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Old 07-06-2008, 12:43 PM   #1
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Default partial mash.OG,break material,mash tun efficiancy questions

This is kind of long but I wanted to include as much info as possible.
I brewed up a batch of Austin Home brew Newcastle clone mini mash kit yesterday. It went pretty well but I have a few questions.
I made a mash tun out of a 5 gallon cooler by removing the spigot and just jamming a 3/4" cpvc pipe through the hole, and screwing on a bottle bucket spigot. I filled this with water the night before and it didn't leak. Then I took a aluminum veggie steamer that fit snugly in the cooler and slid it down inside the cooler making a false bottem. I put grains in grain bag and placed on top. I also made a lid out of foam board covered in foil I could slide down inside closer to the mash to take up air space to help maintain mash temp better.
The grains were:
1/8 lb chocolate
1/8 lb crystal
2 1/4 lb pale malt
Heated 2.5 gall. water to 160 f dumped it in. Temp came down to about 155f
stirred it around poked and prodded grain bag and covered it. Let it stand for 45 minutes. I did open it a couple times to stir it and check the temp. Don't think the temp dropped below 153f. I ran off about a quart and recirced it, it was very clear.
Heated 2.5 quarts to 170 and gently poured this on top of grains. It was actually a bit more then 2.5 q because it got too hot so added a bit too cool it down.
I drained off about a quart again it was very clear recirced that and drained it all to kettle.
I took a gravity reading and it only 1.022 which I thought was pretty low.
So the question is what can I do next time to get better efficiancy? Keep recircing the wort. Or sparge again with more 170f water, slow the runoff?
I assume the mini mash should provide about half the fermentables so I was bit concerned about hitting my gravity after adding the extract. so i threw in a extra half lb. of DME and hit the OG after the boil.
Which leads me to this ..
When took the hydro sample from the fermenter I let it sit a a while and there must a been almost an inch of trub or break material in the bottom of the sample. I tried whirl pooling but it didn't work too well. I siphoned from kettle to fermenter and tried to be careful about suckin up the sludge but it must have had a lot in suspension.
So what willl all this break material in the fermenter do too my beer? I think I might use a secondary to help clear it up a bit.
Any tips or critiques would be appreciated.
thanks

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Old 07-06-2008, 12:58 PM   #2
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For three gallons of mash and sparge water I got 75% efficiency from your grain bill, so it looks perfectly fine to me. If you want more efficiency the grain should be crushed a little finer, or you could run a few more quarts of 180º water through the grains to rinse them more.

The trub is fine, it won't hurt anything. Some people like to filter that stuff out, I never do.

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Old 07-06-2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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It sounds like you done pretty good for your first time out....

Not using a braid setup will mean more gunk going into kettle which means more gunk in fermenter...SO yeah, you might benefit by going to a secondary....or a long primary and a careful siphoning....

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Old 07-06-2008, 02:14 PM   #4
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I'm a little confused- you said you recirculated the first runnings, but did you drain them before you added the sparge water?

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Old 07-06-2008, 02:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies.
I guess what I don't quite understand is if this was 2.5 gallon all grain batch, wouldn't my OG would be way to low?
What I am trying to figure out is if this system and technique would work for an all grain batch sparge?

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Old 07-06-2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
I'm a little confused- you said you recirculated the first runnings, but did you drain them before you added the sparge water?
Yes I drained the first runnings before adding the sparge.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzlater View Post
Thanks for the quick replies.
I guess what I don't quite understand is if this was 2.5 gallon all grain batch, wouldn't my OG would be way to low?
What I am trying to figure out is if this system and technique would work for an all grain batch sparge?
You did a mini mash, not a full mash. If this was a full mash then yes, that would be pretty low. Since your recipe called for adding DME your adding fermentables to the boil. So your 1.022 will now become your 1.???

Mini mash means your mashing a PART of your total SG.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:39 PM   #8
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Well, using a grain bag is ok for PM and steeping grains, since you are getting mostly color and flavor from the grains and the bulk of the fermentables come from extract. But, using a grain bag and the veggie steamer for a false bottom would not be the best way to maximize efficiency. The grains really need to be "free" in the water to be wetted properly and to be able to be sparged (rinsed) properly. When I dough in, I stir, stir, stir, to really wet those grains for the mash. During the sparge, it's especially important to have the grains "loose" so they can be rinsed by the water and you can extract the maximum amount of sugar from them.

For a partial mash, your technique is just fine! You may want to consider using just the grain bag, or just a false bottom, though, instead of both.

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Old 07-06-2008, 11:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Well, using a grain bag is ok for PM and steeping grains, since you are getting mostly color and flavor from the grains and the bulk of the fermentables come from extract. But, using a grain bag and the veggie steamer for a false bottom would not be the best way to maximize efficiency. The grains really need to be "free" in the water to be wetted properly and to be able to be sparged (rinsed) properly. When I dough in, I stir, stir, stir, to really wet those grains for the mash. During the sparge, it's especially important to have the grains "loose" so they can be rinsed by the water and you can extract the maximum amount of sugar from them.

For a partial mash, your technique is just fine! You may want to consider using just the grain bag, or just a false bottom, though, instead of both.
The holes in the strainer I have are too big,that's why I used both the bag and the false bottom. The grain bag is big enough to line the cooler what if used both bag and bottom , but instead of putting the grains in the bag and tieing it off. I just lined the cooler with the bag and used a bungie to hold the bag at the top?
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:15 AM   #10
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dzlater Your numbers still look very good for a partial / mini-mash. Remember most of the fermentable's are in the extracts. One thing I would recommend is as large of a bag as possible, and "swoosh" it around, take it out and let it drain and put it back in, Just don't squeeze it. This will get the maximum amount of contact between the water and the grains.

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