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Anvil Foundry Mash Eff

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Oginme

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Probably a simple answer to this question, but it’s been a long 4 weeks with 3 teenagers stuck at home due the current state of affairs. So, Anvil has a mash pipe cover now (and some have made there own). Why, when covering the side can you only do session or lesser volume batches? What am I missing? I assume something obvious. Thanks in advance.
The optional side perforation blocker they now offer for the 10.5 gallon unit does not limit anything that the Anvil is capable of doing.

The intent of the side perforations in the mash basket was to relieve some of the downward pressure on the grain bed during recirculation of the wort and thus to help avoid getting a stuck mash. By doing so, it made it more likely, when making smaller batches, that the wort flow would be able to bypass the grain bed resulting in very poor extraction. The blocker reduces this risk.
 

Chucker17

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Makes sense on the stuck mash. (That had crossed my mind but I can’t even say it was an educated guess!)

I have the Foundry and have made 2 beers, 1 hit the target OG and the other was low, both doing the no sparge methods as set forth in the manual. I was more concerned with operating the Foundry then efficiency. No need, it went smooth. Making my 3rd this weekend and will be implementing the ideas set forth on here. My plan is to sparge this time. I live quite far from a homebrew store so I get my kits online, usually from Northern Brewer, so I only brew 5 gallon batches. My understanding is they mill the grain medium. I’ve had great results in hitting the target OG under my old cooler system.

I’ve been home brewing since 1994, extract up until about 5 years ago when I made the jump to all grain. I am frequently on this site getting answers to my questions. I appreciate the info and help.
 

mbg

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I’ve strongly considered an all in one system and was leaning towards the Foundry until reading this post. WeHeavy, out of curiosity, what alternative systems have/would you consider that aren’t 3x as much as the Foundry
@blaapple Oh boy, I have the 10.5 on pre-order and getting the same feelings. Did you end up purchasing a system?

@WeHeavy Sounds like you ended up not liking the Foundry. Looks like you did lots of investigation of competitive mash/boil systems but really haven't seen your choice if you were to buy again. Some of the other systems seem to be in another price range than the Foundry. Could you share what you would buy today?


I do agree that the columnar design of all-in-one devices do lead to a higher sensitivity to mash compaction. Anytime you have a deeper grain bed that you pull or push liquid through you create a greater tendency to cause compaction and/or channeling which lowers the efficiency of the system. I have found, for my crush quality, if I recirculate the wort at a little less than a liter per minute that I can keep the grain bed loose and get complete conversion efficiency (98% to 100%) and acceptable lauter efficiency without any sparge step. My mash/lauter efficiency on the Anvil is now settled in at 85 +/- 1% (full volume mash/no sparge) after playing around with crush quality, recirculation flow, and different sparging methods for the first 10 brews.
@Oginme Enjoy your posts in this thread as well as many others. I decided to pre-order the 10.5 system after my initial research until I read through comments here. I already have a tun/boiler system so don't need this to brew but was looking for something to simplify my brew day.

Seems you are getting the best efficiencies from this system than most but I see you have the 6.5. Would like to duplicate (or try to) your excellent results.

Maybe you and others can populate "Best-Practices" for Foundry:

1) Might have missed it but what is your crush gap?
2) No sparge.
3) Low re-circulation - 1L/min or less.
4) Use a mash bag (probably doesn't affect eff.).
5) Block side wall perforations.
6) Add rice hulls.

Thanks
Mike
 

Oginme

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@Oginme Enjoy your posts in this thread as well as many others. I decided to pre-order the 10.5 system after my initial research until I read through comments here. I already have a tun/boiler system so don't need this to brew but was looking for something to simplify my brew day.

Seems you are getting the best efficiencies from this system than most but I see you have the 6.5. Would like to duplicate (or try to) your excellent results.

Maybe you and others can populate "Best-Practices" for Foundry:

1) Might have missed it but what is your crush gap?
2) No sparge.
3) Low re-circulation - 1L/min or less.
4) Use a mash bag (probably doesn't affect eff.).
5) Block side wall perforations.
6) Add rice hulls.

Thanks
Mike
I will answer as best I can.

1) crush: I use a corona style mill, so there really is no set gap. I have a medium to fine crush with a minimum of flour. I measure my crush based upon the sampling of 100 grams of the grist. I spread it out on a cookie tray and collect any kernels which appear to be intact. I gently squeeze them to make sure they are whole and any which are shattered internally get put back with the rest of the grist. I then weigh the intact kernels to get a percentage of kernels which have not been crushed. I aim for < 1 gram (1%) which is usually made up of petite kernels. I then collect the rest of the crushed grain and what is left is indicative of my 'flour'. This is less than 0.1 grams for a normal grind.

When I first used my Anvil, I backed off a bit from my BIAB grind and was in the mid-70's for mash efficiency. My uncrushed kernels were around 2%, flour almost non-existant. After dialing in my recirculation rate and the impact of using a bag to line the mash basket, I started slowly tightening up on the grind. I eventually ended up at less than 1% intact kernels and 0.22 grams of flour with a mash efficiency at 88.2%. I noticed the level in the mash basket was starting to build up a bit following a 60 minute mash, so I backed off to the position I cited above. I am now consistently between 84% and 86% mash efficiency.

2) No Sparge: This is more of a personal choice. Using the settings I ended up at for crush, I have tried the Anvil recommended sparge and a more traditional split of infusion v. sparge water to achieve approximately equal run offs from each. The traditional split ended up a bit worse, but I also think that I was pouring the sparge water through the grains a bit too fast. The Anvil recommended sparge I tried twice and ended up at 85.3% and 85.9% mash efficiency. While these are at the high end of my data, it is not statistically significant enough to have me move from a no sparge mash, simply because it is easier for me and not enough of a difference to be chasing that little gain.

3) Low recirculation rate: I mistakenly started my first batch with a pretty strong recirculation. While I did not get a stuck mash, I could see channels when I pulled the basket out and the grain bed was pretty compacted. Maybe related, maybe not. Anyway, I figured that I started with 15 liters or so of water and if I recirculated at a rate of 1 liter per minute, the grains would see a change over in wort four times during a mash which is way more than I was getting when I did BIAB on my stove (no recirculation at all).

I dug deep into my Unit Ops texts because I remember doing modeling of liquor flow through a bed of wood chips for making pulp for papermaking. I rediscovered "Darcy's Law" relating to the flow of liquid through a porous media. Basically, the more of a pressure differential created between the top of the liquid column and the bottom, the greater the chance of compacting the media (grain bed). So if you pull wort from the bottom of the basket and deposit it on the top, you create that differential in pressure. The greater the flow you try to get through the media (grains) the greater the pressure differential from top to bottom and the more likely the grain bed will compact.

So I cut the flow rate back quite a bit to around the 1 liter per minute range and have held that ever since. In opening up the top of the Anvil at teh end of the mash and probing with my mash spoon, I feel no resistance from the top all the way to the bottom of the mash basket which is a good sign the grains are pretty loose and floating.

4) Using a mash bag: The mash bag does three things. First, it allowed me to crush a bit finer which gives me better efficiency. Second, it allows me to remove additional free water from the spent grains by hanging the bag and then squeezing to get as much volume out as is reasonable. My water retention in the grains is 0.434 liters/kg (0.415 fl oz/oz of grain). This gives me approximately an additional liter of wort recovered from my typical grain bill of 2.4 kgs of grain over just allowing gravity to pull the wort out. Thirdly, it makes clean up so much faster. It took me a good 15 to 20 minutes to clean out the mash basket without using the bag. It takes me about 6 minutes total to dump and clean the bag and wash the mash basket. No brainer for me.

5) blocking the side perforations: I had thought of this after looking at the Anvil and trying to decide which size to purchase. I do about 24 to 28 10-liter (2.6 gal) batches every year and usually only 1 20-liter batch. After talking to the Anvil reps at HomeBrewCon last year, I was pretty much convinced that I would be running the majority of my batches at the lower end of the system capabilities on the 10.5 gal model. I contemplated blocking off the side holes using SS shim stock, but decided that it was too much of a risk versus just centering on the model which fit the majority of my brewing habits. While I don't know for certain if blocking the side perforations might make the 10.5 gal model a bit more prone to stuck mashes, I would believe that someone could experiment their way to better efficiency with or without the side blocker for standard 5 gal batches.

6) Rice hulls: I added rice hulls twice, both times for wheat beers with 53% and 62% wheat malt in the grist. I had a bunch on hand I got from another brewer and figured that a small handful might help. The second time, I ended up at 300 grams of rice hulls for a grist of 2.2 kilograms of grain. Never had an issue with either one and will probably challenge that down a bit more on my next high wheat content brew.

I think that covers what you wanted to capture. If I think of anything else, I will edit and mark it as new learning/additions.
 

mbg

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@Oginme Thank you - exactly what I was looking for.

I brew 5-gallon batches but don't brew that often, maybe 3-4 times a year. This makes experimentation difficult. This thread has opened my eyes to maybe think about smaller batches. My paradigm has been since I dragged all of this equipment out make as much as I can. But, smaller batches would allow experimentation, more brews to make, and better variety in my Keezer.

Mike
 

cmac62

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This is a great thread. I'm looking at the foundry. I recently bought a large system with pumps and hoses, and it works great, but to drag everything out to brew 5 gals seems like overkill, also the false bottom is up so high I have to use almost 10 gals to get the grain wet. Now I wished I had looked into the all in ones a bit more before going for the big shiny system. I'm sorry the OP isn't happy with his purchase, but there are a lot of people who are more than happy with the AF 10.5. I have a friend in our brewclub who brews on one. I think I'll hit him up to see if I could brew with him and pick his brain. Thanks for all the great insight. :mug:
 

Oginme

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@Oginme Thank you - exactly what I was looking for.

I brew 5-gallon batches but don't brew that often, maybe 3-4 times a year. This makes experimentation difficult. This thread has opened my eyes to maybe think about smaller batches. My paradigm has been since I dragged all of this equipment out make as much as I can. But, smaller batches would allow experimentation, more brews to make, and better variety in my Keezer.

Mike
I am pretty much the only one of four adults in my house that drinks beer. SWMBO will have some every now and then, but is usually content with a few sips of what I am having. I also like the process of brewing, so I like to brew often. Combine that with the desire to have a fairly expansive variety on hand, and I ended up at 10 liter batches. I also do 3 liter batches (not in the Anvil) for experimental batches like SMaSH recipes and recipe development. Thus the 6.5 really fit my brewing style more than any other of the all-in-one systems.
 

Chucker17

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I brewed my 3rd batch in the foundry a few weeks ago. I implemented the following changes:
1. lifted mash pipe several times during the dough in process (I think I read that correctly in a prior comment)
2. used a BIAB grain bag - really cleared up the wort
3. slowed down the recirculation pump
4. stirred the wort every 15 minutes
5. extended the mash to 90 minutes
6. no sparge (seemed to be the way to go based on discussion)

I was still at approximately 65% brewhouse effiency - up from around 60% on the batch before.

OG was targeted at 1.065 and I ended at 1.059. So I am not too far off where I need to be.

Moving forward, I bought the ring for the mash pipe. I will be doing a 5 gallon batch with 13 lbs of grain (Northern Brewer pre-crushed), so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Or in this case, damn the stuck sparge, full speed ahead!

Will let you know the results.

Sparge or no sparge? kind of the fence on that with the Foundry. Thoughts?
I was going to use rice hulls, any thoughts on how much?

I appreciate the input. thanks in advance.
 

Noob_Brewer

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I brewed my 3rd batch in the foundry a few weeks ago. I implemented the following changes:
1. lifted mash pipe several times during the dough in process (I think I read that correctly in a prior comment)
2. used a BIAB grain bag - really cleared up the wort
3. slowed down the recirculation pump
4. stirred the wort every 15 minutes
5. extended the mash to 90 minutes
6. no sparge (seemed to be the way to go based on discussion)

I was still at approximately 65% brewhouse effiency - up from around 60% on the batch before.

OG was targeted at 1.065 and I ended at 1.059. So I am not too far off where I need to be.

Moving forward, I bought the ring for the mash pipe. I will be doing a 5 gallon batch with 13 lbs of grain (Northern Brewer pre-crushed), so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Or in this case, damn the stuck sparge, full speed ahead!

Will let you know the results.

Sparge or no sparge? kind of the fence on that with the Foundry. Thoughts?
I was going to use rice hulls, any thoughts on how much?

I appreciate the input. thanks in advance.
I think your processes so far seem to be fine although I have never lifted the malt pipe during the mash similar to your step #1 and I have always sparged. I have done 16 brews on the 10.5g system now, not sure if you are using the 10.5 vs 6.5g system. I would say though that brewhouse efficiency isn't as critical as your mash/lauter efficiency because, depending on your losses after the boil, this could drastically affect the brewhouse efficiency since this metric takes into account all losses on brewday. With all this in mind a couple of things come to mind which should help you out.

1) So since you are having Northern Brewer doing your crush, what does this crush actually look like? I would imagine that the venders crush is "fairly course" and since you have a bag, if you can get this milled finer, your mash efficiency should improve. I did invest in a grain mill (cereal killer for $100) which gives me much more control and I love it.

2) Are you hitting your pre boil volumes according to your recipe/software? If you are hitting your pre-boil, post-boil, and into fermenter volumes this would help in diagnosing areas of improvement. For example, if you have pre boil volumes that exceed your target, your specific gravity is likely lower than expected.

If you can provide any more details regarding #1 and #2 above, I think peeps here can give better advice as to where you can improve.

Keep in mind - in the end, you've made beer! So enjoy it too! :)
 

Chucker17

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Thanks for response.

mash pipe lifting was used by another in this thread.

water volumes across the board have been good, but there has been a learning curve with this system.

I would say the milling is medium but by no means fine. My old system it was good enough as my efficiency was high and I hit my OG targets.

I think a grain mill might be the next step but I am running out of space which has been the main reason for not buying one. Should sell my old system, that would free some space up. I will do sparge on next attempt.

The beer so far has tasted good, just a bit low on ABV.
 

Chucker17

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I forgot to mention I have the 10.5 system.

I calculated the conversion efficiency (is that the same as mash efficiency?) and it was 62%.
 

doug293cz

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I forgot to mention I have the 10.5 system.

I calculated the conversion efficiency (is that the same as mash efficiency?) and it was 62%.
No, they are not the same. Conversion efficiency measures how much of the starch in the grain was converted to sugar in the mash. Lauter efficiency is how much of the sugar that was created got into the BK. Mash efficiency is a combination of the two, and measures how much of the starch that was in the grain made it into the BK as sugar.
Mash Efficiency = Conversion Efficiency * Lauter Efficiency.​
It is possible to obtain 100% conversion efficiency, but lauter efficiency is always significantly less than 100%, due to wort retained in the spent grain mass. Lauter efficiency depends on whether you sparge or not, and the detailed sparge process if you do sparge. It also depends on the ratio of grain bill weight to pre-boil volume, with larger grain bills having lower efficiency, for a given sparge process and pre-boil volume.

At a 62% mash efficiency it is almost certain that your conversion efficiency is much less than 100%.

Brew on :mug:
 

TheMadKing

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Having helped a friend with similar issues with his grainfather, I'm going to chime in and say that the size of your crush isn't really relevant here. you will get conversion if all your grain is hydrated after 60 minutes of mashing. The only thing the crush really affects is the rate of hydration due to the increased surface area of the grain particles. So if you want a faster mash, crushing fine will help, but if you are using all 60 minutes I don't think it's gaining you anything. So that leads to the assumption that your grain isn't getting hydrated evenly, which means you have channeling or no water in parts of your grain bed. This will hurt both conversion and lauter efficiency

A fine crush with shredded husks is more likely to cause channeling and incomplete grain hydration. Crush your grain slowly to preserve the husks and add 1 cup of rice hulls, stir your mash thoroughly, and slow your recirculation speed down as much as you can. When you sparge, do it as slowly as you can stand. Its all about water contact with the grain
 

mbg

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OG was targeted at 1.065 and I ended at 1.059. So I am not too far off where I need to be.
I'm expecting my 10.5 to be delivered today so I'm no way an expert on this system but have done a lot of reading while waiting for it. First off your gravity is actually quite a bit off.

You received lots of good feedback but I'll pile on.

  • Crush - some double crush, some use smaller gap, and some pre-condition the grain.
  • Mash - some let the grain sit for 10-12 minutes to hydrate before starting to recirculate.
  • Recirculate - as mentioned earlier slow it down.
  • Mash out - mash out at 168F for around 10 minutes.
  • Sparge - I've read a few use a "pseudo" sparge by pulling the pipe and rinsing the grains with hot wort at mash-out temperature for 10 minutes then drain grains for another 20 minutes.

Good Luck!
 

piperbrew

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For those that have lined their mash pipe with a bag, what size bag have you found works well with the 10.5 Foundry? I've seen some say they ordered a custom wilser bag, but others seem to be using standard bags.
 

Chucker17

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I have a regular bag. I use clips to keep it from falling in. Works fine.
 

texaviator23

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I am 10 brews in on the Anvil 10.5 and depending on my grain bill I average 70-75% mash efficiency. The main causes I’ve found for lower efficiency is recirculating to fast, not watching the ph, and grain crush. The holes on the side actually help the flow a lot unless you’re pulling to hard with the pump and compacting. I also find that going above 13lbs of grain my efficiency drops down to 70 and 14-16lbs it drops to around 68%.

All in all it’s a great system especially on 240v.
 

Noob_Brewer

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I am 10 brews in on the Anvil 10.5 and depending on my grain bill I average 70-75% mash efficiency. The main causes I’ve found for lower efficiency is recirculating to fast, not watching the ph, and grain crush. The holes on the side actually help the flow a lot unless you’re pulling to hard with the pump and compacting. I also find that going above 13lbs of grain my efficiency drops down to 70 and 14-16lbs it drops to around 68%.

All in all it’s a great system especially on 240v.
Agreed on all three of these issues. I recirculate very slow just to keep mash temps stable in this system. Without recirc, the 10.5g is so tall, there will be greater temp stratification if not recirculating. I keep track of my Ph too targeting 5.35ish. Use lactic acid to accomplish this. As for grind, I go finer with a wilser bag to help with mash efficiency. I use a cereal killer mill at 0.028”. I tried 0.025 and I think this was too fine for recirc and lautering so I like 0.028”. My last brew I had an “oat cream IPA” with 17.75lbs of grain + an additional 12oz of rice hulls. 6.5lbs of this was oats (malted and flaked combined) and 2.25lb of white wheat. So it was a hot sticky grain bill for sure. Mash lauter efficiency was 75.8% with a sparge and hit my volumes too. So very happy with this outcome.
 

Brewer_Dad

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I just ordered the 10.5 version. My main driver is to shorten the brewing time and space usage. I usually brew 5 gallon all grain batches with a 3 step setup. Never used BIAB or no sparge. I've scaled some of my recipes in brewfather changing the equipment profile and it adds 30% to the grain bill, I assume to correct the sparge.

Will be saving this post for further reading. Lots of good advice. Cheers!
 

ShaLaH

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You'll love it. It's simple, easy to clean, and takes up very little space. Keep in mind, you can sparge with this too. Some people have dedicated HLT's for the sparge. I re-purposed my old cooler mash-tun and use that as my HLT.
 

Brewer_Dad

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You'll love it. It's simple, easy to clean, and takes up very little space. Keep in mind, you can sparge with this too. Some people have dedicated HLT's for the sparge. I re-purposed my old cooler mash-tun and use that as my HLT.
Yeah, I'm thinking about selling everything but a keg for sparging. But then I'd have to keep a burner too. I think I'll do a couple of batches, and compare results between sparging and no sparging before I decide.
 

jdauria

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So looking at my numbers, 15 brews done on the 10.5. All but two were 5.5 gallons, two were 3.5. My average mash efficiency is 79.93%, but that includes an outlier where I must have had a bad reading and had 122.7% mash eff for one beer which is obviously impossible. Dropping that one to 72% gives me a 76.55% mash efficiency. Brewhouse a 69.35% rate.

My process for all but my last two beers have been with a bag in the Foundry, grain conditioned before milling, milled at 0.040. Mash only stirred at beginning and at 15 minutes and between mash steps if any. Recirculation started at 15 mins into mash. Malt pipe lifted and bag pushed to drain more wort. RO water, adjusted with salts and pH control.

But my last two brews, I have tried brewing without a bag. Everything else the same...and with that one change my mash efficiency average for the two beers has been 80.2% and BH efficiency 74.25%. So for some reason, I get better numbers without a bag. I noticed that with a bag, the grain is very compacted it after the mash, so maybe without the bag I am getting better drainage through the grain bed. So I am going to stick to not using a bag for now.
 

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Well I modified the mash pipe by blocking off the side holes and my mash efficiency jumped up to 78% from 66%. That's a big jump. I was expecting a OG of 1.048 and got 1.049.

I noticed right off the bat that it took much longer for the sparge water to run down thru the mash, verse how it ran right thru the sides before.

I cut up an old fermenter bucket to use to block off the side holes. Since it kept floating when the water got hot I had to use copper wire to hold it in place.

[
I really like the Anvil even though I've had to make a few tweaks to it and it has a few draw backs, it's nothing that can't be overcome. I now spend more time thinking about brewing instead of cleaning the garage floor of winters grime and dragging out a ton of equipment and then putting it all away when done. It's taken 2 hours off my brew day just from clean up, setup and tear down. Now I setup next to the kitchen sink, pull up a chair, watch TV and have a cold brew.
 

bwible

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Yeah, I'm thinking about selling everything but a keg for sparging. But then I'd have to keep a burner too. I think I'll do a couple of batches, and compare results between sparging and no sparging before I decide.
You might want to reconsider selling stuff off until you’ve used this thing a few times. The issue you’ll run into is when you want to do big beers, like barleywines, RIS or the like. Check the grain capacity of your system. I believe the 10.5 can hold 16lbs. So you are not brewing 5 gallons of any real big beers on that. They make an adapter ring so you can brew 2.5 or 3 gallons if you want to brew a big beer. Or you could supplement with extract - and that’s always a viable option.

I have the 6.5. It has an 8 lb capacity. Honestly, that is sitting now as I’ve gone back to using my cooler mash tun for anything but the lightest gravity beers like bitter. With an 8 lb capacity, its a struggle to brew 3 gallons of anything over 1.060.
 

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You might want to reconsider selling stuff off until you’ve used this thing a few times. The issue you’ll run into is when you want to do big beers, like barleywines, RIS or the like. Check the grain capacity of your system. I believe the 10.5 can hold 16lbs. So you are not brewing 5 gallons of any real big beers on that. They make an adapter ring so you can brew 2.5 or 3 gallons if you want to brew a big beer. Or you could supplement with extract - and that’s always a viable option.

I have the 6.5. It has an 8 lb capacity. Honestly, that is sitting now as I’ve gone back to using my cooler mash tun for anything but the lightest gravity beers like bitter. With an 8 lb capacity, its a struggle to brew 3 gallons of anything over 1.060.
That's nice to know. Thx for the advice. I'm not usually a fan of big beers, the occasional stout or porter, but I usually keep around APAs, IPAs, and some beers with lots of body for the winter. My wife only drinks amber and the sort. That was also a factor when I decided to get the anvil.

I'm in Chile and there aren't much choices. I had to import the anvil through a 3rd party, retailers only sale Brewzillas, and I actually saved a couple hundred bucks. I might travel to the US early next year son I'm bringing back some accessories.
 

bwible

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That's nice to know. Thx for the advice. I'm not usually a fan of big beers, the occasional stout or porter, but I usually keep around APAs, IPAs, and some beers with lots of body for the winter. My wife only drinks amber and the sort. That was also a factor when I decided to get the anvil.

I'm in Chile and there aren't much choices. I had to import the anvil through a 3rd party, retailers only sale Brewzillas, and I actually saved a couple hundred bucks. I might travel to the US early next year son I'm bringing back some accessories.
We’re big fans of Imperial Stout. It’s my wife’s favorite beer when she drinks beer and I usually end up brewing it 3 times a year. Our club does big beer projects - we’re in the process now of having a bunch of guys brew a 1.085 old ale and then we’re all going to get together and fill a used bourbon barrel and age it for awhile in that. I like to brew barleywine for Christmas and over the winter. I have a 1.060 brown ale I want to do next. I guess I do bigger beers more than I thought I was doing them when I bought the 6.5.

For the beers I can do on it, it works great.
 

mbg

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Yeah, I'm thinking about selling everything but a keg for sparging. But then I'd have to keep a burner too. I think I'll do a couple of batches, and compare results between sparging and no sparging before I decide.
I had a 15 gal. Boilermaker that I ran on NG and used a cooler tun. After three brews on the AF I sold it all. I did no sparge on the first couple of beers then sparged the last two. I found a big spaghetti pot from the kitchen works well to hold the 1-2 gallons of sparge water.
 

NSMikeD

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good thread. I am in the camp that thinks chasing mash efficiency causes me undue worries and that consistent numbers is more important for me as a home brewer. So long as I can predict the outcome, the difference in $$$ for the additional grain was pennies.

I will be doing my 3rd batch on my 6.5gal Foundry (2.5 gal batches) soon and I'm not looking for high numbers but rather consistent numbers, From the get go, I presumed I would have a learning curve to get there.

So that being said, I am sipping the simple pale ale from my first Anvil Foundry brewed on 9/12 and loving the awesome cascade/amarillo/citra hop combo I put together for this brew. So out of curiosity I saw BeerSmith 3 says my estimated mash efficiency was 76.2% and my actual was 67%. My estimated OG was 1.053 with actual 1.047 but in the end the beer finished with 5.8% ABV (slight higher than predicted as FG was lower that predicted).

Here's the deal though. This is one of the best beers I have brewed. I think the beer said "67%? pfffft, who cares "

I can't argue with it.
 

mbg

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good thread. I am in the camp that thinks chasing mash efficiency causes me undue worries and that consistent numbers is more important for me as a home brewer. So long as I can predict the outcome, the difference in $$$ for the additional grain was pennies.

I will be doing my 3rd batch on my 6.5gal Foundry (2.5 gal batches) soon and I'm not looking for high numbers but rather consistent numbers, From the get go, I presumed I would have a learning curve to get there.

So that being said, I am sipping the simple pale ale from my first Anvil Foundry brewed on 9/12 and loving the awesome cascade/amarillo/citra hop combo I put together for this brew. So out of curiosity I saw BeerSmith 3 says my estimated mash efficiency was 76.2% and my actual was 67%. My estimated OG was 1.053 with actual 1.047 but in the end the beer finished with 5.8% ABV (slight higher than predicted as FG was lower that predicted).

Here's the deal though. This is one of the best beers I have brewed. I think the beer said "67%? pfffft, who cares "

I can't argue with it.
Also - even after 4 brews on my AF I seem to be chasing volumes a bit but I'm getting there. My final volumes have been on the high side. So been adjusting grain absorption, boil-off, and other misc. losses.
 

tracer bullet

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This isn't directly AF efficiency related but sorta is - I haven't tried this but what about using the AF to heat mash water, putting that into a big igloo cooler, doing "normal" mashing, using the AF to heat sparge water (may need an intermediary container for the first runnings, hmm), sparging, and then using the AF for everything afterwards. Basically - it doesn't do it all, but it helps, and eliminates the propane needs.
 

Skeptonomicon

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On large foundry, consistent 72% efficiency. I have brewed up to 5 gal, 12 lbs grain without problem, although I did sparge on that beer. Another thing I have moved to to simplify my brew day is manually recirculating by taking about 1.5gal wort from the drain spigot and pouring back into the top using a 3 qt pot. I do this every 10 minutes or so. This might seem like more trouble than the recirculating pump, but the cleanup is so much easer.
 

renstyle

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This isn't directly AF efficiency related but sorta is - I haven't tried this but what about using the AF to heat mash water, putting that into a big igloo cooler, doing "normal" mashing, using the AF to heat sparge water (may need an intermediary container for the first runnings, hmm), sparging, and then using the AF for everything afterwards. Basically - it doesn't do it all, but it helps, and eliminates the propane needs.
This is broadly similar to my planned setup once my AF 6.5 arrives...

1. Use the AF to heat the initial strike water. (QUITE excited to have this on a timer!)
2. Do MIAB with a cooler.
3. During the hour-ish the mash is commencing, heat the remaining sparge water in the AF.
4. <have pot to hold sparge water at the ready> Transfer sparge water to this pot.
5. Pull first runnings from the cooler MT into the foundry and start it warming up.
6. Then sparge, pull 2nd runnings.

Commence the boil in earnest. :cool:

The only drawback with this setup is the need for a holding pot to transfer the sparge water into, which really isn't that big of a deal as the volume isn't large, at least on a 6.5 anyway.

This was designed for bigger beers, to allow maximum wort volume to fill the AF with the fewest extraneous parts. I already had the cooler, the bag, and the extra holding pot. I didn't opt for the AF pump kit (yet).

Alot of my small batch brews started on a stovetop, I never went the propane route. The MIAB step allowed me to step up from extract to AG with minimal overhead, tho the batch sizes were smaller due to stove limitations. For me a 6.5 AF is upsizing. :D

I ferment in corny kegs, so my MAX batch size into the fermenter is 4.5gal rather than the more common 5.5gal, which for stovetop volumes is pretty hefty. :)

Apologies for going OT here...
 

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After 6 beers with abysmal mash efficiency I've decided to break out my old mash tun. I've tried all of the easy stuff and am not interested in milling my grist to dust requiring a bag to keep the mud and hulls out of the brew kettle. My current crush is leaving far to much grain in the boil. I am still happy, the Foundry is a great boil kettle and HLT and I still get to brew inside, I'll just set the malt pipe off to the side and use my tried and true mash tun , which is way easier to clean.
 

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Foundry should be good for heating mash water, but a few ideas for anyone doing a cooler for mashing instead:

Heavy Duty Timer: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004TGO6RY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Plugged into it is a temp controller: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KMA6EAM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Controlling an immersion heater: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GXBC6FN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This is my cooler mash tun setup. I get it all put together at night and by the time I walk into the garage in the morning my first step is to mash in. Then back into the house for coffee and breakfast, and then when I head out again I start sparge and so on.

I wonder what it is w/ the Foundry that gives lower efficiency? Simply the lack of or much smaller sparge?
 

renstyle

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I find the wide range of efficiencies intriguing, but understandable.

The AF is double-walled, but not as efficient holding heat as a cooler.

The mix of BIAB w' mesh bag, BIAB w' included malt pipe, or a combination of both adds all kinds of variables.

Some have opted for the circulation pump kit, while others have not.

Like many above, I could really care less about maximizing efficiency (just for the sake of it anyways). I'd much rather dial in the consistency, even if it is lower.
 

Mike_J_F

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This has been a great thread to help my learn more about the Anvil 10.5 that I just started brewing with. Thank you to all the folks that have weighed in! Since I regularly harvest and re-use yeast, I'm intrigued about trying to use a bag with it to help reduce trub. Is there a particular bag and size that have worked well for folks?
 

Knightshade

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Like many above, I could really care less about maximizing efficiency (just for the sake of it anyways). I'd much rather dial in the consistency, even if it is lower.
100% on the consistency thing...part of the reason why I finally broke down and bought my own damn mill. Final variable outside of my control.
 

Willglenn

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I think the low efficiency is due to the tall narrow kettle design, my old boil kettle was a 13 gallon stainless pot short and wide I boiled off 1.75 gallons in one hour, my AF boils off .5 gallons in an hour running on 120v ( I wish I could do 220 just not an option in my current setup). More water to get get more of the sugars out of the mash. As for the varied efficiencies I think those of you running 220v are doing better than those of us running on 120v and agreed the crush is critical, you can't get a consistent crush from the local brew shop.
Yesterday I brewed using my old mash tun using the Anvil recirc pump to transfer I also went to a 90 minute boil, my efficiency improved but not as much as I would like, the best part was I had beautiful clear grain free wort going into the AF for the boil. Now I'm not trying to get 80% efficiency in fact I see people claiming to get 90% I question their methods, I would just like to get to around 70% right now I'm in the low to mid 60's.
 

Willglenn

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good thread. I am in the camp that thinks chasing mash efficiency causes me undue worries and that consistent numbers is more important for me as a home brewer. So long as I can predict the outcome, the difference in $$$ for the additional grain was pennies.

I will be doing my 3rd batch on my 6.5gal Foundry (2.5 gal batches) soon and I'm not looking for high numbers but rather consistent numbers, From the get go, I presumed I would have a learning curve to get there.

So that being said, I am sipping the simple pale ale from my first Anvil Foundry brewed on 9/12 and loving the awesome cascade/amarillo/citra hop combo I put together for this brew. So out of curiosity I saw BeerSmith 3 says my estimated mash efficiency was 76.2% and my actual was 67%. My estimated OG was 1.053 with actual 1.047 but in the end the beer finished with 5.8% ABV (slight higher than predicted as FG was lower that predicted).

Here's the deal though. This is one of the best beers I have brewed. I think the beer said "67%? pfffft, who cares "

I can't argue with it.
All of my AF beers have finished low, around 1.004 which leads me to believe the temperature control is not very accurate. I brewed yesterday using the AF as an HLT to heat strike water and then mash in my old cooler mash tun, the AF temp ran 3 degrees cooler than what my digital thermometer read. I had checked my thermometer and it's accurate at boil temp and freezing temp, but it could still be off in the middle temps. I then boiled in the AF.
 
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WeHeavy

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Ran across this YouTube video on Anvil mash efficiency. Pretty well spells out everything I was thinking that was causing low efficiency

 
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