High Mash-In Temp Issues?

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GrowleyMonster

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As my beers have got bigger, I have had more problems with mash temps. I was grossly underestimating the required mash-in temperatures and having to turn the burner on to bring the temp up, and it would sometimes overshoot my desired temperature. My last brew day was an eye opener. It was a cold and windy day, maybe 50F, and a 19lb mash bill for a 5.5 gallon BIAB / No-Chill batch and I wanted 150 mash temp. So my temp danced around up and down as I furiously adjusted and adjusted and heated and stirred and measured, and finally instead of the expected 1.09 or whatever OG I ended up with 1.077, still a large beer but in the Brewer's Friend recipe tool I had to substitute 57% brewhouse efficiency for the default 70% to get 1.077 predicted. That tells me my efficiency WAS 57% as I see it. Not satisfactory. Well, yeah satisfactory in that the beer should still be great, but it is not going to hit my target 10% ABV.

So I turned to the www and had a look at the BIAB calculator at biabcalculator.com and it looks like my strike temp should have been 160F, about 6 degrees higher than what I used. Now obviously cooler grain or more grain will soak up more heat from the strike water than warmer grain or less of it. So there definitely reaches a point where the water is high enough to denature the enzymes in the initial stages of adding the grain and stirring. Is this an issue? Do I need to just add really fast and stir it in even faster? I didn't time myself but put it this way... pouring grain a cup at a time and stirring by hand, with a big pot spoon, no helper, so probably took 10 minutes to completely get all my grain in the bag. So the first cups would be exposed to the full strike temp of 160 if that is what I used. However, that would at least in theory make all the heating and adjusting and overcompensating and undercompensating while my grain asks why this incompetent redneck is abusing it, a thing of the past. What are the general feelings here on this? If I used a strike temp of as high as say 164F to hit my desired mash in temp, is that a bad thing, and how bad of a bad thing might it be? Could I gently heat my grain to say 140F in the oven before mash-in? I really feel like I need to get my BH efficiency back up to around 70%. I can make great big ol beers by just throwing more grain at the problem but eventually it becomes unmanageable with a LOT of wort tossed with the grain. Yeah I am holding back a couple gallons and doing a sparge, but there is still a lot of juice left in the grain even after squeezing.

Not that it is germaine to this issue, but this was my first no-chill batch. That part seems to go pretty slick. Used a "cube" type 5gal jug (actually holds a bit more) and squeezed all the air out after a 90 min boil. Reserved a little leftover wort and ice bath chilled, and made my starter from that, transferred to Big Mouth Bubbler next day and pitched the entire starter. So today is third day in the fermenter and SG is down to 1.023 by the Tilt, krausen about 3/4 fallen, still bubbling strongly in the airlock, and I am thinking FG will be around 1.014 or so. I'll take it. But I know I am going to have to do something about my mash temps to get my efficiency up. Is 70% unrealistic for a 1.091+ SG beer?
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Dump it all at once? Hmmm.... 19 lbs is quite a bit. I can try it I guess... But obviously if I can get mashed in quickly and get my temp stabilized at the proper mash temperature quickly, the high strike temp is no longer an issue and I can mash without reheating.

Also thinking about using an electric drill and a paint stirrer. Yeah I know, living dangerously!
 

marc1

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Dump it all at once? Hmmm.... 19 lbs is quite a bit. I can try it I guess... But obviously if I can get mashed in quickly and get my temp stabilized at the proper mash temperature quickly, the high strike temp is no longer an issue and I can mash without reheating.

Also thinking about using an electric drill and a paint stirrer. Yeah I know, living dangerously!
Or dump it in 2 or 3 pours. The whisk is amazing. The first time I used it I way overshot my mash temp because I wasn't dumping scoop by scoop and slowly mixing in.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Or dump it in 2 or 3 pours. The whisk is amazing. The first time I used it I way overshot my mash temp because I wasn't dumping scoop by scoop and slowly mixing in.
Hmmm so maybe instead of the semi-hypothetical strike temp of 160, I try 158F and get my stuff in the water as quickly as possible, and if it ends up at a couple degrees higher or lower than my 150F target, I should still get good conversion and extraction? I am feeling warm and fuzzy about this.
 

RM-MN

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Thoughts:
1. I usually use a 160 to 162 strike temp. It may denature some of the enzymes of the first of the grain but by the time I have the last of it in, the temperature is 152 to 154. The grains that go in last have excess enzymes enough to convert the first even if those grain's enzymes are gone.
2. If you are BIAB and only getting an average of 70% brewhouse you need to assess why. I've come to expect in excess of 90% brewhouse. My latest brew I accidentally left the software set at 80% efficiency and will now have to deal with a 7% alcohol beer instead of the 5% intended.
3. I dump everything into the fermenter. I want all the wort, not just the wort that I can separate from the break material. I'll do that separation when the fermentation is over.
 

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I am not convinced that mash temps really have much impact on efficiency, unless you were well outside of the typical range.

I slowly add my grains to the heated strike water, stirring as I add the grain. I don't notice an issue, though since that is how I always do it I don't have data to compare. I have decent efficiency, I think I get full conversion, higher mash temps will produce lower fermentable wort, and lower mash temps produce higher fermentable wort. I use a lot of high diastatic power malts like NA 2-Row, and Malted Wheat, but I also use stuff like Crisp Maris Otter and I went through a bag of Muntons Extra Pale which has a very low diastatic power.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Thoughts:
1. I usually use a 160 to 162 strike temp. It may denature some of the enzymes of the first of the grain but by the time I have the last of it in, the temperature is 152 to 154. The grains that go in last have excess enzymes enough to convert the first even if those grain's enzymes are gone.
2. If you are BIAB and only getting an average of 70% brewhouse you need to assess why. I've come to expect in excess of 90% brewhouse. My latest brew I accidentally left the software set at 80% efficiency and will now have to deal with a 7% alcohol beer instead of the 5% intended.
3. I dump everything into the fermenter. I want all the wort, not just the wort that I can separate from the break material. I'll do that separation when the fermentation is over.
Okay. So let's say my usual recipe contains some less enzymatic grains or unmalted grains such as for instance 3lb of rolled oats. (it does.) I could dump that in first, and nothing lost at all, while the initial dump brings the temp down, then the base malts that do the heavy lifting of conversion go in last, after the temp is down to say 154F? I am starting to feel pretty good about this higher strike temp vs constantly heating stuff. I am going with a 162F strike temp next brew day, which owing to my sudden upspike in enthusiasm will probably be this week even though I have a batch still burbling away in one of my fermenters. Lucky me, I still have three empty ones ready to rock.

Yeah I leave very little in the kettle, too. Basically, a few tablespoons LOL. But I also use a hop spider or a hop sock, too, and I don't hop heavily anyway so kettle trub is just grain trash, mostly, and not so much of that.

So you think with a 19lb or 20lb mash bill for a 5.5 gallon batch I can achieve 90% BIAB brewhouse efficiency? And 70% should make me reassess? Around 70% is generally what I was getting but this batch was the first really noticeable underachiever and I put it down to mash temp errors and instability.
 

CascadesBrewer

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So let's say my usual recipe contains some less enzymatic grains or unmalted grains such as for instance 3lb of rolled oats. (it does.) I could dump that in first, and nothing lost at all, while the initial dump brings the temp down, then the base malts that do the heavy lifting of conversion go in last, after the temp is down to say 154F?
I saw a brewer on YouTube do this. It seems like a decent idea with no real downside. I am not sure I would want to take on the extra work to separate out the milled specialty grains, but adding the flaked grains first would be easy.

So you think with a 19lb or 20lb mash bill for a 5.5 gallon batch I can achieve 90% BIAB brewhouse efficiency? And 70% should make me reassess? That is generally what I was getting but this batch was the first really noticeable underachiever and I put it down to mash temp errors and instability.
The amount of trub that you transfer into the fermenter and how you measure volume can make efficiency look artificially high or low. May last 5-gallon Imperial Stout was BIAB, but I added in a dunk sparge because I could not fit the full volume into my 10-gallon kettle. I ended up overshooting my target efficiency and I measured 75% efficiency. There was a LOT of trub that settled out of that batch. I got 5.5 gallons into the fermenter, and maybe 4.5 gallons transferred into the secondary (where I aged the beer for several months on some oak cubes).

In my view, 57% might be a little low and could be improved. 65% to 70% seems pretty reasonable for a simple process and a big grain bill.
 

RM-MN

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So you think with a 19lb or 20lb mash bill for a 5.5 gallon batch I can achieve 90% BIAB brewhouse efficiency? And 70% should make me reassess? Around 70% is generally what I was getting but this batch was the first really noticeable underachiever and I put it down to mash temp errors and instability.
Not a chance of 90% with that much grain. Yesterday I did a half size (2 1/2 gallon) batch with 6.0 pounds of grain, overshot my intended volume and got an OG of 1.070. That would equate to a 12 pound grain bill for 5 gallons. As you put more grains into the mash the efficiency will go down. Now the question is, why do you think you need 20 pounds of grain in 5 gallon batch? What's different between your mash and mine? I'll venture a guess that my grains are much finer crushed than yours. Get your grains milled very fine and watch the efficiency go up. You should easily exceed 80% with no sparge and higher with sparging. I double sparge because my kettle is too small for no sparge.
 

marc1

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Okay. So let's say my usual recipe contains some less enzymatic grains or unmalted grains such as for instance 3lb of rolled oats. (it does.) I could dump that in first, and nothing lost at all, while the initial dump brings the temp down, then the base malts that do the heavy lifting of conversion go in last, after the temp is down to say 154F? I am starting to feel pretty good about this higher strike temp vs constantly heating stuff. I am going with a 162F strike temp next brew day, which owing to my sudden upspike in enthusiasm will probably be this week even though I have a batch still burbling away in one of my fermenters. Lucky me, I still have three empty ones ready to rock.

Yeah I leave very little in the kettle, too. Basically, a few tablespoons LOL. But I also use a hop spider or a hop sock, too, and I don't hop heavily anyway so kettle trub is just grain trash, mostly, and not so much of that.

So you think with a 19lb or 20lb mash bill for a 5.5 gallon batch I can achieve 90% BIAB brewhouse efficiency? And 70% should make me reassess? Around 70% is generally what I was getting but this batch was the first really noticeable underachiever and I put it down to mash temp errors and instability.
Brewhouse efficiency takes into account your equipment losses to the fermenter, so while it can tell you if something changed batch to batch, I don't find it to be a useful measure unless I'm looking to change my process.
Conversion/lauter efficiency can tell you if there's a problem with your mash, and I think that's the one you should look at.

Conversion efficiency can be 100% (or calculated as more if some variables can't be accurately determined, see Thoughts on conversion efficiency over 100% )

Lauter efficiency has to do with how much sugar you separate from the grain, so sparging variables and losses to grain absorption are what to look at for this.

Larger grain bills tend to have lower efficiencies.

I usually get in the 80-87%-ish pre-boil efficiency range, but for me, having generally repeatable results is better than getting every last % of efficiency out of it. Although if you enjoy the challenge of working on that, then go for it, homebrewing is all about doing what makes you happy!
 

Holden Caulfield

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Hitting your mash temperature every time is a matter of consistency of process and knowing your system. Below are some best practices that I have found that work for me. Note, I do 5 gallon batches with a cooler mashtun and batch sparge so you may have to upsize some of the quantities.

  1. Use a calculator for your strike temp or look up the formula - it is quite simple. Always use the same calculator as you never know what formula or assumptions about your system and process the developer made. Measure your grain temp within a reasonable time before mashing and input it into the calculator.
  2. Always preheat your mashtun by adding your strike water at a slightly warmer temperature than calculated (I add 9 degrees for a 10 gallon Igloo) then cover and wait 10 mins. After wait time, check to see if the strike water temperature is at the correct temperature. If too hot, you can wait or I have found that using a heavy aluminum pot as a heatsink helps to pull out a few degrees quickly. If too cold, remove and boil some water and add back (or you can use your heating element). I prefer to be a little warmer than colder after the 10 min wait time as it is easier for me to use the heatsink than it is to raise the temperature so I am more conservative on the warm side.
  3. Always dough-in for the same amount of time.
  4. After doughing-in it is better to be below your target mash temperature than above as the enzymes will not denature faster than targeted, so I always hold back one quart of water from the strike water quantity and bring it to a boil in an electric tea kettle that I keep ready to add back if needed. By holding back some of the strike water, the chance of my mash temp being under the target is greater than being over, and if under, I add the boiling water a bit at a time to raise to the right mash temp. While you have the ability to raise the temperature of your mash through heating there is a lag as well as significant carry over. By adding the boiling water and stirring a little, the temp will be raised quickly without carryover and you will not be chasing your tail. If you don't use the water, you can just add it back at the end of the mash to ensure you hit your preboil volume or use it raise the temp back to target if your temp declines - as before using boiling water to maintain your mash temp avoids lag and carryover. Note, do not worry about denaturing enzymes using boiling water to raise temperatures - this is how decoctions and step mashes are routinely done without harm to enzymes if done properly.
  5. If you end up too warm (which should be unlikely if held back some water), keep that heatsink pot nearby to dip into mash or if you need a lot of cooling, scoop out some mash and add it to the pot - the metal will suck a lot of energy from the mash then add it back and check your temps again. Do not use ice as there is lag as it melts.
  6. Every process and system has a consistent systemic impact on the realized temperature. Keep records on whether you were above or below and adjust the calculated strike temperature accordingly. For example, my process and system is consistently 2.8 degrees warmer than the formula so I deduct this from the calculated strike temperature every time.
Good luck.
 

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So you think with a 19lb or 20lb mash bill for a 5.5 gallon batch I can achieve 90% BIAB brewhouse efficiency? And 70% should make me reassess? Around 70% is generally what I was getting but this batch was the first really noticeable underachiever and I put it down to mash temp errors and instability.
For 19 lbs of grain, 5.5 gal post-boil volume, and 1.25 gal boil-off, your lauter efficiency will be in the 70 - 80% range, depending on the details of your sparge process, and whether or not you squeeze the bag. If your conversion efficiency is 100%, your mash eff will equal your lauter eff. If you don't get complete conversion, then your mash efficiency will be lower than your lauter eff.

Brew on :mug:
 
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GrowleyMonster

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I had totally dismissed the grinding as a non-issue because after all, I had set up the Corona myself, metal on metal. Well, the wear from 20 or so batches of beer had loosened it up so gradually that I never noticed how easy it was these days to grind my malt. I readjusted and holey crap my arm is like rubber, now! 19 lbs I guess will do that when your Corona is adjusted properly. So between the grind and the mash temp I think this batch will come in a lot heavier for the same mash bill. No change. I want everything the same except those two factors, for comparison. The batch in question is about done with the heavy part of the ferment, with SG down to 1.017 as reported by the Tilt, just gently bubbling in the airlock. I got things to do tomorrow but Thursday I will closed loop transfer to a purged secondary and get me some of that yummy yeast for the starter, and then have another brew day. I am pretty stoked. High hopes for this batch.

I said 19 lbs but I meant 16 lbs because 3 lbs is quick rolled oats and I have never ground them, just dumped them in right so. Now that I think of it, I wonder if I should grind them anyway? I know most guys don't. Maybe I should keep that the same.

Looking for a good strong 70%+ on the BHE this time, and a 10%+ ABV.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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Hitting your mash temperature every time is a matter of consistency of process and knowing your system. Below are some best practices that I have found that work for me. Note, I do 5 gallon batches with a cooler mashtun and batch sparge so you may have to upsize some of the quantities.

  1. Use a calculator for your strike temp or look up the formula - it is quite simple. Always use the same calculator as you never know what formula or assumptions about your system and process the developer made. Measure your grain temp within a reasonable time before mashing and input it into the calculator.
  2. Always preheat your mashtun by adding your strike water at a slightly warmer temperature than calculated (I add 9 degrees for a 10 gallon Igloo) then cover and wait 10 mins. After wait time, check to see if the strike water temperature is at the correct temperature. If too hot, you can wait or I have found that using a heavy aluminum pot as a heatsink helps to pull out a few degrees quickly. If too cold, remove and boil some water and add back (or you can use your heating element). I prefer to be a little warmer than colder after the 10 min wait time as it is easier for me to use the heatsink than it is to raise the temperature so I am more conservative on the warm side.
  3. Always dough-in for the same amount of time.
  4. After doughing-in it is better to be below your target mash temperature than above as the enzymes will not denature faster than targeted, so I always hold back one quart of water from the strike water quantity and bring it to a boil in an electric tea kettle that I keep ready to add back if needed. By holding back some of the strike water, the chance of my mash temp being under the target is greater than being over, and if under, I add the boiling water a bit at a time to raise to the right mash temp. While you have the ability to raise the temperature of your mash through heating there is a lag as well as significant carry over. By adding the boiling water and stirring a little, the temp will be raised quickly without carryover and you will not be chasing your tail. If you don't use the water, you can just add it back at the end of the mash to ensure you hit your preboil volume or use it raise the temp back to target if your temp declines - as before using boiling water to maintain your mash temp avoids lag and carryover. Note, do not worry about denaturing enzymes using boiling water to raise temperatures - this is how decoctions and step mashes are routinely done without harm to enzymes if done properly.
  5. If you end up too warm (which should be unlikely if held back some water), keep that heatsink pot nearby to dip into mash or if you need a lot of cooling, scoop out some mash and add it to the pot - the metal will suck a lot of energy from the mash then add it back and check your temps again. Do not use ice as there is lag as it melts.
  6. Every process and system has a consistent systemic impact on the realized temperature. Keep records on whether you were above or below and adjust the calculated strike temperature accordingly. For example, my process and system is consistently 2.8 degrees warmer than the formula so I deduct this from the calculated strike temperature every time.
Good luck.
Nah my batches are always between 5 and 6 gallons so we are on the same channel there. However I don't use a separate mash tun, as I always use the BIAB method and have always used it ever since I pretty much stopped doing extract batches.

I like your idea of reserving some strike water to boil for an upward temp adjustment. I was sort of thinking the same thing myself, actually, maybe keeping some boiling water, some cold water, and some more or less mash temp water on hand for temp and volume adjustments. Heating the kettle always overshoots or undershoots for me, and there I am dancing the temperature tango. I suspect that the mashing reaction might be slightly exothermic with a very concentrated mash, leading to a pendulum effect when temp is raised a bit. Yeah the heatsink pot idea is pretty clever, too.
 

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I said 19 lbs but I meant 16 lbs because 3 lbs is quick rolled oats and I have never ground them, just dumped them in right so. Now that I think of it, I wonder if I should grind them anyway? I know most guys don't. Maybe I should keep that the same.

Looking for a good strong 70%+ on the BHE this time, and a 10%+ ABV.
The 3 lb of rolled oats will contribute to grain absorption, so they will have approximately the same effect on lauter efficiency as if they were barley malt.

70%+ mash efficiency is not going to be a cakewalk for this brew, and if you leave any wort behind in the kettle when transferring to the fermenter, your BHE will be significantly less than mash efficiency.

Brew on :mug:
 
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GrowleyMonster

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The 3 lb of rolled oats will contribute to grain absorption, so they will have approximately the same effect on lauter efficiency as if they were barley malt.

70%+ mash efficiency is not going to be a cakewalk for this brew, and if you leave any wort behind in the kettle when transferring to the fermenter, your BHE will be significantly less than mash efficiency.

Brew on :mug:
No wort left behind. I like to see a nice empty kettle.
 

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The more you stir, more heat will leave the mash compared to stirring less. How much more? Depends on how much stirring.

I have learned to stir the water before adding the grain. Take a few extra minutes and make sure you water temp is strong and stable. Then dump about half the grain, stir & measure. You should be about half way down to you mash temp. (makes sense) if it looks good, add the rest of the grain.

If after all the grain is in and you stirred the mash and you need to introduce more heat, do it. Nice and gradual. Raise the temp as slow as you can. You have the ti.e.

If you need to lower the the temp, do it slowly. Do not panic. Do not go and throw in ice or cold water.

As a rule of thumb, strike water is going to be about 10-12 degrees F more than the desired strike temp. It is perfect or optimum for every mash but it is a good place for a sanity check.
 

SRJHops

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The more you stir, more heat will leave the mash compared to stirring less. How much more? Depends on how much stirring.

I have learned to stir the water before adding the grain. Take a few extra minutes and make sure you water temp is strong and stable. Then dump about half the grain, stir & measure. You should be about half way down to you mash temp. (makes sense) if it looks good, add the rest of the grain.

If after all the grain is in and you stirred the mash and you need to introduce more heat, do it. Nice and gradual. Raise the temp as slow as you can. You have the ti.e.

If you need to lower the the temp, do it slowly. Do not panic. Do not go and throw in ice or cold water.

As a rule of thumb, strike water is going to be about 10-12 degrees F more than the desired strike temp. It is perfect or optimum for every mash but it is a good place for a sanity check.
I like the idea of stirring and actually taking the water temperature before doughing in... I will make the switch! It's a lot easier to adjust the water temp without the grain in there, right? So even if you are brewing like the OP in really cold weather, you can make the adjustment. Might take a few brews to dial in the right temp for the strike water IN the tun, but once you've got it, you should be good most of the time. My guess is about 10 degrees over.

For my current process (taking the temp after dough-in), I would shoot for about 13 degrees over the target mash temp for the strike water (assuming I warmed the tun). I usually end up a degree or two over the target, which doesn't bother me. (I prefer to be over than under, because I find it easier to adjust.)

I sometimes add a bit of cold water or ice, but usually I just stir the mash and it gets down to the temp I want in a few minutes. I doubt having the mash a degree or too high for a few minutes is really going to matter much, plus I usually lose a degree or two over an hour anyway.

(Note: There's a Brulosophy experiment the found people could not reliably distinguish between a beer mashed at 147°F from another mashed at 161°F.)

As to the original OP's question, I doubt strike water of 162-165 is much different from strike water of 165-168. The grain is not going to be above the mash temp long enough for it to make a noticeable impact.
 

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I sometimes add a bit of cold water or ice, but usually I just stir the mash and it gets down to the temp I want in a few minutes. I doubt having the mash a degree or too high for a few minutes is really going to matter
You might be surprised at the difference it might make. Check how long it takes to get full conversion on your system. Hint: it isn't likely to be 60 minutes.
 

SRJHops

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You might be surprised at the difference it might make. Check how long it takes to get full conversion on your system. Hint: it isn't likely to be 60 minutes.
My understanding is that conversion likely takes less than 60 minutes, though I have done 90 minutes and longer. (I have left the mash in the tun overnight - and that did make a really fermentable wort!) But personally, I am not looking for full conversion, just enough to reach my target gravities.

I measure ending kettle efficiency. I usually plan for 70% ending kettle efficiency, though my recent chocolate dubbel hit 76%.

Not really sure I understand the push for super high efficiency when grain is the least expensive of the supplies. I suppose with larger brews it could add up, but not so much at the 5 gallon level. I actually spent way too much on chocolate nibs on my latest brew! I also used to brew a lot of NEIPA's and those fancy hops are way more expensive than grains!
 

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Not really sure I understand the push for super high efficiency when grain is the least expensive of the supplies. I suppose with larger brews it could add up, but not so much at the 5 gallon level.
^Agree. As long as efficiency is reasonable and your not a commercial brewer I am confused by all the focus on hitting high efficiencies as well - like it is a badge of honor.

The focus should be on hitting your intended target OG without unconverted starches entering your brew kettle. In my opinion, a brewer would be better served setting their efficiency target lower than expected, buying a buck or two more grain, ensuring enough points are extracted, and pouring off what they don't need, then hitting their target OG every time. There is no badge of honor (or BJCP parameter :) ) for achieving high efficiency, there is a badge of honor for making the beer you intended (OG, FG, IBU, SRM, etc).
 

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I write a lot about efficiency and efficiency analysis, and I agree that efficiency for efficiency's sake isn't the most important thing in homebrewing.

But, unreasonably low efficiency indicates process problems. If your process isn't adequate, you are unlikely to be able to get any consistency, and therefore have no predictability as to how your next batch will come out. Striving for consistency is a worthy goal.

Detailed analysis of which efficiency, primarily conversion and lauter, is sub-par can point the brewer having issues to the part of their process that needs to be addressed.

Brew on :mug:
 

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Check how long it takes to get full conversion on your system. Hint: it isn't likely to be 60 minutes.
Agreed. Don’t rush it. For a really fermentable wort, I dough in low, hit several steps (129F, 140F, 147-149F, 154F, then let it fall back to 147F.) This will take 2-3 hours, but should get you a higher range than say 60 mins at 150F for example.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Agreed. Don’t rush it. For a really fermentable wort, I dough in low, hit several steps (129F, 140F, 147-149F, 154F, then let it fall back to 147F.) This will take 2-3 hours, but should get you a higher range than say 60 mins at 150F for example.
Though I suspect @RM-MN was hinting that full conversion was likely done in 30-ish minutes.

Personally, 95% of my batches for the past decade have been single temperature mashes in the 149F to 156F range for 60 minutes. I have done some 90 minute mashes when using a low temp or a high percentage of non-malted grains (probably not needed). I have been moving boils to 30 minutes and that has a few advantages for me, but during the mash my kettle is just sitting there insulated while I fix breakfast, do some chores, relax, prep for a pH reading, etc.
 

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Agreed. Don’t rush it. For a really fermentable wort, I dough in low, hit several steps (129F, 140F, 147-149F, 154F, then let it fall back to 147F.) This will take 2-3 hours, but should get you a higher range than say 60 mins at 150F for example.
Whoa, unless you are automated, that sounds like a really long brew day! But what's great about this hobby is everyone can implement the process that works for them, deciding how much time and money they want to spend.

My understanding is that with today's highly modified malts, a step-mash is not necessary to increase conversion. However, if you are chasing a gold medal for your hefe, perhaps, some would argue the ferulic acid rest could increase the clove flavor. But I bet folks are winning golds for hefe's without doing step mashes.
 

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What if you could do a 30 minute mash, exceed 90% brewhouse efficiency consistently, then follow that with a 30 minute boil and have all your equipment clean and stored with the beer in the fermenter in 3 1/2 hours. I have other things to do in a day so I don't want to babysit a long mash.
 

SRJHops

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What if you could do a 30 minute mash, exceed 90% brewhouse efficiency consistently, then follow that with a 30 minute boil and have all your equipment clean and stored with the beer in the fermenter in 3 1/2 hours. I have other things to do in a day so I don't want to babysit a long mash.
Yeah, I'd be wiling to give a 30-minute mash a go. I use a lot of pils, though, so a 30 min boil would make me nervous. I actually do a 90 minute most of the time, though I could probably shave 10-15 mins off that. But I am guessing there are Brulosophy and other experiments showing we really don't have to do a 90 min boil to drive off DMS, right? YET, it is said that DMS is a common off flavor.... so not sure what to do with that info? How is DMS getting into those beers?
 

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Pilsner malt is the main culprit. If you use lots of that, you need the longer boil. Since DMS is still created while the wort is hot, you need fast cooling after the boil is over, no hopstands for you. Then more DMS is scrubbed in the foam during the boil. No anti foaming agents for you either. You can reduce the DMS during fermentation too but that works best with open fermentation. The temperature of the beer during the fermentation is also important. If you are doing a Pilsner and keep the fermentation cool like you should for a lager, you don't scrub nearly as much DMS as a much warmer ferment. You can offset that by using table sugar in the beer.

My source for this is, "How to Prevent DMS in Beer" by Scott Janish
 

SRJHops

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Pilsner malt is the main culprit. If you use lots of that, you need the longer boil. Since DMS is still created while the wort is hot, you need fast cooling after the boil is over, no hopstands for you. Then more DMS is scrubbed in the foam during the boil. No anti foaming agents for you either. You can reduce the DMS during fermentation too but that works best with open fermentation. The temperature of the beer during the fermentation is also important. If you are doing a Pilsner and keep the fermentation cool like you should for a lager, you don't scrub nearly as much DMS as a much warmer ferment. You can offset that by using table sugar in the beer.

My source for this is, "How to Prevent DMS in Beer" by Scott Janish
Interesting. I knew that about the boil time, but not the other things. The good news is that I am making ales, so the fermentation temps are warm. I also use table sugar in most of them! (I mostly make Belgians.) I do cool them pretty fast and don't use anti-foamers. No open fermentation, though, unless you count when I should have used a blow-off tube and it blows off the lid!
 
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