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Old 10-14-2006, 10:03 PM   #1
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Default Efficiency problem

Ok, I've been noticing a recurrent problem in my brew process:

After my mash, and after my sparge, I am sometimes getting too much wort, and I end up having to boil for 2 hours to get to my target level. After that, my OG is generally under where I want it. (not-so-hot efficiency). My efficiency is running about 60-65%. I have hit 70-75%, but its an exception if I do.

I'm puzzled about the efficiency issue. I do all grain with a HERMS system. I've tried different circulation rates, different mash lengths, I've tried stirring my mash and leaving it alone. I've tried different sparge rates, and I have played around with my sparge process on several different levels. A possible problem is that I pump my sparge water up hill with a March Pump, and if I'm not careful, my whole sparge takes less than 15 minutes. To that effect, I was careful on my last batch and did an hour long sparge. My efficiency was still less than 70%.


I need some expert ideas and thoughts here.

Thanks.

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Old 10-14-2006, 10:06 PM   #2
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Can you give an example with a recipe? How many pounds of grain? Amount wort collected and how much ended up with after boil?

Have you been milling your own grain? Or is it crushed somewhere else?
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:10 PM   #3
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Sure. . .I'll have to post a recipe later when I have access to my other computer with promash on it. For example, setting promash at 70% efficiency (in high hopes), with a target OG of 1.074 (today's session), I ended up with 1.072 and only 4 gallons of wort.

I grist my own grain with a crank-n-stein 2 roller mill. A couple of batches back, I tried making my grist a little finer, and ended up with a stuck sparge, and the same efficiency problem. So I spaced my rollers back where they were.

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Old 10-14-2006, 10:20 PM   #4
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If you ended up with 4 gallons how much did you start with. On a regulr brew OG 1.054 I collect about 7.5 gallons and boil down to about 5.5. For my red that's in the fermenter I had 12.25 lbs of grain, collected 8 gallons and boiled down to 5.5 with an OG of 1.063. For a gravity of 1.075 you need about 14 lbs of grain right? you should be collecting about 8.5 gallons or so.

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Old 10-14-2006, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsmith
Can you give an example with a recipe? How many pounds of grain? Amount wort collected and how much ended up with after boil?

Have you been milling your own grain? Or is it crushed somewhere else?
Here's the 5 gallon recipe that I brewed today. Ended up with 4 gallons, and 1.072 OG.


IRV Imperial Stout

A ProMash Recipe Report

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
-------------------------------

13-E Stout, American Stout

Min OG: 1.050 Max OG: 1.075
Min IBU: 35 Max IBU: 75
Min Clr: 30 Max Clr: 48 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
----------------

Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 15.00
Anticipated OG: 1.074 Plato: 17.95
Anticipated SRM: 52.6
Anticipated IBU: 51.1
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts
----------------

Evaporation Rate: 15.00 Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 5.88 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.063 SG 15.40 Plato

Formulas Used
-------------

Brewhouse Efficiency and Predicted Gravity based on Method #1, Potential Used.
Final Gravity Calculation Based on Points.
Hard Value of Sucrose applied. Value for recipe: 46.2100 ppppg
% Yield Type used in Gravity Prediction: Fine Grind Dry Basis.

Color Formula Used: Morey
Hop IBU Formula Used: Rager


Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
83.3 12.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America 1.036 2
3.3 0.50 lbs. Black Patent Malt Great Britain 1.027 525
3.3 0.50 lbs. Chocolate Malt Great Britain 1.034 475
3.3 0.50 lbs. Roasted Barley Great Britain 1.029 575
6.7 1.00 lbs. Crystal 90L America 1.033 90

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.00 oz. Columbus Whole 12.00 48.0 60 min.
0.50 oz. Cascade Whole 5.75 3.1 15 min.
0.50 oz. Cascade Whole 5.75 0.0 Dry Hop
0.50 oz. Goldings - E.K. Whole 4.75 0.0 Dry Hop


Yeast
-----

White Labs WLP001 California Ale


Mash Schedule
-------------

Mash Type: Single Step

Grain Lbs: 15.00
Water Qts: 15.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Water Gal: 3.75 - Before Additional Infusions

Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: 1.00 - Before Additional Infusions

Saccharification Rest Temp : 152 Time: 60
Mash-out Rest Temp : 170 Time: 5
Sparge Temp : 170 Time: 0


Total Mash Volume Gal: 4.95 - Dough-In Infusion Only

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:25 PM   #6
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The promash spces are set at a 60 min boil, so it's only giving you the OG 1.063 before the boil that you would need at 5.88 gallons to then boil down to 5 gallons at 1.074. However, for that much grain you need to collect much more than 5.88 gallons.

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Old 10-15-2006, 12:23 AM   #7
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More sparge water and a bigger burner?

I taste everything, every step. Eating my spent grains gives me nothing but hulls- no sweetness, no crunchy/chewy...um...bodies? I usually get like 1,060 for 5 gallons from 10 lbs. I sparge 'til the run off isn't sweet, in about 10-15 mins, about 7-8 gallons of wort. I dunno from efficiency, just taste.

From discussions here about sparging and the variations thereof that all seem to work, I've always just thought of vorlaffing, spargeing, runnoff, etc, of "use hot water to rinse the sugars out", not too much, not so hot as to make tea.

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Old 10-15-2006, 05:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewsmith
If you ended up with 4 gallons how much did you start with. On a regulr brew OG 1.054 I collect about 7.5 gallons and boil down to about 5.5. For my red that's in the fermenter I had 12.25 lbs of grain, collected 8 gallons and boiled down to 5.5 with an OG of 1.063. For a gravity of 1.075 you need about 14 lbs of grain right? you should be collecting about 8.5 gallons or so.
I estimate I had about 8 gallons collected.
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Old 10-15-2006, 05:05 AM   #9
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Well, I've onlly made 5 batches on this system, so I'm still dialing it in somewhat. I'm just trying to figure out where the efficiency is going.

I ran the promash water calculator on this and it pointed to almost 11 gallons, which I used. I mashed in about 15 pounds of grain, collected about 8 gallons of wort. I ended up close to my target, but that's because I measured specific gravity during the boil to know where I was. I ended up with slightly less than what I intended on.

This has been a recurrent problem. I guess I should stop worrying, as my beer always turns out fine, even if it isn't at the gravity that I intended.

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Old 10-15-2006, 01:12 PM   #10
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From your ProMash report, I think the answer is obvious.

It is the 0 in the sparge time field.

But seriously, I suspect that you are not rinsing all the sugars out during the sparge. What is the gravity of the final runnings at the end of the sparge? (A refractometer makes this much easier.)

It should be close to 1.010. A higher reading would indicate that you need to collect more wort, and then reduce it to the required volume with a longer and/or harder boil.

I usually use about 9# grain, and collect 6.5 - 7g, which gets reduced to about 5.25g with an OG in the mid 50's.

If I use more grain, I either have to collect a larger pre-boil volume, or accept a lower efficiency.

-a.

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Last edited by ajf; 10-15-2006 at 03:24 PM.
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