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Old 06-17-2012, 11:25 PM   #11
Reelale
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60%-70% is probably about normal for no-sparge. It's the nature of the beast. Adjusting your grain bill to account for the lower efficiency is probably the best you can do without a sparge. Recirculating sweet wort reaches an equilibrium so recirculation time does not increase extraction.

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Old 06-18-2012, 12:26 AM   #12
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My system is the 10 gallon Igloo cooler mash tun which gravity feeds into a 7 gallon pot on a propane burner. The 7 gallon pot feeds water to a magnetic drive pump which circulates the water from the pot or (HLT) to the top of the mash tun.
I started off by heating 4.5 gallons to 160* and fed it into my empty mash tun to let the heat absorb into the insulation.
While this was happening a heated an additional 4.5 gallons in the now empty HLT.
After about 45 minutes I added the grains to the mash tun which still contained the original 4.5 gals of hot water. I let it sit for a few minutes then cracked the valve allowing the water in the mash tun to feed back into the HLT. At the same time I started the pump up pulling an equal volume of water out of the HLT and feeding it to the top of the mash tun.

I did this for roughly 80 minutes and monitored the temperature of the water in the HLT, which stayed at a consistent 158*. The HLT is where I took all of my temp measurements.

Next I began to increase the temperature my wort (sorry for changing terms) in the HLT to begin to sparge the grains (or at least thats what my goal was). I brought the temp up to 168* and adjusted the valves leaving the pump so 1/2 the flow went to the mash tun and the other half went to a separate brew kettle. After a few minutes I shut off the flow to the mash tun completely and transferred everything over to the brew kettle as the mash tun finished draining.

My pre-boil volume was at least 9 gallons and my SG was 1.032

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Old 06-18-2012, 12:56 AM   #13
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If I understand correctly, you did basically a no-sparge brew, and that process works, you just have to account for the lower efficiency due to not rinsing the grains. When you drained your MLT runnings back into the HLT, you basically diluted the wort. Then you recirculated this wort with the pump. You did not rinse (sparge) the grains with "fresh" water after your first runnings.

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Old 06-18-2012, 10:55 AM   #14
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Ok, so I think I see my major problems here thanks to everyone's help

1) I circulated too much water, I should stick to the 1.25 qt./lb

2) I did not do a proper sparge

Adjusting the water volume is obviously not an issue, but how should I go about completing the sparge. Once I transfer say the 4.5 gallons of wort to the brew kettle that I have been circulating, then what?
Do I heat up a fresh batch of water to say 168* and start cycling it through the MLT again?
Do I pump new water into the MLT and let it sit?
Do I pump new water into the MLT and let the cooler drain directly to the brew pot?

The sparge process is obviously where I am stumbling now.

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Old 06-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #15
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With RIMS you have many options for a non traditional sparge. For myself I have found that I like to add my sparge water at temperature, stir the mash a bit, then recirc for 10 to 15 minutes. After this pump to boil and finish boiling. Over 13 years I have found this to be a good mix of quality, extraction rate, and use of time to keep brew day short.

You could also do many different sparge plans besides what I do. Research here a bit, there are discussions and comments on almost every Conceivable idea from no sparge to very creative and elaborate sparges.

Cheers

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Old 07-09-2012, 12:22 AM   #16
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I wanted to update this post to report that I have significantly improved my efficiency through some of the techniques recommended. I decreased the size of my crush so it was finer (still no stuck mash issues). I have played with water ratios but when recirculating I have found I need a little extra to keep enough water in the MLT to keep the grains covered and enough water/wort in the HLT to keep the temperature gradual and the pump suction line submerged. I also slowed down the process substantially, I think I was running the system much too aggressively. I have started to sparge as well but I still have a ways to go to do it efficiently. Long story short I can now break 70% which I am happy with for my current make shift brewing system.

Thanks for all the help,
-RBB

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