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Old 02-16-2011, 11:34 PM   #1
cinderbike
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Default BIAB efficiency question - 71% good? bad?

Hey everyone. I am on my fourth BIAB batch. I've been working on getting efficiency up and not sure exactly what I've been doing right/wrong.

On my first two batches, I got pretty bad efficiency, around 60%.

I realized afterwards I wasn't stirring the mash well enough and had doughballs, and also wasn't crushing my grain as fine as I've read you should with BIAB.

The 3rd batch I got 68% efficiency. It was a medium gravity (1.060 recipe).

Now on this most recent batch, I had a high-gravity (1.1) beer that ended up at 1.093, 7 points off, which if I calculated correctly gave me 71% efficiency.

Am I doing okay, or is there something wrong here?



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Old 02-16-2011, 11:53 PM   #2
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I think you are doing fine. There is nothing wrong with 71% efficiency. I've been doing a bit better than that by grinding my grain until it looks like corn meal. Temperature control may have an effect too. I find that the top of my grain shows too cool and the bottom just right to too warm. Stirring seems to help even out the temperature.



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Old 02-17-2011, 12:06 AM   #3
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Do you squeeze the bag? Some say not to, but I do, without ill-effect. Splitting the sparge water into two batches helps too. But I'd agree that the grind has the biggest impact on efficiency. I run my grain a couple times through my mill, and condition the malt first, along with squeezing, I consistently get 85% that way.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/Malt_Conditioning

I also use about 1/8-1/4tsp lactic acid in my sparge water to lower the pH below 5.8, and keep my mash pH in the proper range. PH effects enzymatic activity, so if your pH is off, that might be an issue.

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Old 02-17-2011, 12:52 AM   #4
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I got 67% during my first BIAB session last weekend. I didn't stir the mash a whole lot though as I heard this could cause oxidation ... but I did add an extra pound of the base grain than the recipe originally called for.

Should I be stirring the mash more frequently/vigorously when mashing with BIAB?

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:27 AM   #5
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I'll stir my mash once or twice an hour. If you get a good even hydration, I don't think stirring is that important. If you have dough-balls in your mash, then the stirring would break those up, and would improve your efficiency.

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:28 AM   #6
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71% is fine.. keep improving your technique and as long as the beer tastes good then that's all that really matters.

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:29 AM   #7
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consistency is more important than the actual number; if you are interested in being able to repeat results...

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven View Post
I got 67% during my first BIAB session last weekend. I didn't stir the mash a whole lot though as I heard this could cause oxidation ... but I did add an extra pound of the base grain than the recipe originally called for.

Should I be stirring the mash more frequently/vigorously when mashing with BIAB?
stirring the mash is OK.. in fact its a good thing as it help gets the temps even from the top to the bottom. you don't want to splash it all over the place but a good stirring is a good thing.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:31 PM   #9
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I've done 2 BIAB full volume mashes with no sparge, stirred every 20 mins,
and no bag squeeze, just a 10 minute drip with
64% efficiency into the boiler both times. I'm happy
at 64% , I'll just calculate my future recipes to 64%.
I know I'm getting high quality wort with only first runnings,
and I'm well below efficiencies that could extract unwanted flavors.

One thing I learned that could help others is the grain absorbtion for
squeezing the bag versus non squeezing. I measured 0.10 gallons per pound
for no squeeze with a 10 minute drip in a strainer, if your gonna
squeeze that number has to be lowered, I've read to maybe 0.06 gallons
per pound with a good squeeze(not that I'd recommend it).

Bob

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Old 02-18-2011, 07:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinderbike View Post
Hey everyone. I am on my fourth BIAB batch. I've been working on getting efficiency up and not sure exactly what I've been doing right/wrong.

On my first two batches, I got pretty bad efficiency, around 60%.

I realized afterwards I wasn't stirring the mash well enough and had doughballs, and also wasn't crushing my grain as fine as I've read you should with BIAB.

The 3rd batch I got 68% efficiency. It was a medium gravity (1.060 recipe).

Now on this most recent batch, I had a high-gravity (1.1) beer that ended up at 1.093, 7 points off, which if I calculated correctly gave me 71% efficiency.

Am I doing okay, or is there something wrong here?

I BIAB with sparge and always get 80-83% without exception, if you do not sparge 71% is pretty much the highest you should get.

I keep hearing all this talk about 'grinding finer' or whatever... what the heck are you guys using the grind, a rolling pin? I use a barley crusher - one run through on factory setting - and my extraction is awesome.

Anyway, if you add a quick sparge step (tea bag, hit 165-170 - hold for 10 mins, and the drain) you should top 80% consistently.


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