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Old 08-07-2008, 04:52 PM   #1
Matt Up North
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Default Slowly improving, slowly

Sorry about the length of this post.

I just did up another brew, both as a practice run as well as a test batch.

I wanted to find out the qualities of Maris Otter and wanted to see the kind of efficiency I could get. I used Willamette Hops for backbone and a touch of Hallertau for aroma. I really wanted to perfect my method and improve my process.

10lbs Maris Otter
2oz Willamette(30min)
.5oz Hallertau (15min)


I used a corona mill (which by the way, I will be using the drill adapter next time as my arm is killing me), 60 mash and decided to do the fly sparge once again as it is what I have done before...

...here is what I found out. I got good efficiency poorly. What I mean is that I got 1.050, and yet ended up with getting a cold sparge...again! I heated my water up to 180*F to sparge with and even did a mash out up to 165*F. Still though the wort came out at 155*F. Hotter next time I guess.

Then, I don't understand this part. I sparged out 6.5 gal and boiled it for an hour and in the end came out with 5 gal. I was looking for 5.5gal. Now I figure that I could always add some liquid back, but I am sitting right at 1.050 and have been making lower beers the last two batches and didn't look forward to another at 4.5%abv.

I mean, the two things that I am looking for are efficiency and volume control. I know that heat will help the efficiency as well as trying a batch sparge (I am not against it, I just want to understand the fly). Volume though I am having some serious trouble with because I can measure what goes into the boil and what comes out, but how do I know when I have enough in the pot (a converted topless keg)? It's not like I can cut the boil short once the hops are in.

Back to what I said at the beginning, this was a test and practice. In the end I am happy that I have 5 gallons of beer for $30 that I will drink. I really got a good idea of how to sparge better, how to get my efficiency up and also how to use more time saving tools (instant hot water heater gets to 167* in about ten seconds, 30,000 BTU burner is super useful). It is a learning experience and I am happy, but I want more perfection.

Any comments would be appreciated on my way.



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Old 08-07-2008, 05:11 PM   #2
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Sounds like y our boil off rate is just greater than you're expecting. I would just add some water to your sparge. I use a stick with measurements on it (that I made for my pot, so I know it is accurate) to get the volume I need, and I find that to hit 5.5 gallons in the fermenter, I need to collect about 7 gallons.

This is all about fine tuning your process not just on the boil, but on the amount of wort you collect. Adding water is an option as well, but I think you'd be happier and get better efficiency if you just gathered more wort.



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Old 08-07-2008, 05:14 PM   #3
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Are you forgetting about grain absorbtion?

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Old 08-07-2008, 05:24 PM   #4
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I have had problems in the past with using a specific amount of water. This time however I just kept adding the water until I had 6.5gal at the end.

I think that I will invest in a dowel and mark it. It is $1 well spent.

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Old 08-07-2008, 05:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Up North View Post
I have had problems in the past with using a specific amount of water. This time however I just kept adding the water until I had 6.5gal at the end.

I think that I will invest in a dowel and mark it. It is $1 well spent.
A dowel will get gross pretty fast, I'm thinking. I'd suggest something a bit more sturdy. Like a giant stainless spoon that you can mark with a dremel.

Yes, I want you to spend way too much money.
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:03 PM   #6
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Sounds like you are moving in the right direction.
The volume is easy to fix. Collect an extra 0.5g next time, and you should end up with 5.5g. Every system varies a bit here, so what's right for your system is not necessarily right for somebody else's.
As for the cool sparge, don't pay any attention to the temperature of the collected wort. The tube from your MLT to the kettle, will act as a radiator, and cool the wort down, and the kettle itself will act as a heat sink. My wort temperature in the kettle is round about 140F, but the grain bed is between 165 and 170F.
You said in your previous post that you have a sparge ring. Is this really a ring with a hole in the middle, or is it a false bottom? If it is a ring, then you will rinse out all of the sugars from the grains close to the ring, leaving a lot of sugars behind in the middle of the tun. If it is a false bottom, then it will catch the runnings across the entire base of the tun, and you will get much better efficiency if you sparge slowly enough.

-a.

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Old 08-07-2008, 07:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
You said in your previous post that you have a sparge ring. Is this really a ring with a hole in the middle, or is it a false bottom? If it is a ring, then you will rinse out all of the sugars from the grains close to the ring, leaving a lot of sugars behind in the middle of the tun.
So what is the way to get the most sugar out using the ring?
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:10 PM   #8
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Batch sparging.
With a batch sparge, you add the water, and stir really well. It is the stirring that dissolves the sugars rather than the water slowly filtering through the grain bed as happens with fly sparging.

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Old 08-07-2008, 07:19 PM   #9
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Batch sparging.
With a batch sparge, you add the water, and stir really well. It is the stirring that dissolves the sugars rather than the water slowly filtering through the grain bed as happens with fly sparging.

-a.
Right. I will try that next time i guess.
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:28 PM   #10
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+1 on batch sparging. It is much easier and I believe will get you a better efficiency unless you have a really good fly sparge set up.



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