Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > How does water hardness effect mash efficiency?
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-16-2011, 08:28 PM   #11
CidahMastah
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: , New York
Posts: 4,266
Liked 37 Times on 35 Posts
Likes Given: 17

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
Mash method - Put 8 pounds grain in a bag in a 5 gal Igloo cooler. Filled cooler with 160 F water, covered and let sit for 1 hr, then drained into brew pot. When water got low added more 160 F water. Used 6 gal of sparge water in total. Let water flow out of cooler slowly so it took 20 min or so to drain 6 gal. LHBS said method was good but maybe not. Open to all suggestions from mashing process to water condition. One thing is for sure, the mash efficiency needs to come up.
What is your crush size? LHBS mill or did you mill it at home?

Do you use a bazooka, a braid, etc. for your MT?

EDIT: didn't see you were biabing it.

I would think your:
1. crush may not be fine enough
2. your MT filtering solution might not be adequate. i.e. not enough braided hose surface area etc.
3. did you make sure there weren't doughballs in your BIAB bag?

I would also recc you try batch sparging instead.


You need to get the water temp of the mash, not the water going into the mash. Do you have that?
__________________

Man,... That's a lotta hooch!
Steel rig in progress
ebuild info

CidahMastah is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-16-2011, 09:04 PM   #12
944play
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 2,733
Liked 35 Times on 32 Posts
Likes Given: 56

Default

The strike water temp was 160ºF? That seems quite low. At what temp did the mash land?

Make sure to stir the mash after adding (batch) sparge liquor.

__________________
OD: ?
Pri:-
Keg: Simple AIPA (2-row, Chinook, Cascade, WLP090)
944play is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-16-2011, 09:09 PM   #13
CidahMastah
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: , New York
Posts: 4,266
Liked 37 Times on 35 Posts
Likes Given: 17

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 944play View Post
The strike water temp was 160ºF? That seems quite low. At what temp did the mash land?
That was my thought as well. Unless the grain bill was TINY
__________________

Man,... That's a lotta hooch!
Steel rig in progress
ebuild info

CidahMastah is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-17-2011, 03:23 AM   #14
ImperialStout
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Litchfield, Maine
Posts: 274
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CidahMastah View Post
What is your crush size? LHBS mill or did you mill it at home?

Do you use a bazooka, a braid, etc. for your MT?

EDIT: didn't see you were biabing it.

I would think your:
1. crush may not be fine enough
2. your MT filtering solution might not be adequate. i.e. not enough braided hose surface area etc.
3. did you make sure there weren't doughballs in your BIAB bag?

I would also recc you try batch sparging instead.

You need to get the water temp of the mash, not the water going into the mash. Do you have that?
LHBS milled the grain and don't know what the crush size was. The filter in the MT was the paint strainer bag from the depot, no braid or manifold. How would I know if there were dough balls in the bag in the mash tun. I am not BIAG, just put grain in the bag and put it in the MT. After lautering into the brew pot added 2 pounds 8 ounces of DME into the wort, stirring so the DME did not clump up. There was no sediment in the pot after wort was transferred to the primary bucket so don't think the DME clumped and went to the bottom.

I sparged by covering the grain in the HT for an hour, then drained. When water got to top of grail, filled up cooler MT to the top and repeated process until 6 gal went through MT. Is that batch sparging or fly sparging?

The mash temp was 150F but added boiling water and brought mash temp to 155F. Had heated MT before adding grain and sparge water (160F) but still lost 10 degrees.

Hope this help you see where I screwed up.
__________________

"Ask not what your country can brew for you ; ask what you can brew for your country."

"ich braute dieses Bier mit meinem Hund" (Life is indeed short: Get a Beagle and a Beer

ImperialStout is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-17-2011, 03:32 AM   #15
ImperialStout
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Litchfield, Maine
Posts: 274
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CidahMastah View Post
That was my thought as well. Unless the grain bill was TINY
The grains were in a bag so moved the bag up and down in the cooler as stirring was not an option. Had 8 pounds grain in a 5 gal cooler. Not familiar with some brewing terms. What does it mean if the grain bill was tiny? I'm thinking a small amount of grain. Besides hops, recipe has 8 pounds grain and 2 pounds 8 ounces DME for a 5 gal batch. Am told a 5 gal Igloo drink cooler will mash 12 pounds grain in a bag, correct?
__________________

"Ask not what your country can brew for you ; ask what you can brew for your country."

"ich braute dieses Bier mit meinem Hund" (Life is indeed short: Get a Beagle and a Beer

ImperialStout is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-17-2011, 03:44 AM   #16
ImperialStout
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Litchfield, Maine
Posts: 274
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default Well water, not city water.

We are in rural Maine and have well water, if that makes a difference. No chlorine or other added chemicals, just have no idea what is in the water. It is a drilled well about 400 feet down so surface water does not effect water quality.

__________________

"Ask not what your country can brew for you ; ask what you can brew for your country."

"ich braute dieses Bier mit meinem Hund" (Life is indeed short: Get a Beagle and a Beer

ImperialStout is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-17-2011, 10:32 AM   #17
JuanMoore
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
JuanMoore's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: The Old Pueblo
Posts: 17,170
Liked 3253 Times on 3153 Posts
Likes Given: 20

Default

A severely out of range ph can effect conversion to some extent, but in general water chemistry has more to do with flavor than efficiency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
LHBS milled the grain and don't know what the crush size was. The filter in the MT was the paint strainer bag from the depot, no braid or manifold. How would I know if there were dough balls in the bag in the mash tun. I am not BIAG, just put grain in the bag and put it in the MT. After lautering into the brew pot added 2 pounds 8 ounces of DME into the wort, stirring so the DME did not clump up. There was no sediment in the pot after wort was transferred to the primary bucket so don't think the DME clumped and went to the bottom.


Hope this help you see where I screwed up.
The main thing that jumps out to me is that you never truly doughed in. The grains need to be stirred when added to the water, vigorously and for several minutes. They also need to be stirred again after sparge water additions. By simply placing the grain bag in the water you essentially had one giant dough ball, and the grains in the center of the bag could have been completely dry for most or all of the mash.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
I am not BIAG, just put grain in the bag and put it in the MT.
I assume you mean BIAB (brew in a bag), but if your grains are inside a bag for the mash, that's pretty much the definition of BIAB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
The grains were in a bag so moved the bag up and down in the cooler as stirring was not an option.
If stirring is not an option, you need to seriously rethink your process. You're not supposed to tie the bag shut when doing BIAB, the bag just acts as a filter. The grains need to be doughed in regardless of the type of filter you use to separate the wort from the grains. What you're describing sounds more like the process used for doing extract brews where small amounts of specialty grain are steeped to add flavor. In that situation, the grains are only expected to add flavor, not any significant amount of fermentables. It's also done with much smaller amounts of grain, so the risk of a doughball forming in the center of the bag is much lower, and less of an issue if it does happen. As you've discovered, this process does not work well for partial mash or all grain brewing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
What does it mean if the grain bill was tiny?
He was saying that a strike temp of 160F sounded very low, and the only explanation for this that would make sense is if there were only a few #'s of grain, which would not absorb as much heat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
The mash temp was 150F but added boiling water and brought mash temp to 155F. Had heated MT before adding grain and sparge water (160F) but still lost 10 degrees.
This confirms the previous posters thought that your strike temp was too low. You never doughed in and therefore the temps never equalized throughout the mash tun at the start of the mash, so really you don't even know what your mash temp was. Had you stirred the grains and doughed in properly, you would have seen that the strike water cooled even more than 10F when mixed with 8# of room temp grains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
I sparged by covering the grain in the HT for an hour, then drained. When water got to top of grail, filled up cooler MT to the top and repeated process until 6 gal went through MT. Is that batch sparging or fly sparging?
Sounds kinda like a hybrid fly sparge from your descriptions. If you mean you covered the grains in the mash tun full of water and let it sit for an hour, that's called the mash, not the sparge. Sparging is rinsing the residual sugars off of the grains after the mash is over. Batch sparging is draining the wort from the mash, adding all of the sparge water in a single addition, stirring, vorlaufing, and then draining (quickly). If you split the sparge water into two additions, it's called double batch sparging. Fly sparging is where you very slowly let the wort trickle out of the mash tun while slowly sprinkling the sparge water on the top of the grain bed at the same slow rate the wort is flowing out.

Hope this is helpful.
__________________
JuanMoore is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-17-2011, 12:36 PM   #18
CidahMastah
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: , New York
Posts: 4,266
Liked 37 Times on 35 Posts
Likes Given: 17

Default

+1 to jaunmoore's response - sorry I was late on this. Looks like we have several key things that could be done better, that directly relate to poor efficiency problems. No sweat though, now you know so you can fix them next time around

__________________

Man,... That's a lotta hooch!
Steel rig in progress
ebuild info

CidahMastah is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-17-2011, 11:45 PM   #19
ImperialStout
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Litchfield, Maine
Posts: 274
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

Thanks Juan,

Think I see the errors. Never heard the term "doughed in" before. Thought with all the grain covered in water all of it would be soaking but can see how that might not happen. Also read about placing drain manifold an inch or so from cooler edge so water does not just run down the side, between cooler wall and mash. Am concerned this might also be a factor in low efficiency, but then again stirring should eliminate that. Do you think a drain manifold is needed if a bag is used? Was told no as bag is filter instead of manifold but always good to get multiple opinions. Am new to brewing and think I am mixing steps from different methods and coming up short. Will keep bag open and stir next batch.

Think 170F is a good starting temp to get a mash temp of 155F? Sounds like I double batch sparge, and thanks for explaining mash, fly and batch sparging.

When the second batch of water is added should the mash sit for a period of time, or just fill and empty? What is "vorlaufing"? Can usually guess from context but this has me stumped.

__________________

"Ask not what your country can brew for you ; ask what you can brew for your country."

"ich braute dieses Bier mit meinem Hund" (Life is indeed short: Get a Beagle and a Beer

ImperialStout is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-18-2011, 06:33 AM   #20
JuanMoore
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
JuanMoore's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: The Old Pueblo
Posts: 17,170
Liked 3253 Times on 3153 Posts
Likes Given: 20

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
Also read about placing drain manifold an inch or so from cooler edge so water does not just run down the side, between cooler wall and mash. Am concerned this might also be a factor in low efficiency, but then again stirring should eliminate that.
What you're referring to is called "channeling", and is really only an issue for fly sparging. As long as you keep with the batch sparge process and stir the sparge additions well, it won't have any effect on efficiency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
Do you think a drain manifold is needed if a bag is used? Was told no as bag is filter instead of manifold but always good to get multiple opinions.
In most cases the bag should work fine without anything else, but a manifold or diptube can help reduce/eliminate deadspace if you have any. Deadspace is the volume of wort that gets left behind (usually below the drain level). When I used a cooler mash tun I simply tilted the cooler after the sparge to collect as much of the wort as I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
Think 170F is a good starting temp to get a mash temp of 155F?
Depends on several factors, such as the target mash temp, size of the grain bill, mash thickness (water to grain ratio), temp of grains, and if/how well the mash tun gets pre-heated. In general, using a preheated mash-tun, the strike water will need to be 10-15F hotter than the target mash temp. There are programs out there that can help you determine strike temp (beersmith, brewtarget, ect), but even they can't account for small differences in process and equipment. After a few batches you'll start to get a better handle on what you need to do to hit your desired mash temp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
When the second batch of water is added should the mash sit for a period of time, or just fill and empty?
When batch sparging, the grains need to be stirred thoroughly after adding each sparge water addition to dissolve the sugars into solution. Some people let it sit for 5-10 min after stirring to let the grain bed "set", and some don't wait at all, so the choice is yours. (FWIW I don't wait)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImperialStout View Post
What is "vorlaufing"? Can usually guess from context but this has me stumped.
Vorlaufing is clarifying the wort by ricirculating it through the grain bed. The simplest method is to drain off some wort into a pitcher, and then slowly and carefully pour it back into the mash tun. As long as it remains undisturbed, the grain bed will act as a filter and screen out the small particles that made it through your bag or manifold. A small tupperware lid or piece of tinfoil on top of the grain bed can be useful for spreading the flow to minimize grain bed disturbance. You'll notice that the first runnings out of the mash tun will be very cloudy, so just vorlauf until it runs clear (anywhere from a couple qts to a couple gal), and then start draining into the boil kettle.

I know it's a lot to take in, but keep brewing, keep hanging out here, and keep asking questions. You'll get a process down that works well for you before you know it.
__________________
JuanMoore is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What effect did too much water in my mash do??? DirtyPolock All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 6 08-16-2010 02:58 PM
Water Hardness and Calcium nathani All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 1 05-13-2010 08:33 PM
Does age of grain have an effect on efficiency? luvhopps All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 2 01-08-2010 01:33 AM
Mash efficiency and water chemistry question frolickingmonkey All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 5 03-02-2009 03:42 AM
Do water treatments affect flavor or just mash efficiency? Danek All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 3 02-14-2009 12:01 PM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS