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Old 09-03-2012, 04:07 PM   #11
Jul 2011
Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,368
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Originally Posted by jk025
the ph has been around 5.6-5.7 on the last 2 brews and my mash tun is pretty empty, i have the calculations down pretty well so that almost all of my sparge water ends up in my kettle
Then I would definitely evaluate your crush!
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:18 PM   #12
GRBC's Avatar
Jan 2011
Richmond, VA
Posts: 242
Liked 34 Times on 21 Posts

If your crush looks OK, grains are cracked & the inside is accessible, then one thing to consider is making sure your your thermometers are accurate. Check them in ice water and boiling water- they should be 32 and 212 if you are near sea level. Could be you are mashing much higher or lower than you think? Another thing to try is mashing for 90 minutes one time to see if your lower efficiency is coming from lower conversion during the mash or lower extraction of the sugar from the lauter. If a longer mash yields higher efficiency, you may not be getting complete conversion for some reason (crush, temp, pH?). That said,I would rather have a consistent 50% efficiency and spend a couple of bucks more on grain, than one that is all over the place and makes hitting your numbers a crapshoot.

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Old 09-03-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
Junior Member
Dec 2011
San Diego, CA
Posts: 32

Are you using a braid or manifold or .... ?

I have had similar challenges (low 70s) that I suspect are due in part to channeling issues / poor manifold design.

More aggressive stirring and longer mash times have helped a bit.

A friend of mine just made a prototype High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) false bottom for my 60qt rectangular cooler that I'm going to try next weekend. Hoping that has some positive impact as well.

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Old 09-03-2012, 05:03 PM   #14
Jun 2005
Eugene, OR
Posts: 4,897
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I have seen braid vs. manifold to make a difference if all else is equal.

To the OP...your pH may be a bit high, but not far enough out of line to cause major problems. The first thing I suggest you do is read Kai's articles on efficiency... . Then use his instructions to check your conversion efficiency. Once you do that, we'll be able to get a handle on what part of your mash might be the problem.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:31 PM   #15
Apr 2011
Anaheim, CA
Posts: 88
Liked 4 Times on 2 Posts

I just finished my second beer since I've switched mills. I spent a long time fixing everything else in my process except the mill. Now that I have this new mill, I went from 70% efficiency into the kettle to 92% on my last batch.

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Old 09-05-2012, 07:45 PM   #16
Oct 2011
menifee, ca
Posts: 34

a mill is definitely something i want but since i still can make delicious beers with low efficiency and am looking in to surfing, i figure ill try to bring the ph level down a little, mash long next time to see if anything improves and check my thermometers. thanks for the help everyone. oh, an im currently using a braid in my mash tun

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