Mash time and efficiency

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Wild Duk

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Does mash time have anything to do with efficiency....I normally mash for 90 minutes at around 150-152. I always hit right around 70%

My latest brew I mashed a little warmer, 154, and mashed for 60 minutes....My OG was planned at 1.054, but I only got 1.044.

Did I screw something else up, or just not mash long enough....

As far as I know, everything else was done the same....Seems like a big miss to be something small that I could have screwed up on....

Thx
 

honeybadger

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In general, the lower the temperature, the longer conversion should take. 60 mins for a mash at 154 should be long enough... Did you complete an iodine test?
 

Golddiggie

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I've been using 90 minute mash times for all temps... Been getting solid results. I also sparge for at least 10 minutes. I might be able to mash for less time at higher temps, but I haven't had any negative flavors from mashing for 90 minutes across the board. I will say that I'm mashing more and more at no higher than 154F now. The batches that I've mashed at 158F, or close to that, have all finished higher (FG) than I was looking for. Still great brews, just finishing sweeter and without the ABV level I was looking for.

Adjusting our processes is at least part of what I feel home brewing is all about. You make something the first time, see how it comes out, and you adjust things for the next time you brew it. I just did my first recipe repeat on Thursday evening's brewing. Really looking forward to how this one comes out. First time it was really good (wasn't able to keep enough for myself, partially due to splitting the batch with another person). This time, I'm keeping it all... I might let the person who's house it's fermenting at have a bottle or two... If he wants some of it. :D
 

devilishprune

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Yes and no. If you mash longer than it takes to get complete conversion, you aren't going to convert any more sugars. If you mash less time than that, you are going to get less converted sugars and a lower OG. Mashing for 10 days isn't going to improve your efficiency more than mashing 60 minutes (a good general time for complete conversion).
 

Northcalais40

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As long as you can be sure you've fully converted (as was said, with an iodine test) your efficiency problems are likely caused by other matters. Make sure your sparging enough, but not too much. Also watch out for wort loss in the system.
 

Golddiggie

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I wouldn't mash longer than 90 minutes, personally... I might try 60 minutes with a future brew, but I'm more inclined with staying with something that works rather than messing with it...
 

Northcalais40

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Depends on how you mash. If I am doing a simple one step infusion mash, then at 60 min. I check for conversion. If it needs to go longer, I check it every 15 min. It almost always goes a bit over 60 min. for me, but never more than 90 min.

If I am doing a single or double decoction, I always go longer than 90 min. Thats starting at 150F, bumping up to 158F then mashing out at 168F. All said I'm looking at 2 hours maybe.

What I would point out to the OP is that if you do not have full conversion in the mash, you will have lower efficiency. If you have full conversion then your efficiency is set by the other procedures and equipment and water etc. that you use. You may have excessive dead space in the MLT, less than optimal lautering efficiency, over sparging and under collecting etc.

The real techs around here can tell you if the water you use has any impact.

70% is not bad. It's more important that I have consistency than high numbers.
 

Golddiggie

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70% is not bad. It's more important that I have consistency than high numbers.
I fully agree with that statement... Knowing what you can hit on a regular basis is key in figuring out how much grain you need to use. Plus 70% efficiency is pretty good too. I try to aim for at least 75%, but if I get 70%, I'm happy. I'm at the point where unless I get a really, really, bad efficiency, I won't even add any extract to a brew. I had a batch that I only got about 50% efficiency (the only time)... I just let it ride (OG was still 1.054) and the brew came out really good, bordering on great. I made it again the other night, with much better results. So we'll have to see how it comes out this time...

Tweaking your procedure to get the most from your hardware is part of the process. Once you have that part down, you can concentrate more on other things.

Personally, I'm using single infusion mashes... I'm liking the results, and it's a more basic method. Not to say I won't change that up for some brews, it just means I'm not ready to add that extra complexity to my process.
 
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