Anvil Foundry Mash Eff

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doug293cz

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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


The author of the video claims that his 72% vs. 76% difference is significant, but statistically his data is not good enough to show significance. If you do a tolerance analysis taking into account the possible errors/differences in volume measurements, grain & hop absorption rates, grain bill weight measurement, SG measurement, grain moisture content, and grain potentials, you find that most efficiency measurements at the homebrewer level are only accurate to +/- about 3% - 4%. By using the same grain in both batches, he eliminates the possible errors/differences in grain moisture and potential, but the other sources of uncertainty are still there. To claim significance with this small a difference in result, he would have to repeat the experiment multiple times.

Just because the result is not statistically significant, doesn't mean it isn't real. It might or might not be real - this experiment by itself is not adequate to determine that. Since there might be a real difference, you should probably run your own side by side experiments to see what results you get. Just remember, a single experiment is not likely to prove a difference, unless the difference is much greater than the expected variation from run to run.

Brew on :mug:
 
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The author of the video claims that his 72% vs. 76% difference is significant, but statistically his data is not good enough to show significance. If you do a tolerance analysis taking into account the possible errors/differences in volume measurements, grain & hop absorption rates, grain bill weight measurement, SG measurement, grain moisture content, and grain potentials, you find that most efficiency measurements at the homebrewer level are only accurate to +/- about 3% - 4%. By using the same grain in both batches, he eliminates the possible errors/differences in grain moisture and potential, but the other sources of uncertainty are still there. To claim significance with this small a difference in result, he would have to repeat the experiment multiple times.

Just because the result is not statistically significant, doesn't mean it isn't real. It might or might not be real - this experiment by itself is not adequate to determine that. Since there might be a real difference, you should probably run your own side by side experiments to see what results you get. Just remember, a single experiment is not likely to prove a difference, unless the difference is much greater than the expected variation from run to run.

Brew on :mug:


And sometimes you can over think a problem that has a simple solution.
 

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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



Thanks for posting this, as it is absolute gold to me and possibly some others. I ordered the small batch ring thinking I’d actually do small batches and have been wondering if it might increase efficiency with regular batches for a little while now. But they took FOREVER to ship it and I eventually just cancelled the order for that part. (This was when the AF eas

But I just had my first brew on the AF with ironically, a 72% efficiency with a “presumed” .032 crush and bag in the pipe. (I state presumed because I evidently didn’t lock down the nuts and the eye bolts were loose after crushing the grains w/cereal killer). I was ecstatic as I was resigned to live in the low 60s.

A 76% sounds pretty damn good and something I’d def be okay with.
 

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I am most consistent at 75-76% mash/lauter efficiency using a bag in the malt-pipe and recirculating slowly. I initially was thinking about trying the small batch adapter but then saw the two protruding nubs and thought that they would rip my bag. So I didn't go that route. I do agree with @doug293cz though in that there will always be some variance in your mash efficiency. was curious as to my mash efficiencies on the foundry. I have completed 28 batches total on the foundry (this is my first all-grain brew system) and initially I was a little all over the place in terms of mash efficiency and my volumes were all over the place for a couple batches as well. But the batches that I hit my pre-boil volumes (n=23), my mash efficiencies came out to be and average (SD) of 74.7% (5.0) which had one major outlier (batch 2 @53.1 mash efficiency) which was a disaster for me due to poor crush and recirculating way to fast. After removing that one poor brew, by 22 batch average (SD) comes out to 75.7% (1.9). So without the small batch adapter, my average mash efficiency comes out right at what that tuber reported with the adapter. And given my standard deviation at about 2%, Im not sure the 4% difference reported by that utuber is really that big of an improvement given the singe experiment.

EDIT: I also noted that that tube video, the person is saying these were his brew house efficiencies, not mash efficiencies. SO would be curious if that was a typo/misstatement or not too.

EDIT2: I will also add that I'm a sparger. All but one of my brews Ive sparged a gallon to 1.5g which I imagine helped with my efficiency.
 
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cmac62

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I've only brewed two batches so far on the system, but my first was over 80% and my last was at almost 75%. I did recirc, and sparged with 2 gals in my old cooler MT. Just put the malt pipe into the cooler and ran the 170* water over the grainbed a couple of times. It was not too difficult and I know it is upping my efficiency. :mug:
 

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Finally, I hit 74% efficiency! Been stuck at around 60% using the Anvil malt pipe so I quit using it and went back to my cooler mash tun using the Anvil to heat strike water and boil. First attempt didn't go as well as I had hoped, didn't gang much but I learned a few things, todays brew I switched to a 90 minute boil, increased my batch size by 1/2 a gallon and batch sparged draining the tun before sparging. Only problem is my Special Bitter is in IPA territory. My mash tun is actually far easier to clean than the malt pipe and the wort going into the anvil for boil is crystal clear with no husk. For me the only reason I bought the Anvil was so I could brew indoors and didn't have to mess with propane, so I'm still thrilled with the unit I simply brew pretty much like I did before just doing it inside.
 

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For me the only reason I bought the Anvil was so I could brew indoors and didn't have to mess with propane, so I'm still thrilled with the unit I simply brew pretty much like I did before just doing it inside.
This is similar to my current setup with the foundry and my reasons for purchasing an electric unit. From time to time I still do a BIAB inside the Foundry for ease and to do a quick batch. Eventually I suspect I'll end up using the Foundry as a dedicated HLT or second running BK.
 

Willglenn

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This is similar to my current setup with the foundry and my reasons for purchasing an electric unit. From time to time I still do a BIAB inside the Foundry for ease and to do a quick batch. Eventually I suspect I'll end up using the Foundry as a dedicated HLT or second running BK.
I’ve thought about getting a 6.5 AF for a hot liquor tank. Right now I heat my mash water and then heat my sparge water while mashing. Which means I have to transfer the sparge water to an additional container so I can run off into the 10.5 AF.
 

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I haven't done any electrical upgrades to get 240v over to my brewing space so I'm still at 120v. I pre heat all my mash and sparge water in the Foundry all at once and then collect the wort into a different kettle before transferring it back over to the Foundry to boil. Yeah, it's extra steps and more cleaning but it really doesn't add much additional time to the complete brew day.
 

Krael52

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Ideal? How do you define ideal? I have seen it written in literature as 1.20 to 1.25 qts/lb being a minimum for adequate starch solubility to achieve conversion, but never as an ideal and never referred to as a 'standard.' Certainly a mash thickness of 1.25 qts/lb is better for lauter efficiency as you have more water to sparge with and pull out more of the remaining sugars in the malts.

The Germans have frequently favored a thinner mash for conversion; the English, thicker to maximize the throughput of the mash tun. There are plenty of brewers, such as myself, who do full volume mashing and do not suffer lack of conversion (or mash efficiency) because of the thin mash conditions. A thinner mash has also been linked in literature to faster conversion most probably due to greater solubility of starches early in the mashing process. Unless you are using 30% or higher starchy adjuncts, lack of enzymes for conversion is hardly an issue with most common base malts available these days.

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.
What is your water/grain ratio if you don’t mind me asking?
 

Chucker17

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Its been sometime since I posted, but I want to give a quick update. I bought a grain mill (Northern Brewer Hullwrecker) and I have hit my target OG on my 5 batches made since purchase. The mill does not have specific increments, but it is set around .030-.035. I follow the 1 gallon sparge as in the Foundry manual and it has worked great. Thanks for all the advise in the past. I am really happy with this system.

forgot to mention that my mash efficiency has been between 72%-75% (if I am calculating correctly).
 
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John Spiegel

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Hi.
New to posting on this thread, but read through it a few times.

Purchased my AF 10.5 recently. Just finished my second batch. 1st batch was at a measly 45% mash efficiency. A large part of this was due to the fact that I used the recommended water volumes for 120v no-sparge batches, and overshot my volume. Ended with around 6.25 gallons instead of the 5.5 I was shooting for. Didn't boil off nearly as much as I expected. Otherwise, I was already implementing a lot of tips such as slowing down the pump.

Second batch was around 60% efficiency. I adjusted my volumes a bit for my second batch and was actually slightly under (5.25 gal). I forgot to have my local shop double crush (I don't have a mill), but I added in lifting the grain basket during vorlauf and a mash out at 168F; both seemed to help a bit. Next brew, I plan to keep those steps, remember to double crush, and I want to see if sparging will increase efficiency from there.

I don't have a grain bag or the small-batch adaptor, but have played around with the idea of having wort recirculate to the side of the basket for a bit to encourage the pump to draw more evenly. Thoughts?
 

bwible

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I have the 6.5 not the 10.5. With the 6.5 I need to add 1 gallon of water to fill the space under the bottom of the basket. So I calculate mash water 1.5 qts per pound plus 1 gallon. Figure out how much water it takes for the space under the basket in the 10.5 and add that plus 1.5 qts per pound of grain. Reduce your sparge water by the extra.

My mash efficiency went up when I started adjusting my mash ph with acid malt. Use whatever water chemistry program. I use EZ water calculator.

Adjust water volume and mash ph and your efficiency will go way up. Mine was around 70% until I made these adjustments. I get around 82% now.
 

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With the 6.5 I need to add 1 gallon of water to fill the space under the bottom of the basket. So I calculate mash water 1.5 qts per pound plus 1 gallon. Figure out how much water it takes for the space under the basket in the 10.5 and add that plus 1.5 qts per pound of grain. Reduce your sparge water by the extra.

That's a good start. It's actually a lot around the sides of the basket too. After the gallon underneath, the area across the diameter of the Foundry where the basket is is divided up roughly 70% inside the pipe and 30% around the outside of it.


I'm not sure what the best fudge factors to use are. If you take the 1.5 ratio let's say, then add another 30% around the sides of the pipe so you actually have the 1.5 inside of it, then add another gallon under it.... That sounds great off the top to me, but might really be too much if you occasionally raise and lower the pipe to get things all mixed in.

I don't really have a recommended amount of water or best practice but - FYI on the dimensions and how little water might actually be "inside" the pipe where the grain is.
 

bwible

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That's a good start. It's actually a lot around the sides of the basket too. After the gallon underneath, the area across the diameter of the Foundry where the basket is is divided up roughly 70% inside the pipe and 30% around the outside of it.


I'm not sure what the best fudge factors to use are. If you take the 1.5 ratio let's say, then add another 30% around the sides of the pipe so you actually have the 1.5 inside of it, then add another gallon under it.... That sounds great off the top to me, but might really be too much if you occasionally raise and lower the pipe to get things all mixed in.

I don't really have a recommended amount of water or best practice but - FYI on the dimensions and how little water might actually be "inside" the pipe where the grain is.
I’m using their pump during the mash so that is moving all the water at least from the bottom back through the grain.
 

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I think that if you are recirculating and lifting the basket a few times, you're probably fine with a fairly "thick" mash if you are eventually getting the saturated water away from the grains and replacing it with something that can extract a little more from them.

1.25 - 1.50 is a nice target (qts water / pound grain) for mashing in a cooler, and has a lot of history on why it works. For Anvil or any other e-brewer with a basket, that uses a lot more water under and around the basket to be able to actually have that volume *inside* the basket where the grains actually are. 1.25 - 1.50 works here if you don't recirculate or lift & lower, but if you do those things then... what ratio do you actually have? Probably the equivalent of something much higher. Maybe you're varying between 1.0 and a full 2.0 or something at any given moment.

So what works for us? 1.2, 1.1, 1.0? Maybe even less? I have no idea, haha. I've had some pretty good efficiencies, like 80-85%, with batch sparging and about 1.0 or so for the ratio, with recirculation & lift / lower a few times throughout. Haven't really tried anything lower.

This affects us 6.5 owners more than the 10.5's. For us, that gallon under and 30% on the sides can easily be half our mash water.
 

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Is the design of the mash pipe causing the loss? I'm thinking it is. Has anyone else with an Anvil Foundry experiencing the same thing?
I'm plan on brewing it again and seeing if I get the same results, then over Christmas vacation I plan on blocking off the side holes to see if that changes anything.

I.E. is the design resulting in an inefficient non-uniform distribution of the mash water as it flows such that there may be "stagnant" areas in the grain causing you to miss some of the sugars.
 

kevin58

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@Oginme can address the issue in greater detail but it has become a known issue with these Foundry units that there is a dead space between the malt pipe and the boil kettle wall where the water does not get pulled into the pump for recirculation. You need to lift the malt pipe once or twice during the mash to get that water mixed in so it contacts the grains.
 

bwible

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I’ve pretty much taken to just using the Foundry as my mash tun. I like having the temp control and being able to do step mashes.

For the last 10 batches or so I’ve been doing the mash in the Foundry recirculating with their pump. After 60 minutes the wort flowing out of the pump is usually crystal clear. I found if I lift the basket the wort becomes no longer clear as all the junk I just spent an hour circulating to get rid of gets re-distributed.

So after the mash is complete I remove the pump and put my brew kettle under the Foundry and drain into that using a long piece of tubing that reaches the bottom of my kettle. And I put that inside my hop spider basket for further filtering.

I boil on my stovetop since I’m usually doing 3 gallon batches. I calculate all my recipes as 3.5 gallon batches. I collect 4 gallons out of the Foundry and the intent is to have 3.5 gallons go into the fermenter after the boil so that I actually end up with 3 gallons of finished beer at the end after losses in the fermenter.

3 gallons works out to be a case plus a 6 pack. For me this is a good batch size that has been working well. Especially when I have multiple batches on hand. I’m not going through it too quickly and in most cases I don’t have batches laying around forever. Except for my barleywines from the last 3 years.
 

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I use my 6.5 for both, but it's funny I'd probably go the other way - mash in a cooler then finish off in the Anvil.

My last brew I made an Imperial Stout, around 10% ABV, using 10 lbs of grain. I ditched the pipe altogether, used a false bottom recommended elsewhere, and then BIAB'd. It was the only way I was going to get decent efficiency with that much grain. Seemed to work well.

Obviously there are many options and almost all of them work.
 

John Spiegel

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But that does not mix in the water/wort between the basket wall and vessel wall.

Brew on :mug:

I have a habit when I stir occasionally do move the output of the pump to the outside of the basket wall - circulate that wort while stirring the grain bed. Do you think this sufficiently mixes things up/encourages the pump to draw from the sides? I also lift the basket once or twice.
 

doug293cz

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I have a habit when I stir occasionally do move the output of the pump to the outside of the basket wall - circulate that wort while stirring the grain bed. Do you think this sufficiently mixes things up/encourages the pump to draw from the sides? I also lift the basket once or twice.
Yes, both of those actions do a lot to mix in the dilute wort in the flow dead zones.

Brew on :mug:
 

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I'm on my 3rd brew with the 10.5 gal Anvil and the first 2 brews went well but my Mash Efficiency was low according to BS 3 and I just chalked it to learning curve.

Well I got serious with the 3rd brew and my mash efficiency is still low at 66%. Using my cooler it's in the upper 70's.

I'm thinking it's the way the mash pipe is designed with the holes 4-5 inches up the side allowing the mash water to flow out the sides and not down and out thru the whole mash. I wonder if a portion of the mash is not being sparged.

I'm thinking of doing a another brew but somehow blocking off the side holes.
I have a foundry 6.5 and my efficiency in upwards of 84% - I believe it is how you circulate the wort during the mash.
 

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@Oginme can address the issue in greater detail but it has become a known issue with these Foundry units that there is a dead space between the malt pipe and the boil kettle wall where the water does not get pulled into the pump for recirculation. You need to lift the malt pipe once or twice during the mash to get that water mixed in so it contacts the grains.
Also, I guess it's even a bigger issue with mash temperature stability since the temperature probe is outside in the dead space? I guess that's why when I choose a strike temperature of 159, for example, for a 152 mash, the Anvil temperature reading only drops to156 15 minutes after mash-in. I've been adjusting my strike temperatures downward so the Anvil temperature reading reads 152 after mash-in. After reading all of this, I guess that was the incorrect strategy?
 

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After reading all of this, I guess that was the incorrect strategy?

Probably a perfect strategy.

When you throw room temp grains into hot water, that water will cool down. There are plenty of calculators for it, it's a pretty simple one balancing mass and temperatures. Starting with water hotter than your mash temp is sort of perfect, as long as you remember to dial the temperature down to your mash target right afterwards. You don't have to do this of course but it'll get you there faster.

The probe is in the bottom of the kettle, near the heating source. So that's not great. But - if you have the power dialed back a bit and are recirculating (bonus if you point the curved pick up pipe towards the probe to help draw wort over it), I think you'll find that it's at least a little more accurate.

Also I'd suggest using a thermometer a few times during the mash after things have settled out, and see how grain temps compare to what's indicated on the display. I find my grains are consistently 2 degrees cooler than shown. But - this will be different for each person depending on things like grain volume, recirculation rate, and so on.
 

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This has been a very interesting thread to go through. I’ve done 9 batches now on my Anvil, and I’m trying to increase my efficiency as well. My first step was to double grind 1/2 my grist. This helped me go from high-50’s to high-60’s. I’ve also seen a YouTube video suggesting lifting the malt pipe once or twice during mashing to bring the wort outside the pipe in. Might try this at some point just for the heck of it. I hadn’t thought of using a BIAB bag in the pipe. This will also be something to try in the future.
 

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Probably a perfect strategy.

When you throw room temp grains into hot water, that water will cool down. There are plenty of calculators for it, it's a pretty simple one balancing mass and temperatures. Starting with water hotter than your mash temp is sort of perfect, as long as you remember to dial the temperature down to your mash target right afterwards. You don't have to do this of course but it'll get you there faster.

The probe is in the bottom of the kettle, near the heating source. So that's not great. But - if you have the power dialed back a bit and are recirculating (bonus if you point the curved pick up pipe towards the probe to help draw wort over it), I think you'll find that it's at least a little more accurate.

Also I'd suggest using a thermometer a few times during the mash after things have settled out, and see how grain temps compare to what's indicated on the display. I find my grains are consistently 2 degrees cooler than shown. But - this will be different for each person depending on things like grain volume, recirculation rate, and so on.
I guess I wasn't too clear regarding the issue. In the past, I've gone by the strike temps listed in the Foundry manual. For example, 12 lbs grain, strike temp 159 for a 152 temp mash. I always have the power off for mash-in and I don't turn it on until it gets close to 152 degrees. It reaches 152, according to Foundry temp probe sitting in the dead space water, in about 30 minutes. (note, I start recirc 10 minutes in). Most of the first 30 minutes of mash, again according to the Foundry temp probe is spent from 159 down to 155. So, my basic question is "do I trust the Foundry temp reading regarding the mash temp and adjust my strike temp downward so the mash spends most of the first 30 minutes closer to 152 per the Foundry temp reading, or ignore the Foundry temp reading and stick with the 159 degree mash-in?"
 

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I see what you're saying. Well FWIW given the questions you're asking, you are very qualified to experiment and find out! I'm serious by the way.

With a cooler mashtun it's easy, because the calculators should get things nearly perfect pretty quickly. For use with the dead space under and around the basket, the grain can really cool that water much more quickly given it's only exposed to a lower percent of it. I've tried lots of stirring and lift / lower a few times over the first 5 minutes or so, hoping that helps. I'm sure it does, even if it isn't perfect. After that I just turn on the heat again, start recirculating, and hope for the best. Thinking about it - I know I'm off about 2 degrees, but... am I off the whole time, or only some of it? Early, mid or late in the mash? I'll have to check that out next time.
 

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I see what you're saying. Well FWIW given the questions you're asking, you are very qualified to experiment and find out! I'm serious by the way.

With a cooler mashtun it's easy, because the calculators should get things nearly perfect pretty quickly. For use with the dead space under and around the basket, the grain can really cool that water much more quickly given it's only exposed to a lower percent of it. I've tried lots of stirring and lift / lower a few times over the first 5 minutes or so, hoping that helps. I'm sure it does, even if it isn't perfect. After that I just turn on the heat again, start recirculating, and hope for the best. Thinking about it - I know I'm off about 2 degrees, but... am I off the whole time, or only some of it? Early, mid or late in the mash? I'll have to check that out next time.
Good advice, will try.
 

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I'm talking conversion efficiency.
Whether I'm talking about sparging or recirculating, I can't help but to think a portion of the mash is not being effected. Is the mash or sparge water channeling by flowing out the sides of the mash pipe leaving a cone shape of grain unaffected.

I'm thinking of cutting up an old plastic fermenter bucket and using that to block off the side holes.

I think I saw a YouTube where they make a ring that does what you want , it’s placed on the inside to block the drainage out the side as an option, I was searching electric brew kettles and saw it
 

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Anvil sells one. I just made one with some .025 " Aluminum sheet I have. Will give it a try with my next brew. I'm about 70% without it and last two brews I Sparged with roughly a gallon.
 

edd101

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I have several brews under my belt from my 10 gallon Foundry (with the old malt pipe design), and consistently have hit 65% efficiency with 1 gallon sparge. My last run yesterday jumped up to 78%, and these were the only changes I made:
- Grainbill was my highest yet. I typically do around 9-10 but this was 13.
- Grainbill was crushed by Northern Brewer instead of AIH (which was bought out)
- I allowed more water to pump through.
- The grain bed was much more compact and slow to drain. So much so that the malt pipe filled up and almost overflowed but not quite (I slowed down the pump a tad to equalize).

From what I have heard the malt pipe filling up is a "bad" thing but it seemed to work out for me. Thoughts? Also possible it was unrelated and something else caused a jump in the efficiency.
 

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I have several brews under my belt from my 10 gallon Foundry (with the old malt pipe design), and consistently have hit 65% efficiency with 1 gallon sparge. My last run yesterday jumped up to 78%, and these were the only changes I made:
- Grainbill was my highest yet. I typically do around 9-10 but this was 13.
- Grainbill was crushed by Northern Brewer instead of AIH (which was bought out)
- I allowed more water to pump through.
- The grain bed was much more compact and slow to drain. So much so that the malt pipe filled up and almost overflowed but not quite (I slowed down the pump a tad to equalize).

From what I have heard the malt pipe filling up is a "bad" thing but it seemed to work out for me. Thoughts? Also possible it was unrelated and something else caused a jump in the efficiency.
My mash efficiency jumped when I started adjusting mash ph. I was always getting right around 70%. When I started using acid malt to adjust the ph it jumped to about 81%.

Of the things you listed, the crush would probably have the biggest effect.
 
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