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Old 02-18-2012, 04:07 AM   #1
pensphreak
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Apr 2011
Anaheim, CA
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After about 8-10 AG brews so far, my efficiency is not what I'd like it to be. So I thought I'd photograph everything and take extra good notes. Then maybe someone can tell me what's wrong with my efficiency.

I set the BeerSmith overall efficiency to 65%. Actual efficiency was 59.5%. Estimated mash efficiency was 70.9% while the actual mash efficiency was 69.4%. Looks like my efficiencies aren't too far off what they should have been, minus collecting too much wort and not boiling it down enough. I just wish I could get my mash efficiency above 60%

First, the recipe.

http://pensphreak.com/homebrew/Apricot%20Wheat.html

Code:
Amt	 	Name	
5.00 g	 Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 mins)
8.0 oz	 Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM)
5 lbs 12.0 oz	 Pale Malt (2 Row) US
5 lbs 12.0 oz	 White Wheat Malt
9.6 oz	 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L
5.6 oz	 Acid Malt (3.0 SRM)
0.85 oz	 Willamette [5.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min 14.4 IBUs
1.00 Items	 Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
5.00 tsp	 Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.0 pkg	 American Hefeweizen Ale (White Labs #WLP320)
3.00 lb	 Apricot Puree (Secondary 2.0 weeks)
According to BeerSmith, I should have 7.85 gal pre-boil @ 1.043 and 6.25 gal post boil @ 1.056

Here's my setup. 10 gal pot with 10 gal Igloo mash tun.


In the BK, there's a side pickup tube.



In the mash tun, there's a copper manifold



Treated the 4.9 gal of strike water with 5g of Calcium Chloride



 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:07 AM   #2
pensphreak
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Apr 2011
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Heated the strike water up to the correct temp, 168F



Stirred the grains into the water



After stirring for a few minutes, I was at about 154F. I through a handful of ice in and hit my temps spot on, 152F



After an hour of mashing, and a few more minutes of stirring, my temps had fallen to 148F. Don't know if it was the extra ice I through in or the calculations.



 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:08 AM   #3
pensphreak
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Apr 2011
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Vorlaufed maybe 8-12 cups



Then ran it all full speed into the BK.

First runnings were 3.4 gal of 1.066
Second runnings were 5.2 gal of 1.024



Added 185F sparge water to bring the grains up to 168F and ran that off.

Mash



As the boil gets close, I skim the protein



Instead of the 7.85 gal @ 1.043 I had 8.60 gal @ 1.039. So as long I boil it off 20 minutes longer, I should end up with the same thing.
Added the only hops into the hop spider at 60min



Added whirlfloc and servomyces at 10min



 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:09 AM   #4
pensphreak
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Apr 2011
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After flameout, I stirred it like crazy and let it sit for 15 minutes. Ran it half speed into my Therminator



Coming out at around 76F



Here's the trub pile after my 'whirlpool'





In goes the 1L yeast starter



Final post boil gravity. 5.5 gal into the fermenter, 1.050 @ 70F. Should have been 1.056. Post-boil was about 6.4 gal vs the expected 6.25. So I guess I didn't boil off as much as I thought. BeerSmith seems to think that had I boiled the 6.4 gal down to 6.25, the gravity would be around 1.053. So all in all, my efficiency wasn't that far off expected.



 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:09 AM   #5
pensphreak
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Apr 2011
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FYI. I use 100% RO water treated with only 5g CaCL. I used a brew water spreadsheet and it seemed to indicate my water would need a lower pH so that's why I added some acid malt.



Of course, when I tested the mash pH with some strips, they seemed like the pH was way too low. I don't know if these strips are all that accurate, or if I even sampled it correctly.



 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:19 AM   #6
franksnbeans89
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Jan 2011
Vernon, CT
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With your dip tube in your BK, is the siphon effect of the water or wort enough to pull all the fluid from below the ball valve? without the need of a pump?

 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:20 AM   #7
pensphreak
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Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franksnbeans89 View Post
With your dip tube in your BK, is the siphon effect of the water or wort enough to pull all the fluid from below the ball valve? without the need of a pump?
Yeah, it's almost an inch below the ball valve. I don't have a pump and it pulls from below the valve and through the plate chiller.


 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:23 AM   #8
Thehopguy
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Jun 2011
san diego, ca
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Hey next time your a couple degrees over on your mash temp just stir it down to the correct temp. no need for ice
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:34 AM   #9
WarBac
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Jun 2011
Simi Valley, CA
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What do you want your efficiency to be? You have a nice setup and an obvious understanding of how to brew. If you are hitting 75 to 80 percent which it looks like you should be then you should be fine. You are way ahead of me I'm on 3rd AG but have been really happy with efficiency. Remember grain is cheap.

 
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:41 AM   #10
rack04
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Dec 2010
Dallas, TX
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Next time adjust your grain absorption and try to calculate your mash tun dead space. If you hit your pre-boil using these new numbers then start adjusting your boil off to get the final volume. One thing at a time.

 
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