Help me with MASH efficiency, please!

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Apr 26, 2017
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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!
Agree about fly sparge taking forever. I just went it because i bought my stuff used and it came with it.

Think il convert to braided hose(easy access) and try batch sparging.

As far as i am concerned, just switch my profile to batch sparge and follow instructions?