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Old 05-07-2011, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default mash tun vs. efficiency?

This is just an example I found on here from Joshaw50:

Equipment Needed:

48 qt Rubbermaid Cooler
Qty 1 - 10 ft Section 1/2" CPVC pipe - $2.60
Qty 5 - 1/2" Tee CPVC - $.19 each
Qty 4 - 1/2" 90 degree Elbow CPVC - $.29 ea
Qty 1 - 1/2" CPVC Female Coupling Adapter - $.67
Qty 1 - 1 1/2" OD Rubber Washer - $.86
Size does not matter since you can cut the hole size you want. I could not find anything above 5/16" ID
Qty 1 - 3/4" ID Flat Steel Cut Washer (must grind a little to get 7/8 ID) - $.40
Qty 1 - Brass 1/2" x 1/2" male to male nipple (1 1/2" to 2 1/2" length depending on cooler width) - $2.52
Qty 1 - 1/2" x 3/8" hosetail (can use 1/2" x 1/2" hosetail) - $2.56
Qty 1 - 1/2" brass full port threaded ball valve - $7.52

Total Investment - $20.64 + cost of cooler.
All Items were purchased at Home Depot.


Does anyone have any data reflecting this as being a more efficient mash system vs. what I am currently using: 62qt. ss pot w/ a bazooka screen and a ball valve? Oh by the way, my efficiency is usually 55-60%. I've tried single infusion, step mash, decoction, mash temp varying between 148-158, hard water, RO water, spring water from the grocery store and the water out of those watermills (the kiosks in the parking lots are all windmills here in vegas), grain from online stores, the local homebrew store and I have an MM3 set to .036. I have used acidulated malt to drop hash ph and the 5.2 powder with no measureable difference. I've been brewing for three years so this efficiency thing is the only thing I haven't been able to figure out on my own. Also I've tried the lauter tun outlined by charlie papazian( two buckets one with lots of holes) and fly sparging but only in my mash tun which I also use to lauter because of the spigot/screen combo I have. I'm thinking this multitasker has run it's useful course and now I need to add some single use items to my process. I'd appreciate any suggestions and info.

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Old 05-07-2011, 05:32 PM   #2
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How much dead space do you have in your tun. In other words, fill it up with enough water do start a siphon and drain. How much water stays in there? If it is more than a quart, you could modify your bazooka to improve the efficiency.

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Old 05-07-2011, 06:19 PM   #3
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IMO the single thing with the greatest impact on efficiency is crush. Beyond that it's mostly about process, and only slightly about the equipment used. When you mash in are you stirring until your arms fall off? Are you stirring again before sparging?

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Old 05-07-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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Why not spend the money on the copper and make it work with your SS pot and see if the 20bucks helps to get you up to were you feel you need to be?

I have that screen and i quit using it b/c it would get clogged up w/ all my hops.

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Old 05-07-2011, 06:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northcalais40 View Post
How much dead space do you have in your tun. In other words, fill it up with enough water do start a siphon and drain. How much water stays in there? If it is more than a quart, you could modify your bazooka to improve the efficiency.
I mash in it so almost no dead space. Plus I don't have a false bottom.
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Old 05-07-2011, 06:45 PM   #6
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IMO the single thing with the greatest impact on efficiency is crush. Beyond that it's mostly about process, and only slightly about the equipment used. When you mash in are you stirring until your arms fall off? Are you stirring again before sparging?
So like I said, I have a monster mill three set to .036. The crush doesn't get much better than that. I mix very well when I add my grain the the mash water. No I don't stir again before sparging, I just remembered though people talking about mashing out? Adding a bunch of extra hot water to thin the viscosity out?
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Old 05-07-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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Why not spend the money on the copper and make it work with your SS pot and see if the 20bucks helps to get you up to were you feel you need to be?

I have that screen and i quit using it b/c it would get clogged up w/ all my hops.
That's why I'm here. You're suggesting building a manifold? Sounds good. I use whole leaf hops in spite of the big breweries using pellets. They help as a filter medium for trub. But my bazooka works well with them.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:53 PM   #8
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I use kegs for my boil kettle and MT. I broke down a bought a false bottom from my LHBS that works great! before that I had a 5gal igloo cooler that i had a home made manifold in that worked great. only had 1 stuck sparge from a wheat ale that on the next batch added rice halls and never had that problem. But for 20 bucks compared to 55+ sounds like a good option to try.

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Old 05-07-2011, 09:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Double_D View Post
So like I said, I have a monster mill three set to .036. The crush doesn't get much better than that. I mix very well when I add my grain the the mash water. No I don't stir again before sparging, I just remembered though people talking about mashing out? Adding a bunch of extra hot water to thin the viscosity out?
I think not stirring before sparging is the problem.
When you are batch sparging, it is the stirring of the sparge water into the grains that dissolves the sugars and increases the OG. i.e. add a batch of sparge water, stir really well, let it sit for 5 - 10 minutes, vorlauf, drain. Repeat if necessary. If you don't stir you will get low efficiency.

FWIW, I fly sparge, and my efficiency increased by 10% when I started doing a mash out (by stirring in some near boiling water to raise the grain bed temperature up to about 168F). I used to think that it was the increased temperature of the sparge that caused this increase in efficiency, but then I changed my mind, and thought it could be the stirring of the mash out water before draining. A couple weeks ago, I forgot to start heating the mash out water early enough, and rather than wait for it to boil, I added it at about 160F. This made very little difference to the temperature of the grain bed during the sparge (which was in the low 150's), and it did not noticeably decrease my efficiency. I may have lost 1 - 2 % in efficiency, but it certainly wasn't more than that.

Hope this helps,

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Old 05-08-2011, 03:15 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=ajf;FWIW, I fly sparge, and my efficiency increased by 10% when I started doing a mash out (by stirring in some near boiling water to raise the grain bed temperature up to about 168F). I used to think that it was the increased temperature of the sparge that caused this increase in efficiency, but then I changed my mind, and thought it could be the stirring of the mash out water before draining. A couple weeks ago, I forgot to start heating the mash out water early enough, and rather than wait for it to boil, I added it at about 160F. This made very little difference to the temperature of the grain bed during the sparge (which was in the low 150's), and it did not noticeably decrease my efficiency. I may have lost 1 - 2 % in efficiency, but it certainly wasn't more than that.

Hope this helps,

-a.[/QUOTE]

Thank you sir. I have always used boiling water to do my fly sparge because I just wanted it to stay hot while I was letting 5 gal drain. I did notice it never raised the temp of the grain bed. I guess I need to stir before I sparge and do a mash out. They seem to be the things I'm missing.

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