my first AG in a cooler Mash Tun didn't go so well

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ApolloSpeed

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Well....I got some pretty bad effieciency once again. This time I was even using a Rubbermaid 5 gallon cooler for the Mash.

My bill was...

6 gallon boil - 5 gallon batch

4lb-Munich
2lb-Red Wheat
1lb-German Pils
1lb-CaraPils
0.5lb-CaraMunich
0.5lb-60L Crystal

1oz-willamette 50min.
.25-challenger 5min.

I started at 165f....added the grain and I hit about 156f. Let it sit 1 hour...only dropped to 153f over 1 hour. Did the vlorlof. And Batch sparged with 175f. til I got to a little under 6 gallons.

Once everything cooled down, I poured into my fermenter (about a 5 gallon batch) and took a reading....I only hit 1.039!!!:confused:

wtf did I do wrong?
 
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ApolloSpeed

ApolloSpeed

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60 %???

Then why the hell did I make a mash tun? I thought it was gonna help my efficiency!
 

Bert

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Are your thermometer and hydrometer calibrated? What mash ratio are you using? How much wort are you losing to dead space or leaving behind with hops, trub in the kettle?
 

DeathBrewer

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It also depends on your method, not just your equipment.

Check your crush, are you doing it at home or at the store?

It looks like you had a slight loss in temp...not a huge deal, but could be improved upon.

Your pH is pretty important for your mash. How is your water? You may wish to try some pH Stabilizer.

Mashing out will help, too. You can add boiling water to bring your mash up to 168°F for a mash out. ProMash or other programs can help you calculate.

This will also help you maintain a better sparge temperature. You can run 172°F water through and it will ensure you have close to 170°F sparge temp.

Use the amount of water you need. If you had water leftover in your mash tun, there might have been some sugars left in there.

I'd aim your recipes for 5.5 gallons and do a 6.75 gallon boil, if possible, assuming 1.25 gallon/hour boil-off.
 

Shawn Hargreaves

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That mash looks a little light on base malt.

Munich malt can self-convert, but doesn't have many spare enzymes to convert other grains (especially if you were using the darker type of Munich). Then you have one pound of Pilsner malt (which has plenty of spare power), plus 2 lb wheat and 2 lb crystal malt, neither of which have any enzymes at all.

The general rule is that you should avoid going above a 50/50 base malt to other grain ratio even when using a base malt with high diastatic power such as 6-row. I believe Pilsner is a little weaker than that, but it should still be ok for a 50/50 mix. You're really pushing things with this grain bill, though. Include more base malt, and I bet you'll get better efficiency.
 
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ApolloSpeed

ApolloSpeed

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i used 1/2 a pound of Crystal....not 2lbs.

And the Munich was the lighter color that AHS has. It's supposed to be a base malt....

Between 4lbs of Munich, 2lbs Red Wheat, and 1 lb German Pils....I thought it would be enough Base.



---- I had my grains crushed at AHS.


----And I used 3 gallons of 156f water for 1 hour.....and I heated little more than 3 gallons for sparge water to nearly 180f for sparging.
 

McKBrew

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i used 1/2 a pound of Crystal....not 2lbs.

And the Munich was the lighter color that AHS has. It's supposed to be a base malt....

Between 4lbs of Munich, 2lbs Red Wheat, and 1 lb German Pils....I thought it would be enough Base.



---- I had my grains crushed at AHS.


----And I used 3 gallons of 156f water for 1 hour.....and I heated little more than 3 gallons for sparge water to nearly 180f for sparging.

Try taking your sparge water up to 190-195 and see what happens next time. Also, the crush possibly. How much are you stirring when doing the sparge?
 

DeathBrewer

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That mash looks a little light on base malt.

Munich malt can self-convert, but doesn't have many spare enzymes to convert other grains (especially if you were using the darker type of Munich). Then you have one pound of Pilsner malt (which has plenty of spare power), plus 2 lb wheat and 2 lb crystal malt, neither of which have any enzymes at all.

The general rule is that you should avoid going above a 50/50 base malt to other grain ratio even when using a base malt with high diastatic power such as 6-row. I believe Pilsner is a little weaker than that, but it should still be ok for a 50/50 mix. You're really pushing things with this grain bill, though. Include more base malt, and I bet you'll get better efficiency.
Wheat malt has more enzymes than most 2-row. Pilsner has more than enough, as well. There should have been plenty of enzymes.
 

DeathBrewer

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----And I used 3 gallons of 156f water for 1 hour.....and I heated little more than 3 gallons for sparge water to nearly 180f for sparging.
3 gallons + 3 gallons - 1 gallon absorption - 1 gallon boil-off = 4 gallons.

I would have done at least 5 gallons in the sparge. You can over-sparge, but if you don't run enough water through, you won't extract everything.
 
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But was he using wheat malt? He just listed "red wheat", which I assumed was unmalted...
Yeah, not sure if that is malted or not, but I didn't want him thinking all wheat needed a base malt to convert it.

I'm laying my bet down to the crush.

OP, often the Homebrew stores have their mills set a bit wide. There are a LOT of threads on here with people stating a low efficiency from pre-crushed grains do to the HBS mill being set wide.
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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----And I used 3 gallons of 156f water for 1 hour.....and I heated little more than 3 gallons for sparge water to nearly 180f for sparging.
As has been mentioned above I think these statements are key and we may need clarification. Are you indeed saying that your mash in water was 156º? As McKBrew mentioned you need the water to be warmer than that. Adding it to your grains is going to bring the temp down several several degrees.

And as Death says...the numbers aren't adding up with your volumes....
 
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ApolloSpeed

ApolloSpeed

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I heated 3 gallons to 165......put it in the cooler with the grain and the temp said 156f. 1 hour later it said 153f. (i opened and stirred twice...thats maybe why the decrease in temp)

I drained the grains into my pot.

Theen, I heated more than 3 gallons (don't remember exact amount) to 180f. And pour into the cooler.....and drain again. Did this until I got about 6 gallons in my pot.


----now about the Grain Crushing.....can anyone confirm that Austin Homebrew's crushing is not very good??
 

DeathBrewer

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156°F is a pretty high mash temp, especially with all that malty munich in there...you'll probably thank the drop.

Looking into your crush and using more water would be the first thing to look into. I've heard mixed things about AHS, but there are quite a few threads on here regarding increasing efficiency with double-batch sparging, fly-sparging, mash-out, etc.

Bobby_M started a great thread, if I remember correctly.
 
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ApolloSpeed

ApolloSpeed

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I stirred a couple times during the Mash.....

and I stirred a couple times during the sparge.


.....so the recommendations are that I might need to buy a grain mill?
 
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ApolloSpeed

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I just got an email back from AustinHB...


they said:

"The normal gap setting is around .035. Depending on the grain we will adjust this setting to maximize the crush."


How does that setting sound to you guys?
 

RedIrocZ-28

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Sounds good really. Did you take your OG reading straight from the Kettle or from your Primary?

Also, one thing about Wheat is that I have heard from other brewers around here that it needs to be crushed finer. Most of them run it through the mill twice. In your case you don't have that option, obviously.... But you really should look into getting your own mill. It gives you that much more control over your brewday and efficiency. There is a post in the Equipment forum where some of us have converted a pastamaker into a mill. I spent $26.50 on mine, built a hopper out of scrap wood, and got my rollers knurled all for a total cost less than $35 and I nailed the target 75% efficiency on my first brew using it. Crushes about 1lb/min when hooked to my drill.
 
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