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Old 12-16-2011, 03:45 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by matalec1984 View Post
First off thank you for the information, this makes me feel much better about my efficiency on this latest batch. my hydrometer is calibrated to 68, and the wort was around 140 my pre-boil reading was about 1.038 Temp corrected is 1.053 and my expect was 1.057.

My question now moves to my actual OG. I finished with 5 gal of wort into my primary. Took my initial Grav reading and got 1.052 temp corrected to 1.054 which is much lower then my expected OG. I feel like something must be wrong here. Any thoughts?
My first thought is that the initial reading is off. Any temperature adjustment above 100* will be inaccurate IMHO. You need to cool down the sample first before taking a reading. Pour it in to a glass and keep it around until the end if you want to check back after it is at 68. What was your expected starting gravity and expected efficiency?
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:05 PM   #122
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Thanks again for everyone's advice. After thinking about it for a few it came to me as well that I should let the wort cool and then take a preboil grav reading later on once it has cooled. Furthermore since I was a little tipsy when doing this the other day I forgot to temp correct my OG as well. I generally haven't worried about efficiency in the pst and always remember to temp correct my OG but somehow I didn't the other day.

My temp correct pre-boil was 1.054 which may be inaccurate do to the temp it was taken at. The expected was 1.057

My OG temp corrected was 1.057 expected was 1.061

Not as bad as I originally thought.

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Old 02-15-2012, 05:05 AM   #123
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Just starting to get the idea of all-grain brewing. But question, why do we not soak the sparge water at all? We soak strike water for 60 minutes to give it time to collect the sugars, etc..... but wouldn't allowing the sparge water to soak for 20-30 minutes be similarly beneficial?

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Old 02-15-2012, 05:15 AM   #124
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it's because during the mash, enzymes are converting starches to sugars. In the sparge, all we're doing is aiding in collecting enough sugar to hit our target OG, not converting anymore.

The mash is much, much more than just a soak.

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Old 02-15-2012, 12:48 PM   #125
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But what harm would come from allowing the sparge water to soak for even 15 minutes? If any starches have not fully converted to sugars, this may give that last 5% of them the opportunity to do so. Additionally, holding the sparge water in place for at least a few minutes might help ensure it has a chance to touch every bit of the grain, rather than begin to channel or miss one particular spot. It just seems like only good things could come from giving the sparge water some time.

This way of thinking is what's also causing me to not understand how fly sparging could in any way increase efficiency.

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:21 PM   #126
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I leave the sparge water in for 15 minutes. Some thoughts about that:

  • At the higher temp the sparge water will be, the enzymes will be denatured anyway (or well on their way to that), so it doesn't seem to me there is a heck of a lot of conversion happening.
  • I like the soaking precisely because of what you said: better rinsing and hopefully yield. But also, at the higher temperature, I believe the viscosity of the liquid goes down, so there is less risk (minimal as it may be to begin with) of a stuck sparge.
  • Because it's a one-time thing (unless you do multiple spargings for the same batch), I don't think pH is affected (in a downward manner) the way it is with fly sparging.

I'm fairly sure this information is solid, but welcome feedback on it.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:05 PM   #127
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If conversion is not 100% at the time you introduce a batch sparge, the elevated temps will give it that last push. Enzymes do not denature instantly and higher temps do make them act faster just before they are choked out (not really, they're just chemicals).

If conversion WAS complete, the longer soak would only increase efficiency if your crush was abnormally coarse such that diffusion of sugar from a large bit of endosperm was buffered in some way. Fix your crush, adjust your mill, etc.

Firebirddude, there is no concept of channeling in batch sparging. All the wort in the tun after you stir the sparge addition in, is exactly the same concentration of sugar. Regarding your post above, the 60 minute rest is to allow conversion of starch to sugar, not to "collect" the sugar.

There is no harm in allowing the sparge to sit, but at worst it would be a waste of time. All grain brew days are long enough as it is.

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Old 02-15-2012, 04:58 PM   #128
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I guess that the big question that have to be answered in what is the maximum theoretical sugar that one can extract from a grain. If this amount varies from grain to grain, then it will be very complex to calculate efficiency.

I am under the impression that 40 is reference number obtained from the maximum solubility of table sugar (sucrose). Since there is a mixture of sugars in the mash and with different solubilities, it may be difficult to establish a reference "true" density value.

Once this is resolved, the optimization can be performed via a factorial experimental design, with (say) sparging volume and mill setting as factors. The measured responses may be wort density and %efficiency.

In order to get an accurate reading, I would use a two-three decimal scale and a 10-ml graduated cylinder.

Thanks, Nil

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Old 02-15-2012, 06:52 PM   #129
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Maybe I already posted this somewhere in this thread, but over the course of 14 years and 415 batches that have been batch sparged, I've tried a lot of different "wait times" after adding the sparge water. From 30 min. down to zero min., there has been no change whatsoever in efficiency or fermentability. You can theorize all you like, but there's the hard experimental data. Try it for yourself.

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Old 02-15-2012, 07:17 PM   #130
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Fair enough. Just asking.

Thanks guys.

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