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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > What mash efficiency do breweries get?
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:40 PM   #11
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I was just looking at the HuppMann Lauterstar and from the design it looks like all of the runoff collects through the runoff pipes into a round sort of tub before flowing out. Does this mean the wort will have a lot of exposure to the air? Do big breweries worry about hot side aeration at all? I also was thinking about this when I was reading about the cooling cones some breweries use to cool the wort after a boil - to me everything I am seeing appears to expose the wort to a lot of air.

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Old 11-20-2008, 04:45 PM   #12
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I was just looking at the HuppMann Lauterstar and from the design it looks like all of the runoff collects through the runoff pipes into a round sort of tub before flowing out. Does this mean the wort will have a lot of exposure to the air?


No, I think that the pipes and that “tub” will be completely filled with wort.

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I also was thinking about this when I was reading about the cooling cones some breweries use to cool the wort after a boil - to me everything I am seeing appears to expose the wort to a lot of air.


These cones are not so much for cooling as they are thin-film evaporators designed to strip DMS from the wort after the whirlpool rest. This allows for a shorter and less evaporative boil as the DMS created during the whirlpool is removed shortly before chilling. I think that in this case the air is kept away by the steam that is coming off.

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Old 11-20-2008, 05:13 PM   #13
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BP - It isn't unusual for breweries in large cities to brew with extract. Space is expensive and waste disposal can be a problem. No need for tankers, a 55 gallon drum will make a fair amount of beer.

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Old 11-22-2008, 11:40 PM   #14
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95-98% is a good range for a large commercial brewery. Small micro breweries that use single infusion and lauter in the mash tun should get less. I'd expect around 90%.

This link shows info for the Huppmann Lauterstar, a high end lautertun. On page 6 there is a chart that shows the OBY (overall brewhouse yield) for a few "brands". They range from 93 - 98%. I have a textbook that shows that very little of unconverted starch and also very little sugars are left in the spent grain. This attests to excellent conversion and lauter efficiency.

Note that the big breweries get this high efficiency with only 5-7% boil-off. I.e. their preboil volume is only about 6% larger than their cast-out. Compare that to the 15-20% boil-off that many home brewers need for 90+ efficiency.

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I don't know that many details about leeching processes but what do you think makes their equipment so much more efficient? I was thinking it might be volume but, that can't be it, as their grains are probably seeing less water than ours.

Do large breweries do a vorlauf like homebrewers do or is there another method for keeping the flour out of the boil? Is there some other method that lets them use a finer crush, as that seems to be a huge thing for efficiency?
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:21 AM   #15
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I don't know that many details about leeching processes but what do you think makes their equipment so much more efficient? I was thinking it might be volume but, that can't be it, as their grains are probably seeing less water than ours.

Do large breweries do a vorlauf like homebrewers do or is there another method for keeping the flour out of the boil? Is there some other method that lets them use a finer crush, as that seems to be a huge thing for efficiency?
Yes, they sparge with less water than us homebrewers. This is because evaporating water costs energy and that energy is more expensive than what is saved by getting even more extract from the grain by sparging more. The minimum boil-off is basically set by what is necessary to scrub enough DMS from the wort. To my knowledge this is about 6-8%.

The high efficiency is achieved by 100% or very close conversion efficiency and a very high lauter efficiency. This high conversion efficiency level can also be achieved by home brewers. All that is needed is a sufficiently fine crush and close to optimum mash parameters. Breweries don't have a problem with that. The pH is measured and well controlled. The mash is agitated which results in even distribution of enzymes and substrate. In addition to that the malt is crushed using 6 roller mills that allow separation of the husks and endosperm and then further milling of the endosperm grits.

The big difference is the lauter efficiency. Even though the amount of water used for lautering is less than the amount of water used for mashing (about 2/3 for mashing and 1/3 for lautering are common) the high tech lautertuns allow for a very efficient extraction of the dissolved extract from the lautertun. Initially a pump is used to recirculate the "Truebwurze" (turbid wort) until it is clear. Then they run off the first wort and sparge. The system is very well blanced and the rakes also minimize the uneven rinsing of the grainbed. The latter is the main source for lauter losses. If it is extreme it is called channeling.

In the end. Big breweries have many more resources to spend than home brewers to optimize their process.

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Old 11-23-2008, 10:49 PM   #16
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Thanks for all that information. Some of it was what I expected they probably do. They rake the grainbed even during sparging?

And I guess homebrewers do the fine crushing to some sort with crushing the grains more and then adding in rice hulls to help with the sparge.

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Old 11-24-2008, 12:17 AM   #17
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They rake the grainbed even during sparging?
Yes. The raking is controlled by the flow rate and the turbidity that is measured during the run-off. When the flow starts to slow down the bed is raked and when the wort becomes more turbid, the raking is slowed and/or the rakes are raised (i.e. they don't cut as deep). The engineer on the last page of the huppmann brochure seems to be looking at a diagram of the turbidity, flow rate, extract and other parameters monitored during lautering. If you spend that much sophistication you are expected to to much better than homebrewers

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And I guess home brewers do the fine crushing to some sort with crushing the grains more and then adding in rice hulls to help with the sparge.
You don't really have to crush so fine that rice hulls are necessary. A longer mash can also help in getting to the 100% conversion efficiency that is required for good brewhouse efficiency.

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Old 11-24-2008, 02:25 AM   #18
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Yes. The raking is controlled by the flow rate and the turbidity that is measured during the run-off. When the flow starts to slow down the bed is raked and when the wort becomes more turbid, the raking is slowed and/or the rakes are raised (i.e. they don't cut as deep). The engineer on the last page of the huppmann brochure seems to be looking at a diagram of the turbidity, flow rate, extract and other parameters monitored during lautering. If you spend that much sophistication you are expected to to much better than homebrewers

You don't really have to crush so fine that rice hulls are necessary. A longer mash can also help in getting to the 100% conversion efficiency that is required for good brewhouse efficiency.

Kai
Got some good info in this thread. Thanks. Makes me want to call on the skill of some of my mechanical engineering friends to build some brewing equipment.

Guess I was just really wondering what they do differently than homebrewers do to get those efficiencies.

What are good sources of information on commercial brewing processes? Know any textbooks or other books on the topic?
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:43 AM   #19
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What are good sources of information on commercial brewing processes? Know any textbooks or other books on the topic?
My textbook sources are mostly German. If you want to spend $200 you can get the English version of Kunze "Technology Malting and Brewing". There is also Brigg's Brewing Science and Practice. A great book but with a $400 price tag not really something for the home brewer's library. I was fortunate to borrow it from a friend. I haven't read DeClerk's Textbook of brewing. It costs only $100 which is not that high for a homebrewer looking to read beyond the home brewing text books.

And then there are bits and pices on the internet.

Kai
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