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Old 04-15-2013, 04:13 AM   #1
DankHead
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I do 5 gallon, all grain batches. I batch sparge (10 minute rest, sparging at about 163*) but have the equipment to fly sparge. My efficiency with my set up has always been low (about 65%), I'd like to change that.

I've been adjusting some things with my techniques and its been helping hit my temps much better lately. The real problem is that I only hit my gravity numbers about 1/4 of the time, sometimes missing by as much as 10 points. I'd love to figure out why.

Is it the crush? (I get All my grain milled at Austin Homebrew Supply)
Maybe my volumes? I get all my numbers from beer smith, maybe need to adjust something?
Thoughts? Ideas?
Any advise is appreciated.

Cheers!
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:05 AM   #2
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I operate at about 65% too, but there's nothing wrong with that. Just adjust your numbers in beersmith

 
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:15 AM   #3
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To increase your efficiency, you can add more grain to the grain bill. Also, I've noticed that if I mash at a lower temperature for a longer time period, I get better efficiency too. Have you entered all your equipment particulars into BeerSmith? Deadspace in your mash tun, boil off on your kettle, trub and chill loss? I did three batches this week and missed my OG because I ended up with more wort than anticipated. I adjusted my trub loss and boil off in my equipment profile and was only off by .3 gallons (too much) and off by 0.05 OG (low). Had I gotten the .3 gallon to boil off, I probably would have hit the OG.

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Old 04-15-2013, 05:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA_Mouse
To increase your efficiency, you can add more grain to the grain bill. Also, I've noticed that if I mash at a lower temperature for a longer time period, I get better efficiency too. Have you entered all your equipment particulars into BeerSmith? Deadspace in your mash tun, boil off on your kettle, trub and chill loss? I did three batches this week and missed my OG because I ended up with more wort than anticipated. I adjusted my trub loss and boil off in my equipment profile and was only off by .3 gallons (too much) and off by 0.05 OG (low). Had I gotten the .3 gallon to boil off, I probably would have hit the OG.

Mouse
Adding more grain to your grain bill doesn't increase your efficiency it simply provides more sugars to make up for the lack if efficiency.

The most common cause for poor efficiency is poorly crushed grains. I would look there first as a culprit for poor efficiency.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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Crush is probably you biggest factor.

How long are you mashing and what is the pH?

 
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:59 PM   #6
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I used to get about 65% efficiency with AHS' crush also. I think that's the issue- the crush is decent, and meant so that you won't get a stuck mash or stuck sparge.

Until you get your own mill, I think planning on 65% efficiency would be the way to go.
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AT-JeffT View Post
Crush is probably you biggest factor.

How long are you mashing and what is the pH?
Usually 60 minute mash, and I use 5.2 stabilizer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I used to get about 65% efficiency with AHS' crush also. I think that's the issue- the crush is decent, and meant so that you won't get a stuck mash or stuck sparge.

Until you get your own mill, I think planning on 65% efficiency would be the way to go.
That's what I thought as well. But my profile is set to 65% and I'm still missing my gravity by as much as 10 points (essentially making my efficiency about 55%)

Thank you everyone!!
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DankHead View Post
Usually 60 minute mash, and I use 5.2 stabilizer.



That's what I thought as well. But my profile is set to 65% and I'm still missing my gravity by as much asv10 points (essentially making my efficiency about 55%)

Thank you everyone!!
I'd definitely get rid of the 5.2 stabilizer, and check out the water information on the brewing science area of the forum.

Do you know your water makeup at all? If not, it could very well be a pH issue.
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I'd definitely get rid of the 5.2 stabilizer, and check out the water information on the brewing science area of the forum.

Do you know your water makeup at all? If not, it could very well be a pH issue.
I live in Austin, and our water is pretty decent base water for brewing. I don't know the exact numbers, but everyone else I've talked to in tne area tells me that you only have to make slight adjustments.

I'll check it out though. Any particular threads I should look for in the brewing science forum?
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DankHead View Post
I live in Austin, and our water is pretty decent base water for brewing. I don't know the exact numbers, but everyone else I've talked to in tne area tells me that you only have to make slight adjustments.

I'll check it out though. Any particular threads I should look for in the brewing science forum?
Starting with the "water chemistry primer" would help (it's a sticky thread) but that assumes starting with RO water. I don't know anything about the water in Austin at all, so I can't help with that.

I'd also suggest this site: https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/ His spreadsheet has really helped me predict mash pH accurately and I really like the info on water he provides in the spreadsheet and on his site.

The folks in the brew science forum are much smarter than I am, so I have to defer to their knowledge on water chemistry!
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