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Old 06-30-2012, 07:02 PM   #1
freeflydude
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Default First AG with terrible mash efficiency

I brewed a potentially big beer a couple days ago with estimated pre-boil gravity at about 1.080 from 14.77 lbs grain. After draining the pre-boil gravity was a dismal 1.040 at about 140 degrees. With temperature correction I think that gets me to about 1.055. I've read several posts since about efficiency and have a few ideas about what went wrong but would like any suggestions for improvement. My process and equipment:

MLT - 10 gal round cooler w/ FB
1. 170 strike water in MLT.
2. Added grains to water (I've seen posts that say add water to grain so would like comments on this on whether to add grain to water or water to grain, and why...)
3. Mash at 157-152 for 75 minutes stirring every 15 minutes (75 minute mash for Pilsen based malt)
4. Vorlauf and fly sparge with 170 degree water. Probably only took 15-20 minutes to drain which I now know was too fast.

From what I've seen posted here's where I think I messed up, I should have slowed down on the sparge and used water at a higher temp closer to 200. I also think my grain crush was not good which might have been the biggest contributor. The HBS did the crush and my initial runnings were really clear so seems to be a likely cause. Overall when I look back I think a better crush and slower sparge at 200 would have yielded much better results. Any suggestions for next batch would be greatly appreciated. I would like to improve my efficiency to be in the 75 range or better.



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Old 06-30-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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Oh yeah, strike 4.5 gal, sparge 4.5 gal, pre-boil volume 6.5 gal, post-boil 5.5 gal



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Old 07-05-2012, 05:44 PM   #3
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Sparge for at least an hour, get a better crush for your grain, add half of your mash water to the cooler then your grains and the remaining water, mash out at lower temps at the 148-150 range to get more fermentables and less dextrins, try a mash out before sparging, and buy a brewing software like beersmith to help with your calculations.

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Old 07-06-2012, 07:44 AM   #4
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ATXbrew just used an orbital strike on this post and wiped out the local populations. Sparge for an hour? In general I have always done it for about 20 minutes so maybe I'm missing something. I have also had some efficiency issues recently so I'll look into these tips.

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Old 07-06-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SkylerChaBro View Post
ATXbrew just used an orbital strike on this post and wiped out the local populations. Sparge for an hour? In general I have always done it for about 20 minutes so maybe I'm missing something. I have also had some efficiency issues recently so I'll look into these tips.
For typical AG batches of 5 gallons it is necessary to have a sparge time of at least an hour no matter how much sparge water you are using. This time is essential for the sparge water to properly rinse the grains of all sugars. I use these methods and never hit any lower then 0.003 from the target OG. PM me if you want some more advice on your practices for getting better extractions.
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:50 PM   #6
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1.080 Pre-boil looks like a pretty high expectation. Are you sure that's not post boil?

I entered 14.75lbs of US 2 row into Beer Smith and it shows 1.054 est pre-boil. Which is right where you are.
21.75 lbs of US 2 row gets it to 1.080. It even takes 20 lbs of German Wheat to get to 1.080. For a 5 gallon batch @ 72% efficiency

Don't go higher temperature on sparge.

What grains did you use?

Add grains to water. This allows the water to heat the mash tun and stabilize temperature and you can control dough balls.

Buy Beer Smith 21 day free trial

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Old 07-06-2012, 02:50 PM   #7
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I only batch sparge but from what I have read it is necessary to drain the sparge very slowly when fly sparging. An hour is typically stated.

The crush of the grain is also very important.

I was a little low on my previous batch so on the last I tightened my Corona style mill just a tiny bit and hit my numbers right on with the last batch!

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Old 07-06-2012, 02:54 PM   #8
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Mash temp looks high. Remember M=More A=Alcohol L=Lower T= Temperature
Very very true, just dont go too low on the temps or youll sacrifice some of the body and mouthfeel of the beer which wont be balanced with the increased alcohol. If you venture to lower temps for medium to heavy bodied beers then look into adding malto-dextrins, carapils, or other dextrinous/proteinous (if thats a word) adjuncts. Welcome to the cause and effect world of brewing where true logic doesnt count and messing with recipes is a fun but rocky road.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:29 PM   #9
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Get your crush right, if it's not. That is the most important factor here.

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Old 07-06-2012, 04:51 PM   #10
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If you want to increase eff try batch sparging..save some time also. Hell with sparging for 1 hour. Also next time your in lhbs see what mill is set at. You might want to double crush.

Don't worry about clear runnings that much. If you have finings and s good chill and time your beer well be clear as hell.

I don't even volourf , sp, any more. Just open her up. I am more intrested in having a quick hot beak and a quick cold break.



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