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Should I stir my mash often

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Wheelspin

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I've just completed a HERMS system and have done 4 brews so far.

Problem is that I'm having some trouble getting decent efficiency and am wondering if stirring my mash often during 60 minute mashing reticulation would help with efficiency.

I currently only stir it once or twice.
 

dbsmith

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You should be getting decent efficiency, considering many brewers don't even stir at all. I usually stir about every 10-15 minutes of the mash, but that is because I just can't leave well-enough alone. Your problem may be related to something else, like your grain crush.
 
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Wheelspin

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I don't seem to have any problems with stuck mashes so should I double crush my grains ?

Crush looks fine (in my limited experience) to me as it is with a single crush ???

Also, what effect does mashing temps have on efficiency ? I've been aiming for 155 F but sometimes it runs away with me and strays up to 158 F even 161 F for short periods.
 

dbsmith

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Your temp sounds perfectly fine. Try double crushing your grains. How is your sparging? How accurate are your volume measurements?
 
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Wheelspin

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Thanks dbsmith, I'm going to try a double crush.

My volumes should be good but I'm going to double check the measures I put on my site glasses.

I've just entered my calculations on the the Brewers Friend (www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency) efficiency calculator which gave and efficiency of 72% which I suppose is not bad. Good in fact.

However, my OG was 1,048 but the wheat beer recipe I used listed an OG of 1,055 so I'm quite a bit short on what was expected. See below.


Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: US-06
Yeast Starter: No
Batch Size (Gallons): 19 L
Original Gravity: 1.055
Final Gravity: 1.008
IBU: 13.8
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Color: 3.7
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 at 16.6 C
Tasting Notes: Taste: (41.0 apparently) Very nice simple Wheat beer. Perfect color but the alcohol i

226 gram Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 5.00 %
2.5 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 55.00 %
1.8 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 40.00 %
33 gram Hallertauer [3.00 %] (90 min) Hops 13.8 IBU
1.00 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 90.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Safbrew WB-06 (Fermentis #WB-06) Yeast-Wheat
 

dbsmith

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Well, listed recipes always base an OG off of some sort of base efficiency..a lot of times it is 75%. Others use 65-70%. It just depends on the source. 72% is not too shabby, so don't be too disappointed. Just try to improve your system one step at a time..such as how you sparge, how you measure, etc. After you learn your system, you can easily adjust your recipes accordingly. I'm sure that your beer is going to turn out just fine, so don't sweat it. :mug:
 

dcarter

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I just made the maiden batch in my new all electric HERMS system this weekend and didn't stir at all during the mash. I stirred when adding the grains to the water to break up any clumps but that was it. I hit 87.9% efficiency. Your temps look fine but you seem to be on the high end for dry beer but that should'nt affect conversion, just fermentability. I would look at your crush and maybe check your flows on the HERMS and kick them up a little to get more contact time. You can also mash for a little longer as well, which is very easy with a HERMS. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 
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Wheelspin

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When you say "FLOWS ON THE HERMS" are you referring the speed of circulation ? I've deliberately kept the flows quite slow, not sure why. Maybe I thought it would spend more time in the grains doing it's leeching thing.

Any idea of how many liters (or quarts) per minute would be ideal HERMS recirculation rate ? On a 5 gal batch.
 

dcarter

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What you are trying to do is provide opportunity for the enzymes to find the starches. The faster you circulate, the better the chances that they interact. Just remember that you're not "leaching" you're "converting" and since the enzymes can't move you, have to do the moving for them. That's why HERMS is more efficient that simply letting the grain sit in a tub for an hour and waiting for the starch and enzymes to mix as the warm water activates the enzymes and dissolves the starches.
 

diS

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I noticed bump in efficiency on my HERMS if I stir after 30 minutes of mashing. I takes 15-20 minutes for wort to clear again so perhaps I could stir every 20 minutes.. but I'm too lazy for that.
As for flow, just keep it open wide.
 
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Wheelspin

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Note on efficiency since I took the advice you guys offered.

1) Speed up recirculation - basically flat out
2) Double grind grains.

I brewed up the celebrated Centennial Blond this weekend which has a target efficiency of 70%.

Well I got 83 % efficiency !

Which I'm very happy with but now the final product is not going to that light drinking, session beer I was looking for.

But anyway, the suggestions you guys made seemed to have worked in this batch.

Question - Should I now count on 83% efficiency for all my batches and try to adjust recipes accordingly. Or do you think this was just a one off ?
 

dbsmith

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Once you get your process down and do it over and over repeatedly, then you will get similar efficiency numbers each time. If you make your next batch the same way, then I would suspect that you will get similar efficiency. Nice work by the way. Also, if 83% is a bit too high, maybe you could only double crush about half of the grain next time?
 

MaxOut

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Wheelspin said:
Note on efficiency since I took the advice you guys offered.

1) Speed up recirculation - basically flat out
2) Double grind grains.

I brewed up the celebrated Centennial Blond this weekend which has a target efficiency of 70%.

Well I got 83 % efficiency !

Which I'm very happy with but now the final product is not going to that light drinking, session beer I was looking for.

But anyway, the suggestions you guys made seemed to have worked in this batch.

Question - Should I now count on 83% efficiency for all my batches and try to adjust recipes accordingly. Or do you think this was just a one off ?
I think the crush is what improved your efficiency. Crush is the number one factor with low efficiency. Be careful recirculating too fast or you will compact the bed or create channels. I never recirculate more than 50%. A good fine crush will be even more likely to get compacted. I use a Chugger pump with all min 1/2" plumbing and will move over 5 gallons per min through the HERMS coil. Full speed recirculation would result in a compacted grain bed and stuck recirculation with in 1-2 min. Just saying full speed recirculation is not good advice for most systems. You will need to learn the limits of your system and be consistent.
 
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Wheelspin

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Thanks Maxout

My pump is considerably less efficient than your Chugger at 3.5 liters (± 3.1 quarts) a minute so when yours is idling mine is maxed out. It's a washing machine pump BTW.

Yup, probably the crush that helped efficiency the most.

See 1st crush (1st and 2nd pic) and 2nd crush pic (3rd pic) - maybe 2nd crush pic not so clear ??

Last pic shows you my washing machine pumps. Slow but cheap.

DSCN2353.jpg


DSCN2354.jpg


DSCN2360.jpg


DSCN2363.jpg
 

MaxOut

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Your second crush is similar to my first run and looks good. What type of grain mill are you using? May want to just tighten your gap so you get a good crush in one run if possible. I also noticed you have a good amount of rice hulls in your recipe and helps prevent stuck mashes. I do not use rice hulls as I've read you have a greater chance of extracting tannins from the hulls and have not needed them. Every recipe will require a little fine tuning and measuring your volumes accurately is essential to determine your efficiency accurately. Nice looking system!
 
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Wheelspin

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Thanks for commenting MaxOut.

I've only got 5 brews under the belt so I'm still very much a beginner with a hell of a lot to learn.

My grain mill is a small Monster
 
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