ANVIL FOUNDRY ALL-GRAIN BREWING SYSTEM

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mbg

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I'm using a refractometer. And I'm not too concerned on that because the post-boil reading from the refractometer and hydrometer are very close. And I obviously let the sample cool before checking with the refractometer.
When I used a refractometer I always felt the need to take 2-4 readings to have confidence in the number. With two hydrometers calibrated at different temperatures - one reading and I'm done. The brewers set I bought doesn't require much liquid to take a reading either.
 

Bishop9.5

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When I used a refractometer I always felt the need to take 2-4 readings to have confidence in the number. With two hydrometers calibrated at different temperatures - one reading and I'm done. The brewers set I bought doesn't require much liquid to take a reading either.
Mind sharing where you got this set at? I've seen precision sets that are dialed to certain gravity ranges, but not one dialed in to a higher temp.

I will say, if you have a refractometer and it's properly calibrated it's pretty awesome for everything leading up to fermentation. Yes, you may need to take a few samples, but the sample size is so small and with ATC you don't need to really worry about cooling the sample.

As to taking the samples and getting consistent readings it really comes down to stirring it well while pulling the spoon from bottom to top. Basically scooping the bottom of the kettle up to the top while you stir. If I get a good whirlpool going with this method I've found that my readings are all pretty consistent.
 

bwible

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Anyone else noticing that the foundry is getting to a boil before the display hits 212? I recently hooked up my 240v connection and thought I would run it up full of water to make sure all is good and see what the boil was like. That sucker was a full on violent boil and the display was at about 205.. I noticed it with the 120 as well but just wondering if that’s a common thing. I let the water cool down to around 160 and checked with a thermometer and it was only off by about a degree so I “think” the probe is working correctly. Is there any was to re-calibrate the internal probe?
I’ve had mine about a year now and the temp display started jumping all over the place during the mash - flashing random numbers between 34 and 170. I have to turn it off and on again a bunch of times. Reset button on the bottom does nothing. It has done it during my last 3 batches. Not doing anything unusual, using the malt pipe it came with, no bags, etc, their little pump.
 

mbg

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Mind sharing where you got this set at? I've seen precision sets that are dialed to certain gravity ranges, but not one dialed in to a higher temp.

I will say, if you have a refractometer and it's properly calibrated it's pretty awesome for everything leading up to fermentation. Yes, you may need to take a few samples, but the sample size is so small and with ATC you don't need to really worry about cooling the sample.

As to taking the samples and getting consistent readings it really comes down to stirring it well while pulling the spoon from bottom to top. Basically scooping the bottom of the kettle up to the top while you stir. If I get a good whirlpool going with this method I've found that my readings are all pretty consistent.
@Bishop9.5 No problem - I purchased them through Amazon but believe they can be purchased directly from the supplier BrewingAmerica.

This is the kit for 60F: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001X27L9W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and 155F hydrometer: Amazon.com

I see the price has gone up - I paid just under $50 for the set. Maybe contact the supplier, pretty sure they will offer you a discount.

Mike
 

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had a question regarding cold break using the Foundry, asking for observations.

Background, dunno how much is relevant, so I'll just blurb it:
  • I'm using a 6.5, and fermenting in 5gal kegs with fermcap.
  • I MAIB, and usually do at least one sparge to get my kettle volume. I am also an unabashed bag-squeezer. 🤣
  • My hops sit in a spider, and I do not have a pump.
  • I stir with a spoon while chilling, and the spider does a pretty good job with the big bits.
The diptube on the spigot can pull from near the bottom of the kettle, I run it directly thru a sanitized mesh funnel to the ferm-keg.

I didn't see a point where to stop so as to avoid excess break going into the fermenter, so on two successive AG brew days I've ran the kettle almost dry.

How is this looking for you out there? I thought I'd see something, but perhaps I missed it?
 

renstyle

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Anyone else noticing that the foundry is getting to a boil before the display hits 212? I recently hooked up my 240v connection and thought I would run it up full of water to make sure all is good and see what the boil was like. That sucker was a full on violent boil and the display was at about 205....
I've run my 6.5 at both 120 and 240v. My elevation is about 1161ft/354m, so 210.69F/99.28C is my actual boiling point here.

on 120v my boil seemed to pick up at 205F/96C, and about the same on 240v. I wasn't stirring, just letting convection mix the water.

Only difference is that 120v was 100% all the time, but I could maintain a similar or more vigorous boil at 75-80% on 240v.
 

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had a question regarding cold break using the Foundry, asking for observations.

Background, dunno how much is relevant, so I'll just blurb it:
  • I'm using a 6.5, and fermenting in 5gal kegs with fermcap.
  • I MAIB, and usually do at least one sparge to get my kettle volume. I am also an unabashed bag-squeezer. 🤣
  • My hops sit in a spider, and I do not have a pump.
  • I stir with a spoon while chilling, and the spider does a pretty good job with the big bits.
The diptube on the spigot can pull from near the bottom of the kettle, I run it directly thru a sanitized mesh funnel to the ferm-keg.

I didn't see a point where to stop so as to avoid excess break going into the fermenter, so on two successive AG brew days I've ran the kettle almost dry.

How is this looking for you out there? I thought I'd see something, but perhaps I missed it?
Curious to see what mesh funnel you are using. Ive tried mesh bags to help avoid excessive trub going to fermenter but it was a big PITA and got messy. Probably just poor execution on my part but didn't enjoy it. So now, I simply wait a few hrs to let it all settle to get clear wort into fermenter. I also voluntarily let my hops roam free rather than using a hop spider of sorts. So I also take a bit more kettle losses to avoid excess hops and cold break into the fermenter. But if you got a solid routine with a mesh funnel, Id be willing to give it a try to avoid waiting. FWIW, with my processes and decisions to let hops roam free, I have a 1.0 gallon loss at the end that doesn't go into the fermenter. Essentially one gallon equates to about the top of the dip tubes nut. After waiting to let it all settle, I do get nice wort into fermenter overall. The losses affect my brew house efficiency but I honestly don't care, but always looking for ways to improve lol.
 

renstyle

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Curious to see what mesh funnel you are using. Ive tried mesh bags to help avoid excessive trub going to fermenter but it was a big PITA and got messy. Probably just poor execution on my part but didn't enjoy it. So now, I simply wait a few hrs to let it all settle to get clear wort into fermenter. I also voluntarily let my hops roam free rather than using a hop spider of sorts. So I also take a bit more kettle losses to avoid excess hops and cold break into the fermenter. But if you got a solid routine with a mesh funnel, Id be willing to give it a try to avoid waiting. FWIW, with my processes and decisions to let hops roam free, I have a 1.0 gallon loss at the end that doesn't go into the fermenter. Essentially one gallon equates to about the top of the dip tubes nut. After waiting to let it all settle, I do get nice wort into fermenter overall. The losses affect my brew house efficiency but I honestly don't care, but always looking for ways to improve lol.
My funnel is basically one of these. I also pull my hop spider, dump the hops, rinse it off, then let it sit in the starSan bucket for a few minutes.

Then I drain the wort thru the spider, into the funnel, which goes into the keg-ferm.

I tried a slower drain rate, and was able to see the cold break building at the bottom of the kettle. So I stopped before the obvious cold break was sucked down. I used an O2 tank and a diffusion stone just prior to pitch, so the slower drain rate didn't affect oxygenation.

Not much break material so, and a 2nd run thru the spider + funnel kept a bit more cruft from the fermenter. I can see where my last 2 brews sucked all of that break into the ferm, but I was able to get it to settle. Using a floating dip tube with a screen filter helps too. :cool:
 

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So anyone see a correlation between bigger grain bills and lower mash efficiency? After a couple really good runs I decided to do my big DIPA last weekend. It's a 15.25lbs grain bill, I pulled 1.5 gallons for a sparge but the mash was still plenty fluid. Followed the same routine that netted me 82% mash efficiency last time but came up much lower all said and done at 73%. Didn't stir a aggressively every 15 min but still. Thoughts?
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Bishop9.5

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How many Lbs. was the grain bill that netted 82% mash efficiency?

For equal final volumes the larger the weight of the grain bill the lower the efficiency is the norm.

The spreadsheet found at this link may help here:
The previous grain bill was 9.5lbs, so considerably less but I wouldn't expect that to equate to a 9% spread between the two batches. My efficiency on my previous keggle system would vary maybe 2-3% from the smallest to heaviest grain bill. I've said it before, if I can stay in the mid 70's I'll be extremely happy. But I do want consistency.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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The previous grain bill was 9.5lbs, so considerably less but I wouldn't expect that to equate to a 9% spread between the two batches. My efficiency on my previous keggle system would vary maybe 2-3% from the smallest to heaviest grain bill. I've said it before, if I can stay in the mid 70's I'll be extremely happy. But I do want consistency.
Try the linked spreadsheet.
 

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So anyone see a correlation between bigger grain bills and lower mash efficiency? After a couple really good runs I decided to do my big DIPA last weekend. It's a 15.25lbs grain bill, I pulled 1.5 gallons for a sparge but the mash was still plenty fluid. Followed the same routine that netted me 82% mash efficiency last time but came up much lower all said and done at 73%. Didn't stir a aggressively every 15 min but still. Thoughts?
Let make up some easy to use numbers. Say you have a 5 gallon batch. and a 5 lb grain bill. A grain bill of 5 lb grain will "steal" X gallons of wort. The ratio of wort to batch is X : 5.

If you have 10 lbs of gran, you are going to have twice as much wort left in the mash for the same 5 gallon batch.

So the mash is "stealing" twice as much wort, which equals twice as much sugar. To compound your problem, twice as much grain results produces a higher gravity wort, so the mash "steals" twice as much work of higher gravity.

Efficiency is determined by two factors.
#1 How well you run the mash, as in convert starch to sugars.
#2 How much wort you leave behind in the wet grains.
 

Noob_Brewer

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@Bishop9.5 before I made my process switch and was just using the bag inside of the malt-pipe for brewing, I was achieving slightly better mash/lauter efficiencies than your last brew day. Looking at my last three NEIPAs I brewed with this setup, I had 76.2, 76.4, & 77.3% mash lauter efficiencies where all these NEIPAs had 17-17.25 lbs of grain (that includes .75lb of rice hulls) and my OGs were 1.069-1.070. I did sparge about 1.25-1.5gallons too on these. So I think you can definitely improve on the 73% experience you just had; at least by 3-5 points.

I agree with @RufusBrewer in that more grain typically will lower the efficiency, but I also think that the composition of the grain bill can play a factor here. My NEIPA grain bills I just mentioned above all had about ~30% of combined white wheat/malted oats/flaked oats. So these grains tend to be pretty sticky which can affect recirc flow and lauter efficiency IMHO.

I definitely would recommend stirring more and deeper in the malt-pipe on these grain bills as thats what I did with these. With the bag in malt-pipe setup, I always thought that if the grain bill is sticky AND bigger there could be a higher chance of channeling too during the mash. This is why I stirred more often and deeper in the malt-pipe, to break up any potential channels.

On my second brew ever on this system, I admittedly recirculated too fast with a similar grain bill and didn't stir much as all other than the very top of the grain bed and got a horrible mash lauter efficiency (in the low 60s). My thought was potentially wort could have also channeled between the bag and malt-pipe which would bypass the grain bed all together. I doubt that happened to you given you were in the 70s, but again, its possible with this setup.

Don't forget that the design of the anvil is different than your previous setup. Having a tall and narrow vessel that has near maximum amount of grains will tend to compact more than a traditionally wider and shorter vessel too. This is another reason to stir more on these bigger grain bills IMHO. Remember that the mash thickness that beersmith gives you is not really reality because theres about a gallon of wort below the malt-pipe and about 2 gallons along the sides. By my estimations of the malt-pipe dimensions (10.125" diameter and 20" tall) the malt-pipe can fit ~7gallons of liquid. If your wort level is only going up to the ring that the recirc disc sits on that reduces the height of the malt-pipe to about 18.5" allowing about 6.5gallons of liquid in the pipe. Thats without grains too. So the thickness inside of the malt-pipe is clearly more thick than beersmith give you which takes into account ALL water in the vessel.

Thicker mash/stickier grain bill, taller vessel, larger grain bill all seem to add up to a situation where if you don't stir more often ( I did every 15 minutes) and deeper (not just the top third), channeling could occur affecting not only conversion efficiency but also lauter efficiency.

Hope this helps.
 

doug293cz

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So anyone see a correlation between bigger grain bills and lower mash efficiency? After a couple really good runs I decided to do my big DIPA last weekend. It's a 15.25lbs grain bill, I pulled 1.5 gallons for a sparge but the mash was still plenty fluid. Followed the same routine that netted me 82% mash efficiency last time but came up much lower all said and done at 73%. Didn't stir a aggressively every 15 min but still. Thoughts?
The previous grain bill was 9.5lbs, so considerably less but I wouldn't expect that to equate to a 9% spread between the two batches. My efficiency on my previous keggle system would vary maybe 2-3% from the smallest to heaviest grain bill. I've said it before, if I can stay in the mid 70's I'll be extremely happy. But I do want consistency.
I ran a couple of simulations using your two grain bill weights, and the following assumptions:
Post-boil volume: 5.5 gal​
Boil off volume: 0.75 gal​
Grain absorption rate: 0.11 gal/lb​
Sparge volume: 1.5 gal​
Conversion efficiency: 100%​
The 9.5 lb grain bill batch used 7.3 gal of total brewing water, and had a 1.52 lb/gal grain wt to pre-boil volume ratio. The mash efficiency came in at 87%.

The 15.25 lb grain bill batch used 7.93 gal of total brewing water, and had a 2.44 lb/gal grain wt to pre-boil volume ratio. The mash efficiency came in at 78%.

So, a 9 point difference in your two mash efficiencies is totally explained by the difference in the size of the grain bill.

I think I have posted this chart in this thread before, but it shows how grain weight to pre-boil volume ratio is the primary determinant of how efficiency drops with increasing amounts of grain, all else being equal.

Efficiency vs Grain to Pre-Boil Ratio for Various Sparge Counts.png


Edit: You can find my simulation spreadsheet here.

Brew on :mug:
 
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Bishop9.5

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damn, Im long-winded lol
So, a 9 point difference in your two mash efficiencies is totally explained by the difference in the size of the grain bill.
Great info from both of you so thanks for chiming in! And thanks Doug for doing the math, I tried the link posted above but couldn't get it to work. It all makes sense, I've just never personally seen a spread that big.

Starting to think these all in ones aren't as "simple" as I'd originally hoped. If I have to run a 90 minute mash schedule and stir every 15 minutes that's a lot of extra steps.

I'm doing a smaller white wheat ale this morning with an 11lbs grain bill. I'm using rice hulls for the first time and I'm going to check the gravity at 60 minutes to see if that extra half hour is really necessary.

I've also got a 10 gallon cooler mash tun I got with a bunch of used equipment when I got back into brewing, may have to consider breaking it out for bigger beers and just using the AF as an electric kettle. Which I'd be fine with.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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I tried the link posted above but couldn't get it to work.
The spreadsheet must be downloaded per the listed instructions, and then the downloaded file must be launched and ran within Excel or LibreOffice. There is no running of it online. It will generally confirm your observed efficiency drop discovery.
 

Bishop9.5

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The spreadsheet must be downloaded per the listed instructions, and then the downloaded file must be launched and ran within Excel or LibreOffice. There is no running of it online. It will generally confirm your observed efficiency drop discovery.
No doubt, I was just lazy yesterday. I downloaded it, then uploaded it into Google Sheets and that got it working. Pretty slick, thanks for sharing!
 

Silver_Is_Money

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No doubt, I was just lazy yesterday. I downloaded it, then uploaded it into Google Sheets and that got it working. Doesn't come up with a 9 point gap but pretty slick, thanks for sharing!
Glad you got it to run, but for the record, Google Sheets may nominally sometimes "work" with my spreadsheets, but it generally does a gross injustice to the overall appearance and function of my spreadsheets. I highly recommend that it not be used with my spreadsheets.
 

mbg

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Great info from both of you so thanks for chiming in! And thanks Doug for doing the math, I tried the link posted above but couldn't get it to work. It all makes sense, I've just never personally seen a spread that big.

Starting to think these all in ones aren't as "simple" as I'd originally hoped. If I have to run a 90 minute mash schedule and stir every 15 minutes that's a lot of extra steps.

I'm doing a smaller white wheat ale this morning with an 11lbs grain bill. I'm using rice hulls for the first time and I'm going to check the gravity at 60 minutes to see if that extra half hour is really necessary.

I've also got a 10 gallon cooler mash tun I got with a bunch of used equipment when I got back into brewing, may have to consider breaking it out for bigger beers and just using the AF as an electric kettle. Which I'd be fine with.
I really like using the AF compared to a kettle/tun. I have seen this posted before but if you have a big grain bill why not account for lower efficiency in your grain bill?
 

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Glad you got it to run, but for the record, Google Sheets may nominally sometimes "work" with my spreadsheets, but it generally does a gross injustice to the overall appearance and function of my spreadsheets. I highly recommend that it not be used with my spreadsheets.
If the math works I'm not worried about pretty. Don't have Excel and no interest in an open source platform either. Yesterday I tried just opening it directly into Sheets and it didn't work. It took downloading it locally, then uploading into my drive to get it going. Seems to work fine, playing with it while I brew this morning. 🍻
 

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So here's where I start to get frustrated. I'm brewing a white ale today with 47.5% of the grain bill being white wheat and a total of 11lbs of grains. I did this exactly the same as the Saison I did a couple weeks ago that finished with 82% mash efficiency, one exception being the addition of 1lbs of rice hulls but only ended up at 69%. WTF? I would expect a small drop, maybe 3-5%, because of the amount of wheat especially since I can't crush it myself right now. But that's a 13% swing!

I need to get a mill, it's already been said many times but it's becoming very obvious that controlling my crush is going to be a must if I want to get anything consistent out of this system.

I also took gravity readings at 1:00, 1:15, 1:30 and after mash out before the sparge. At each interval I picked up another 2 points so the 90min mash is clearly beneficial with the AF.

Next batch is a 7% NE IPA with a 15.25lbs grain bill, may just have to clean up that cooler mash tun and see what happens.
 

mbg

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So here's where I start to get frustrated. I'm brewing a white ale today with 47.5% of the grain bill being white wheat and a total of 11lbs of grains. I did this exactly the same as the Saison I did a couple weeks ago that finished with 82% mash efficiency, one exception being the addition of 1lbs of rice hulls but only ended up at 69%. WTF? I would expect a small drop, maybe 3-5%, because of the amount of wheat especially since I can't crush it myself right now. But that's a 13% swing!

I need to get a mill, it's already been said many times but it's becoming very obvious that controlling my crush is going to be a must if I want to get anything consistent out of this system.

I also took gravity readings at 1:00, 1:15, 1:30 and after mash out before the sparge. At each interval I picked up another 2 points so the 90min mash is clearly beneficial with the AF.

Next batch is a 7% NE IPA with a 15.25lbs grain bill, may just have to clean up that cooler mash tun and see what happens.
Yes - get yourself a mill you will never regret it.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Wheat malt should be milled separately, as its kernels are smaller than barley malt kernels, and demand a finer crush. Due to the headache associated with mill gap adjustment for at least some mills (like mine), having a separate mill exclusive to smaller grain size malts (and unmalted grains as well) might be wise.
 

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Instead of stirring I usually will lift the basket one or two times during the mash. This seems to help and I have been averaging in the 80% range for the 3-4 batches on the AF so far. I also have done a dunk sparge, 1.5 gals in my old cooler MLT (the malt pipe fits perfectly) and run that through a few times like a vorlauf. Pour this into the AF while moving to a boil. I then set the MP back over the AF to gravity drain until it boils. :mug:
 

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Thinking about getting a Wilser bag for the AF with no malt pipe. Do you think the false bottom is needed, or can I just clip the bag to the AF off the bottom. Also has anyone done small batches with a bag and no pipe? Thanks
 

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Wheat malt should be milled separately, as its kernels are smaller than barley malt kernels, and demand a finer crush. Due to the headache associated with mill gap adjustment for at least some mills (like mine), having a separate mill exclusive to smaller grain size malts (and unmalted grains as well) might be wise.
Could one double-mill their wheat malts if they only had one mill and are too lazy to change the gap size?
 

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Could one double-mill their wheat malts if they only had one mill and are too lazy to change the gap size?
Not really, once it's small it won't get any smaller. Knowing the mill at my LHBS I'd bet it's half my issue from today.
 

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I will say though, almost all can be forgiven when I get to sit for an hour drinking a beer while this thing cleans itself. Quick work with the hose and done, can't be mad about that.
 

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Just got the email... My order (or, some of my order?) is shipping! Yay! Only took about 60+ days. I think it will be worth it though.

Edit: Wulp... just checked the shipping info, 6#... so, it is everything I ordered (pump kit, small batch ring, extra pump o-rings) BUT the actual Foundry unit....
So until then, I again must brew vicariously through y'all!
 
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drewmuni8

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Having a hard time getting clear wort during the mash while using the anvil pump and recirculating. Running approx. 0.032 in crush which is decently fine, any suggestions? Cheers!
 

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How clear are you looking for? If you're recirculating any decent amount for 10 - 15 minutes, you're about done. It won't be crystal clear. Some people seem to get close but they are the outliers.

And it will make basically no difference after boil anyhow. So if you're worried at all, don't be.
 

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Having a hard time getting clear wort during the mash while using the anvil pump and recirculating. Running approx. 0.032 in crush which is decently fine, any suggestions? Cheers!
Whirlfloc tablet at 15 minutes to go and never look back. Except through your crystal clear beer.
 

Bishop9.5

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I really like using the AF compared to a kettle/tun. I have seen this posted before but if you have a big grain bill why not account for lower efficiency in your grain bill?
Missed this response MBG, sorry about that. I have no issues accounting for the lower efficiency, except that another pound or two of grains puts me that much closer to this things max capacity. I've only got about 3-4 recipes where this would be an issue and although I don't want to add extra work it may be necessary.
 
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