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Old 03-02-2011, 03:10 AM   #1
mothership
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Default experimental manifold design

so, awhile back i upgraded to a 10 gallon system. coupled with that system i built myself a stainless steel manifold for my 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler. ever since then, i seem to be getting (according to brewsmith) 80-90% efficiency. this seems a bit odd to me. my technique has not changed, only my equipment and volume. so i'm wondering if my efficiency has something to to do with my manifold. could it be that i stumbled upon a great design? i would like to make another, identical to what i have, and have someone else try it out. any takers?

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Old 03-02-2011, 07:03 AM   #2
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Is it the same mash tun, just a different manifold? I don't have a ton of experience but I've talked to a lot of people who get higher eff. when the mash tun is at near max capacity.

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Old 03-02-2011, 07:51 PM   #3
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Did you also get any new thermometers? Were you having problems with hitting your mash temps in your old setup? Manifold design could help increase efficiency if you were losing sugars to dead space or if you were getting channeling, especially when the water just runs down the sides instead of through the grain bed. Do you batch or fly sparge?

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:35 PM   #4
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I am experiencing the same thing. I was doing 5 gal batches in a 10 gal cooler and was getting ~70% efficiency. I moved to 10 gal batches, didn't change anything about my equipment and now get ~85% efficiency. My numbers have been stable over 10 batches or so, so at least it's consistent.

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:53 PM   #5
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sdbrew, my guess is that you were losing heat to the extra head space and may have had too short of a grain bed. Do you batch or fly sparge?

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:59 PM   #6
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I batch sparge. With 5 gal batches I would lose ~3 degrees over a 60 minute mash, with 10 gals I still lose 1-2 degrees. I don't really care that my efficiency changes, as long as it stays constant for a given batch size...

What do you mean by too short of a grain bed? If I had this problem wouldn't most other people doing 5 gal batches in 10 gal coolers also have it?

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #7
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What's your water:grain ratio?? I've been getting 78-82% efficiency with BIAB using 1.5-2qt/# of grain... Of course, that could all go down the drain since I'm about to use my MLT cooler (70 quart Coleman Xtreme)... I plan to use the same water:grain ratio though, and see what I get over the next few brews...

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:12 PM   #8
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Read this, I know this isn't as current as the latest book release but is still informative.
http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixD-2.html

Grain bed height is important to the way water is drained, even when you batch sparge this can make a difference.

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williamnave View Post
Is it the same mash tun, just a different manifold? I don't have a ton of experience but I've talked to a lot of people who get higher eff. when the mash tun is at near max capacity.
when i changed from 5 gal batches to 10 gal, i went from a rectangle cooler to a 10 gal round rubbermaid. so it's a new cooler. i get the same eff. whether i do a 5 gal batch or 10 gal batch. sometimes i only have enough time or grain for a 5 gal batch. i flysparge everytime. in fact, i've never tried any other method. for a 10 gal batch, i sparge for 2 hours and 1 hour for a 5 gal batch.

no new thermometers. my sparge water is usually around 180-190 in order to keep the mash warm enough (it's cold in ne washington). i don't use a sparge attachment, just a hose comming off the HLT

i think my water:grain ratio is 1:1.25. whatever the standard setting is in brewsmith. i just do what the computer tells me to do

here's a picture of my manifold. there are slots cut on the underside of the tubes:
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
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I think you are just getting less channeling, the distance between the side of the cooler and the manifold looks good and having the slits on the bottom means there is very little dead space. This could explain a 5-10% increase in efficiency and the deeper grain bed doesn't hurt either. How big was your old cooler, and do you have pictures of the old manifold in it?

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