Help me with MASH efficiency, please!

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MrBlackrock

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So, i have been having a hard time hitting my numbers on mash. I constantly am about 15 points under.

I use a 10 gal Igloo Tun with a False bottom and a bazooka. The false bottom sits over the valve and bazooka. It also prevents 5L of water to touch the grain, wich is added to beersmith.

I also lose about 2.5L of worth under the valve, also in beersmith.
It seems that all these losses have a major impact since it substracts from my fly sparging water.

As example, i brewed a SMaSH today.
for 21L (5.5 gals in ballpark)

I had 21L of Mash water and 16.5 of Fly Sparging (2.6 water/grain ratio).
My Mash gravity ended up at 1.042 (estimation of 1.049)
Aint the end of the world, but on my bigger beers its drastic, example

-Double IPA: 1.056 vs 1.066
-Imperial Stout: 1.060 vs 1.089 (ouch)

SO, anyone had similar issues and managed to fix ??

I use a barley crusher currently set to .40 (roughly)

Water PH is around 7.0 (Our water is pretty good off the tap)

Fly sparging at about 1L per mins both from the Hot Liquor Tank and Lautering.
 

jerbrew

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First I would say that you need to know where you're loosing efficiency. The numbers you're giving give an overall or brewhouse efficiency. Brewhouse = Lauter efficiency * conversion efficiency. You'll need to take a post mash gravity reading to determine your conversion efficiency. You also need to know fairly accurately the volume of wort you're measuring. Knowing that your conversion efficiency is "good" let's you focus on the lauter side of things.

Braukaiser is a great resource for this.

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Understanding_Efficiency

That page pretty much breaks down the potential problems so you can isolate them and improve your process.

Good luck.
 
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MrBlackrock

MrBlackrock

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First I would say that you need to know where you're loosing efficiency. The numbers you're giving give an overall or brewhouse efficiency. Brewhouse = Lauter efficiency * conversion efficiency. You'll need to take a post mash gravity reading to determine your conversion efficiency. You also need to know fairly accurately the volume of wort you're measuring. Knowing that your conversion efficiency is "good" let's you focus on the lauter side of things.

Braukaiser is a great resource for this.

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Understanding_Efficiency

That page pretty much breaks down the potential problems so you can isolate them and improve your process.

Good luck.
The numbers are Post Mash numbers!
 

BOBrob

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I batch sparge myself. I also use a barley crusher; BUT it is set around .035 or as less. My grind is close to flour with hulls. A better grind should help and add as much water as needed to get preboil volume. the temp. of sparge water can also effect your gravity. Read the stickys and other forums, but a good grind, hitting your temps. and water volumes is a good start. The temp of your wort also plays into your hydrometer reading. Good luck it takes time to learn a (your) system and what works best.
 

mongoose33

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If I were you, I'd change my methods. I batched sparged a lot before I started to do BIAB, and it only took me one look at fly sparging to know that batch sparging was for me.

As BOBrob says, you need to crush finer. That'll help. You can set the rollers to the width of a credit card, that'll be close.

Then, do a batch sparge. Faster, and no reason, especially if you squeeze, to have a low efficiency.

For a typical batch, I'd have four gallons of strike water (15x liters) and 4 gallons of sparge water. From that I would end up with about 6.75 gallons into the boil kettle, depending on how much grain.

Something I would likely do now as I've done it with BIAB is I'd probably line my mash tun w/ a bag, and then when done with sparging, I'd squeeze out remaining wort. Because squeezing reduces losses, you don't need as much water to start.

I've been doing BIAB with 7 gallons; I'm just a tiny bit short on my yield, so I'm going to go to 7.25 gallons for what, in my case, is a pretty standard 11# of grain (5kg).

If you want to continue fly sparging, I have nothing which might help you. There's not a chance I'd switch to fly sparging. With the approach above, you losses will be minimal, and with a finer crush, you'll have your efficiency shoot up.
 

Red_Dog

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Check your mash Ph 10 minutes after doe in 5.3-5.4 This made a big difference for me and your water to grain ratio seems a bit high I use 1.25qts to one This looks like oatmeal in the morning:mug:
 

brewbama

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IMO the crush is not the problem. The problem is all the loss your getting. To increase brew house efficiency get rid of all that loss below the false bottom. I recommend a bag to use as a filter in place of the false bottom to eliminate nearly all loss. Once you add that loss back to the boil kettle then look at ph and crush.
 
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MrBlackrock

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IMO the crush is not the problem. The problem is all the loss your getting. To increase brew house efficiency get rid of all that loss below the false bottom. I recommend a bag to use as a filter in place of the false bottom to eliminate nearly all loss. Once you add that loss back to the boil kettle then look at ph and crush.
So i would need a bigass BIAB?
 
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MrBlackrock

MrBlackrock

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Check your mash Ph 10 minutes after doe in 5.3-5.4 This made a big difference for me and your water to grain ratio seems a bit high I use 1.25qts to one This looks like oatmeal in the morning:mug:
Too much water?? I have seen as much as 3L/kg and im at 2.608
 
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MrBlackrock

MrBlackrock

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If I were you, I'd change my methods. I batched sparged a lot before I started to do BIAB, and it only took me one look at fly sparging to know that batch sparging was for me.

As BOBrob says, you need to crush finer. That'll help. You can set the rollers to the width of a credit card, that'll be close.

Then, do a batch sparge. Faster, and no reason, especially if you squeeze, to have a low efficiency.

For a typical batch, I'd have four gallons of strike water (15x liters) and 4 gallons of sparge water. From that I would end up with about 6.75 gallons into the boil kettle, depending on how much grain.

Something I would likely do now as I've done it with BIAB is I'd probably line my mash tun w/ a bag, and then when done with sparging, I'd squeeze out remaining wort. Because squeezing reduces losses, you don't need as much water to start.

I've been doing BIAB with 7 gallons; I'm just a tiny bit short on my yield, so I'm going to go to 7.25 gallons for what, in my case, is a pretty standard 11# of grain (5kg).

If you want to continue fly sparging, I have nothing which might help you. There's not a chance I'd switch to fly sparging. With the approach above, you losses will be minimal, and with a finer crush, you'll have your efficiency shoot up.
Yeah thinking about a switch. I would just have to select batch sparge in beersmith and good to go?
 

brandonlovesbeer

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A little off topic, but what is the mathematical formula you guys are using to calculate mash efficiency?

I've brewed for 10 years and always seem to get this part wrong.
 

IslandLizard

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Unless you're recirculating your mash, you should reduce the deadspace to as close to 0 as possible. Also draining it is important. Batch sparging is likely the easiest sparge option, it just gets unwieldy for 1 bbl mash tuns and up.

A dip tube that reaches to the bottom and slight tilt of the tun will drain most of the wort from the deadspace. Using a large BIAB type bag could be used as your filter instead of the false bottom. Or a braid or a simple CPVC manifold lying on the bottom of the tun, connected to the dip tube.

Don't forget your crush. 1.034" gap on a 2-roller mill works great, and a bit narrower (0.026") for small kernel grain. BIAB can go down even more.
 

doug293cz

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So, i have been having a hard time hitting my numbers on mash. I constantly am about 15 points under.

I use a 10 gal Igloo Tun with a False bottom and a bazooka. The false bottom sits over the valve and bazooka. It also prevents 5L of water to touch the grain, wich is added to beersmith.

I also lose about 2.5L of worth under the valve, also in beersmith.
It seems that all these losses have a major impact since it substracts from my fly sparging water.

As example, i brewed a SMaSH today.
for 21L (5.5 gals in ballpark)

I had 21L of Mash water and 16.5 of Fly Sparging (2.6 water/grain ratio).
My Mash gravity ended up at 1.042 (estimation of 1.049)
Aint the end of the world, but on my bigger beers its drastic, example

21L of strike water at a mash thickness of 26 L/kg implies a grain bill weight of 8.08 kg. Is this about right? If not, what was your total grain bill weight?

With 21L and 8.08 kg, if you had gotten 100% conversion, the SG measured before any sparging would have been about 1.095. This would be your mash gravity. Measuring your mash gravity is a way to actually calculate your conversion efficiency (ref.) After you sparge (and completely mix the wort in your BK) the gravity is known as your pre-boil SG. It's more likely that this is what your 1.042 number is supposed to represent. Is this correct?


-Double IPA: 1.056 vs 1.066
-Imperial Stout: 1.060 vs 1.089 (ouch)

SO, anyone had similar issues and managed to fix ??

I use a barley crusher currently set to .40 (roughly)

Water PH is around 7.0 (Our water is pretty good off the tap)

Fly sparging at about 1L per mins both from the Hot Liquor Tank and Lautering.
The 5L under your FB is not going to participate fully in the mash process, since the only way sugar can get into that volume is by diffusion. Thus at the end of the mash, the wort below the FB is going to have a lower SG than the wort up in the grain bed, and your initial runnings will be lower SG wort, which is not what you want for maximum lauter efficiency. You should vorlauf at least 10L to get higher SB wort into the volume from which the initial runnings will be drawn. This will improve your lauter efficiency.

You should also look into installing a dip tube in the MLT, so that the undrainable volume is minimized. This will increase the total amount of higher SG wort collected during lautering, and also improve your lauter efficiency.

Can't say much else about your specific process issues, because not enough information was supplied. To get accurate efficiency estimates, and allow problem diagnosis, the following information is needed (and more accurate measurements mean more accurate calculaitons):
  • Total grain bill weight
  • Strike water volume
  • SG of wort in MLT at end of mash (before any sparging)
  • Pre-boil volume
  • Pre-boil SG (after thorough mixing of all runnings)
  • Amount and type of any sugar added during the boil
  • Post-boil volume
  • Post-boil SG (i.e. OG)
  • Volume in fermenter

Brew on :mug:
 

doug293cz

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Check your mash Ph 10 minutes after doe in 5.3-5.4 This made a big difference for me and your water to grain ratio seems a bit high I use 1.25qts to one This looks like oatmeal in the morning:mug:
Too much water?? I have seen as much as 3L/kg and im at 2.608
@Red_Dog is talking about US units, and didn't realize that you are using metric. Your 2.6 L/kg is equivalent to 1.24 qt/lb in US units, so you are fine there.

Brew on :mug:
 

doug293cz

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First I would say that you need to know where you're loosing efficiency. The numbers you're giving give an overall or brewhouse efficiency. Brewhouse = Lauter efficiency * conversion efficiency. You'll need to take a post mash gravity reading to determine your conversion efficiency. You also need to know fairly accurately the volume of wort you're measuring. Knowing that your conversion efficiency is "good" let's you focus on the lauter side of things.

Braukaiser is a great resource for this.

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Understanding_Efficiency

That page pretty much breaks down the potential problems so you can isolate them and improve your process.

Good luck.
First, let me agree on the Braukaiser link. It's one of my favorites.

However, your definition of brewhouse efficiency does not match what is used by either BrewersFriend or BeerSmith. What you are calling brewhouse efficiency is actually Mash efficiency (or pre-boil efficiency by BrewersFriend.) To avoid confusion in the community you should use the commonly accepted definitions of efficiency.

Brew on :mug:
 

mbobhat

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The higher the water to grist weight ratio (the thinner the mixture) the higher the mash efficiency.

https://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/03/22/mashing-thick-or-thin/
As is stated in the comments of that link a thicker mash helps adjust for the pH problem that OP may have. Just to add some additional help with the conversion checking your efficiency, make sure your starch is converted by using iodine on a small spoonful, any purple means you missed some starch, so let it sit longer.

And another thing, calculate your mash temp strike water so you don't have to adjust, do a quick double check after you put it in to make sure it's good, then close that damn lid and don't open it so much! Especially for the first 20 minutes, you wanna make sure and dissolve all the starches you can, so that the enzymes get all they can make into sugar. If you keep opening the lid in the first 20 minutes you will lower your dissolved starch, and your efficiency will take a crap.

It's always good to add a little acid to the mash as well, you can just start with a tsp and see if that helps, if you don't wanna measure. Tap water generally has some alkalinity that the grain alone can't overcome to get to mash pH, unless you are doing darker beers, which have more acidic constituents (more roasted generally means more organic acids to help get your wort pH down)
 

jerbrew

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First, let me agree on the Braukaiser link. It's one of my favorites.



However, your definition of brewhouse efficiency does not match what is used by either BrewersFriend or BeerSmith. What you are calling brewhouse efficiency is actually Mash efficiency (or pre-boil efficiency by BrewersFriend.) To avoid confusion in the community you should use the commonly accepted definitions of efficiency.



Brew on :mug:

Thanks for the post. I'm actually quoting the link, seen below in a screen shot, to avoid disagreeing with the reading I recommended. It's not my definition. I get that brewhouse is most often assuming all losses from grist to fermenter including anything spilled or left in the lines etc. Just not in what I linked. It defines that as efficiency into the fermenter in the section above. Not trying to argue definitions just clarifying that we can't assume all literature defines terms the same way.

I think it's trying to make the destinction that from brew setup to brew setup anything after the mash is easily recognizable as different it's the mash that will determine how to scale up or down. Hence most calling it, and efficiently so (pun intended), mash efficiency.


View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1495602735.693243.jpg

Cheers,
JT
 

doug293cz

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Thanks for the post. I'm actually quoting the link, seen below in a screen shot, to avoid disagreeing with the reading I recommended. It's not my definition. I get that brewhouse is most often assuming all losses from grist to fermenter including anything spilled or left in the lines etc. Just not in what I linked. It defines that as efficiency into the fermenter in the section above. Not trying to argue definitions just clarifying that we can't assume all literature defines terms the same way.

I think it's trying to make the destinction that from brew setup to brew setup anything after the mash is easily recognizable as different it's the mash that will determine how to scale up or down. Hence most calling it, and efficiently so (pun intended), mash efficiency.


View attachment 401701

Cheers,
JT
You are correct about what Braukaiser said. I found his definition disagreeable in the past, but it's been so long since I read that particular passage, that I forgot about it. I apologize for assuming it was you who created that particular definition.

To avoid confusion on HBT, I think it is important to use common terminology whenever possible. Since the majority of folks on HBT use software like BeerSmith, BrewersFriend, or others that use the same definitions, I believe it best to stay with those definitions. When a source is referenced that uses different definitions, I think disclaimers are appropriate that point out where the definitions are consistent or inconsistent. Braukaiser's definition might have been common with traditional German brewers, but HBT is not a "German" brewing forum (although we certainly welcome German, and any other. brewers.)

Brew on :mug:
 
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mmahu

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You did a 21 L batch ( that's the final wort qty that goes in the fermenter ) using 21 L of strike water and 16.5 L of sparge water, which for me is a lot.

For 21 L final I use 6 Kgs of grains and around 31 L of water ( strike + sparge ) to get an OG of 1.060, depending on the efficiency. For 25 L batches I use around 6 Kg of grains and around 34-35 L of water.

You are possibly diluting your wort, hence the low efficiency.
 

MSK_Chess

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I had a similar problem once and solved it easily by working backwards without software. You need to know your boil off ratio, mines was 5litres per hour. For a 23l batch that meant that I would need 28l pre boil wort. Grain absorption was roughly 1l per KG, so i needed to take that into account. Thats another 5l. Also dead space in the mashtun was similar to yours, around 4l so that had to be accounted for. Working backwards in this way i was able to take the mash liquor and the sparging liquor and adjust the grain bill accordingly pretty much reaching 72-75 efficiency every time.
 

jbunton

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I think you have a really crappy false bottom if your losing 5L.
I use this type and have almost no loss because of the design. i hit the numbers bang on every time within .002 which could be chalked up to measurement error.
I'd look at a better false bottom!

s-l300.jpg
 

jerbrew

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You are correct about what Braukaiser said. I found his definition disagreeable in the past, but it's been so long since I read that particular passage, that I forgot about it. I apologize for assuming it was you who created that particular definition.

To avoid confusion on HBT, I think it is important to use common terminology whenever possible. Since the majority of folks on HBT use software like BeerSmith, BrewersFriend, or others that use the same definitions, I believe it best to stay with those definitions. When a source is referenced that uses different definitions, I think disclaimers are appropriate that point out where the definitions are consistent or inconsistent. Braukaiser's definition might have been common with traditional German brewers, but HBT is not a "German" brewing forum (although we certainly welcome German, and any other. brewers.)

Brew on :mug:

Agreed. I should, and will in the future, point out any discrepancies with common terminology. I guess too much thermo reading has beaten me into making sure I read someone's definitions before I dig into their material. Can't assume everyone is the same. Thanks for keeping me honest.

Cheers
 

doug293cz

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Agreed. I should, and will in the future, point out any discrepancies with common terminology. I guess too much thermo reading has beaten me into making sure I read someone's definitions before I dig into their material. Can't assume everyone is the same.
Excellent point! You can't understand what someone is talking about if you don't know their definitions of the terms they use.

... Thanks for keeping me honest.

Cheers
Likewise.

Brew on :mug:
 
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doug293cz

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You did a 21 L batch ( that's the final wort qty that goes in the fermenter ) using 21 L of strike water and 16.5 L of sparge water, which for me is a lot.

It would be a lot of water if batch sparging, but OP is fly sparging, so water amount seems perfectly reasonable.

You are possibly diluting your wort, hence the low efficiency.

Diluting wort does not decrease efficiency. Obviously it reduces SG, but efficiency is reduced by leaving sugar behind (in the grain, in the BK, etc.) If you obtain the same amount of sugar from a given amount of grain, you have the same efficiency, no matter how much water is diluting the sugar.
Brew on :mug:
 

plazola86

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Like mentioned already. Full volume Mash In A Bag. Crush finer to help with conversion, get rid of your false bottom losses, and the hassle of sparging. Get a big enough bag to line your cooler and your able to squeeze and get every last drop of wort.
 
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MrBlackrock

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The 5L under your FB is not going to participate fully in the mash process, since the only way sugar can get into that volume is by diffusion. Thus at the end of the mash, the wort below the FB is going to have a lower SG than the wort up in the grain bed, and your initial runnings will be lower SG wort, which is not what you want for maximum lauter efficiency. You should vorlauf at least 10L to get higher SB wort into the volume from which the initial runnings will be drawn. This will improve your lauter efficiency.

You should also look into installing a dip tube in the MLT, so that the undrainable volume is minimized. This will increase the total amount of higher SG wort collected during lautering, and also improve your lauter efficiency.

Can't say much else about your specific process issues, because not enough information was supplied. To get accurate efficiency estimates, and allow problem diagnosis, the following information is needed (and more accurate measurements mean more accurate calculaitons):
  • Total grain bill weight
  • Strike water volume
  • SG of wort in MLT at end of mash (before any sparging)
  • Pre-boil volume
  • Pre-boil SG (after thorough mixing of all runnings)
  • Amount and type of any sugar added during the boil
  • Post-boil volume
  • Post-boil SG (i.e. OG)
  • Volume in fermenter

Brew on :mug:
Any link or diy links for a dip tube/braided hose?? I have a ball valve already on the tun im guessing it shouldn't be too hard to instal this?
 
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MrBlackrock

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I think you have a really crappy false bottom if your losing 5L.
I use this type and have almost no loss because of the design. i hit the numbers bang on every time within .002 which could be chalked up to measurement error.
I'd look at a better false bottom!
Its a raised stainless steel bottom. Its sturdy as hell but overkill. Got it when i bought the tun(used).
 
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MrBlackrock

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I think you have a really crappy false bottom if your losing 5L.
I use this type and have almost no loss because of the design. i hit the numbers bang on every time within .002 which could be chalked up to measurement error.
I'd look at a better false bottom!
Thinking of ordering this:

https://www.ontariobeerkegs.com/12_Diameter_Stainless_Steel_False_Bottom_Mash_Tun_p/12-false-bottom.htm
 

doug293cz

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Any link or diy links for a dip tube/braided hose?? I have a ball valve already on the tun im guessing it shouldn't be too hard to instal this?
You shouldn't need a braid with a false bottom. A dip tube is pretty simple, it just runs from the inside of the ball valve to the lowest point at the bottom of the MLT. Ideally the open end is cut so that the plane of the opening is parallel to the bottom of the MLT, and the gap between the tube and the bottom is ~1/8". Typical dip tubes would be 3/8" to 5/8" inside diameter. The purpose of a dip tube is to get the input of the MLT drain lower than the vertical position of the ball valve. When the liquid level drops below the ball valve, the dip tube then creates a siphon which allows draining below the level of the ball valve.

Brew on :mug:
 
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MrBlackrock

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I think you have a really crappy false bottom if your losing 5L.
I use this type and have almost no loss because of the design. i hit the numbers bang on every time within .002 which could be chalked up to measurement error.
I'd look at a better false bottom!
This is mine:

https://atelierdubrasseur.ca/collections/brewing-equipment/products/premium-false-bottom
 

mongoose33

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Might I suggest ordering a bag from Wilserbrewer, sized to fit your mash tun, and then eliminating the false bottom? The entire bag will serve as if it is a braid or dip tube.

If I were in your shoes, knowing what I know about mash tuns, wilserbags, and such, I'd remove the false bottom and go for the wilserbag. He can size it for the exact dimensions of the tun, and what's more, by not having either a false bottom or a braid or whatever, you'll virtually eliminate dead space losses.

Just a thought.
 
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MrBlackrock

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Might I suggest ordering a bag from Wilserbrewer, sized to fit your mash tun, and then eliminating the false bottom? The entire bag will serve as if it is a braid or dip tube.

If I were in your shoes, knowing what I know about mash tuns, wilserbags, and such, I'd remove the false bottom and go for the wilserbag. He can size it for the exact dimensions of the tun, and what's more, by not having either a false bottom or a braid or whatever, you'll virtually eliminate dead space losses.

Just a thought.
Would this be much of a difference vs this :
https://www.ontariobeerkegs.com/12_...l_False_Bottom_Mash_Tun_p/12-false-bottom.htm

It doesnt seem to create a big deadspace based on the shape
 

mongoose33

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Here's the difference: no vorlauf to speak of. You simply start draining the mash tun. No setting the grain bed to filter itself, you simply open the valve and the bag filters for you.

I bought a new Spike kettle in January; they have a false bottom to go with it, and I can't figure out why I would need or want one.

Not sure why you're so focused on having a false bottom, but if it's what you want to get, go for it.
 

doug293cz

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Here's the difference: no vorlauf to speak of. You simply start draining the mash tun. No setting the grain bed to filter itself, you simply open the valve and the bag filters for you.

I bought a new Spike kettle in January; they have a false bottom to go with it, and I can't figure out why I would need or want one.

Not sure why you're so focused on having a false bottom, but if it's what you want to get, go for it.
OP is fly sparging, not batch sparging. If OP switched to batch sparging, then the need for a false bottom goes away, as you said.

Brew on :mug:
 
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MrBlackrock

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Here's the difference: no vorlauf to speak of. You simply start draining the mash tun. No setting the grain bed to filter itself, you simply open the valve and the bag filters for you.

I bought a new Spike kettle in January; they have a false bottom to go with it, and I can't figure out why I would need or want one.

Not sure why you're so focused on having a false bottom, but if it's what you want to get, go for it.
OP is fly sparging, not batch sparging. If OP switched to batch sparging, then the need for a false bottom goes away, as you said.

Brew on :mug:
Im in a pickle. So bag or not? Lol
 
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MrBlackrock

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OP is fly sparging, not batch sparging. If OP switched to batch sparging, then the need for a false bottom goes away, as you said.

Brew on :mug:
Re readed. Im trying to figure my current equipment but i might switch to batch sparge.

Small relearn curve i guess
 

doug293cz

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Im in a pickle. So bag or not? Lol
You can get very acceptable efficiency with batch sparging. So, if you want to give that a try, get the Wilserbrewer bag for your MLT, and ditch the FB. You get rid of the undrainable volume by just dumping the MLT into the BK, after you have removed the bag containing the grain, at the end of run-off. The chart below shows what you can expect in the way of lauter efficiency for various size beers (grain weight to pre-boil volume ratio, most typical beers will be in the 1.6 - 1.8 ratio range) with both a no-sparge, and an equal run-off volume single batch sparge. The solid curves are for no-sparge, and the broken curves are for sparging. The different curves in each group represent different levels of squeezing the bag to reduce the grain absorption rate (no-squeeze is the lowest curve in each group, with a grain absorption of 0.12 gal/lb.

No Sparge vs Sparge big beers ratio.png

As noted, the chart is for lauter efficiency. Mash efficiency equals conversion efficiency times lauter efficiency. The finer crush allowed by using the bag can improve your conversion efficiency (I typically get between 95% & 100% conversion) so that even with a little lower lauter efficiency, your mash efficiency can increase if you are suffering from low conversion efficiency due to a coarse crush.

Hitting equal runnings volume for batch sparge is pretty simple. Just use 60% of your total brewing water (target pre-boil volume plus expected grain absorption) for strike, and 40% of the total volume for sparge (ignoring any nonsense about "proper" mash thicknesses, since thinner mashes convert faster.)

The procedure for batch sparge is as follows:
  • At the end of the mash, stir the mash well (like a madman) to homogenize the SG throughout the mash
  • Vorlauf if you want to, but it's not necessary
  • Drain frist runnings to BK, and start heating
  • Squeeze the bag if you want to in order to boost lauter efficiency
  • Add sparge water, and stir like a madman again
  • Optional vorlaut
  • Drain into BK
  • Squeeze again if you feel like it, but you won't get as big an efficiency kick from the second squeeze

Of course, if you want to stick with fly sparging for any reason, that is a valid choice. It's your hobby, you should practice it in the way that makes you happiest.

Brew on :mug:
 

mongoose33

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Im in a pickle. So bag or not? Lol
This all comes back to your original post, in which you were unhappy about your efficiency.

I've been doing very well with efficiency using both a traditional mash tun with batch sparge, as well as my more recent BIAB. I don't usually calculate efficiency but my most recent batch, using BIAB, hit 80.8%. (Brewhouse efficiency using this calculator and 11# Maris Otter, 6.5 gallons wort volume at a gravity of 1.052). The beer is great, the efficiency is fine, and I am always close to if not exactly hit my numbers.

This is why I suggested looking at batch sparging, if not BIAB. I use Beersmith from time to time, though not during my last, oh, 8 batches or so. If I have a grain bill about 11 pounds, I know I'm going to end up roughly at 1.060. It's consistent.

The reason I never was attracted to fly sparging was that for whatever increase in efficiency might obtain, it's slow, and it potentially can go awry with either channeling problems or missing the drop in gravity where you stop pulling off wort.

I was at our big brew day in early May where one of our LHBC members brings in his rig and we brew. He did a fly sparge and my god--it was like watching paint dry. Even so, his efficiency wasn't all that great, such that he was looking to add malt extract to the result to bring it up to what he wanted/expected.

Now, all this is why I don't like it. Maybe you do. Maybe there's a philosophical, or zen, or other reason for you to pursue it. Some people just like the....flow of brew day. I do. In the end, you are not wrong for making whatever choices appeal to you. It's your money and time.

That aside, I'm not obsessed with hitting exact numbers. As long as the beer tastes good, I'm ok with what comes from the brewing enterprise. In your case, you want better efficiency. I think the surer path to that is batch sparging or even perhaps BIAB. You can even sparge a couple times if you want, to rinse the grain even more to approximate a fly sparge, though I've never done that. The numbers above about efficiency were done using BIAB, starting with 7 gallons, and squeezing the bag to produce 6.5 gallons.

You can do that too, with a fine crush, mash pH in the right zone (mine: 5.26), and keeping the mash temps in the right zone (mine: 153 to start).

So, based on your first post:

1. Tighten up your crush
2. Make sure your water is getting your pH in the right zone
3. Consider something other than fly sparging.

Good luck either way and enjoy the journey!
 
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