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Old 02-07-2011, 11:23 PM   #1
Moody_Copperpot
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I brewed a batch of beer today where the grain bill was 16.75 lbs. My effieciency on my last three brews has been 80%-90%...well on this brew I got a whopping 65%. I believe there are two reasons:
1) The grain crush from the closest LBHS is really bad. I've been driving about 35 minutes to a different one but didn't have the energy just recently.
2) I needed 4 gallons to sparge with. Well I've been double batch sparging the past month or so with fantastic results, so that's what I did here. I split the sparge into two 2 gallon batches. It dawned on my later that 2 gallons probably isn't enough to rinse sugars from 16.75 lbs of grain, so this might've been a factor in my terrible efficiency as well.
What does everyone think?
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:55 PM   #2
Northcalais40
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It's pretty normal for efficiency to suffer with a big beer. I think your right though, you sparged twice with 2 gal. Your final runoff was probably high in gravity.

I batch sparge, and would try to use a thick mash (like 1-1.2 qts/lb) to maximize my sparge volume.

What was your strike water ratio, and did you measure your sparge gravities?

Oh, and 65% isn't terrible, just a bit lower than what your used to. You pass with a D+.

 
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:28 AM   #3
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Talking about your 2 sparges...I punched in the Arrogant Bastarad recipe into Beersmith and this beer has like 14# of grain. I always do double batch sparges and the program is telling me to do 3 this time. I thought it was strange cause I have never had it tell me that...till the last brew I did had 12.5# and I only did 2 sparges and i missed my OG by..i dunno...trying to remember...5-8 points? (if that) I then contributed that to me only sparging twice. Plus I was a little short on my boil volume as well...live and learn...right?
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:49 AM   #4
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When batch sparging (in general), the bigger the beer the lower your efficiency unless you runoff more than your typical pre-boil volume then boil longer. You simply need more water to rinse that larger amount of grain.

Kugster - if you're ever short on your boil volume just run more water through your grain until you hit your pre boil volume.

The entire sparge section of Beersmith is pretty lousy in my opinion.

 
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrinkNoH2O

The entire sparge section of Beersmith is pretty lousy in my opinion.
Do other software packages do any better? I'm not terribly happy with the sparge section either, looking for alternatives.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ne0t0ky0 View Post
Do other software packages do any better? I'm not terribly happy with the sparge section either, looking for alternatives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrinkNoH2O View Post
Kugster - if you're ever short on your boil volume just run more water through your grain until you hit your pre boil volume.

The entire sparge section of Beersmith is pretty lousy in my opinion.
Well...I ran out of useable water...the place I did the beer has really, really bad water...so I just delt with it...It'll be fine...I ended up just a bit under 5 gal. I sometimes keep an extra gallon around just for instances like this but had forgot that day...i did kick myself for a sec.

I agree with sparge section in BS...not very good...but still helps.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:08 AM   #7
Moody_Copperpot
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I know that bigger beers sometimes suffer, but I even mashed 90 min and everything. So to keep my sparges bigger, is it taboo to sparge all four gallons at once, then once it's wort, run it through again?
Oh and I used 1.25 quarts per lb of grain, so my strike was 5.25 gallons.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:41 AM   #8
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There is a nice little write up on batch sparging technique here.

When batch sparging, you want to get half of your boil volume from your original runoff, and your other half from your second runnings. You should use the entire sparge at one time for rinsing, otherwise you might as well fly. Expect a %65 efficiency with batch sparging and adjust your grain bill accordingly.

If your getting 65, 80, 75, 90 % efficiencies and not a consistent number than your brews are hard to duplicate. Try to get a system down that gets a good consistent efficiency.

When playing with beersmith, you have to go through and set it up for your equipment, evaporation rate, all that BS or you wont get accurate numbers. It takes some careful note taking and precise measuring to figure out some of the numbers but once you have done it, its cake.

 
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinglejohn View Post
When batch sparging, you want to get half of your boil volume from your original runoff, and your other half from your second runnings. You should use the entire sparge at one time for rinsing, otherwise you might as well fly. Expect a %65 efficiency with batch sparging and adjust your grain bill accordingly.
Yup. this is how I learned it, too. I personally use a fixed amount of water per pound of grain when I mash and sparge (3 qts/lb total), and I set it up so that half my liquid comes from the initial runnings and the other half comes from my sparge water.

For a small beer, this leaves me with low starting volume, so I add top-off water to the kettle before I start.

For a big beer, this leaves me with a LOT of collected wort, and I have to boil for a longer time than 60 minutes. I've had beers that needed boiled for 2 hours to get down to my target volume.... 8.5 gallons in the kettle at the start of the boil.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:15 PM   #10
Moody_Copperpot
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I've been pretty consistently getting 85%-90% efficency for my last four or five brews, and I'd been double batch sparging every time. My first runnings generally leave me with about 3 gallons and then I do the rest with my sparge, which I split into two halves generally. I guess with bigger batches I'll have to stick with a single batch sparge.
And I know that the crush of the grain was a factor as well. This particular LHBS has a mill that isn't so good. When I first started all grain I got terrible efficiency always. I posted up about it and heard three things:
1) Grain mill at LHBS could be bad, try a different place
2) Mash longer than 60 min
3) Double batch sparge
I did all three things and my efficiency sky rocketed. I did everything the same as I've been doing it for this batch, except I went back to that LHBS this time and sure enough my efficiency suffered.

So what is the answer here? I hear so many different things when it comes to batch sparging, meaning a lot of people say go for the double batch sparge and everyone in this thread seems to say single batch is the way to go.
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