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Old 01-19-2014, 05:02 PM   #1
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So I just got one of these puppies and it is beautiful. But I still think I am getting used to it. I brewed 2 beers back to back yesterday. Both beers were the same in every way, except I used different hops.

On both I only got 1.045 OG when I had calculated 1.063 based on 75% efficiency!!!! I will admit that the sparge was probably a little too fast (I had the valve open about 1/3 of the way and it took about 10 minutes for a 5 gallon batch).

But still, I can't see that low of efficiency being owed to just that. I am thinking that SABCO's directive not to stir the grain occasionally, is cool in theory but not practical. I played with the whirlpool rate a lot (keeping the water an inch above the bed like they say), and I couldnt help but notice channeling on the outside where the whirlpool velocity was the strongest. It also just makes sense that if you dont stir the grain, the grain in the middle closer to the top is not going to as much flow. I am thinking maybe this is the problem.

Also, I didn't measure the pH (I am waiting on the meter in the mail and the pH strips are worthless), but my calculations with my local water report and grist info on both Bru'n water and Brewer's friend gave me a mash prediction of 5.5 when treated with the appropriate additives (which I did, gypsum and CaCl and also phosphoric acid to sparge water).

Sabco recommended letting the grain rest for 15 minutes in the MLT water before recirculating. So following these directions, I heated the strike water in the HLT to about 135-140 and filled the MLT to the appropriate level and let the grain saturate and settle. Then I turned on the burner and recriculated until I got 152 (or around there) when the heating element took over. The warming up from 135 to 152 took about 15 minutes. then I mashed at 152 recirculating for 60 minutes. So total grain in water with the incidental lower rests was probably about 90 minutes. (I am thinking in the future, I should heat the strike water all the way so that the initial rest will be at my target temp, instead of incidentally having a 130 rest for 15 minutes).

Anyway, that is a bunch of info for any kind person with insight to read, digest, and reason on, to then give me some tips/advice/adjustments.Thanks!!!!

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:13 PM   #2
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It took me a bit to dial in process and crush to return to 75% efficiency on mine. I now run about 77%. PM me... I can maybe help answer your questions.

FYI - I heat my strike water to the target temp and recirc until the heat exchanger is ready to take over... Then dough in.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:55 PM   #3
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Sounds like you sparged too fast. But also was you crush okay? That could have played a role as well.

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Old 01-19-2014, 09:45 PM   #4
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Only 10 minutes to sparge likely left a lot of sugar behind. Sparge should take 45-60 minutes.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:19 PM   #5
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Yeah. I was having a little trouble with the valves. And then when I tried to slow things down, I turned off the pump like a dummy and it stated sucking grain back up through the hose.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:21 PM   #6
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I also notice a lot of air bubbles in the spathe water coming from the pump. I am doing the valves like the directions say and I don't have that issue while recirculating mash. What's up with the bubbles? How do i eliminate them?

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:32 PM   #7
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The trick is to keep air out - you can't leave a valve open to the BK or say the HLT and let air into the system. Never let the HLT fully drain. If you are seeing bubbles, the pump is likely locked up with air. When I am prepping - leave the return valves open to the MLT and flood the whole system till water comes in from the bottom of the MLT, then shut the valves and drain through the dump valve till you get a full stream of water. Then reset your HLT levels and reflood. Then I transfer strike liquor from the HLT to the MLT. This leaves the entire plumbing full. Air gets into the system through the HLT running dry - or having recirc on and having the valve to the BK open.

If it locks up - then close all of the valves, and open the HLT valve and dump valve, and reflood the plumbing as described.

Don't get too frustrated yet - it takes a while to learn the quirks.

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Old 01-20-2014, 01:09 AM   #8
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I also notice a lot of air bubbles in the spathe water coming from the pump. I am doing the valves like the directions say and I don't have that issue while recirculating mash. What's up with the bubbles? How do i eliminate them?

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