Low efficiency. Think I figured it out

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RichBrewer

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My last batch had an OG of 1.043. ProMash predicted 1.052 at 75% efficiency. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what went wrong until I thought about my sparge procedure on this batch. I Normally vourlof (recirculate the runnings) in the mash then start my sparge arm and trickle the hot water over the grains. I then start to drain into the brew pot. This was a smaller grain bill and I thought I could save time by pouring the entire sparge (4 gallons) into the mash, stirring it up, and then doing the vourlof. When the sparge water ran low (it was below the grain bed and particulates began running out) I tested the gravity. It was 1.030! In hindsight, I think this procedure was a mistake. The runnings that are vourlofed should be very high gravity. They were recirculated back to the top of the water above the grains. I don't think those first runnings got rinsed out of the grain bed because they were poured over the 4 gallons of sparge water. If I would have recirculated the first runnings and then used the sparge arm to trickle the water over the grains, the first runnings would have been under those 4 gallons of water and would have had a better chance of being rinsed into the brew pot.
Does this make sense or am I just rambling? :tank:
 

SwAMi75

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It could be, but you're also going to lose a little efficiency by dumping the sparge water over the grains (batch sparging).

I wouldn't have thought that recirculating the way you did would make that big a difference, but I'm still learning! Most likely its a combination of the two.

Also, are you sure your sparge water was hot enough?
 

Brewsmith

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Since I've been doing all-grain for the last several batches, I've found that it's good to have more than enough sparge water heated to temp. I have never batch sparged, so I can't compare to anything else. I'd say just sparge a little more and boil it down if you have more wort than normal.
 
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RichBrewer

RichBrewer

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Sam75 said:
Also, are you sure your sparge water was hot enough?
Yes I am. I actually added the water at about 200°. The mash stabilized at 168° so I think it was just about right. I think you are exactly right. My procedure was very similar to a batch sparge. Lesson learned. It really didn't save that much time anyway. Fly sparging has always worked well for me so I think I will stick with it.
Oh by the way. This beer is a light honey ale for my wife to enjoy (and me too when I'm mowing the lawn :D ). Maybe the lower gravity will work out for the best anyway
 

SwAMi75

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That's the way I see it. Even though it might not come out exactly like I had planned, I have to remember that in the end, I still made beer. :D
 
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RichBrewer

RichBrewer

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brewsmith said:
Since I've been doing all-grain for the last several batches, I've found that it's good to have more than enough sparge water heated to temp. I have never batch sparged, so I can't compare to anything else. I'd say just sparge a little more and boil it down if you have more wort than normal.
Why have I never thought of that? I needed water to bring up the volume in the brew kettle anyway. I could have heated some of that and had it ready.
Thanks! That's why I love this forum. I've learned more in a month here than in ten years of home brewing by myself.
 

Brewsmith

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The great thing is that I'm no expert either. Just good advice and help from this forum as well.
 

SwAMi75

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Hey brewsmith.....that "Standard" IPA in your sig.....is that my recipe? If so, how do you like it?
 

Brewsmith

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Yeah, that's it. I love it. One of my best brews. It's almost gone. I think I'm going to make it again, just all-grain this time, and I might up the hops a little.
 

SwAMi75

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brewsmith said:
Yeah, that's it. I love it. One of my best brews. It's almost gone. I think I'm going to make it again, just all-grain this time, and I might up the hops a little.
Very cool! What yeast have you been using?
 

Brewsmith

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I think I used WLP-001. I might try it again with the White Labs CA V or something similar. I'll see.
 

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