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Old 12-01-2009, 09:43 PM   #1
permo
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Default Learnings from my first 5 AG batches

I have learned many things, that eventually now allow me to hit 80% efficiency on my last batch. I have a 48 quart cooler and I do single infusion and double batch sparge. My last batch I designed for 70% efficiency or OG = 1.055 and I hit 1.063......

1. Get a good thermometer, a digital one. Constantly monitor your mash temps, 1-2 degrees IS a big deal.

2. Pre heat your mash tun

3. During 60 minute single infusion, I open it up and stir up the grains and grain bed at 30 minutes. Then let it rest until I lauter the first time.

4. I believe that double batch sparging with 10 minute rest is more efficient than single. I also stir the grain bed at 5 minutes.

5. Error on the side of more water rather than less. It is better to boil down more wort to get down to batch size than add water later to get up to size.

6. Make sure you grind is optimized, my LHBS store grinds my grain for me and also lets me bring in grain and grinds it for free..nice place.

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Old 12-02-2009, 12:26 AM   #2
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good thoughts man. good thoughts.

the only thing i would say is that if you constantly have to monitor your mash temps you need a better cooler! beside, opening and closing the lid will cause that 1-2 degree change, which I agree is a big deal.

i mash in, close the lid, and wait 10 minutes. then I check the temp. if it's where I want it then i don't touch it until i'm done. at the end it's always the same.

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Old 12-02-2009, 12:31 AM   #3
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Followup question on:
3. I believe that double batch sparging with 10 minute rest is more efficient than single.

Why the 10 minute rest? I've always operated under the impression that you wanted to get the sugars up into the solution and drain full-speed-ahead to "nab" as much as possible.

Wouldn't a 10 minute rest be counterproductive and, in theory, less efficient?

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Old 12-02-2009, 02:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorryWort View Post
good thoughts man. good thoughts.

the only thing i would say is that if you constantly have to monitor your mash temps you need a better cooler! beside, opening and closing the lid will cause that 1-2 degree change, which I agree is a big deal.

i mash in, close the lid, and wait 10 minutes. then I check the temp. if it's where I want it then i don't touch it until i'm done. at the end it's always the same.
I mean I constantly monitor the temp by leaving my digital probe in the mash during the entire process so I can monitor the temp the entire time. I can usually hold the temp within a degree with an hour but I like to know what the temp is the entire time.

I have actually found the temp to rise after 5-10 minutes before and opened the lid and stirred to get down to temp.

QUOTE:

"Wouldn't a 10 minute rest be counterproductive and, in theory, less efficient?"

I pour the 174 degree water in, stir it thoroughly, let it rest five, stir it up again and then proceed at 10 minutes. I do this twice. I have achieved my highest efficiency, in the 80 percent range, using this method. I think for batch sparging, a 10 minute rest is relatively standard procedure.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permo View Post
I mean I constantly monitor the temp by leaving my digital probe in the mash during the entire process so I can monitor the temp the entire time. I can usually hold the temp within a degree with an hour but I like to know what the temp is the entire time.

I have actually found the temp to rise after 5-10 minutes before and opened the lid and stirred to get down to temp.
gotcha. i use a handheld instant read. but you're right about the 5-10 minute change, which is why I always wait that long before measuring. sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down!

I used to measure with a probe throughout, but I'm comfortable with my mash tun now so I don't anymore.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:20 AM   #6
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I have noticed better results when double batch sparging and letting it rest for at least 10 mins. My first two all grain batches I let it rest for just about 5 mins, and was off on my gravity points by 9 and 7. Last two, was off by 1 and over by 4. I think getting the grain bed up to 170 as well when doing your sparges makes a difference.

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Old 12-02-2009, 04:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permo View Post
I pour the 174 degree water in, stir it thoroughly, let it rest five, stir it up again and then proceed at 10 minutes. I do this twice. I have achieved my highest efficiency, in the 80 percent range, using this method. I think for batch sparging, a 10 minute rest is relatively standard procedure.
I don't mean to sound like I'm challenging your process - merely curious and seeking knowledge.

At 174, I'm assuming you're well above a desired mash temp when all is said and done. So, during your rest, you're not converting sugars... and in the end, you stir it back up anyway.

That brings you back to square one. I still just don't see what the rest is accomplishing?
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zbonaker View Post
That brings you back to square one. I still just don't see what the rest is accomplishing?
I think the rest kinda stretches the process out a little like fly sparging so the grains have more contact with the hotter sparge water and can pull more sugars out than a quick drain. I have noticed better results with the 10 min rest because the rest of my process has been the exact same each time.
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:04 PM   #9
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I just brewed up today using this exact same process...got 82% efficiency. Target OG was 1.044...I got 1.052 I don't think I will be changing my process now...82 is darned good. Back to back 80% or greater efficiency batches using a cooler and batch sparging. I think the key is stiring the grain bed vigoursly at 30 minutes or the halfway point of the mash. And also stiring vigoursly halfway through the sparge rest. Once I started doing this my efficiency shot up 10 points.

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Old 12-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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What thermometer do you have?

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