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Old 03-12-2013, 10:18 PM   #1
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Default Mash efficiency when mashing out

I've been working hard to get a better hold on my mash, lauter and brewhouse efficiency numbers, and came up against something this past weekend that raised a question for me.

I mashed this recipe for 75 minutes at 148 *F, and after vorlauf and running a few quarts into my boil kettle I took a refractometer reading that came to about 1.088. Since the range I use is 1.25 qt/lb, that was about 96%, so I was happy. But then I remembered I had prepped a 185 *F mash-out liquor addition, so I added it, stirred, and after another vorlauf came to 1.075ish, which is more like 82% mash efficiency.

At first blush, this seems to make sense, because more water should dilute the sugars, right? But then I wondered, shouldn't a mash-out liberate at least some sugars and thus do better than 82%?

As for the batch, my preboil gravity showed that I was on track for 72% brewhouse efficiency, and I wound up in fine shape for my OG, but this is my question: what effect should I expect from a mash-out?

-Rich


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Old 03-12-2013, 11:15 PM   #2
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I have been under the impression that mash out stops the conversion process. I must have read it somewhere.


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Old 03-12-2013, 11:19 PM   #3
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I think you must be measuring wrong with your refractometer or it is off. The recipe you linked has an OG of 1.066. And you mentioned that you finished at that OG as well. That means that your pre-boil would have to have been less than that, probably 1.060 or so. How could a lauter of 1.088 and a sparge of 1.075 give you a pre-boil of 1.060? Something doesn't connect.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:22 PM   #4
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I have been under the impression that mash out stops the conversion process. I must have read it somewhere.
Cute.

It also is supposed to loosen up sugars that would otherwise stay in the grain bed through increasing heat like an early partial sparge, right? Thus the word liberate and not convert.

-Rich
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:27 PM   #5
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I think you must be measuring wrong with your refractometer or it is off. The recipe you linked has an OG of 1.066. And you mentioned that you finished at that OG as well. That means that your pre-boil would have to have been less than that, probably 1.060 or so. How could a lauter of 1.088 and a sparge of 1.075 give you a pre-boil of 1.060? Something doesn't connect.
1.075 wasn't sparge, it was lauter (first runnings + mash-out liquor). I only ran off a few quarts before remembering my mash-out. Chalk it up to excitement over my new refractometer.

My sparge (measured roughly in the middle, not mentioned above) was more like 1.035ish.

-Rich
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:03 AM   #6
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Your 1.088 reading gave you your mash efficiency at 96% That should be the highest efficiency that you achieve.
If you had added your mash-out water, and stirred well enough before draining anything from the mash, then you should have gotten the same 96%, but you said "I only ran off a few quarts before remembering my mash-out."
In that case, you would have lost your "few quarts" at 96%, and then added your mash out water to what remained. This will undoubtedly have a lower gravity because you are adding water to the mash, and your efficiency will also be lower because you had run off some 96% efficient wort before diluting with the mash out water.

This makes sense to me. I hope it makes sense to you as well.

-a.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:13 AM   #7
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Cute.
-Rich
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Echoloc8 View Post
Cute.

It also is supposed to loosen up sugars that would otherwise stay in the grain bed through increasing heat like an early partial sparge, right? Thus the word liberate and not convert.

-Rich
No, raising the temp (which is not necessarily a mashout) does not "loosen up" sugars. Kai proved that with his cold sparge experiment. If you get an efficiency increase by increasing the temp at the end of e mash, it's likely due to gelatinization and conversion of starches left in the grain. To do a true mashout, the purpose of which is to stop conversion, you need to hold temps of 170+ for at least 20 min.
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:32 PM   #9
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No, raising the temp (which is not necessarily a mashout) does not "loosen up" sugars. Kai proved that with his cold sparge experiment. If you get an efficiency increase by increasing the temp at the end of e mash, it's likely due to gelatinization and conversion of starches left in the grain. To do a true mashout, the purpose of which is to stop conversion, you need to hold temps of 170+ for at least 20 min.
Wow, this is totally new information to me. In ten years of homebrewing I've literally never heard that a mash-out takes more time than it takes to stir up a mash that's been raised to 170 F.

I had read about Kai's cold-sparge results, but not done any thinking about the implications.

I obviously have reading to do. Got any thread recommendations? Are proper mashouts even standard practice any more, then?

-Rich
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Echoloc8 View Post
Wow, this is totally new information to me. In ten years of homebrewing I've literally never heard that a mash-out takes more time than it takes to stir up a mash that's been raised to 170 F.

I had read about Kai's cold-sparge results, but not done any thinking about the implications.

I obviously have reading to do. Got any thread recommendations? Are proper mashouts even standard practice any more, then?

-Rich
I think many of those who continous sparge still do mashouts- because it takes like 45 minutes or longer to sparge and that's part of the time that it takes to fully denature the enzymes and halt conversion.

It's true that this happens at 168 degrees + or so, but it isn't instantaneous and it need to be held for 20 minutes before you can be assured that the enzymes are indeed denatured.

So, even if you did a mashout and brought the grainbed to 170, if you sparged with cold water, the enzymes could keep working on the mash if the temperature dropped again under 165ish.


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