Will diastatic malt improve my efficiency?

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MOLA

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Hello all,

I am pretty new on homebrew.

I have done 10 batches so far, and I am a little disappointed about my efficiency. So far it has been steady on 60% (with one at 53%)

So, will adding/replacing some diastatic malt improve my overall efficiency?

And if so, how much should I use?

Thanks alot!
 

smizak

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Do you mean diastatic malt powder?

Efficiency is complicated and there can be many reasons why you're not getting the numbers you want.

I've found that how finely your grains are crushed is one of the bigger factors.

That being said, if you stir well to make sure your grain is thoroughly mixed in the mash and fully wet and hit the proper temperature, your conversion efficiency should be fine. There are plenty enough enzymes in base malt (2-row, 6-row, pale malt etc.) to convert the starch. Adding more enzyme probably won't help.

Lauter efficiency, or how well you rinse out the sugar from the grist, is a big factor as well.
 

Edcculus

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You really need to know where you are loosing efficiency. Are you getting good conversion? If so, diastatic malt won't help. If you are getting bad conversion efficiency, you might want to look at your crush and make sure your thermometers are accurate.

BTW, all base malts are "diastiatic". In simple terms, they have the enzymes to convert themselves, plus any other malts in the grain bill. Other malts, such as rye might only have enough diastatic power to convert themselves. Thats why a lot of recipes call for a pound or two of pale malt.
 

david_42

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One thing that can often help is running the grain through the crusher twice.
 
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MOLA

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Oh my alot of inputs - thanks!

I came upon this at Weyermann http://www.weyermann.de/eng/produkte.asp?idkat=25&umenue=yes&idmenue=37&sprache=2

I actually assumed it would be malt, not powder.

Just to sum up my a day of brewing, it might help you help me ;)

1: Crush the malt with my Barley Crusher (left at factory setting/spacing)
2: Begin mashing (60-90 minutes)
3: During mashing I stir the malt and recirculate 2 liters every 5 minutes
4: Mashout
5: Sparging
6: Hops
7: Chilling
8: Ferm. vessel and yeast
 
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MOLA

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Thanks for all the input :D

I assumed that this from Weyermann was malt, not powder:
http://www.weyermann.de/eng/produkte.asp?idkat=25&umenue=yes&idmenue=37&sprache=2

Just to shortly sum up a brew day:
1: Crush malt with my Barley Crusher (left at factory setting)
2: Begin mashing (60-90 minutes)
3: During mashing I stir the mash and circulate ~2liters from the bottom every 5 minutes
4: Mashout
5: Boil with hops
6: Chill
7: Ferm. vessel and yeast

Does anything pop out as "wrong"?

Thanks again for the help, it is greatly appreciated.
 

JKoravos

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Yes, they also make a high diastatic power malt. I don't think it will have a meaningful effect on your efficiency, and if it does, there is something else wrong with your process. My understanding of diastatic malt is that it's used for grists with lots of low/no diastatic power malts or to save time in the mash because the higher enzyme content converts the starches more quickly.

If you're mashing 60-90 minutes with well modified malts and you're only getting 60% efficiency, you probably have an issue related to crush or sparging or temp, rather than any lack of conversion in the mash due to enzymatic activity.

From the description of your process, I could see an issue with losing temp if you are stirring and manually recirculating every 5 minutes. Are you adding heat during the mash? Are you keeping track of the temperature?
 
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MOLA

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Yes, they also make a high diastatic power malt. I don't think it will have a meaningful effect on your efficiency, and if it does, there is something else wrong with your process. My understanding of diastatic malt is that it's used for grists with lots of low/no diastatic power malts or to save time in the mash because the higher enzyme content converts the starches more quickly.

If you're mashing 60-90 minutes with well modified malts and you're only getting 60% efficiency, you probably have an issue related to crush or sparging or temp, rather than any lack of conversion in the mash due to enzymatic activity.

From the description of your process, I could see an issue with losing temp if you are stirring and manually recirculating every 5 minutes. Are you adding heat during the mash? Are you keeping track of the temperature?
I mash in an insulated kettle, and loose about 1-2 degrees celcius while mashing/recirculating. I do not heat while mashing.
 
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MOLA

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You really need to know where you are loosing efficiency. Are you getting good conversion? If so, diastatic malt won't help. If you are getting bad conversion efficiency, you might want to look at your crush and make sure your thermometers are accurate.

BTW, all base malts are "diastiatic". In simple terms, they have the enzymes to convert themselves, plus any other malts in the grain bill. Other malts, such as rye might only have enough diastatic power to convert themselves. Thats why a lot of recipes call for a pound or two of pale malt.
Just to be sure I understand.

Conversion=ability to convert the sugar to alcohol?

I have no problems in that area. I made an ale 2 weeks ago, OG:1054 - FG:1009
 

GrizlyGarou

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Just to be sure I understand.

Conversion=ability to convert the sugar to alcohol?

I have no problems in that area. I made an ale 2 weeks ago, OG:1054 - FG:1009
Nope. That'd be attenuation, which is a quality of yeast.

Conversion is the starches in the grain being broken down by the enzymes into sugars. You mentioned earlier that you use a barley crusher on the factory setting, I'd guess that's the reason you're only getting 60% efficiency. Tighten that bad-boy down untill you think you have too much flour. You'll probably end up getting the upper 70's just from doing that.

Here's a little light reading for you about all the different aspects of efficiency. Between Kaiser and Palmer, there's very little you won't learn about brewing.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Understanding_Efficiency
 
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MOLA

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Nope. That'd be attenuation, which is a quality of yeast.

Conversion is the starches in the grain being broken down by the enzymes into sugars. You mentioned earlier that you use a barley crusher on the factory setting, I'd guess that's the reason you're only getting 60% efficiency. Tighten that bad-boy down untill you think you have too much flour. You'll probably end up getting the upper 70's just from doing that.

Here's a little light reading for you about all the different aspects of efficiency. Between Kaiser and Palmer, there's very little you won't learn about brewing.
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Understanding_Efficiency
Thanks - pretty sure I'm going to bed early tonight :D
 
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