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Old 07-08-2012, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default Two AG brews down, same problem

So I did my second AG yesterday. Everything went okay, but it definitely could have gone better. I hit my mash temp right on the dot and it held for the entire 60 minutes. Again I collected ~2gal less wort from the mash than I mashed with. I'm not so much concerned about this after searching some posts on this forum. I have been losing the expected .12-.13qt/lb so that seems to be in line. My issue comes with the collection of my sparge water when batch sparging. I have come up between .5-.7 gal short both times. I've heard you should get pretty much no loss when sparging. I'm wondering if this amount seems reasonable? I still had some hot water left over in the kettle so I just ran ~1gal through it and collected the .5gal I needed. I think I'll just add .5gal to what the brewing software says to use for sparging.

My next problem is with my boil off. I collected 6.5 preboil and once I got a sample cooled down took a reading. It was 1.063 which is only 1 pt lower than it was predicted. After my boil I only collected ~4.9gal so I had to top off to get to my target of 5.5gal going into the fermentor. After chilling that sample I took a reading and it read 1.063. That reading was actually 10pts lower than it should have been and it makes no sense to me how the reading could be the same with less volume. As far as my boil off, the previous batch I maintained a rolling boil but this time it was a bit more vigorous and it was about 104F out. So I'm thinking that's why I had such a high loss. I went in to my brewing program and increased my boil off rate some since I came up short both times. We'll see if those changes help get it dialed in. If any one has any advice on how I can straighten this out it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
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Default Two AG brews down, same problem

So I did my second AG yesterday. Everything went okay, but it definitely could have gone better. I hit my mash temp right on the dot and it held for the entire 60 minutes. Again I collected ~2gal less wort from the mash than I mashed with. I'm not so much concerned about this after searching some posts on this forum. I have been losing the expected .12-.13qt/lb so that seems to be in line. My issue comes with the collection of my sparge water when batch sparging. I have come up between .5-.7 gal short both times. I've heard you should get pretty much no loss when sparging. I'm wondering if this amount seems reasonable? I still had some hot water left over in the kettle so I just ran ~1gal through it and collected the .5gal I needed. I think I'll just add .5gal to what the brewing software says to use for sparging.

My next problem is with my boil off. I collected 6.5 preboil and once I got a sample cooled down took a reading. It was 1.063 which is only 1 pt lower than it was predicted. After my boil I only collected ~4.9gal so I had to top off to get to my target of 5.5gal going into the fermentor. After chilling that sample I took a reading and it read 1.063. That reading was actually 10pts lower than it should have been and it makes no sense to me how the reading could be the same with less volume. As far as my boil off, the previous batch I maintained a rolling boil but this time it was a bit more vigorous and it was about 104F out. So I'm thinking that's why I had such a high loss. I went in to my brewing program and increased my boil off rate some since I came up short both times. We'll see if those changes help get it dialed in. If any one has any advice on how I can straighten this out it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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1st Q) If you're hitting your preboil gravities, don't worry so much about volume. If you want more volume, adjust your malt bill and adjust your sparge volume/brewhouse efficiency as necessary.

2nd Q) Think about it. You were 1.063 preboil. Post boil you were X. You diluted it with water so now you're X - Y. X - Y = 1.063. Meaning you *were* at something higher than 1.063 post boil (maybe 1.073?), but you diluted it when you added water to top off to the volume you wanted. You need to figure your target volume and gravity into your recipe before you boil (see above). You can't just add water to adjust volume without it diluting the overall recipe.
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:18 PM   #4
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It's great that you are taking detailed notes in your process because everything you are doing is easy to fix. The values that you have determined you are losing need to be added into your software as losses in the process, then the software will add those amounts back as part of your mashing in, sparging processes so your final volumes are met. In addition it appears your boil off may be greater than what you currently have listed in your equipment set up. Boil off is tricky because there are differences related to weather, humidity, temperature and vigor of the boil but you should be able to get close enough where it's not a huge deal.

It usually takes several batches of brewing to get a good handle on all the settings required for software and being sure to input all the right values, once done though, the software will do a great job on calculating everything properly!
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:26 PM   #5
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You probably need to increase the "mashtun deadspace" figure a little in your software.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
You probably need to increase the "mashtun deadspace" figure a little in your software.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:56 PM   #7
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I agree with the other posts, you should adjust your mash tun's dead space (I tip my mash tun which helps with dead space loss). Adjust your boil off rate and make sure your batch size is set properly to the amount you want in the fermenter.

As for your second question, one of the readings, and/or your volume measurements were off. Walking through the math, a preboil gravity reading of 1.063 is 409.5 total gravity points (63 * 6.5). Boiling to 4.9 gallons would be a 1.084 reading (409.5/4.9), then topping off to 5.5 gallons and you're at 1.074 (409.5/5.5). I think I did the math correctly...

I hope this helps, as others have mentioned all of this is easily fixable for future batches. Taking detailed notes as you did is key to dialing in your estimates within your brewing software.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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I'll also add that over 1.5 gallons of wort loss seems like a lot to me. Was this a 60 minute boil? My boil off rate is around .75 gallons per hour.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #9
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I'll also add that over 1.5 gallons of wort loss seems like a lot to me. Was this a 60 minute boil? My boil off rate is around .75 gallons per hour.
I lose 1.5 gal. an hour easy. Sometimes a bit more.
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Old 07-08-2012, 05:44 PM   #10
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Sorry, I'm really confused. How does increasing mash tun deadspace in the software change his gravity, efficiency or boil off rate?
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