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Old 08-20-2006, 09:58 PM   #1
mezman
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My first two AGs have been what I perceive to be low efficency brews, on the order of about 60%. The one I did today came out to be 58%.

So, that being said, what sort of efficency is normal?

Just so you now what I did this time around:

12 lbs of British 2 row plus about 2.5 lbs of speciality grains.
Mash in with 4.5 gallons of water and hold at 152 for 60 minutes.
Added pH stabilizer to mash (5-star chemicals)
Batch sparged with 3.5 gallons of 170 water
used iodone to check for conversion completion.

Target OG was 1.082, acheived OG was 1.068. A bit of a difference there.

Is this normal? Or am I missing something fundamental?

Thanks


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Old 08-20-2006, 10:17 PM   #2
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Based on my calculation your at 77% efficiency for a 5 gallon batch assuming 1.037 lb/gal.

Are you boiling down your wort?

Whats the volume of the batch when your taking the reading?



 
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mezman
Just so you now what I did this time around:

12 lbs of British 2 row plus about 2.5 lbs of speciality grains.
Mash in with 4.5 gallons of water and hold at 152 for 60 minutes.
Added pH stabilizer to mash (5-star chemicals)
Batch sparged with 3.5 gallons of 170 water
used iodone to check for conversion completion.

Target OG was 1.082, acheived OG was 1.068. A bit of a difference there.

Is this normal? Or am I missing something fundamental?

Thanks
With that much grain I would say you need at least 7 1/2 gallons of sparge water. I would say you are leaving sugars in the mash. Or did you batch sparge twice with 3 1/2 gallons each?
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:54 PM   #4
ajf
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There's a couple of things that don't look quite right to me.

First, you sparged with 3.5g 170 degree water. This is not enough sparge water for a 5g batch. I don't normally use as much grain as you mentioned, but use about 6 gallons of sparge water.

Second, the weight of your mash will be over 50# at 152 degrees.
If you sparge with 28# water at 170 degrees, then you actual sparge temperature will be somewhere around 160 degrees or less.
If you add 1 - 1.5g near boiling water to the mash to raise the temp to 170 before starting the sparge, you will considerably increase your efficiency.

-a.

 
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:55 PM   #5
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A hotter first sparge & a second sparge with 3.5 gallons of 180F water would probably solve the problem. Also, stir the grain bed and recirculate to settle before the second & third runnings. A target gravity that high means 8-9 gallons and a lot of boil down.
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Old 08-21-2006, 03:27 PM   #6
mezman
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I only have a 7.5 gallon pot so I collected a little over 7 gallons and boiled it down to a little over 5, which I used to take my reading.

My sparge was one sparge with 3.5 gallons only. Would I have been better served if I did two 1.25 gallon sparges?

So if my pot is only 7.5 gallons, what sort of OGs should I be looking as a max? Thanks again.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:25 PM   #7
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You either need a larger brew pot or to make smaller or lighter batches with your current equipment. Two small sparges will not help.

-a.

 
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf
You either need a larger brew pot or to make smaller or lighter batches with your current equipment. Two small sparges will not help.

-a.
Or store some wort in your primary, or other container, until it boils down enough to add it in. The only thing I've read against this is boiling it at least one hour after in order to get the hot break and add the hops. I boil off 1 gal per hour here in Missouri so it takes awhile.

 
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:14 PM   #9
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My pot is only 7.5 gal also but you can only fit about 6 gallons in it to prevent boil overs. Collect the other couple of gallons in another pot and put it on the stove to get it boiling and reducing. I do 90 min boils and slowly add the remaining wort into the brew kettle over an hour. The boil volume stays pretty close to 6 gallons until about 30 min left in the boil.

Other than that, get a bigger pot. I'm contemplating that currently.

For a beer that big, you will need at least a 90 min boil, probably closer to 2 hours. You may want to consider using a portion of malt extract in high gravity brews just to keep the mash and boil volume and time down. My doppelbock took forever to boil because even though I did a 3 gallon brew, I had about 12 lbs of grain and collected over 8 gallons of wort. I boiled it down for a few hours before I had the 4 gallon volume to start the hop schedule.
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:44 AM   #10
mezman
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So then what's the rule for how much wort to collect per pound? Is it .66 gallons per pound of grain?

I can boil down pretty quick since it's so dry here in Colorado typically. In my hour long boil yesterday, my 7 gallons of wort went down to a little over 5.


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