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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Help trying to improve my efficiency
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Help trying to improve my efficiency

Ok I have been brewing for a lil while now. Here is my Process, please throw in suggestons for trying to improve it.

10 Gallon Batches
70 Qt Coleman Extreme cooler
Copper manifold with slits cut in it.
5.2 PH stabilizer is always used.

Barley crusher set to .037"

Brew according to Beersmith directions.
1.25 qt per lb of grain for sparge
Steep @ 153 degrees
sparge using equal batches @ 180 degrees

I stir after I pour in steep water
I stir after I pour Sparge water
I have tried waiting after pouring sparge water, I normally sparge right after I pour it in and stir.

I use both a hydrometer, and a refractometer. I take my hydo readings as close as 60 degrees as possible, and I Use the refractometer per the directions. They both correspond to eachother.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Bobby M, I try to follow you method for sparging as close as possible, It just doesnt seem to be working for me. I dont know, maybe I am doing something wrong....or my equipment is just a 70% level stuff...who knows.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 06-08-2008, 11:16 PM   #2
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Have you thought of this.........

Wort left behind that the mash manifold and tun does not completly drain all the liquid?

Shallow grain depth because of the large rectangular cooler causes uneven temperatures in the mash tun and does not convert all the available starches to sugar?

Large area of the mashtun may cause uneven sparging?

Do you test for starch conversion with iodine?

I do use a round cooler/mashtun and a false bottom and you might borrow someones round 10 gallon cooler with false bottom to see if that helps. It looks like you have tried everything else. The 15 gallon ICE cube cooler work good with a stainless braid. It is square and so it has nice grain depth for 10 or 12 gallon batches.

I do a modified Fly sparge now like BierMuncher and that works well for me. I just keep the sparge water 2 to 3 inches above the grain and drain 1 Qt per minute until I have enough boil volume.

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Old 06-08-2008, 11:16 PM   #3
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I'd be quite happy with 70% if it was consistent.

You are checking the hydrometer against the refractometer and vice versa, but have you checked your thermometer?

The only other things I can suggest is to check the grain temperature during the sparge to ensure it is between 165 - 170, and to check the gravity of your final runnings into the kettle. For optimum efficiency, this should be very close to 1.010, but when I batch sparge, they usually come out at about 1.025 which consistently gives me 80% efficiency.

-a.

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Old 06-08-2008, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Have you thought of this.........

Wort left behind that the mash manifold and tun does not completly drain all the liquid?

Yes, and I only leave a little behind, not too much. less that a quart.

Shallow grain depth because of the large rectangular cooler causes uneven temperatures in the mash tun and does not convert all the available starches to sugar?

True, I have used a round 10 gallon rubbermaid, ut it would be too small for 10 gallon batches, at least thats the way I look at it.

Large area of the mashtun may cause uneven sparging?

Do you test for starch conversion with iodine?

No, The only way I test is with the hydro.

I do use a round cooler/mashtun and a false bottom and you might borrow someones round 10 gallon cooler with false bottom to see if that helps. It looks like you have tried everything else. The 15 gallon ICE cube cooler work good with a stainless braid. It is square and so it has nice grain depth for 10 or 12 gallon batches.

I used the cooler that I have because it was free, it might be the cooler, but I know others are having great success with it. I might have to change though.

I do a modified Fly sparge now like BierMuncher and that works well for me. I just keep the sparge water 2 to 3 inches above the grain and drain 1 Qt per minute until I have enough boil volume.
I would like to keep batch sparging, I read up on BierMunchers new method, and I want to try and keep it simple right now.

EDIT:
I THOUGHT IT WOULD SEPARATE OUT MY COMMENTS FROM YOURS... MY ANSWERS ARE IN THERE... CAPS ARE ONLY TO LET YOU KNOW.. I AM NOT YELLING.



Any other thoughts??
It might be the cooler...I hope not.

I might also have to live with 70 - 75 %.
I looked back at my past recipe's and it seems that I am indeed getting about 75% average...sometimes better, sometimes worse.
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Old 06-08-2008, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
I'd be quite happy with 70% if it was consistent.

You are checking the hydrometer against the refractometer and vice versa, but have you checked your thermometer?

The only other things I can suggest is to check the grain temperature during the sparge to ensure it is between 165 - 170, and to check the gravity of your final runnings into the kettle. For optimum efficiency, this should be very close to 1.010, but when I batch sparge, they usually come out at about 1.025 which consistently gives me 80% efficiency.

-a.
I have not checked the Thermometer, but comparing it to the other one I have they are pretty close to eachother, so they are either both wrong, or both pretty close.
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Old 06-09-2008, 01:42 AM   #6
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I don't have a set of feeler guages to tell you what my mill is set at so I can't help there. How much preboil volume are you collecting?

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Old 06-09-2008, 03:45 AM   #7
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What's the pH of your mash?

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Old 06-09-2008, 04:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
I'd be quite happy with 70% if it was consistent
+ 1 on this

I think efficiency is overrated.

Why do you want a better efficiency, is it to save money. The amount of money that is saved with a higher efficiency is minimal.

With that being said, are you calculating for 5 gallons and getting 5 gallons of wort post boil.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:56 PM   #9
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I don't have a set of feeler guages to tell you what my mill is set at so I can't help there. How much preboil volume are you collecting?

Pre biol volume was off yesterday, I stopped collecting at 13 gallons, but drained the MLT and collected an additional 2 gallons.

I am still trying to dial in my beersmith program, to my equipment, and get it just right. I am finding that a 60 min boil, I need 13 gallons and that gives me between 10 - 10.5 gallons post boil.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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What's the pH of your mash?
I have no idea, I have not had it tested, or have any strips. I figured since I was using 5.2 stabilizer, that I wouldnt worry about it, it seems I was wrong in that thinking
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