Mash help

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discgolfin

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Hi everyone,

I have been doing all grain for the past 5 recipes. I have really been hitting between 60 and 65% eff, I just up the recipe to compensate. I have been making lighter beers only because I have a 5 gallon cooler,(soon to get a 10 gallon upgrade) I have searched a lot of the posts and really believe it is my grains pre crushed. I have used Midwest and AHS,. My temps are all right on 153 to 156 and will hold for 60. I stir good in the begining and repeat and 30 minutes. I rerun until it is clear before I sparge at 170. I think I am doing what I can do, but 60% is not gonna work. Has anyone has this same problem from the online guys? I had hears AHS crushed the grains well. I plan on getting a barley crusher soon, but was just curious.

Jay
 

Jacob

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I'm in the same spot as you. I order my grains from Midwest and even when I asked them for a finer crush, which they said they did, I was getting effs. around 60%. A barley crusher is on my Christmas list, so I hope that will help my problem. I am also going to start using a mashout and fool around with two smaller batch sparges.
 

Lil' Sparky

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Same here. Never had better than low 70's with pre-crushed grains. It seems like most of the guys getting upper 80's mill their own grain. The problem is, I don't brew often enough to have justified a grain mill yet. But since my other brewery equipment is pretty set, a mill is moving up on my short list.
 

malkore

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could be the grain crush...could be your water profile. if your water is fighting an acidic pH, you might want to try using pH 5.2 and see if it helps at all.

darker beers are ok with more alkaline water because the dark malts can convert properly...but light malt and 2-row will appreciate a better pH range from the get-go.
 

HoboJoe

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Same here. I just got done with my first AG batch and was a little surprised by the OG when I checked it. It registered 1.03. It was a NB Hefe kit which was supposed to start at 1.049. I hit the mash dead on at 154 and the volume was right at 5 gal after the boil. I used two sparges. I used Beersmith to double check the recipe. The only thing I can think of is the crush being bad. Any other ideas?
 
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discgolfin

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Yep, I usually up my grain bill by 20% to compensate and have had good success with this. I usually look at the grain and go..what the chit these arent crushed!!!..LOL my water is Chicago water and is a good profile, so my temp and water is good. I have only a 5 gallon and am working on a 10 gallon with SS false bottom, which will help..My X mas list includes Barley Crusher..thats it.

Thaks for input

Jay
 

cubbies

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The Barley Crusher should help (I have one on my Xmas list as well), but FWIW, I order my grain pre-crushed from AHS and I regularly get efficiencies over 70%. If you are getting low 60's, even with correct temp, I would think there is something else not quite right.
 

RichBrewer

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There are other things that can effect your efficiency.
How much water are you using for both mashing and sparging? Too little total water will result in a lower efficiency.

Are you batch or fly sparging? Batch sparging will slightly reduce your efficiency. Most people these days batch sparge and adjust their grain bill accordingly.

Are you raising the mash to 165 to 170 degrees before sparging? This is called mash out and stops the conversion process. I don't worry about that so much but I think the higher temperature helps releases the sugars from the mash.

What type of mash tun are you using? Describe what you are using to filter the wort. (false bottom, manifold, braided hose, etc...)
 

Bobby_M

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RichBrewer said:
Are you batch or fly sparging? Batch sparging will slightly reduce your efficiency. Most people these days batch sparge and adjust their grain bill accordingly.
Ugh... I was with you for most of the post but I have to call ya on this one. I batch and hit upper 80's to low 90's. I have to adjust my bill DOWN on most recipes.

Anyway, controvercial fly vs. batch debates aside, there are a few things (as richbrewer touched on) that will help you.

First, a sparge with 170F on top of a 150ish mash will only get you up into the high 150's. You can do a very hot addition, say 1 gallon of boiling water) prior to first runnings (called a mashout) OR you can increase the temp of your sparge to about 180-185F. As long as you stir it in rather quickly, the risk of tannins is lowered. The other thing is breaking your sparge into two equal batches instead of one large infusion. Of course, we still don't know that you batch sparge or not so this might be moot. If you do batch, break the sparge into two and you'll increase your efficiency.
 

elderbrewer

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I had the same problem,after 6 batches I was about ready to give u batch sparging. The last batch(last friday) I crushed very fine, mashed at 1.5 qts H2O per lb, added PH5.2 and after initial runoff I stirred the grain,let it sit for 10 min. and stirred again thoroughly then run into the kettle. I hit the SG right on the money.
 
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discgolfin

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I batch sparge with 1.25 per pound and than I have done both 1 gallon hot water to reach 170 as well as attempted a boiling tenqnique to mash out. I have done both 1 large and 2 small sparges with slightly better reults with the 2 small. I hit 165 ish most resent. I have 1 5 gallon cooler with a ss braid that seems to work well. I have found that I could perfect my style a bit but if I am doing everything to what I feel to be good I would like to see 70% or above. My cooler holds temp nice, and most recent run I hit 153 on th button and held for 1 hr went to 152 when done, I think thats is good. I cannot fit a full gallon when I mash out because I only have a 5 gallon(working on a 10 gallon). This limits me a bit an dprobably hurts a bit. I was more curious about other peoples htoughts on online grain crush..

thanks for info. I do not check PH but I use Chicago water which I have been told is good.

Jay
 
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