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Old 04-07-2009, 06:28 PM   #11
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Just got off the phone with the other lbhs and they stated their crusher is set at .035". Problem solved?? or am I still in trouble?

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Old 04-07-2009, 06:46 PM   #12
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I don't think you can draw conclusions yet. Strange that two crushes that are approx. .010" different gaps 'appeared the same' as you said. The difference between a .045" crush and a .035" crush is apparent...but maybe not unless you had them side-by-side.

What's this about the sparge you're talking about? You should keep the water level above the grains until you run out of sparge water...then just let everything drain out. Your lauter tun should have nothing but spent grains in it when you're done...plus a small amount of wort left in the space below the valve. You need to calculate how much water you lose to grain absorption, lauter tun dead space, boil evaporation, etc. and then add that to your target final volume. That's how much TOTAL water you'll need...then you have to divide up that volume between your mash and sparge.

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Old 04-08-2009, 12:28 AM   #13
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oh, poo,(my SWMBO says I need to work on my cursing with the little one around) that is the problem then, I always left at least a few gallons in the mlt, never draining it. I was under the assumption that the sparge water pushed the sweet wort out the bottom. Not really mixing up. Also keeping the water 1-2 inches above the grain bed.

I are not smart.

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Old 04-08-2009, 12:58 AM   #14
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No big deal...it's all part of the process. One thing you can do is have some DME on hand and measure your gravity into the boil kettle. Then if your efficiency is low you can add some DME and hit your target OG. Just in case.

Ha...I bet you're looking forward to your next brewday!

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:07 AM   #15
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I don't want to disappoint you, but my schmiddling mill is set to .045" and I usually stop sparging when the gravity drops below about 1.010 or when I have collected enough (whichever happens first). At this point, there is still water above the grain bed, so I still have a lot of extra water in the MLT. I get 85% brewhouse efficiency like this.

-a.

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:34 AM   #16
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Try batch sparging. I always get over 80%. If you think your grind at the LBS isn't fine enough, run it through twice. That's what I do. They'd rather have me do that than screw around with the roller settings. If they bitch about it, ask them what you are hurting by grinding it twice.

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Old 04-08-2009, 04:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
I don't want to disappoint you, but my schmiddling mill is set to .045" and I usually stop sparging when the gravity drops below about 1.010 or when I have collected enough (whichever happens first). At this point, there is still water above the grain bed, so I still have a lot of extra water in the MLT. I get 85% brewhouse efficiency like this.

-a.
Any ideas of why I would be getting low efficiencies?? Must be a temp thing?
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #18
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Any ideas of why I would be getting low efficiencies?? Must be a temp thing?
There's a few things that could explain it.
You are obviously fly sparging, and so do I, but I use a false bottom, and you use a manifold. Does your manifold just run around the edge of the cooler, or does it have cross bars to allow collection from the middle of the cooler?
How to Brew - By John Palmer - Building the Manifold give some great information on manifold design as applies to fly sparging. If your manifold just runs around the edge, you will probably get channeling, and you may want to either redesign your manifold, or try batch sparging. I very occasionally batch sparge on lighter brews, and lose about 5% efficiency, but I have many years of fly sparging experience, and have only done about 10 - 15 batch sparges. That probably explains most of the efficiency difference.
The next thing is the 5 foot feed to the sparge arm. That will act as a radiator (especially if brewing outdoors). I have a 2 foot feed, and heat the sparge water to 180F before dumping it in the HLT (5g cooler which is unheated).
The other difference, is that I do a mash out with near boiling water to bring the mash temp up to the mid 160's before I start the sparge. When I started doing this, I increased my efficiency from 75% to 85%.
I would suggest that you do in iodine test to check for full conversion during the mash, and measure the gravity of your initial runnings to identify potential mash problems, and do a channeliong check See http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/chan...parging-53713/ to check for sparging problems

Hope this helps,

-a.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:41 AM   #19
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ajf, thanks for the great info, I do have cross bars in the manifold, in fact, it is the exact same as Palmer's, with the only difference being that my drain line goes all the way to other side of the cooler as the valve. Also, my outside rails might be closer to the sides of the cooler.
I will either shorten the hose, or heat the sparge water more.
As for the mash out, how much, and how hot of water are we talking here?
What percentage of og are we talking about on the first runnings gravity?
I will have to get some stuff for the iodine test.

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Old 04-09-2009, 12:45 AM   #20
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one other question, is everyone taking the gravity reading warm/hot and using a formula to adjust to 60? or is everyone cooling the sample in the freezer and checking it then? or are the readings everyone gives at the higher temps?

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