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Old 06-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #1
RedBeardBrewer
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Feb 2006
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Well actually it's brewer = fail, but I need some help to fix this.

I brewed with my newly built RIMS system today (also my first all-grain experience). Things didn't go well I ended up with a 32% efficiency.

I had 12lbs. of grain and I was circulating roughly 9 gallons of 158* water continuously through the mash tun for about 90 minutes.
I did not stir at all.
I then increased temp up to 168* for a few minutes and continued circulating.
I then transferred the entire volume to the brew kettle and went to work on the boil.

1) Even though the pre-boil was supposed to be roughly 9 gallons was running that much water through mash bad?

2) Should I have slowly worked the temperature up to dough-in? I didn't add grains until the water temp was up to 158*

3) Should I be circulating continuously or should I be taking pauses?

4) Did I do anything right here?

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:27 PM   #2
two_one_seven
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I can't speak to the RIMS part but another piece might be the grain itself. Who milled it, and what did it look like? That can lead to a lot of efficiency problems.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:19 PM   #3
RedBeardBrewer
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I think the grains were ok. I should have mentioned that in my post, but his was also the first time I crushed grains myself also. They looked good to me but I also brought a 1 lb. sample to my LHBS to confirm, and they agreed the milling looked good.

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:34 PM   #4
emjay
 
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1) No.
2) No.
3) I would, but efficiency shouldn't be that low even if you don't.
4) Of course.

That's an insanely low efficiency. There are only 3 things I can think of that could be responsible:

First is the crush. You say it's fine, so I'm not going to argue. You'd probably need a lot of uncrushed grain to get that low.

Second is deadspace... if a lot of wort gets trapped elsewhere and doesn't make it to the BK, it's possible... but that'd be a LOT of deadspace.

Third is that you calculated the efficiency incorrectly. This would be the best explanation for almost any circumstances, but especially because this was your first all grain, I'm leaning very heavily towards this one. It would really help us figure it out if you listed your grain bill (and any other fermentables) as well as the post-boil volume and OG.

Edit: Actually, now that I look at it, circulating the entire pre-boil volume is likely (at least part of) the problem - it has a fairly low ceiling for dissolved sugars. You need to have a more realistic water:grain ratio when mashing, too. 1 - 1.5qt/lb works out to between 3 and 4.5 gallons. You sparge with the remaining water.

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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So you used 36 quarts of water and 12 lbs of grain? Why not a traditional mash and a sparge?

Was the water 158 or was the mash 158? Sounds like you heated the water to 158 and added the grain.

Even if your grain was not crushed, you would likely get better efficiency than that. Are you sure you measured everything correctly?

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:45 PM   #6
JRems
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You should have been mashing with 4-5 gal not 9. Then sparging 4-5 gal after the mash. Also what was the grain bill?
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:48 PM   #7
RedBeardBrewer
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Ok, you guys got me to look back into my math and you are right. I am using BeerSmith and I had a variable wrong. My efficiency now calculates out to just over 60%.

Still too low though. If I had just kept circulating the water for a longer period of time, would that have done the trick?

Grain bill was
11lbs. American 2-row
1 Lb. Munich Malt

Also I was monitoring the water temp in the recirculating kettle, not the temp in the mash tun.

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBeardBrewer View Post
If I had just kept circulating the water for a longer period of time, would that have done the trick?
No. You should not really have to circulate the water at all after the initial mix. I might suggest working on a simple AG session and then slowly adding in the elements of the RIMS.

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBeardBrewer
Ok, you guys got me to look back into my math and you are right. I am using BeerSmith and I had a variable wrong. My efficiency now calculates out to just over 60%.

Still too low though. If I had just kept circulating the water for a longer period of time, would that have done the trick?

Grain bill was
11lbs. American 2-row
1 Lb. Munich Malt
Ah, so I was right

But no, longer circulation would not have done the trick. You are mashing wayyyyy too thin. Use a more reasonable water:grain ratio... many here use 1.25qt per pound of grain. Also... let Beersmith do your volume calculations. You need to use more than 9gal of water to get 9gal preboil... the grain absorbs some.

 
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:05 PM   #10
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With 3qts/lb and no sparge, you should be getting around 1.043 or so. What was your pre-boil gravity?


http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...ing_Efficiency

EDIT: Yeah, so assuming you collected about 7 gallons of wort, about 60% efficiency sounds right. If you want to improve your efficiency, you are going to need to thicken the mash and do a sprage. Basically it sounds like you performed a no-sparge.

Quote:
Also I was monitoring the water temp in the recirculating kettle, not the temp in the mash tun.
Also, confused by this...what exactly were you setting to 158? If you want to mash at 158, you need the temp of the mash to be at 158, that is you want the grain/water mixture to be 158.

 
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