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-   -   Help with increasing mash efficiency (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/help-increasing-mash-efficiency-319697/)

SenorHops 04-09-2012 12:33 AM

Help with increasing mash efficiency
Did my first partial mash on Saturday. I felt like everything went reasonably well. Ground my own grains and mashed 3 lbs of 2-row, 2 lbs of rye malt, 1/2 lb of carapils and 3/4 lb of caramel malt. I added approx. 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain and mashed between 148-153 for 45 minutes.(most of the mash was 150-152) Tasted the wort and it was very sweet and did an iodine test and the iodine stayed brown. I then sparged at 160 degrees for 10-15 minutes in 2 gallons of water.

According to my gravity reading, I only got about 63-64% efficiency. My gravity should have been 1.073, but it ended up about 1.067.

Can someone give me some advice on how I could increase my efficiency? Did I mash too high?

trevorc13 04-09-2012 12:51 AM

Did you stir the mash at all? I find that stirring helps.

Beerfly 04-09-2012 01:28 AM

What temperature was the sample you checked?

BigBlueDog 04-09-2012 01:59 AM

Assuming a temperature correction doesn't change the SG, as Beerfly suggests, you might try sparging with a higher temp (170F) and give the mash a good stir after adding the sparge water.

MalFet 04-09-2012 02:02 AM

Kaiser's step-by-step is far and away the best way to figure out your efficiency:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Troubleshooting_Brewhouse_Efficien cy

SenorHops 04-09-2012 02:50 AM

I stirred the mash often and stirred while sparging. The wort was approx. 65 degrees when I checked the gravity. I'm wondering if it had anything to do with the grinding of my grains. Maybe a little too coarse?

bottlenose 04-09-2012 06:30 AM

There are a couple different definitions I've seen, so you need to be careful what you mean. If you're defining efficiency as the fraction of the grain mass that ends up as extract, then low-to-mid 60's is not bad at all. Some 20-25% of the grain mass is in the form of husk and other stuff that can't be converted into sugar, so 75-80% efficiency would be an absolute upper limit.

If, instead, you mean that you're doing 63-64% as well as an ideal laboratory setting, then there is much room for improvement. Checking the grind is a good first step. You should see that the husks have been removed and very slightly shredded. The malt innards should be ground up reasonably well. My second check would be in your sparging process. Since it's a partial mash, how well are you rinsing the grain with water? The braukaiser link gives good tips on how to distinguish between conversion problems (i.e., milling) and sparging ones.

SenorHops 04-09-2012 12:48 PM

Here's how I came up with my efficiency. I put together my recipe using the Hopville program for partial mash and it gave me a default efficiency of 75%. Using that default efficiency of 75%, my OG would have been 1.073. After I finished my mash/sparge/boil, I cooled my wort to 65 degrees and did a gravity check and my hydrometer read 1.067. I went back into the Hopville program and adjusted the efficiency percentage from the drop down box until my OG in the program changed to 1.067. That was at about 63% efficiency.
I used the partial mash method described in the thread in the beginner's brewing category on this website. For the sparge, I basically just tea bagged my grains in 2 gallons of 160 degree water for 10-15 minutes.

idahobrew 04-09-2012 02:45 PM

I mash 60-70 minutes when I BIAB. My efficiency is around 75-76%. Try a longer mash time.

solbes 04-09-2012 03:19 PM

I have 11 batches under my belt with BIAB. I've gotten efficiencies from 67-82% and have changed a few things.

1) Finer crush will get you a bump in efficiency. But it will also leave more trub in the bottom of your fermenter. This does not affect taste or finished clarity but does affect how much finished beer you can package. My current crush generates a little flour, but mostly crushes and shreds the husk. I have switched to a much finer bag material which has decreased my trub by ~ 1/2

2) Adding a mashout step after the mash is complete can help your sparge efficiency. I heat my BK with grain bag inside fryer basket (keeps bag from contacting hot bottom). This can be a big contributor to efficiency I believe, between 5-10%.

3) Mashing longer on big grain bills. I mashed for 80 minutes on my nearly 13lbs of grain this past weekend (and heated in mashout afterward). The result matched my best efficiency ever at 82%. I was very happy as my larger grain bills usually have lower efficiencies in the low 70's.

4) Increasing water to grist ratio. I get a little better efficiency when mashing towards 2 qts/lb vs 1.5. Not sure why, but it seems to work.

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