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Old 10-11-2011, 02:40 AM   #1
milldoggy
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Mar 2008
Pottstown, Pa
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Popular topic on here and just wondering if someone could help me raise my efficiency.

My Rig - Pictures in my Sigature
- Kal Clone Electric Control Panel
- Keggle HLT with 50 ft 1/2 Copper Herms Coil
- 70 qt Mash Tun, copper manifold, four sections longways, with slots every 1/4 to 1/5 of an inch
- Keggle BK

Brew Day
- Fill HLT with 14 gallons and heat to strike temp
- Fill mashtun with strike volume and cycle through Herms to heat to Strike Temp
- Crush Grains - Monster MM3 2.0. Set at .029 typically(if I am measuring correctly, crush looks good), I use a Habor freights 500 RPM drill at 1/3 speed

- Dough at strike temp and mix to break up dough balls

- Once temp stabilizes at mash temp, set timer for 60-90 minutes and leave herms recirc on the whole time

- My return is a hose laying on water/grain bed

- Sparging - I tried batch and fly with the exact same numbers(~68 efficiency), use a mash out most of the time(168)

- Batch: Drain mash tun into BK, refill with water @ 168, stir and sit for 15 minutes, drain and repeat to get my boil volume.
- Fly: slowly fill boil while draining mash, usually around 45 minutes, try to match rates.

Boil

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #2
Justibone
 
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I'm sure you know the first few troubleshooting steps:
1) crush? (you answered that one)
2) calibrated thermometers?
3) iodine test?

Have you done all of those?

 
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:55 AM   #3
lschiavo
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You described my process almost exactly. I get about 85% usually. I crush a little coarser. 032 IIRC. You may be getting some channeling with your HERMS return just lying on top of the grain. I drilled a bunch of holes in a deli bucket lid to float on top of the mash almost two years ago as a quick fix...I'm still using it.

 
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:27 AM   #4
milldoggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justibone
I'm sure you know the first few troubleshooting steps:
1) crush? (you answered that one)
2) calibrated thermometers?
3) iodine test?

Have you done all of those?
All but iodine. I will pick some up for my lhbs. Does iodophor work?
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:31 AM   #5
milldoggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lschiavo
You described my process almost exactly. I get about 85% usually. I crush a little coarser. 032 IIRC. You may be getting some channeling with your HERMS return just lying on top of the grain. I drilled a bunch of holes in a deli bucket lid to float on top of the mash almost two years ago as a quick fix...I'm still using it.
I thought about channeling, but with batch sparging, I thought that it is not an issue. I will try the bucket lid. Sounds like a good idea. I have a nice big litter bucket lid that would work. You think bleach and pbw would clean it enought?

Thanks for the respones so far.

I forgot to add that my first two batchs on this system I did get 85%. I was new to all grain, so I could have messed up my measurements. I can't recall doing anything different.

Think I might try without running the herms just to see if anything changes.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:08 PM   #6
johnodon
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What is your current efficiency? Is it consistent? What efficiency do you want to achieve?

John

ps. just realized you are from Pottstown.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:14 PM   #7
milldoggy
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Mar 2008
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My eff is 65 to 68. I was hoping to get high 70s to mid 80s.

Hey, your right up the road. A lot of brewers in our area! Let me know if you ever want to trade some brews.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:01 PM   #8
johnodon
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Yeah...I would want a little higher that 65%...just for the sake of saving some $$ on grains. 80% has always been my happy # but I was satisfied with 75% when I was stuck there. I now hit 80% consistently.

Anytime. I am actually brewing today.

John
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:12 PM   #9
broadbill
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Southern Maine
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What was different between the batches where you got 85 vs. 65 that you are getting now?

Unless it something wacky with your system....I'm inclined to say it is your crush; that seems to be the number one factor when troubleshooting efficiency (based on the posts here).

 
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