Partial Mash Efficiency
I don't want to start a 'the point of a PM is' debate...with that said
1) I know I could go all grain and at some point in the next 1-2 years I will....
2) I could build Rich's type PM mash tun, but I'll just save my money for the above.
3) Some say who care about the PM efficiency, it's for adding flavor/using grains than need mashing and use extract to make OG. That's fine, but for me, I disagree as I mash up to 6 lbs of grain trying to cut the needed extract amounts back and still hit my OG.
I've been doing partial mashes lately and am I very pleased with the results, except for the low efficiency of my PM.
My process follows:
In a 3 gal pot, heat 1 qt/lb of water to my calculated strike temp, remove from stove, add grain in a nylon grain bag into the pot, stir the hell out of it, put the cover on and into the 150F oven. Temp drop is only 1-3F in 60 minutes.
I then place a large colander over brew pot and pour '1st runnings' slowly over grain. While that is going on I've heated more water (1-1.25 qt/lb) to 165-170F and then after '1st runnings' are done I slowly pour that over the grain.
My efficiency is in the mid 40s. I don't want the world but mid to maybe upper 50s would be nice.
My question for anyone that has done this or just someone who's thinking about it:
Which would have the better efficiency: The method above or instead of slowly pouring the sparge water over the grains, add the grain bag to the sparge water and sit for 10-15 mins; then circulate that 'sparged wort' over the grain in the colander into the brew pot the same way I outlined above?
(So the only difference is I let the grain sit in the sparge water for 10-15 mins and go ahead like above, I'm basically thinking a mini-batch sparge will give me better efficiency, hopefully the 10-15% I'm hoping for.) Also, I should ideally be using more sparge water, but I'm limited to my pots.
Thanks for listening to my rambling. I think I'll try this method and see what I get regardless, but I'm just curious to other's input whether they've done it both ways or have some insight.
I'd say the second method would work better and, if you can, increase your mash water to 1.25 quarts per pound. A quart per pound is too stiff for the enzymes to move around.
First, how big is your grain bag? It has to be loose enough for the water to flow through the grain. I use a wine bag that is 36"x24". What you might consider is while the mash is working, start heating the water for the boil. Once it's at 170F, hold it there until you are ready to sparge. Remove the grain bag from the mash tun and put it in the kettle. Open it up and stir gently for 10 minutes. Then lift the bag out and let it drain. Add the first run and your extract.
The grain bag is quite large the 6 lbs of grain takes only a small amount of volume of the bag....I'm guessing the bag is something like 32" x 18" or something close. I'll try increasing the mash water to 1.25 qt/lb.
I hope the method I'll be trying combined with the increased qt:lb ratio boosts me.
I use the method of partial mashing from this BYO article: http://www.byo.com/feature/1536.html. The only thing I do differently is do two batch sparges with more total sparge water than the article suggests. I get efficiencies in the high 70s. Try this method out. The only new equipment you need to buy is a 2-gallon beverage cooler.
I think Evan! had some inquiries to this in one of his posts at some point and I also figured I would post an update.
I took some advice from a few of you guys and increased my mash ratio to 1.25qt/lb and instead of putting the grain bag in a colander and pouring my sparge water through it, I took my sparge volume and did a batch sparge. The batch sparge was the same volume as the mash and I after adding sparge water and stirring I let it sit for almost 10 mins and added that to my first runnings.
I went from low-mid 40s on my PM efficiencies to 65% today.......a 20% or so increase!!!!!!!!! If I had bigger pots I probably could get it even a little higher by increasing the sparge volume, but this will work just fine. I enjoy my PM brewing and am making some good brews this way, but I still can't wait for a year or two from now when I go to all-grain.
Just an update if anyone was interested.
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