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Old 12-12-2013, 11:11 PM   #1
fost9508
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Default Low Mash Efficiency??

Hello - New to all grain brewing and new to the forum.

I have been doing partial mash brewing for a few years so I have a few batches under my belt and thought I should start all grain brewing since I like the details of the brewing process. To get ready for this I bought a new larger kettle, built a mash tun, and built a wort chiller.

I probably made a few mistakes in the process mainly do to poor planning and lack of experience associated with mashing etc..My main problem had to do with calculating mash water, sparge water, and what water to grist ratio I should use. I also had a hard time confirming how much water I used in the mash and sparge, but estimate 4.5 for each. I estimate that I probably got around 6 gallons out. I think next time I am going to mark my kettle with measurements. So all these issues may attribute to my efficiency. Here are the details of my mashing.

Grain Quantity ~ 12.33 lbs
Target Water to Grist Ratio: 1.5 ( I found that this was tough to fit in my 5 gallon mash tun @ 12.33 lbs of grain.)
Strike Water Temp: 167F
Strike Water Volume: 4.5 ga.
Mash Temp: 151F - a bit lower than I wanted and might be due to the fact that I couldn't get all the water I needed to support a 1.5 grist ratio.
Sparge Water Temp 167F
Sparge Volume ~ 4.5 gallons

I estimated I got about 3 gallons of first runnings and about 3 gallons from the sparge

I estimated my pre boil points assuming 6 gallons at about 75.5. I calculated this by taking the PPG for each grain X Lbs of grain / boil volume

I measured my pre boil gravity at 1.044, so 44 PPG. I think this is correct. So to determine eff. I divided 44/75.5 and calculate 58%. Seems pretty low for all the work I did. Even if I was off by .5 gallon + or - my eff. would be between 53%-63%. Assume I have done the calcs correct. Below is my grain bill if somebody wants to check my numbers.

American Pale 2 row: 10 lbs
American Caramel Crystal 40: 1 lbs
American Wheat: 1lbs
American Special Roast: .25 lbs.


Any thoughts on my poor efficiency?

Thanks,

Jared


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Old 12-12-2013, 11:15 PM   #2
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my sparge water is near boiling.. somewhere around 195f I think your Sparge Water Temp 167F may not be rinsing the grains completely.


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Old 12-12-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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First thing I see is that your batch sparge (since you stated second runnings) resulted in a low amount of liquid. When your grain bill is soaked, it will not pull water from the sparge. If you put in 4.5 gallons, you should have gotten out pretty close to 4.5 gallons of wort. Before I built my 52 quart MT, I had a 5 gallon Igloo cooler. I fly sparged instead of batch sparged and got nearly 85% efficiency every time. I would change to fly sparging to improve your efficiency. Also, it should be easier to check your runoff volume by either having a measure stick or running off into a bottling bucket/fermenter that has accurate measurements on.
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Old 12-12-2013, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grimzella View Post
my sparge water is near boiling.. somewhere around 195f I think your Sparge Water Temp 167F may not be rinsing the grains completely.
Most recipes call for sparge water to be at 168F
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Old 12-13-2013, 12:06 AM   #5
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@ CA_Mouse. Thanks, sounds like I just need to do a better job tracking volume while I mash and sparge. Appreciate the feed back. Fly sparging... I thought about this, but got concerned about complicating things. Would running everything into a bottling buck pose any problems? Would I just need to make sure that I transfer carefully to the kettlle to make sure I don't put air into the wort? Also do you think a 5 gallon mash tun is too small? Maybe I had too much grain, but I was getting nervous about how much grain I had in the mash tun and getting all my water into the mash. After my first running the grain was a little over halfway up my 5 gallon cooler.

Jared
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA_Mouse View Post
Most recipes call for sparge water to be at 168F
sorry cant agree .. batch sparge calls for near boiling water

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/batc...erature-73101/
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:41 AM   #7
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Seems like I've been repeating this a lot lately, but for batch sparge, the temperature makes zero difference and a mashout is unnecessary. I have been sparging with cold water for many years now. I did experiments myself that showed no discernable loss in efficiency using cold water. Kai Troester has shared the results of his extensive research into the subject and has come to the same conclusion. Sorry I don't have a link, but there is a thread in this forum where he shares the results of his testing.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masonsjax View Post
Seems like I've been repeating this a lot lately, but for batch sparge, the temperature makes zero difference and a mashout is unnecessary. I have been sparging with cold water for many years now. I did experiments myself that showed no discernable loss in efficiency using cold water. Kai Troester has shared the results of his extensive research into the subject and has come to the same conclusion. Sorry I don't have a link, but there is a thread in this forum where he shares the results of his testing.
Correct. If you get higher efficiency with warmer water in batch sparging, it may mean incomplete conversion in the mash or a problem like that. You can sparge with cold water and not lose any efficiency.

In any case, I think some of the issues here are the water volumes, the too-small mash tun for the grainbill, and a small preboil volume possibly.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:58 AM   #9
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no reason wasting gas on batch\sparge water if its not necessary. pretty sure I also watched a video on boiling water for mash out.. but if you all say its not necc... then Im gonna do it with cold water
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:00 AM   #10
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Here's one of the threads I was talking about for anyone that's curious.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/cold...sparge-110856/


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