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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Mash Problems
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:21 AM   #1
Cellarbrau
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Default Mash Problems

Hi, First post here. I've done lot's of reading already but i just can't figure out why my mash efficiency/brew efficiency is so damn low.

I just did my 4th all grain brew yesterday. I was going for 1.052 OG for a 6 gallon batch of wheat beer. At the end of the day I read 1.032 OG on my hydrometer and there was under 6 gallons due to boiling and other losses.

Grain:
6.5 lbs Wheat Malt
4 lbs 2-Row
1 lb Flaked Wheat
0.5 lbs rice hulls
=12 lbs

In a 6 gallon plastic bucket the grain bed is about 16 inches deep with rice hulls integrated throughout.

I add 12 liters of 130*F water and rest for 20 minutes at 122*F
I add boiling water to bring temp up to 155* for 60 mins
Temperature is down to 150* so I add a liter or so of boiling water and
recirculate for 45 minutes.
I drain wort at 1 liter per minute and collect 7 gallons.

Everything went very smoothly. I only tested the OG at the end of the boil so sorry I don't have more information there. Grains were milled at the LHBS here in Vancouver which has a good reputation.

I've not been happy with my efficiency in the previous batches hitting between 50-55% even with some late addition malt extract.

1.032 is like 40% efficiency. Am I missing some important aspect of mashing grains?

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Old 06-16-2009, 03:24 AM   #2
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It's the crush...always the crush. Crush 'em 'till they scream.

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Old 06-16-2009, 03:56 AM   #3
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check therometers as well.

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:17 AM   #4
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Crush would be #1, make sure your adjusting your OG for whatever temp your sample is at, but it's best to let it cool then take a reading. Calibrate your Hydrometer in Distilled Water, should read 1.000. +1 for calibrating your Thermometer, an inaccurate one can screw everything up.

What percent efficiency do you plan your recipes for?

16 inches is a pretty deep grain bed IMO, any chance you can upgrade to a converted cooler for an MLT w/ SS braid or a manifold? Then you could fly sparge or double batch sparge, you would also be able to use a thinner mash which will also improve efficiency, and I think a thinner grain bed will help as well.

Hope that helps

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:23 AM   #5
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Not familiar with your method, I am sure it has some fancy name. But I don't see a high temperature sparge that we use for batch sparging. 180-190F water to get all the residual sugars out, is that missing ?

Try batch sparging - look up Bobby M's method as it is very simple to follow and yields great results.

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Old 06-16-2009, 11:38 PM   #6
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The crush could be a culprit.

Thermometers and hydrometers are calibrated. The reason I only have one reading is because I only test once, for OG, once the wort is cooled.

The sparge water was only around 150* F. I will try 185* next time. Also I am going to buy a barley crusher asap. Also I will be looking into making one of those converted cooler MLTs I see around everywhere on this site.

I am aiming for 75% when I plan my recipe. 50% is just not good enough. First, it is more expensive to brew with grains at that rate than extracts. Secondly, I am already very frustrated with missing my targets. Not only that I am getting worse. So, looks like its time for some better gear.

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions they were all considered and followed up on.

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Old 06-17-2009, 03:01 PM   #7
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You might try running the next batch through the mill twice.

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Old 06-17-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
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Check your crush, water chem. and your temps.

Next brew, take a sample of the first wort, get that gravity reading and compare it to Kias chart here for conversion eff.

Then take a reading of all of the wort in the kettle prior to boiling, this will give you mash/lauter eff.

Then take gravity and volume reading when the wort goes into the fermentor, this will give you brewhouse eff.

Then you can look at all of these and see where the bottleneck is.

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Old 06-18-2009, 12:19 AM   #9
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I forgot to mention, twice, that I do use the "Ph 5.2" powder. And I will take a pre boil gravity sample next time.

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Old 06-18-2009, 12:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjab19 View Post
check therometers as well.
+1 to thermometer. I just found one of mine that was reading 10 degree's low. If you're mashing at 145 instead of 155 it could be your problem.

Do you always use the same double infusion mash schedule? Have you tried a single mash at 155 and mash out at 175-180 batch sparge?
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