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Old 02-25-2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Default ITT: Give me feedback on my setup

So I'm maxing out about 72% eff. on a good day and I would like tips on how to improve it. I know the number one reason is the amount of beer I drink on brew day so I'm looking for reason 2, 3, 4 etc... Also, I'm still starting out and with little space so I have no plans (yet) to do crazy welding or super out the box processes.

For heating I have a 60qt pot over a bayou classic that works great to get my liquor up to temp. I have a 48qt rectangular igloo cooler with a ball valve and T attached to a washing machine braided hose with rubber removed as a manifold.

As an example from a blonde partial mash I just did, I mashed about 9 lbs of grains last time and used brewsmith to calculate my water amounts. I added 11.25 qts @ 165 degrees and this ended up a little over my target of 150 degrees at the beginning. I left this for 60 mins and came back and it was right around 150 degrees so my temp maintained well. Then I added on 2.9 gallons of 168 degree water and recycled via a quart measuring cup about 6 times until it was fairly clear. Then I drained into a bucket (only have one pot) with the valve open maybe 1/2 way. Took about 5-10 mins to get down to grain level and then I added 4.6 gallons of 168 degree water. Poured the bucket wort into my pot and cranked up the heat and added bittering hops. Drained the second batch sparge directly into pot, again about 1/2 way open and it took 10-15 mins to drain into the pot.

Refractometer told me I was at 12 brix which in beersmith gives me about 72% for my volumes. I wanted about 5% and this puts me closer to 4.5%. How can I increase this?

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:25 PM   #2
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Who crushes your grain? The crush has a big impact on efficiency. You also might want to try Kaiser's Efficiency Calculator. It will tell you what your conversion efficiency and lauter efficiency are and then you'll know where to start tweeking.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
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I usually get my supplier to crush it (RebelBrewer). I have a corona mill, but it's no better than them so I stopped bothering. I don't really have the room for bulk grains so haven't upgraded to something better. I'll check out the eff. calculator and see what I can tell.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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72% isn't bad. Why not just adjust your grainbill next time to get the desired og? Imo getting a consistent efficiency # is more important, than how high it is.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:38 PM   #5
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Are you attempting a mashout with your first small infusion? If so, your temps are way to low.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:38 PM   #6
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Mild OCD, anal, cheap, bored, etc... I'll check the crush when I get home.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwest450 View Post
Are you attempting a mashout with your first small infusion? If so, your temps are way to low.
No I'm not doing a mashout. So you mean my sparge temps are low?
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiGravShawn View Post
No I'm not doing a mashout. So you mean my sparge temps are low?
Are you checking for conversion? How long is your mash? A mashout is a good idea once the conversion is done too.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:46 PM   #9
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I did a 60 minute mash. I did not check for conversion this time with iodine although sometimes I do with mixed results. I used to do a mashout when I was temp mashing on the stove. How would I do that in a cooler? Maybe up the first batch sparge temp to 170?

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiGravShawn View Post
No I'm not doing a mashout. So you mean my sparge temps are low?
Super low. And why do 2 uneven sparges? The goal is to get temps up to 168-170f. When I did split sparges, the were split evenly, and the first infusion was up around 185f to 190f.
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