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Old 09-25-2011, 04:29 PM   #1
hoptopia
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Default First AG: Horrible Efficency

Just brewed 2 all grain batches and both for some reason had a ridiculously low OG. My mash run temp was hard to control in a 10gallon rubber maid insulated cooler. The temp seemed to constantly drop below 150f, so I think I just didn't convert properly. I see all kinds of people using same system just fine.

I'm switching to a mash tun with a burner underneath so I can keep the temp consistent.

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Old 09-25-2011, 04:34 PM   #2
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I haven't had any trouble, and I have the same cooler. I assume your hot liquor was hot enough? Or the cooler was cold. I fill mine with the hottest water from the tap to get started to preheat it. Im a total novice, but I don't think I lose more than a couple degrees over an hour.

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Old 09-25-2011, 04:39 PM   #3
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150 isn't that low, and both Beta and Alpha amalyse are active at that temperature. http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14-1.html What did your crush look like? Did you crush your own or did the LHBS do it for you?

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Old 09-25-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
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Northern Brewer crushed it for me. I get my hlt to 165f, which ended up being about 155f, then kept cooling by 5f every 15mins. Maybe I should add hot water to mash tun and let it heat up before I mash in...my og was 1030!! Ridiculous

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Old 09-25-2011, 05:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoptopia View Post
Just brewed 2 all grain batches and both for some reason had a ridiculously low OG. My mash run temp was hard to control in a 10gallon rubber maid insulated cooler. The temp seemed to constantly drop below 150f, so I think I just didn't convert properly. I see all kinds of people using same system just fine.

I'm switching to a mash tun with a burner underneath so I can keep the temp consistent.
What was your recipe's estimated OG and what was your efficiency (estimated and actual)?

One thing I will say is I just switched from a lhbs crush to one done with a barley crusher and my OG was through the roof due to a higher efficiency.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:15 PM   #6
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The second recipe estimated was 1047, and actual was like 1012!!

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Old 09-25-2011, 05:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoptopia View Post
Northern Brewer crushed it for me. I get my hlt to 165f, which ended up being about 155f, then kept cooling by 5f every 15mins. Maybe I should add hot water to mash tun and let it heat up before I mash in...my og was 1030!! Ridiculous
5* every 15 minutes? Was your mash in a refrigerator with the lid off?!

Now that I got that out of the way, something is wrong with your mash. Even if you didn't pre-heat the tun at all it shouldn't lose much heat after the first 15 minutes. One easy way to pre-heat is to just heat your mash water 10-15* hotter than you want it to be (175ish in this case), then let the water heat up your mash tun and add your grain when it gets down to the temp you want (165). If you are still losing a lot of heat, then you have another problem somewhere else.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
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5* every 15 minutes? Was your mash in a refrigerator with the lid off?!
Indeed. I only lose 1-2°F over a 60 minute mash in a 50qt coleman cooler mash tun.

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Originally Posted by emetcalf
Now that I got that out of the way, something is wrong with your mash. Even if you didn't pre-heat the tun at all it shouldn't lose much heat after the first 15 minutes. One easy way to pre-heat is to just heat your mash water 10-15* hotter than you want it to be (175ish in this case), then let the water heat up your mash tun and add your grain when it gets down to the temp you want (165).
For me, it's basically 9°F exactly that I "lose" to heating the mash tun. So, a ~150 mash wants the water to be ~165, and so the water coming out of my HLT is ~174 … let it sit in the mash tun (lid closed) for a couple of minutes, and it comes out to ~165, then I add the grains and hit my mash temps pretty consistently.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:52 AM   #9
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The second recipe estimated was 1047, and actual was like 1012!!
1.012....wow. Something is *really* wrong. Maybe it would help others if you spell out your brewing notes in as much detail as possible, from the grain bill to your process to how you took measurements?
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:38 AM   #10
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Cooling of the mash does seem to be a big issue.

Are you stirring your grain really well at the sparge? Assuming you are batch sparging. This was my big issue when I got into AG, I was just not stirring enough, went from 55% to 75% efficiency.

Please do give some notes on your brewing process and your recipe.

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