I was doing. I got my sparge water above the mash tun and laid a hose in and let the sparge water flow at about the same rate at the mash water was draining into the kettle.

3.) I mashed longer than usual. This was because of poor time management and because of a propane issue. One of my tanks was so low that I couldn't get the sparge water up to temp. I'm not sure which category this falls into. I usually do 90 mashes, and this lasted just over 2 hours.

4.) I think that my mash was to hot. When I added the water for mash, I figured that the temp would drop significantly. When I checked before sparging, it was at about 162 degrees. Probably to hot.

5.) My sparge water, on the other hand, was to cold. When I changed propane tanks, I cranked up the heat to try to get the water up so that I could start my sparge. When I came back a few minutes later, it was up near 200 degrees. I added some cold water to it, but I think that I dropped the temp to far. I have no doubt that probably had a lot to do with my loss of efficiency.

My big question here is, does doing a smaller batch, 5 gallons as opposed to 10 gallons, help with maintaining temps and time? Should I concentrate on doing 5 gallon batches until I am getting a good, consistent, efficiency, then go back to doing 10 gallon batches?

Also, do you guys think that I should go finer on my grain crush?

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Old 01-07-2009, 10:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Decojuicer View Post
Yesterday I brewed a Schwartbier that-at 70% efficiency- should have come in at 1.057. Instead it came in at 1.050. That means that my efficiency was only 66% or so.

I did a couple things differently that SHOULD have brought my efficiency way up. I also did a couple things that I know messed with my efficiency.

1.) I had the LHBS crush my grain much finer than usual. They normally crush at 37 or 38(I can't remember) and had them crush it at 25.

2.) I sparged differently than what I was doing. I got my sparge water above the mash tun and laid a hose in and let the sparge water flow at about the same rate at the mash water was draining into the kettle.

3.) I mashed longer than usual. This was because of poor time management and because of a propane issue. One of my tanks was so low that I couldn't get the sparge water up to temp. I'm not sure which category this falls into. I usually do 90 mashes, and this lasted just over 2 hours.

4.) I think that my mash was to hot. When I added the water for mash, I figured that the temp would drop significantly. When I checked before sparging, it was at about 162 degrees. Probably to hot.

5.) My sparge water, on the other hand, was to cold. When I changed propane tanks, I cranked up the heat to try to get the water up so that I could start my sparge. When I came back a few minutes later, it was up near 200 degrees. I added some cold water to it, but I think that I dropped the temp to far. I have no doubt that probably had a lot to do with my loss of efficiency.

My big question here is, does doing a smaller batch, 5 gallons as opposed to 10 gallons, help with maintaining temps and time? Should I concentrate on doing 5 gallon batches until I am getting a good, consistent, efficiency, then go back to doing 10 gallon batches?

Also, do you guys think that I should go finer on my grain crush?
I would think crushing at .025 should be plenty fine. I batch sparge, but I dont think the way you sparged should have hurt your effeciency too bad.Th 2 hour mash didnt hurt.Yes 160 is too hot for mashing.You should be sparging with 170 or better water.I see no significant time increase doing 10 gallon batches instead of 5 gallons, but the larger the grain bill will cost you some effeciency percentage, at least it does for me, I use a 10 gallon rubbermaid for a mash tun, and the more grain I have in there the better it holds temp.I hope that helps you a little bit.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Decojuicer View Post
...
1.) I had the LHBS crush my grain much finer than usual. They normally crush at 37 or 38(I can't remember) and had them crush it at 25.
...
Also, do you guys think that I should go finer on my grain crush?
For my last batch (2nd AG ever) I set the gap on my Barley Crusher at 0.025" and my brewhouse efficiency was 92%. I'm not brave enough to go any finer as my runoff was extremely slow (3 hours). Now, my grainbed was 10" deep and had 1 pound of oats in it but still.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #4
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I think the fine crush caused you to get channeling in the grain bed during the lauter. It is known to do that. The grain bed gets more dense and much likely to form islands of poor extraction. That was made even worse by the colder sparge water.

As jagg said, the long time should have benefited you. But the high mash temp would not have hurt. At least not for efficiency purposes. You actually get faster conversion at this temp. But the wort produced must have been rather unfermentable.

Kai

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