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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Efficiency Problems
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:46 PM   #11
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As far as water goes you should start with This ,then while your in the brew science read, ALOT,
You really can't add salts like that without a PH meter, or use one of the ph calculators. You shouldn't ever need epsom salts and I personally don't like what sulfate (gypsum) does to my beer.
(A harsh aftertaste.)

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:25 PM   #12
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jerrodm:
I think you are right, I will go back to the tap water and order a report from Ward Labs. I have the water report that Milwaukee has on the city website, but that doesnt mean that the water coming out of my pipes has that same profile.
I never get stuck sparges, I just always have left over wort in the tun, Not sure if that is a problem or not.

duboman:
I know for some of my eairler batches I did sparge too hot, which may have been the culprit for some of the batches, but not for some other batches.

In either case I will go back to square one and start from the begining and control my temperature, flow rate, and see what I actually have coming out of the tap, and see if it will work or what needs to be added.

one other question. what do soem of you do to acidify your sparge water? I have 88% lactic acidand can add a few mLs to the water, but is that enough? Should I make sure the sparge water is 160ish? Should I use more water for the initial mash, or for sparging?

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #13
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RoadKing:
Thanks, I read the primer and it is a pretty straight forward, easy approach. I will definitelty use the recommendations when I get my water report. I do use EZ water, as it is seems to be the simplest way to calculate how much salts are needed based on different desired water profiles. I guess I will need to keep breing and trying to perfect my method.

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:06 PM   #14
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As mentioned, I asked about your sparge techniques wondering if temps were too high and you were extracting tannins. at 160 it's actually a bit low (168 being typical), but that shouldn't be a problem, it just makes a more fermentable wort. I would really just stop f'in with water and salts and etc. Then see if you can make a decent beer and go up from there

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:06 PM   #15
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Edit: delete partial post

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixosx
I have a refractometer, I check the gravity when I first run off an after I have the final volume in the fettle nad after I am done with the boil.
Since you took a gravity reading at initial runoff, you should be able to diagnose whether you're dealing with a conversion problem or a sparge problem. Just multiply your refractometer points by volume in gallons of your mash water and compare to the PPG based 100% yield. That's basically your conversion efficiency.

Once you know that then you can further diagnose by taking other measurements if you have too (e.g. pH if you're dealing with a conversion problem). I'd also say don't rule out the crush. My LHBS was also supposedly crushing at around 0.040 and I'd routinely get 55% to 65% efficiency. When I got my new mill and initially set it to 0.045 the difference in crush was obvious and my efficiency started going up to around 75%.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:50 PM   #17
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Hex23
Since you took a gravity reading at initial runoff, you should be able to diagnose whether you're dealing with a conversion problem or a sparge problem. Just multiply your refractometer points by volume in gallons of your mash water and compare to the PPG based 100% yield. That's basically your conversion efficiency.

Good Idea, I will give this a shot. I am sure the crush is a part of the problem, not sure how much, but I have never made a beer that was the correct eff. it has always been low, regular tap water or RO with salts. The only other issue is the astringent taste, which I will have to mess around with sparging to see where that is comping from. Does anyone else use acid in the sparge, or do you just use plain ol water.

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Old 11-19-2012, 10:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixosx
Does anyone else use acid in the sparge, or do you just use plain ol water.
In the past on pilsner recipes I've treated all my mash and sparge waters (together) with 88% lactic acid. Never noticed any problems with taste.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:47 PM   #19
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OP: Did you ever mention what efficiency you're getting? Are you unhappy with your efficiency value or are you unhappy with your repeatability (or both)?

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Old 11-19-2012, 10:52 PM   #20
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Tannins come from a combination of temperature and PH. Batch spargers usually don't have much to worry about here because there are plenty of sugars in the wort even during a second batch sparge. I generally sparge with 180+ degree water, though I only do one big sparge after initial runoff, not multiple. If you do multiple, the second (or third, cringe) additions you wouldn't want super hot water, but it's the grain temp that's key. When I put 180* water into a 145* grist (after initial runoff) it only raises the overall temp up to about 160something. You just wouldn't want to add a bunch of 212 to a small grain bed and get the total temps over 170, IF the gravity is low. Again, batch spargers generally don't have issues here.

I've run off slow and fast. Efficiency is always pegged at 80% for me. Now, I do get some slow runoff near the end. My grain bed compacts pretty tight and sometimes I have to stop, stir, vorlauf and run the last few gallons off, but it's never affected my efficiency one bit, how I run off, rate, etc.

Doing no sparge and leaving a gallon of wort will affect your efficiency, just like batch sparging. You're diluting all available sugars up among the liquid in the tun, so divide the total sugar by gallons added and that's how much you're leaving behind per gallon still in the tun. However, you should be planning for this. You can't just arbitrarily throw in more grain and hope it's enough. Use software or at least formulas to determine the extract you're going to get from the grain you use, at the efficiency you plan for, and then adjust until your gravity is where you want it.

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