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Old 01-02-2013, 07:14 PM   #21
Clonefan94
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I think evaluating your crush would be a good simple start. No use going though a long process of trial and error on other things, when just taking a look at the crush could be done in about 10 seconds. So, I think it's the best place to start.

I had the same issue you did. I did some searching on here and determined the likely culprit was my crush, as I had a good number of fully intact grains.

Here is a good resource:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Evaluating_the_Crush

take a look at that and see how your crush compares. Unless your temps are way off, I have a hard time believing that your efficiency would be that far off.

I'm not saying the other ideas are bad ones, not at all, I just think that without a good crush, none of the ideas anyone has given you here, will matter at all. If the crush is good, then take the other steps.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:14 PM   #22
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Awesome, I will try this and get back to you. Thanks a lot guys~!

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:20 PM   #23
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My 4.75 gallons of sparge water is now at 170F and I batch sparge adding the 170 degree water to my mash tun. I give it another quick stir and let it sit about 10 minutes and vorlauf one more time.
I think that is one reason for low efficiency.

Upping the sparge water temp to 185 - 190 could help a little bit, but just giving the sparge water a quick stir is totally inadequate. You need to stir very thoroughly as with batch sparging, it is the stirring that extracts the sugars from the grain. I'll bet that that one change will increase your efficiency substantially.

-a.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:00 PM   #24
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Quick question.. are you using too much water? I quickly plugged in the amount of water into BeerSmith and it says for my setup and it says about 4 gallons strike and 3.8 gallons batch sparge.

That gives me 6.2 preboil volume which for my setup gets me to a 5 gallon batch on a 60 min boil

Disclaimer.. i'm brand new to AG and only have a few batches under my belt.


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I think that is one reason for low efficiency.

Upping the sparge water temp to 185 - 190 could help a little bit, but just giving the sparge water a quick stir is totally inadequate. You need to stir very thoroughly as with batch sparging, it is the stirring that extracts the sugars from the grain. I'll bet that that one change will increase your efficiency substantially.

-a.
I might be making this same mistake although my efficiencies are in the mid-low 70s.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:01 PM   #25
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Quick question.. are you using too much water? I quickly plugged in the amount of water into BeerSmith and it says for my setup and it says about 4 gallons strike and 3.8 gallons batch sparge.

That gives me 6.2 preboil volume which for my setup gets me to a 5 gallon batch on a 60 min boil

Disclaimer.. i'm brand new to AG and only have a few batches under my belt.




I might be making this same mistake although my efficiencies are in the mid-low 70s.

Not really sure, I use a mash calculator.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:13 PM   #26
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Not really sure, I use a mash calculator.
I kinda get the feeling that it's just a matter of too much water. How much wort do you have preboil?
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:55 AM   #27
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If he is using a mash calculator it most likely isn't the amount of water. The calculator will usually tell you what your gravity will be throughout the process. Beersmith will tell me how much water I need based on my set up and how much grain I am using. It will then tell me what my preboil and original gravity should be based on that info.

I think crush is a big part of it. I have been having the same issue. I do everything to the T but my OG is always lower than it should be. I just bought a mill that should be here tomorrow so we will see how that goes.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:01 AM   #28
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If he is using a mash calculator it most likely isn't the amount of water. The calculator will usually tell you what your gravity will be throughout the process. Beersmith will tell me how much water I need based on my set up and how much grain I am using. It will then tell me what my preboil and original gravity should be based on that info.

I think crush is a big part of it. I have been having the same issue. I do everything to the T but my OG is always lower than it should be. I just bought a mill that should be here tomorrow so we will see how that goes.
Have you considered that your issue may be too much water?

I'm suspect of his mash calculator because I ran his recipe through BeerSmith and got way different strike and sparge volumes. I'm not saying that crush isn't a contributing factor, but too much water = low OG.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:58 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf

I think that is one reason for low efficiency.

Upping the sparge water temp to 185 - 190 could help a little bit, but just giving the sparge water a quick stir is totally inadequate. You need to stir very thoroughly as with batch sparging, it is the stirring that extracts the sugars from the grain. I'll bet that that one change will increase your efficiency substantially.

-a.
"A little bit" indeed. Only a very very small efficiency benefit to mashing-out according to this experiment by Kai:
http://braukaiser.com/blog/blog/2009/05/12/cold-water-sparging/
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:10 AM   #30
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It sounds like it's a combo of too much water and not-so-great eff.

According to the OP's post he's using 9 gallons total of water and only collecting 6 gallons preboil. I'd expect to collect more like 7.25-7.5 gallons from that. Sounds like he's leaving around 20% of his wort in the tun (though probably <20% of his sugars since the wort after batch sparging wouldn't be as concentrated as first runnings but still, prob more than 10% of his sugars).

That would still give him pretty poor eff, mid 50's-ish.
I'd agree to check your crush and temperature but also check your mash ph and calcium content of your water-those can make a huge difference, too.

Early in my brewing the two things I did that helped my eff the most were changing crush (about 10% eff improvement) and adding calcium to the mash in the form of CaCl and/or CaSO4 (about 7% improvement-our water here is very soft).

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