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fumanchu 08-05-2012 08:59 PM

Getting the most out of grains
 
I had just finished converting a 5 gallon cooler to a mash tun. All worked out very well for my first batch, only there was a slight problem with getting all the sugar out of my grain.

I mashed 4 gallons at 145F for 60 min. Drained and sparged around 3 gallons at 160F for 30 min.

Grain bill was:

6 lbs 2-row
6lbs pale
1lb munich
1/2 lb crystal
1 lb pils

I only ended up with 1.04 gravity. What have I done wrong to get so little gravity from so much grain.

Any input would be appreciated.

thanks!

Jarrat 08-05-2012 09:09 PM

Your mash temp was too low/therometer is broken???? your hydrometer is broken???? the grain product you bought is the wrong stuff or old or whatever??????

blaster_54738 08-05-2012 09:34 PM

Was the grain actually crushed? I agree your temps were low though. I normally mash around 152-154 and sparge around 170. What was the temp when you took the gravity reading too. Did you do the temp correction for your hydrometer?

Transamguy77 08-05-2012 09:56 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, yes the mash temp was low but shouldn't there be more fermentable sugar available? I don't think your mash and sparge water was enough, your mash water could have been a little more and you should have sparged with 4.5 of 170 degree water. That would have gotten you a bit more sugar to raise the gravity.

mrrshotshot 08-05-2012 09:59 PM

Do you have only one draw point from your mash tun? Multiple draw points by using some sort of copper manifold at the bottom of the mash tun can increase efficiency. Water is lazy and takes the path of least resistance to leave the tun. If you have one exit point water will run diagonally through the grain to that exit point and will miss washing a lot of grain. theres a section in how to brew about this.

fumanchu 08-05-2012 10:45 PM

What is all this talk about mashing at 150F or lower to produce a dryer, thinner bodied beer?

My hydrometer, thermometer, grains were all fine.

My mash tun setup doesn't have a manifold, it has all the water going through the toilet supply hose, which i guess would affect it, but not THAT much.

Gauging from your responses I mashed at too low a temp. I had thought mashing in the 140's was what people that wanted a thinner beer or other enzymes being activated did?

Now I'm just confused.

fumanchu 08-05-2012 10:48 PM

I'll definitely take a look at grain washing too. I'm sure that's part of the equation.

thanks guys!

I'll add that beer is smelling mighty fine in the primary today though.

Airborneguy 08-05-2012 10:53 PM

You don't give enough information on your process here for me to give you a solid answer. There's way to many reasons to explain low yield/efficiency.

fumanchu 08-06-2012 12:39 AM

Ok, well, I'm mashing in a 5 gallon rubbermaid water cooler. The setup seems to be working well.

So the mash: Heated up 4 gallons of water to 145F, threw it in the mash tun, quickly added all of the grain bill, stirred for 30 seconds and sealed for 60 min.
I then checked the temp, which was 143F. Opened up the valve and let all of the water drain. I then repeated the whole process with 3 gallons of water at 160F.
That ended up with 5 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.04.

I'm still pretty new to this thing and imagine I'd have done something wrong or missed an important step? Hopefully this is simply matter of mashing at too low a temperature and/or a lack of grain washing.

Airborneguy 08-06-2012 12:47 AM

The temperature was definitely too low. Honestly though, that shouldn't have affected your efficiency too much. Mash temp is more indicative of the fermentability of the resulting wort.

Tell us about your crush. In my opinion, the crush of your grain has the highest effect on the amount of fermentable sugars your mash will produce.


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