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Old 08-17-2014, 11:28 PM   #1
fiveohmike
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Default Efficiency + Deadspace questions/issues

Hey Guys,

So on my new brewstand I did my first AG brew with it. This is all new equipment to me. I went wrong with my calcs somewhere with either water/sparge water and/or deadspace.

I based all of my stuff off of beersmith. My efficiency came out to about 49% with a 14.38lb grain bill.

My questions is:

How should I be calculating my dead space for mash water and sparge water calculations. In Beersmith I have checked the box for "Adjust mash calculations based on deadspace". My deadspace is 1.25G.

When I was cleaning the mash tun there was a lot of juicy wort left in there and it makes me sad

Basically it called for 4.78 gallons of mash water + 1.25 for the deadspace to come out to 1.4qt/lb of grain. So I mashed in with just over 6 Gallons of water @ 161 strike temp. Mash temp settled at 149, with a drop to 145 by 60 minutes. vorlaufed and drained. (forgot to measure how much came out )

Next for the sparge, i used 3.83 gallons of water @ 168. I stirred (but not like crazy stirred). Let sit for 15 minutes, vorlaufed and drained.

My measured pre-boil volume was 7 gallons on the dot ( i was about .3g short ). My post boil, after chilling, was 5g. It appears I boiled off 2 gallons over an hour. Does this seem high?

I really feel like i am not calculating this right, or I am just leaving too much behind.

P.S. I did a single batch sparge as I was not sure how to do a split/2step batch sparge. Maybe this is something?


What do you think

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Old 08-18-2014, 12:00 AM   #2
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Reducing the dead space would be a really good first step because it does lower batch sparge efficiency by a few points right off the bat. Once you start mashing under 150F, you should also extend the mash to 90 minutes as you may not have been fully converted yet. Other than those two items, it sounds like it went pretty well. You can back off on your burner a little because 2 gallons an hour is a little high.

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Old 08-18-2014, 01:03 AM   #3
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Was your sparge water at 168? or was it closer to 190 to bring the grain bead up to 168? sparging with to low of a temp can decrease efficency also

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Old 08-18-2014, 06:10 AM   #4
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Target your mash temp a bit higher, 149F is barely at gelatinization temperature and temps below that just are not going to convert well if at all.

If you boil off 2 gallons per hour just make the adjustment in Beersmith (if that's what you use).

What was your actual vs. target pre-boil gravity?
actual vs. target post boil gravity?

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Old 08-18-2014, 06:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr-Jonz View Post
Was your sparge water at 168? or was it closer to 190 to bring the grain bead up to 168? sparging with to low of a temp can decrease efficency also
Myth busted. In batch sparging there is no need to mash out at 168. You could sparge with tap water and get nearly the same efficiency.
http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2009...ater-sparging/
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Old 08-18-2014, 12:11 PM   #6
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I agree that a sparge can be cold without any effect (other than having to wait longer to reach boil temps). However, in this case when the whole mash was generally cold, a hot sparge could have helped finish up the conversion.

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Old 08-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helibrewer View Post
Target your mash temp a bit higher, 149F is barely at gelatinization temperature and temps below that just are not going to convert well if at all.

If you boil off 2 gallons per hour just make the adjustment in Beersmith (if that's what you use).

What was your actual vs. target pre-boil gravity?
actual vs. target post boil gravity?
Ill try this next time, I was just going by Beersmith's water temps for the selected mash.

Should I be shooting for 152 ish then or 156?

Also when mashing out, I used 168 degree water, per Beersmith.

thanks for the help so far!
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Old 08-18-2014, 02:19 PM   #8
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Introducing 168F sparge water probably dropped you to 140's for your actual sparge temp in the cooler. Usually you need to hit 180+ to hit proper sparge temps. Without proper sparge 49% makes total sense.

In order to calculate how much water you need first fill your kettle with 5gallons of water and boil for an hour. Measure how much is left. The difference between before and after is your boil off. When you brew grab a spare plastic bucket and drain your first run into it. Your sparge water volume should be your target boil volume + boil off volume minus this first run. I always brew with a spare bucket since I only have one kettle.

This is probably the shade tree/hillbilly way of getting things done but it does work. I know guys have calculators for all this but when you use them you need a bunch of input to satisfy the software's needs. I don't want to cater to software so I just do this bucket method.

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