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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > can my water be why i'm only getting 63% average eff?
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:29 PM   #1
J311gonzo
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Default can my water be why i'm only getting 63% average eff?

so i've got at least 20 AG brews under my belt... the 6-7 brews were done intirely with distilled water. I bought 2 5 gallon plastic carboys to take to the grocery store to get water from one of those machines, i don't believe it to be reverse osmosis, but it wayyyyyyyyyy more cost effective. when I was brewing with the distilled I was avereaging mid 70s for efficency. I haven't been over 65 since the switch. I use a 10 gallon cooler with a false bottom, it empties out the side so I don't have a dip tube. I have always collected wort to my desired preboil and stopped... and I don't feel as though I leave alot behind. I fly sparge by setting the hose on top of the grain bed, and its at least a 40 min sparge. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong. my grain is milled at my LHBS where I have always gotten my grain. someone please help!!!!

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:36 PM   #2
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Read up on water:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Water

You shouldn't be using either distilled or RO water for AG brewing, without adding back the proper salts. For all intensive purposes RO is the same as distilled, so you can't blame your eff. lose on the water you are using.

I'd blame your efficiency on how you are fly-sparging (you should be getting 80-85% easy with that method), or grain crush. If I were to bet, I would say grain crush is the issue here. It is the predominant issue of blame on most forum posts about bad efficiency. I would also predict that your LHBS mucked with the crusher which caused the dip in efficiency.

Keep in mind that your LHBS is in the business of making money, and also for keeping customers happy. If they can sell more grain and prevent a customer from complaining about stuck sparges, all at the same time...its a double win for them.

Getting your grain from another store will answer the question if grain crush is to blame.

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:37 PM   #3
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I would look first at other changes - maybe the gap in the mill has changed? Also sounds like you could have a bit of variability in your fly sparging. Do you notice any channeling?

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Old 10-18-2011, 07:01 PM   #4
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How do I look for channeling? I don't know if how to tell if that's it.

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Old 10-18-2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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Here's what I did to find out if I had any dead spots in my MLT: After I collected my total volume from my first and second sparges, instead of throwing away the grain, I decided to do a third batch sparge with cold water - but didn't collect obviously. I added the same amount of really cold water and mixed like I normally do and allowed it to sit for 15 seconds or so. Then I shoved my hand down in it to find all the spots that were still hot. That indicated that I wasn't getting any fluid movement in those areas.

You could probably do the same. Once you're done sparging, put the spigot of your MLT over the sink and fly sparge cold water through for 10 or 20 minutes or so, enough to make sure the cold water has made its way through. Then feel around in there for the hot spots.

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Old 10-18-2011, 07:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J311gonzo View Post
How do I look for channeling? I don't know if how to tell if that's it.
An easy way to tell is to try batch sparging a batch. That will remove your lautering system as a variable. If your efficiency goes up when you batch sparge, you know there's a problem with your lautering system.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:00 PM   #7
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Ok I'm going to do a brew tomorrow... I'll do that then.... Also what gap show the crusher be set at?

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