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Old 07-06-2014, 10:32 PM   #1
olotti
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Default is strike water vol relative to efficiency????

I'm 4 AG batches in and still refining my technique and numbers. Today reading How to Brew I realized the last two batches with 12.5lbs and 13.25lbs of grain were mashed in with well under the 1.33-1.5qt/lb ratio it seems alot of people use. I mashed in with 4 gal for both batches, collected 3 gal, mashed out with 1.25gal and sparged with 4 gal and collected my 7-7.25 gal pre boil. I've managed to hit my preboil gravity numbers via refractometer but I'm wondering if my efficiency would b better using the correct amount of strike water for my first runnings or maybe it wouldn't make any difference. Brewing this week and plan on trying 1.5qt/lb to mash in and c what happens.

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Old 07-07-2014, 03:06 AM   #2
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Most people I have read about on here, usually throw out 1 - 1.5 qt/lb. And that in that range, usually less is better for mash efficiency. So many other things effect the results though, that it's really tough to say what would work best for your system. I usually shoot for 1.33 qt/lb as that's seems to be the sweet spot for my system. Also you have to look at crush, as well as sparging technique. I have found splitting the batch sparge into two equal parts gets me a better yield than just doing it all at once as well.

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Old 07-07-2014, 04:07 AM   #3
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To answer your question in the title...

Yes, the volume of strike water can and does play a role in your overall efficiency.

Think of it like this:
The enzymes need to be able to "move" around and convert starches.
In a thick mash, they are not as mobile as in a thinner mash with more water.
The more conversion = better efficiency
The 1.33 ratio is a good place to start and seems to work for a lot of people but like mentioned it is equipment specific.


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Old 07-07-2014, 05:01 AM   #4
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I mash with 1.4qts/#, it works great for me. Just experiment around a little bit. It all depends on equipment and technique.

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Old 07-07-2014, 05:31 AM   #5
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I vary my mash thickness based on the beer. Most "average" to moderately high gravity beers I mash at 1.35 qt/lb. For very high gravity beers I'll drop it to 1.2 or 1.25 qt/lb just to make sure it all fits in the mash tun (only an issue when doing something with 20+ pounds of grain in a 10 gallon MLT). But for session beers (much of what I brew), I up it to about 1.5 qt/lb.

I don't know if there's a correlation between conversion and efficiency, as efficiency is based around extraction. Mash thickness certainly influences the rate of conversion, and the fermentability, but I don't know about the extraction portion. Ideally you'd be letting the mash rest until you've got full conversion anyway. And then if you're using less mash water, but increasing the sparge water to reach the same result, I don't know if the efficiency would change predictably or not.

A lot of batch sparging folks say they get better yield with two batch sparges. I tried both ways, and I didn't get any noticeable difference, so I just do a single batch sparge. But that's likely specific to my equipment.

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Old 07-07-2014, 09:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qhrumphf View Post
I vary my mash thickness based on the beer. Most "average" to moderately high gravity beers I mash at 1.35 qt/lb. For very high gravity beers I'll drop it to 1.2 or 1.25 qt/lb just to make sure it all fits in the mash tun (only an issue when doing something with 20+ pounds of grain in a 10 gallon MLT). But for session beers (much of what I brew), I up it to about 1.5 qt/lb.

I don't know if there's a correlation between conversion and efficiency, as efficiency is based around extraction. Mash thickness certainly influences the rate of conversion, and the fermentability, but I don't know about the extraction portion. Ideally you'd be letting the mash rest until you've got full conversion anyway. And then if you're using less mash water, but increasing the sparge water to reach the same result, I don't know if the efficiency would change predictably or not.

A lot of batch sparging folks say they get better yield with two batch sparges. I tried both ways, and I didn't get any noticeable difference, so I just do a single batch sparge. But that's likely specific to my equipment.
I use the std 10gal round cooler with a false bottom and have been doing one batch Sparge only so far with a small mash out but that gets collected with first runnings anyway

So with the double Sparge technique could I just combine my mash out water with my Sparge making it just over 5 gal then split that up into 2 2.75 gal sparges???? Doesn't seem like 2.5gal is going to do a good job at rinsing say 14 lbs of grain, that's gonna b really thick and not very viscous at all.
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