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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Stuck in a 50% eff rut.. I would like to use a lifeline, phone a fellow HBTer

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Old 02-25-2010, 06:55 PM   #11
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+1 on Brewmaster's Warehouse. I use the stove top all grain brewing method and with the BMW crush on the grains I hit about 80% efficiency every time

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Old 02-25-2010, 07:18 PM   #12
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Grain crushing is not rocket science (usually), ask your LHBS what gap setting they have on the mill. Get a pound crushed from both places and compare. Put up a photo here so HBT'ers can tell you which is better and if they are good or not.

I pretty much believe in buying your grains local and tasting them to learn what's what. Maybe they don't have demanding customers who know what the crush should be.

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Old 02-27-2010, 11:08 PM   #13
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Alright, so I went back the the LHBS and got the exact same grains. The owner said he had never done a double crush before but wouldn't mind trying. I am still learning what a good crush is (if i have even seen one yet), but the first crush looked 'ok' - I didn't see any grains that were whole. After the first crush he tightened a single bolt and ran the grains through again. This time a lot more dust was kicked up most of which was absorbed by my coat/shoes.

I think the mill they use is homemade, it doesn't look very big (~3-4" cube) and is powered by a drill.

I will be brewing tomorrow - this time with a no-sparge - hopefully I can see something better than 50%. Here are some photos of the grains after the second crush. Could someone comment on these photos? The stuff looks pretty pulverized to me...

Thanks again!

http://img710.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=1001270.jpg

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Old 03-01-2010, 02:35 AM   #14
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Are you keeping temps throughout the mash? I used to lose quite a bit and have to top up with a bit of boiling water once or twice per mash.

Check the mash ph also? 50% seems awfully low.....are you sure that you are measuring/calculating correctly?

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Old 03-02-2010, 05:13 PM   #15
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Something often overlooked when troubleshooting efficiency is to make sure your post-boil volume measurements are accurate!!! I was having similar issues where I was calculating my efficiencies and getting as low as 42%. I tried everything you had and it was driving me crazy. In fact what was happening was that I had marked my fermenter (incorrectly) in gallon increments and was basing my calculations off of that. I'd calculate my gravity against what I thought was 5 gallons but was really closer to 5.5 or 6 and that was throwing my numbers waaay off. Since fixing that I get 70-75% every time with batch sparging.

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Old 03-03-2010, 02:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff897 View Post
Definitely need a reliable thermometer ( unless like the monks you can calculate water temp by boiling and mixing).

Try mashing in at a lower temp
113 F for half an hour
131 F for 15 minutes
144 F for half an hour
151 F for half an hour to 40 minutes
154 F for fifteen minutes
Mash out at 164 F
Then Batch sparge at 170
It's a total PITA to do this manually, but you can do it.
I know I know the diastatic power of modern malts is ~ ~ ~ yadda yadda yadda ~ ~ ~ . But still, it's within your power to do it and see if it helps

Also you might try a decoction.
There is no need for any of that. At all.

EXCEPT: Mashout. 168. Will help a lot.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:18 PM   #17
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Last year in the middle of the year I had my eff drop drastically somewhere around 85-90 down to 60 for 2 batches. All grain crushed at my LBHS. After the second time I noticed that alot of the grain wasn't cracked well. Next time I had them crush it two times and poof right back up.

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Old 03-05-2010, 07:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahave View Post
Alright, so I went back the the LHBS and got the exact same grains. The owner said he had never done a double crush before but wouldn't mind trying. I am still learning what a good crush is (if i have even seen one yet), but the first crush looked 'ok' - I didn't see any grains that were whole. After the first crush he tightened a single bolt and ran the grains through again. This time a lot more dust was kicked up most of which was absorbed by my coat/shoes.

I think the mill they use is homemade, it doesn't look very big (~3-4" cube) and is powered by a drill.

I will be brewing tomorrow - this time with a no-sparge - hopefully I can see something better than 50%. Here are some photos of the grains after the second crush. Could someone comment on these photos? The stuff looks pretty pulverized to me...

Thanks again!

http://img710.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=1001270.jpg



I don't see any flour in those pictures...
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:19 PM   #19
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Get your own crusher...

From the sounds of it, you'll recoup the cost in a few batches of 13lb, 1046 beer..

Just according to BS, but if I change a few recipes from current #'s, to
13lbs's of grain, the OG estimate goes up to near 1080..
A couple 10g batches I have call for less than you used in a 5g batch.

I too was wondering about the temp loss.. Is the tun insulated? Do you check the temp after 15 or 45 minutes?

Starting at ~150 is great, but if it drops off to 130 it's not doing any good.

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Old 03-07-2010, 07:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoebag22 View Post
I don't see any flour in those pictures...
What about all the powder stuff on my hand? http://img214.imageshack.us/i/1001272s.jpg/
I suppose I should compare this against what a good crush should look like.

My keggle is not insulated, but I do keep a lid on it and lightly wrap it in a beach towel. The not-so-great thermometers that I use do not show much drop, maybe 2-4 degrees.

I think my next equipment investment will be a blichmann brewmometer. My thoughts are to just add a 'T' fitting to my keggle coupler and add the thermometer there. I know it is not idea location for taking temperatures, but I think if I just pull off some wort while I take a temp reading it should give an accurate temp.
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