Originally Posted by jjsscram
Finish it up my first all grain last night at 11:00 pm by 8:00 am the next morning formiting like crazy all ready. I did not get as good of mash effincecy as I thought i would, only about 63%. I done temps of 104, 140, and 156 each for 40 minutes. I use a plastic bucket with a false bottem and the temp stayed good thru out. What could I do to help emprove the efficency?
Well, before that, why did you do steps at 104ºF, 140ºF and 156ºF ? What were you making? With most grain available, you really don't need to do step temps. This looks like the step temp mash that Fix talked about. Which works fine but isnt really needed!! If you were using undermodified malt, then a step program like that would be great!! Really, an infusion mash is all that is required with most grain available!
OK, 63% efficiency is not all bad, most homebrewers get around 70% or so, so your not doing bad on your first batch. How accurate were your temps? or shall I say how accurate is your thermometer? When you mashed in, were you sure that your grain was mixed thoroughly with your water?Sometimes some grain balls up and you have dry spots in the mash, and this will effect your efficiency!! When finished, were you sure that conversion was complete? And last, was the pH of the mash between 5.2 and 5.6? That is pretty much the ideal range for pH.
Being your first allgrain batch, I doubt you know what the pH was, but the rest will definitely effect the efficiency of the mash. But I would not worry a bit about it, you made beer, and more than likely, it will be fantastic!! On your next batches, don't sweat the efficiency so much as to make sure all things are done right, and all will be spot on!!
(edit)One thing I should have added, speed of your sparge, sparging should take 45 minutes minimum, with an hr + being much better!!