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Old 02-05-2013, 02:48 AM   #1
burnsjz
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Default Tun size vs efficiency

I will start this by saying that I am a firm believer that the proof of the beer is in the drinking and not in the rigor of measurements. However, when I change equipment I typically get inquisitive about its effects.

I started all grain using a 5 gallon Igloo cooler with a short copper pipe/gasket/valve in the bottom with a false bottom that I fashioned myself by taking a 10" SS bacon splatter screen and chopping the handle off and stuffing it into the tun. I would batch sparge by just pouring water from a pot into the tun. Worked great for two years (and the cost really appeased my cheapness!). The one time I did do the efficiency calcs I got in the 90's. Figured that was awesome and that I made a mistake somewhere. Beer tasted good and I went on about my business.

Just built a new mash tun using the Mainline Homebrewers instructions using a 10 gallon cooler and the stainless steal braided hose (minus the hose) as the false bottom. Works well from a seperation and flow standpoint but when I measured and calculated efficiency it was stupid low...like 50% low. I did the sample with the full volume collected and applied appropriate temperature corrections.

My general question is: Does the larger mash vessel affect batch sparge effficiency in some way? Since I have a tun and HLT now is it worth it to move to fly sparging?

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Old 02-05-2013, 04:00 AM   #2
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Tun size definitely doesn't affect efficiency as significantly as your example. I'm running a 10 gallon Rubbermaid with false bottom and I recorded 82% efficiency last batch. For my brewery we recorded 65% on a 55 gallon batch, and I know that could have been improved.

You must have screwed up some how.

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Old 02-05-2013, 09:17 AM   #3
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Did anything else change in the process? Same crush on the grain? W/ batch sparging the equipment should not make much difference at all, unless you are leeaving behind great amounts of wort when draining the tun.

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Old 02-05-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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I'm thinking that it might be crush size. I had never really thought of that before reading the batch sparge efficiency thread on this board. I used to order my grain as I lived in a part of SC that didn't have a homebrew store (which is all of SC except Columbia). I have my own barley crusher and hand cranked it to crush grain. As I said before, i don't really make a habit of taking these measurements. Its possible that my efficiency has been poor since moving to VA and having my local shop weigh the recipe and crush it. I'll try again crushing the grain myself. Good advice! Thanks!

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Old 02-05-2013, 11:39 AM   #5
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I have a 10 gallon tun with an SS braid and I batch sparge. I regularly hit about 70% efficiency and I blame that on my crush, sparge not raising my grain bed to 170F and water chemistry.

That being said I doubt the size of your tun is effecting your efficiency unless you are doing a 5 gallon batch in a 1bbl size tun... then you might see some issues with maintaining your temperature and losing efficiency.

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Old 02-05-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
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Most LHBS will crush on the low efficiency side. That way they sell more.

Even trusted mail order suppliers tend to do this. I recently ordered 12 lbs. of grain from a supplier that holds an account on this forum. I got my grains and would say that about 60% of the grains were still whole, uncrushed and in the husk. I had to hunt down a fellow homebrewer to bail me out otherwise I would have maybe gotten 40% efficiency.

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