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Old 08-14-2009, 11:03 AM   #1
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Default Poor efficiency

Well, with this last brew, the Coffee/Chocolate Porter, I had really low efficiency, just under 60%

I think that there were a few factors that contributed to this, the first being that the retailer crushed my grains. I have to order most of my malt off the internet, and this was the first time that they ever crushed them....

Second, I was worried about maintaining mash temp, so I did not stir the grains, at all...

I have been using a thicker mash, 1qt/lb, I think I will up this to 1.5-1.75qt/lb and just do a single batch sparge instead of 2 sparges.

I hope this will allow for better conversion and provide a higher quality wort, since more of it will be first running's.

I usually get about 70-73% with my crush and the thicker mash.

any ideas are welcomed

Tim

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Old 08-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by MX1 View Post
Well, with this last brew, the Coffee/Chocolate Porter, I had really low efficiency, just under 60%

I think that there were a few factors that contributed to this, the first being that the retailer crushed my grains. I have to order most of my malt off the internet, and this was the first time that they ever crushed them....

Second, I was worried about maintaining mash temp, so I did not stir the grains, at all...

I have been using a thicker mash, 1qt/lb, I think I will up this to 1.5-1.75qt/lb and just do a single batch sparge instead of 2 sparges.

I hope this will allow for better conversion and provide a higher quality wort, since more of it will be first running's.

I usually get about 70-73% with my crush and the thicker mash.

any ideas are welcomed

Tim
Why did the LHBS have to crush them instead of using your crush? I'm not sure why they had to do it for this go around. If you don't already have a crusher, then I would recommend one (I have the Barley Crusher, I can fit about 13 or 14lbs of grain in the big hopper at once and connect my cordless drill to it. It works really well). With that out of the way, its one less factor (assuming you have selected a good crush setting, which on mine I haven't touched from factory and I get 75%-85% into the boiler).

I mash at 1.25 qt/lb. No real reason other than its what I've always gone with. I've never had a stuck sparge or felt like I was going to make dough balls.

Why would you only do a single sparge? I can't imagine your efficiency increasing by only doing one sparge. That's going to assume you get all the sugary goodness out of your 1st and only grain rinsing.

As for worrying about the temperature. I'm always worrying about nailing my exact temperature, but I use BeerSmith to make sure my strike water is the right temp based on what I want to mash at and what my crushed grains are. The more you screw with it after you dough in the more likely you're not going to hold your temp. If you're really worried about holding the temp, you should experiment with just hot water in your tun and see how long you can sustain that temp. In my Coleman Xtreme 70 I can hold temp within a degree or 2 for 60-90 minutes.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but I've been summoned come help get the kids out the door... I'll keep following the thread.. good luck...
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:22 AM   #3
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I do not know why they crushed the grain, I did not ask them too. Most all of my greain I order online, this time they just crushed it.....

This is what I am basing my thoughts on...

Quote:
First runnings when sparging are the best… the sugar content is high, the pH is low and you are not extracting tannins from the grain husks as you are with a long and high volume sparge.
FROM HERE

I still think my biggest issue was the crush. I use a Corona Mill that I have dialed in and get in the 70's most of the time. Unless someone has a used roller mill they want to unload cheep, I am stuck with the Corona...

Tim
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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Hmm. I haven't done any ph readings so I don't know what I'm coming in at. I would make sure your next batch of ingredients don't get crushed by the store and see what happens.

I wouldn't worry about replacing your Corona mill. I've never used one, but I think a bunch of people do and have success with it. I would try another couple batches with the way you have been brewing. In other words, don't change what was already working for you and chalk it up to the store's crush. If you're still running into problems after this, maybe you'll want to consider tweaking something, but it sounds like you're fine.

I've learned that one of the most important thing is to take notes on what you do so you have something to compare it to. I know that majority of my mistakes come from either not holding my mash temp (by stirring to long or whatever) or screwing up my calculations for my sparges (using too much water).

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Old 08-14-2009, 12:51 PM   #5
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Yeah, I have been crap at note taking, even though I really need too.
I took great notes this session, yeah me!
I also downloaded a few documents off the site linked above that will now be part of every brew session.

I want to get the processes down, and be consistent when I move back to the states, and pick up a better brew system.

Tim

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Old 08-14-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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Yeah, Id thin the mash a little, stir more, get a handle on the crush and due to the higher mash water volume, just do a single batch sparge. First runnings are best, lower ph... concentrated wort is always best.

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Old 08-15-2009, 12:00 PM   #7
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"Second, I was worried about maintaining mash temp, so I did not stir the grains, at all...

I have been using a thicker mash, 1qt/lb, I think I will up this to 1.5-1.75qt/lb and just do a single batch sparge instead of 2 sparges."

I think you answered yourself.

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