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Old 09-29-2008, 10:43 PM   #1
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Default Been getting poor effeciency, after a year of AG brewing

Before I get into it, let me say I did RTFM, I just got done reading the efficiency sticky


I switched to AG about a year ago. I usually hit a horrendous 60% effeciency. I have had as low as 49% (RIS) and as high as 69% (don't remember the beer). I have investigated numerous causes, and I'm starting to think it's my mash tun.

I use a coleman 5-day 70qt rectangular cooler with a bazooka screen. I'm starting to think I need to construct a CPVC manifold in order to get better effeciencies. I mean...the bazooka screen doesn't go very far into the cooler...at all.

Things I've tried to improve efficiency:
Using 5-star PH stabilizer
Continuous sparging
Batch sparging (numerous methods)

This is all really frustrating, mainly because I got through excessive amounts of grain which hurts the ol' wallet

Any tips?

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Old 09-29-2008, 10:45 PM   #2
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I know you read "the manual" but read the all grain primer in my sig... without knowing your exact experiences with batch sparging, it's the best I can do right now.

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Old 09-29-2008, 10:49 PM   #3
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My efficiency sucks also- but I am generally around 68-70% now. I blame it on the grain crush- I don't have my own mill. When I bought grain from a different LHBS while traveling, I got 55%! Now, I buy 80% of my crushed grain from austinhomebrew.com, and consistently hit 68-70%. To me, consistency is more important than the actual number, anyway. I'd be very upset if I got 55% one time and 85% another time!

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Old 09-29-2008, 10:51 PM   #4
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Ah yes, grain crush:
I have gotten grain from austinhomebrew, LHBS, and my own barley crusher at stock settings...doesn't seem to make much difference.

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Old 09-29-2008, 10:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
I know you read "the manual" but read the all grain primer in my sig... without knowing your exact experiences with batch sparging, it's the best I can do right now.
Thank you very much, reading it now.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:55 AM   #6
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Here are two other sources of information you might find useful:

Maximizing Efficiency when Batch Sparging - Home Brew Forums

Batch Sparging Analysis - German Brewing Techniques

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Old 09-30-2008, 03:55 PM   #7
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I went from about 65% to 75-80% by instead of adding grain to water I add water to the grain. I'm not sure why I was doing the opposite but once I stopped my effiency problems were fixed.

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Old 09-30-2008, 04:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
To me, consistency is more important than the actual number, anyway. I'd be very upset if I got 55% one time and 85% another time!
I brewed 3 last weekend...and I got 55% then 70% Then 74.5%
Good thing I brew with the intent of "Good Beer" on the back end and not exact guidelines or the satisfaction of hitting numbers on the front end.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anbrew View Post
Before I get into it, let me say I did RTFM, I just got done reading the efficiency sticky


I use a coleman 5-day 70qt rectangular cooler with a bazooka screen. I'm starting to think I need to construct a CPVC manifold in order to get better effeciencies. I mean...the bazooka screen doesn't go very far into the cooler...at all.


Any tips?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but whether you use a bazooka screen/manifold or ss braid, the only purpose for those items are to seperate the grain from the wort. It should have nothing to do with efficiency (unless you're not draining completely)

Not to beat a dead horse (add picture) I just posted this in another thread too, I use my LHBS to mill my grain. They just recently adjusted their mill. I went from a constant 75-77%, to 88% on my last batch. It's the only thing I did different.

I also use Bobby_M's Double batch sparge method.

I suggest you adjust the stock settings on your barely crusher until you get a real nice crush with a lot of flour.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:54 PM   #10
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I just built my new tun using the same cooler. I have only done one brew on it so far (9-9-9) but my manifold should be fine for batch or fly sparging as I carefully designed it to avoid channeling.



Copper is *&@% expensive, my cost to build that manifold was about $90, hot water CPVC would be a lot cheaper if you want to give it a try. The tubing I used is 3/4". Only the long pieces have slots every 1/2". The cross pieces have no slots since the tees are nearly against the end of the cooler.

Have you calculated your mash efficiency (see link in my sig). If you aren't getting complete conversion for some reason all the sparging in the world won't get you where you want to be.

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