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olotti

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In any effort to increase my mash efficiency I’m wondering about my water ratios. Today I’m brewing a neipa with a 17lb grain Bill crushed on my mill set at .028mm. I’m mashing in with 7gal, 1.56qt/lb, I’ll get 4gal first runnings. Then I do a mash out/single sparge with 195deg water to bring the grain bed to 168-170deg, I’ll collect my remaining 3.5gal with that bit using a false bottom there always seems to be about 2gal left over that I dump before cleaning the mlt. Am I using to much water cuz I know u want as little wort left as possible. Should I do a 6gal mash with a 3 gal sparge or 6gal and 4 gal?? Just asking as idk how much this could really effect efficiency, maybe a point or two????
 

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I can’t prove it mathematically, but in my head I would think your efficiency would be better collecting more first runnings and reducing your sparge since the first runnings are going to be the most concentrated. By diluting the last 3 gallons with sparge water and then not collecting it all, you are definitely leaving sugar behind.

I have an all in one all grain system. Personally I have had great luck mashing out at 170 using the heater, draining all runnings out, and then sparging with just one or two gallons to get to my boil volume.
 
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olotti

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I can’t prove it mathematically, but in my head I would think your efficiency would be better collecting more first runnings and reducing your sparge since the first runnings are going to be the most concentrated. By diluting the last 3 gallons with sparge water and then not collecting it all, you are definitely leaving sugar behind.

I have an all in one all grain system. Personally I have had great luck mashing out at 170 using the heater, draining all runnings out, and then sparging with just one or two gallons to get to my boil volume.
So go with an even thinner mash?? I drain the first runnings till it stops flowing. So try an 8gal mash in and 3 gal sparge? Or even go with a 2 gal sparge. I find with the false bottom dead space the gal or so liquid that may be under there then gets eventually recirculated into the sparge when I vorlouf so a 4 gal sparge may actually have 5 gal in the entire mlt if that makes sense hence why I’m leaving wort behind. Thinking out loud.
 

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Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you were stopping the first runnings before they were done. If you are collecting everything you can from the first runnings and then sparging, the only way for you to increase efficiency would be to sparge more, collect more, and then boil longer to compensate. Obviously at some point there is a diminishing return on this though. What is your efficiency now? It might not be worth the extra boil time to get 1 or 2 % increase in efficiency (at some point it’s easier to just add a bit more grain to the recipe)
 
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olotti

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Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you were stopping the first runnings before they were done. If you are collecting everything you can from the first runnings and then sparging, the only way for you to increase efficiency would be to sparge more, collect more, and then boil longer to compensate. Obviously at some point there is a diminishing return on this though. What is your efficiency now? It might not be worth the extra boil time to get 1 or 2 % increase in efficiency (at some point it’s easier to just add a bit more grain to the recipe)
with my new mill I went from 68% up to 73-74% the last batch. That’s brewhouse efficiency. I’m usually pretty spot on so far with matching my pbg to what beer smith projects it to be and I set my overall efficiency at 73% now. I’d rather not boil longer especially with a neipa which is what I mostly brew cuz itll change the color a touch besides add time. Last batch I collected more up to almost 8 gal and boiled 90 min and that’s as much as I’d like to go
 

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Oh wow. Yea that’s great efficiency. It sounds like your process is pretty spot on. Even if you are leaving some wort in the mash, it sounds like you are not losing much efficiency to it
 
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olotti

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Oh wow. Yea that’s great efficiency. It sounds like your process is pretty spot on. Even if you are leaving some wort in the mash, it sounds like you are not losing much efficiency to it
Ok cool that’s kinda what I was thinking as we discussed this, pretty sure I’m at my peak efficiency unless I start fly sparging. Getting my mill was my next big step and since I got that and it’s improved I don’t really have many avenues left to look at to improve efficiency.
 

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With batch sparging (whether single, double, or whatever), the best efficiency is when each "running" is the same size as each of the others. Note: that's not saying (in the case of a single batch sparge, for example) that the strike water and sparge water volume should be equal. The strike water would be larger, to account for grain absorption. It's the actual runnings that should be equal.
 
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olotti

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Oh wow. Yea that’s great efficiency. It sounds like your process is pretty spot on. Even if you are leaving some wort in the mash, it sounds like you are not losing much efficiency to it
Just checked my last neipa in beer smith and I got 79% mash efficiency with a brew house efficiency of 72% and that was hitting all my volumes and numbers.
 
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olotti

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With batch sparging (whether single, double, or whatever), the best efficiency is when each "running" is the same size as each of the others. Note: that's not saying (in the case of a single batch sparge, for example) that the strike water and sparge water volume should be equal. The strike water would be larger, to account for grain absorption. It's the actual runnings that should be equal.
Ok that’s what I’ve been getting from what I’ve read and I basically pull off 4gal of first runnings and 3.75 gal after my sparge.
 

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2 gallons of dead space? If you're looking to improve efficiency that right there could be a good place to start. How about a dip tube that goes below your false bottom and sucks all that wort out of your mash tun?
 
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olotti

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Another observation IRT (mash) efficiency.
17# of grist is a lot for a 6 gallon batch of 1.060-1.065.
I use about 12-14# for a 5.5 gallon batch of NEIPA (in the fermenter). Very little losses here.
This is what I’m thinking. This batch today is 17lbs for a double neipa but I feel like instead of 8% it should be higher.
I don’t like to tip the mlt after the collection stops because what comes out is just cloudy wort with grain particulate in it instead of the nice clean wort so I just leave it I’ve thought about a sip tube but it needs to fit to this.
 

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olotti

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2 gallons of dead space? If you're looking to improve efficiency that right there could be a good place to start. How about a dip tube that goes below your false bottom and sucks all that wort out of your mash tun?
Any ideas of how to fit one to this. If I can suck all that unused wort out and clarify it through the Vorlauf I think that would def boost my efficiency and I wouldn’t have to use as much water either since I’d be collecting all of the runnings.
 

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Velnerj

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Any ideas of how to fit one to this. If I can suck all that unused wort out and clarify it through the Vorlauf I think that would def boost my efficiency and I wouldn’t have to use as much water either since I’d be collecting all of the runnings.
I imagine that's the view below your false bottom, correct?

If so, two ideas come to mind. The first is to attach a short plastic tube to the end of the barbed fitting you have there. The plastic tube will droop down to bottom and allow you to collect wort below your spigot hole.

Watch this short video to see what I mean. (BTW not my video)

The other idea is to attach a copper or brass nipple, instead of the barbed fitting, with an elbow joint pointing down with just a few millimeters clearance from the bottom of the tun.
 

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Ok that’s what I’ve been getting from what I’ve read and I basically pull off 4gal of first runnings and 3.75 gal after my sparge.
Right. So run off 3.875 gallons per running (without changing anything else), and you'll increase efficiency a little. Not much, but the little things add up. That said, 2 gallons of dead space is a much bigger issue.
 
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olotti

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I imagine that's the view below your false bottom, correct?

If so, two ideas come to mind. The first is to attach a short plastic tube to the end of the barbed fitting you have there. The plastic tube will droop down to bottom and allow you to collect wort below your spigot hole.

Watch this short video to see what I mean. (BTW not my video)

The other idea is to attach a copper or brass nipple, instead of the barbed fitting, with an elbow joint pointing down with just a few millimeters clearance from the bottom of the tun.
Yes that’s with the false bottom removed. I’ve looked at those elbow fittings. Time to look at my post where that was discussed cuz I found a few sites out there that may have what I need. Oh. Idea didn’t link btw.
 
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olotti

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Right. So run off 3.875 gallons per running (without changing anything else), and you'll increase efficiency a little. Not much, but the little things add up. That said, 2 gallons of dead space is a much bigger issue.
The 2 gal isn’t all under the fb. I believe just over a gallon is left under the barbed fitting so some of that leftover volume may be undrained wort from the sparge tooo either way sweet stuff being left behind. If I can find a way to drain it al I can use less water and leave less if nothing in the mlt. That’s my goal.
 

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Yes that’s with the false bottom removed. I’ve looked at those elbow fittings. Time to look at my post where that was discussed cuz I found a few sites out there that may have what I need. Oh. Idea didn’t link btw.
Forgot to post the video!

Check out around the 2:45 mark
 
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IslandLizard

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I think the consensus with those high placed drains is to simply tip your mash tun forward. Stick a thick, rolled up towel under the bottom's back.
If that's trubby wort, just collect separately, and pour it back on top ("re-vorlauf" it).

The short piece of attached tubing only works as long as the siphon remains. Once it breaks, as it often does toward the end of the lauter, it will never resume.
In that light, an elbow of some sort, going directly to the bottom, leaving perhaps a 1/8-1/4" gap with the bottom should work better. A tilt forward toward the end will get the rest out resuming the siphon.

False bottoms are notorious for creating dead space, but with the right spigot/elbow and tilting that can be overcome easily.
Spigots that are high up, not recessed in the bottom, generally need tilting of the tun at the end to completely or mostly drain at least.
 
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olotti

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I think the consensus with those high placed drains is to simply tip your mash tun forward. Stick a thick, rolled up towel under the bottom's back.
If that's trubby wort, just collect separately, and pour it back on top ("re-vorlauf" it).

The short piece of attached tubing only works as long as the siphon remains. Once it breaks, as it often does toward the end of the lauter, it will never resume.
In that light, an elbow of some sort, going directly to the bottom, leaving perhaps a 1/8-1/4" gap with the bottom should work better. A tilt forward toward the end will get the rest out resuming the siphon.

False bottoms are notorious for creating dead space, but with the right spigot/elbow and tilting that can be overcome easily.
Spigots that are high up, not recessed in the bottom, generally need tilting of the tun at the end to completely or mostly drain at least.
So today with 7 gal strike water on a 17.25 grain bill I collected almost 5 gal first runnings. Most I’ve ever had but I milled a touch finer and I then double milled part of the grain, collection got slow toward the end but it never got stuck and the grain bed was dry on top when it stopped running. Used 4 gal mash out/single sparge and collected my 7.5 gal. Mixed up the wort pulled a sample and chilled it to 64deg and checked with my hydrometer and the number was spot on to beer smith at 1.060. So I drained the rest of the mlt while the pot was on boil and when I tip it what came out per usual was prob a gallon of good looking filtered clean wort then it’s just a thick mess. I could’ve prob gone with 3 gal sparge if I’d known I’d collect 5 first runnings but usually it’s 4. Guess my question is with an elbow dip tube will I be able to get the rest of the clean stuff without the thick gunk that comes after. And if my numbers were spot on how much more efficiency am I gonna gain with that extra gallon of good clean wort. I’m just thinking with my basic setup and my mill I may be reaching my max efficiency for my system. Idk that’s why I ask.
 

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So I drained the rest of the mlt while the pot was on boil and when I tip it what came out per usual was prob a gallon of good looking filtered clean wort then it’s just a thick mess. I could’ve prob gone with 3 gal sparge if I’d known I’d collect 5 first runnings but usually it’s 4. Guess my question is with an elbow dip tube will I be able to get the rest of the clean stuff without the thick gunk that comes after.
The gunk is the powder from milling that comes through your false bottom, and collects in your MLT dead space during stirring and as the mash settles out.
Ideally, the powder laden gunky wort should be drained and collected at the end of mash stirring, and definitely during Vorlauf, filtered by pouring it back on top of the grist. Or just left behind, it doesn't hold onto that much wort, once the deadspace wort got drained by tipping the tun.

I guess your false bottom is a regular, round, perforated stainless sheet with 3/32" holes?
A few thoughts about that:
1. Since you're not recirculating, why using a false bottom at all?
It creates unwanted dead space, with no benefits, actually it's counterproductive and may impact your efficiency.

2. Most who use mash tuns like yours, simply connect a braid, a "Bazooka" tube, or a manifold like drainage system. That prevents the dead space, and may help draining more efficiently.
 

doug293cz

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As has been stated above, batch sparge efficiency is maximized when each running (initial and all sparges) has the same volume, and the undrainable MLT volume is zero.

To illustrate the effect of undrainable volume, I did a simulation with a 17 lb grain bill, 6 gal post boil, 1.25 gal boil off, single batch sparge with equal run offs, and 2 gal undrainable MLT volume vs 0 undrainable.

For 2 gal undrainable, the mash efficiency (assuming 100% conversion) was ~66%, with an OG of 1.066 - 1.067.

For 0 undrainable, the mash efficiency (also 100% conversion) was ~79%, with an OG of 1.079 - 1.080.

To get 1.0665 OG with 0 undrainable only required 13.4 lb of grain, and had a mash efficiency of ~84%.

Brew on :mug:
 
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olotti

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As has been stated above, batch sparge efficiency is maximized when each running (initial and all sparges) has the same volume, and the undrainable MLT volume is zero.

To illustrate the effect of undrainable volume, I did a simulation with a 17 lb grain bill, 6 gal post boil, 1.25 gal boil off, single batch sparge with equal run offs, and 2 gal undrainable MLT volume vs 0 undrainable.

For 2 gal undrainable, the mash efficiency (assuming 100% conversion) was ~66%, with an OG of 1.066 - 1.067.

For 0 undrainable, the mash efficiency (also 100% conversion) was ~79%, with an OG of 1.079 - 1.080.

To get 1.0665 OG with 0 undrainable only required 13.4 lb of grain, and had a mash efficiency of ~84%.

Brew on :mug:
So I should prob ditch the false bottom eh. When I got this cooler I attempted to use a ss braid by making my own out of those ss water connection lines and pulling the mesh out from inside the line so it was just the ss braid and it caused a stuck mash which I’ve never had before so I can only attribute it to the ss braid. My intent was to switch it over To the braid so I didn’t have anymore dead space And I could hopefully increase my efficiency but just didn’t work that time. I also noticed in a water test that as lizard mentioned once the water line dipped below the nipple where the braid was connected it broke the siphon and still left would be wort behind.
 

Velnerj

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So I should prob ditch the false bottom eh. When I got this cooler I attempted to use a ss braid by making my own out of those ss water connection lines and pulling the mesh out from inside the line so it was just the ss braid and it caused a stuck mash which I’ve never had before so I can only attribute it to the ss braid. My intent was to switch it over To the braid so I didn’t have anymore dead space And I could hopefully increase my efficiency but just didn’t work that time. I also noticed in a water test that as lizard mentioned once the water line dipped below the nipple where the braid was connected it broke the siphon and still left would be wort behind.
I don't think you need to ditch the false bottom. As Lizard stated an elbow joint that reaches just above the bottom of the cooler will work just fine with the false bottom and a little tip.

The reason you're getting around 1 gallon of murkey wort at the bottom is because your current system is not sucking wort below the spigot line, so when you vorlauf you're not cycling up all the gunk and it stays there. The elbow joint dip tube solves that issue.

So if you vorlauf you'll get clear wort all the way down and you'll be able to drain your mash tun nearly all the way. The 1/2 cup that's left over can be added to your bk or tossed out.
 
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olotti

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I don't think you need to ditch the false bottom. As Lizard stated an elbow joint that reaches just above the bottom of the cooler will work just fine with the false bottom and a little tip.

The reason you're getting around 1 gallon of murkey wort at the bottom is because your current system is not sucking wort below the spigot line, so when you vorlauf you're not cycling up all the gunk and it stays there. The elbow joint dip tube solves that issue.

So if you vorlauf you'll get clear wort all the way down and you'll be able to drain your mash tun nearly all the way. The 1/2 cup that's left over can be added to your bk or tossed out.
Makes sense. I just need to find a way to fit an elbow over this nipple. Unless I remove the nipple part and find an elbow that can be screwed into the spigot.
 
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olotti

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The gunk is the powder from milling that comes through your false bottom, and collects in your MLT dead space during stirring and as the mash settles out.
Ideally, the powder laden gunky wort should be drained and collected at the end of mash stirring, and definitely during Vorlauf, filtered by pouring it back on top of the grist. Or just left behind, it doesn't hold onto that much wort, once the deadspace wort got drained by tipping the tun.

I guess your false bottom is a regular, round, perforated stainless sheet with 3/32" holes?
A few thoughts about that:
1. Since you're not recirculating, why using a false bottom at all?
It creates unwanted dead space, with no benefits, actually it's counterproductive and may impact your efficiency.

2. Most who use mash tuns like yours, simply connect a braid, a "Bazooka" tube, or a manifold like drainage system. That prevents the dead space, and may help draining more efficiently.
think this will work.
 

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