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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Mash efficiency when mashing out
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #11
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Okay, I've done some reading.

First, it doesn't look like a mashout is really necessary for batch-spargers like me. So this is largely academic, since I probably won't be doing them any more. Keeping my brew day shorter by 20 minutes is worth it to me.

Second, in between Kai's single experiment and a tastybrew thread I found, the cold-sparge question may not be as cut and dried as is thought. Regardless, my question was really one of dilution anyway: given first runnings of X without a mashout, wouldn't performing a mashout necessarily reduce the SG of those runnings? If not, why not?

There may well be something about the difference between lauter and sparge I'm just not understanding.

...Wait wait wait. I think I have it. Mash efficiency is calculated based on mash thickness. Since I go for 1.25 qt/lb, 100% conversion would be 1.096ish. A mashout addition would change the ratio, so I'd have to recalculate, say for 1.33 qt/lb (or whatever the volume of the addition makes it), and check that against Kai's table for mash efficiency. Is that right?

-Rich

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Old 03-13-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
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Second, in between Kai's single experiment and a tastybrew thread I found, the cold-sparge question may not be as cut and dried as is thought. Regardless, my question was really one of dilution anyway: given first runnings of X without a mashout, wouldn't performing a mashout necessarily reduce the SG of those runnings? If not, why not?



-Rich
Mash efficiency and brewhouse efficiency are calculations.

Sure, if you dilute your runnings, the SG will change as will the volume. That doesn't change the mash efficiency.

Doing a mashout, or not, won't impact the efficiency.

But adding water to anything will of course reduce the SG.

If you have a quart of sugar water, and add a quart of plain water, you will reduce the SG of that as well. But it doesn't change the amount of sugar in the solution.

I hope that makes sense!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:11 PM   #13
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Sure, if you dilute your runnings, the SG will change as will the volume. That doesn't change the mash efficiency.[...]If you have a quart of sugar water, and add a quart of plain water, you will reduce the SG of that as well. But it doesn't change the amount of sugar in the solution.

I hope that makes sense!
It does. I'm still reconfiguring my head around efficiency calcs after Kai's "Troubleshooting" article. Conv efficiency is how much sugar was converted from the starch you have, not how much sugar is in the wort versus how much potential in the grains -- that's brewhouse efficiency.

It's hard to remember sometimes that SG is a measure of both sugar and water, not just sugar. If SG changes, then it could be water or sugars or both.

{Well, actually it's density, but for purposes of brewing it's how much dissolved sugar has changed the density of water.}

It's the price of having indulged in unscientific brew-think for so long. Obvious things can take a while to actually make sense.

-Rich
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:01 PM   #14
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...Wait wait wait. I think I have it. Mash efficiency is calculated based on mash thickness. Since I go for 1.25 qt/lb, 100% conversion would be 1.096ish. A mashout addition would change the ratio, so I'd have to recalculate, say for 1.33 qt/lb (or whatever the volume of the addition makes it), and check that against Kai's table for mash efficiency. Is that right?

-Rich
That's absolutely right.

-a.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:43 AM   #15
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Okay, I've done some reading.

First, it doesn't look like a mashout is really necessary for batch-spargers like me. So this is largely academic, since I probably won't be doing them any more. Keeping my brew day shorter by 20 minutes is worth it to me.

-Rich
Yes you would be correct, the mashout is important when you are going to do a continuous sparge. This is because it can take up to an hour to continuous sparge, and raising the temp during the mashout is a way to make sure the enzymes are shut down. Otherwise they would continue to do their work during the duration of the sparge and possibly create some off flavors. A batch sparge only takes ten minutes so there is less risk of this happening.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:15 AM   #16
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It's hard to remember sometimes that SG is a measure of both sugar and water, not just sugar. If SG changes, then it could be water or sugars or both.
A long time ago, I thought I was pulling amazing efficiencies on a batch or two, when looking back at my notes, I realized I just underestimated my boiloff. Kai's writeup on the partition of efficiencies is great for homebrewers, so I now I check my pre-boil gravity more carefully.

On a side note, I think homebrewers are good falling for the fallacy that correlation is causation. If I were to play that game, I would wager than many batch spargers' observation that mashout improved their efficiency derives from vigorously stirring their mash prior to the first drain.

It's drained too fast to be alpha amylase activity. I assert that for the same reason that denaturing enzymes is not instantaneous at mash-out temps.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:51 PM   #17
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On a side note, I think homebrewers are good falling for the fallacy that correlation is causation.
In bodybuilding there's a term called "broscience" for this sort of thing: techniques that feel right, that may have worked for you or your buddy's brother's cousin, but may well have correlation/causation issues. Stuff that's whispered like state secrets between people who may have brewed for decades with little knowledge of the whys or hows other than repetition.

Home brewing has a distressing amount of this.

-Rich
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:15 PM   #18
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It does. I'm still reconfiguring my head around efficiency calcs after Kai's "Troubleshooting" article. Conv efficiency is how much sugar was converted from the starch you have, not how much sugar is in the wort versus how much potential in the grains -- that's brewhouse efficiency.
Brewhouse efficiency also takes into account losses to trub etc.

I like to think of efficiency simply as a point total. It takes some reasoning out of it.

Start here:
http://www.beersmith.com/Grains/Grains/GrainList.htm

Take the potential sugar, multiply by pounds. That's your point total. How many gallons it's spread over isn't important.

Collect your wort - multiply gravity by gallons - then check it against the total points from your grain load. That's mash efficiency.

Rack your final product into the fermenter - take gravity and multiply by gallons - that's Brewhouse efficiency.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:18 PM   #19
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so I now I check my pre-boil gravity more carefully.
And volumes... every time you take a gravity reading, it needs to be accompanied with a volume, or it doesn't really tell you anything.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:11 PM   #20
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And volumes... every time you take a gravity reading, it needs to be accompanied with a volume, or it doesn't really tell you anything.
This. Quoted for truth.

-Rich
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