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Old 11-18-2012, 07:31 PM   #201
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I just wanted to update that sparging fast does not work on my system. I just sparged quickly today and got 50% efficiency, the only other time I've had it that low was with a fast sparge. Slower sparging works on my set-up, 72%-78% efficiency. I'll stick with that.

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:41 PM   #202
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I just wanted to update that sparging fast does not work on my system. I just sparged quickly today and got 50% efficiency, the only other time I've had it that low was with a fast sparge. Slower sparging works on my set-up, 72%-78% efficiency. I'll stick with that.
Something must be wrong somewhere. There is no reason that a slower sparge will increase your efficiency in batch sparging. I mean, I'm not denying that it DOES in your case, but I think there must be some problem somewhere to make it work out like that. Have you seen my website? How does your procedure and equipment compare to what's listed there? In the batch where you sparged quickly and got lower efficiency, is it a recipe you've done before? I'm trying to eliminate variables here.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:14 PM   #203
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I just wanted to update that sparging fast does not work on my system. I just sparged quickly today and got 50% efficiency, the only other time I've had it that low was with a fast sparge. Slower sparging works on my set-up, 72%-78% efficiency. I'll stick with that.
This is the kind of situation where you really want to do a full diagnostic, perhaps with something like braukaiser's spreadsheet:
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index...use_Efficiency

We should want to know where all the sugars are going if not into your kettle. There are really only two possibilities:

1) you're getting less volume of expected density wort, or
2) you're getting an expected volume but low density wort.

In either case, something is weird. Without those diagnostics, though, it's hard to speculate.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:04 AM   #204
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Something must be wrong somewhere. There is no reason that a slower sparge will increase your efficiency in batch sparging. I mean, I'm not denying that it DOES in your case, but I think there must be some problem somewhere to make it work out like that. Have you seen my website? How does your procedure and equipment compare to what's listed there? In the batch where you sparged quickly and got lower efficiency, is it a recipe you've done before? I'm trying to eliminate variables here.
We changed 4 variables between the 78% and this one (48%). The first was the crush of the grain, which wasn't our control. It looked a little coarse to my eyes and I had worries from the start. Secondly we did 2 batch sparges instead of 1, we ran off 100% then added one batch sparge then another, we also made sure to mix up the grain bed a lot during each sparge. Lastly we ran off fast after setting the grain bed.

I took a hydrometer reading of the left over run-off in the mash tun, and it was reading around 1.018 so I can't imagine much residual sugars were left. My guess is that the grains weren't crushed enough to get enough sugars, but I'm weary of doing a fast run-off again since the last time we did it we got very low efficiency too.

@MalFet I will check that site when I'm not drinking/as tired, it's a bit lot to take in.

Edit: All of my calculations are done on Hopville, so that's where I get my expected gravities.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:26 AM   #205
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We changed 4 variables between the 78% and this one (48%). The first was the crush of the grain, which wasn't our control. It looked a little coarse to my eyes and I had worries from the start. Secondly we did did 2 batch sparges, we ran off 100% then added one batch sparge then another, we also made sure to mix up the grain bed a lot during each sparge. Lastly we ran off fast after setting the grain bed.

I took a hydrometer reading of the left over run-off in the mash tun, and it was reading around 1.018 so I can't imagine much residual sugars were left. My guess is that the grains weren't crushed enough to get enough sugars, but I'm weary of doing a fast run-off again since the last time we did it we got very low efficiency too.

@MalFet I will check that site when I'm not drinking/as tired, it's a bit lot to take in.
The punchline to all of it is that you want to be taking gravity readings during the actual mash. If you're playing with a new, coarser crush, that is likely the explanation for everything. I'll bet dollars to donuts your conversion efficiency was way below par. If that's the case, you could let the thing drain over a holiday weekend and you'd still be low.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:13 AM   #206
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I almost fully agree with that sentiment, but last time I had a 1.077 reading from an expected 1.125 and we sparged fast, then again we didn't mix again after adding the first sparge water and the water wasn't hot enough to bring the grain to 170. I blame the latter on the problems rather than a fast sparge as well, but it's the only constant between so you can understand why I would associate that.

I think we just need to get our own grain mill to avoid this problem in the future, am I right though, to think that if the run off, after we got our initial volume, was only 1.018 that the grain was probably not crushed enough?

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:20 AM   #207
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I almost fully agree with that sentiment, but last time I had a 1.077 reading from an expected 1.125 and we sparged fast, then again we didn't mix again after adding the first sparge water and the water wasn't hot enough to bring the grain to 170. I blame the latter on the problems rather than a fast sparge as well, but it's the only constant between so you can understand why I would associate that.

I think we just need to get our own grain mill to avoid this problem in the future, am I right though, to think that if the run off, after we got our initial volume, was only 1.018 that the grain was probably not crushed enough?
Almost certainly.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:56 PM   #208
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Just to clarify you're saying that it's almost certainly the crush at fault since the run-off was 1.018 after running off our complete volume and being 20 points under?

If this happens next time what's the best way to handle it? Add more volume and have a more intense boil to boil off more?

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Old 11-19-2012, 02:12 PM   #209
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Just to clarify you're saying that it's almost certainly the crush at fault since the run-off was 1.018 after running off our complete volume and being 20 points under?

If this happens next time what's the best way to handle it? Add more volume and have a more intense boil to boil off more?
The only way I can imagine run-off speed affecting efficiency into the kettle would be if, somehow, a faster drain plugged up your manifold or otherwise left a higher volume of wort than expected in the kettle.

But, it doesn't sound like that's what's happening here. Instead, it sounds like your gravities are low in the kettle, which means you're not getting full conversion. If a significant number of your kernels aren't broken, that's a problem. You'll need to find a new way to mill your grain. Also, make sure you're stirring like a crazy person at both dough-in and sparge.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:23 PM   #210
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Thanks for your posts, it's gotten me less worried about my methods. This time I made sure to stir much more aggressively and thoroughly than ever before so it can't be that. Our mash also stayed at 152 the entire time, I made sure to check the temps throughout the mash and only noticed a 1 degree deviation at most, so 151-153.

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