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Old 07-04-2012, 10:21 PM   #1
tochsner
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Okay, just got done with a real simple pale recipe. Just 11lbs of 2-row and 1lb of crystal 60. All calculations done by BeerSmith. I hit my mash temperature and volumes right on the money but still ended up with 61% efficiency.
The only thing I did wrong was during my batch sparge. It called for 1.5 gallons of 168* water for the first sparge and 4 gallons of 168* water for the second sparge. I only put in .5 gallons the first time (don't ask) but followed it up with 5 gallons on the second sparge to get my correct pre-boil volume.
Could that have a significant effect on efficiency?
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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How many gallons did you expect. You collected just the right amount?

There is usually a loos due to grain.

What was your original gravity?

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Old 07-04-2012, 10:32 PM   #3
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Th biggest reason for low efficiency is crush. A comment I've heard other brewers say is "crushed 'til you're scared!" Many LHBS mills are set at something like .040 or so. Which means you won't get a stuck mash or sparge, but the efficiency may suffer.

Did you crush the grain, or have it done at the LHBS?
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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I'm struggling with what sounds like the same problem. And I'm starting to believe it's all in my water volumes. Are you getting the correct pre-boil volume, as well as the correct post-boil volume? Are you leaving wort in the mash tun? I'm getting around 61% also and I've been leaving wort in the mash tun, as well as too much post-boil volume. So I end up with a diluted wort and thus low efficiency. I do my calculating in Beersmith and I'm thinking it must just be off somewhere. I'm planning on lowering my pre-boil by .5 gallons, my sparge by 1 gallon, and if needed I will have a gallon boiling on the stove if I don't hit my pre boil.

On my last batch I ended up almost .5 gallons too much wort post boil, and if I had hit the correct volume I would have had 70% efficiency.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:57 PM   #5
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No, I end up with exactly the amount of wort I am looking for. As I said, all of my volumes are spot on. I have figured the deadspace in my mash tun as well as how much I leave behind with the trub.
Beersmith said 8.1 gallons into the pot. 6.5 gallons after the boil. 6.25 after it's cooled and 5.5 into the fermenter after the trub.
I do crush my own grains with a mill from Rebel Brewer. It seems to work great. Maybe I can do it a little tighter next time.
What about my batch sparging? Would less wort on the first run off and more on the second make much difference?
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:11 AM   #6
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IMO don't be afraid to sparge hot. I routinely sparge at 80-90c with no ill effects.

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Old 07-05-2012, 12:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobberson24 View Post
IMO don't be afraid to sparge hot. I routinely sparge at 80-90c with no ill effects.
in addition to crush, was just gonna say this.

 
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:19 AM   #8
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Did you pre-heat your mash tun?

I forgot to do this today and lost a lot to my mash....I was off by .017 on my post boil reading.

Just a thought.....
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:50 AM   #9
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Lowering the volume of sparge water will lower your efficiency if you leave everything else the same. You might try splitting the 5 gallon sparge into 2 - 2.5 gal sparges

 
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:46 AM   #10
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I understand it does nothing, but I put a dwell time on my sparges. I let them steep for about 10 minutes.
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