### Author Topic: Mash Efficiency Problem  (Read 9790 times)

#### thebigbaker

• Brewmaster
• Posts: 667
• Denver, CO
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2013, 07:46:21 AM »
So basically better to up my ratio on initial mash-in water and dial down on sparge volume to compensate. Don't stir throughout, just a thorough stirring at mash-in to get out dough balls and perhaps mash for longer (90 minutes?)  Whats a good calculator for mash-sparge water volumes? Beer Smith or Brew 365?

I use this http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash/ to get the amount of strike (mash) water.  Just put in your total grain weight and what grain/ mash water ration you want and it will tell you how much water to use for your mash. Then just subtract the amount of initial runnings from your total wort goal and you have how much sparge water to use.  Take good notes and record how much mash and sparge water you use so you'll know for next time.
Jeremy Baker

"An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience." - Mitch Hedberg

• Brewer
• Posts: 491
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2013, 07:55:57 AM »
I use this calculator... http://onebeer.net/batchspargecalc.shtml. It works well for me. You do want your two running a to be about equal. So you'll need more mash water than sparge water. Yes, double crush your grains. I all but pulverize mine... I actually get better filtration with a finely crushed grain. Stir as you add your grain to the mash water. I usually add the grain and the water together. Then once all the water and grain is in your tun, give it one last good stir. If you don't have dough balls then, you're not going to develop any throughout the mashing process. 60 minutes should be fine. I like Jon's advice on a wort measuring stick. I used to use one, but I've changed filtering mechanisms in my kettle, that I have too many markings on the stick to make sense of it anymore. I need to get back to using one again, myself.
Frank

#### nicosan1

• Cellarman
• Posts: 42
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2013, 08:00:34 AM »
The measuring stick should be for boil kettle? As for the Double Crush, is a Mesh Screen tube sufficient to filter when grain bed sets? I just want to make sure I get clear runnings when I vourlaf.

#### HoosierBrew

• Senior Brewmaster
• Posts: 1203
• Indianapolis,IN
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2013, 08:32:19 AM »
The measuring stick should be for boil kettle? As for the Double Crush, is a Mesh Screen tube sufficient to filter when grain bed sets? I just want to make sure I get clear runnings when I vourlaf.
Yes, the stick is calibrated for your boil kettle.  You can't get consistent efficiency (or hit consistent OG) without getting a strong handle on your volumes. Mine is marked with quart increments up all the way up to 7 gallons. I don't know exactly what screen you are using, but once you've vorlaufed sufficiently to set the grain bed, ie. getting clear runnings, it sounds like you'll be fine there.
Jon H.

• Brewer
• Posts: 491
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2013, 08:32:47 AM »
The measuring stick is for the boil kettle. Fill the kettle up with water a gallon at a time and hash out the stick. I don't use a mesh tube, but I think it will be perfectly fine with double crushed grains. You'll probably have to run three or four quarts before its clear, but you'll get there. Like I said, I get a better filter since I started crushing my own grains finer than when I had the LHBS do it.
Frank

#### nicosan1

• Cellarman
• Posts: 42
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2013, 08:52:09 AM »
Thanks guys, these are all great tips. Double Crush, making sure my volumes of strike water are around 1.75 qt per pound, keeping the tun closed to prevent loss of temp. I will get working on creating a measuring stick for my  boil kettle.

#### denny

• I must live here
• Posts: 10831
• Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2013, 09:16:44 AM »
I stir about three times in 90 min.

Try not stirring.  I'm willing to bet that it won't make any difference.  I found that the only thing that happens when I stir during the mash is that I lose heat.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

#### denny

• I must live here
• Posts: 10831
• Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2013, 09:19:03 AM »
So basically better to up my ratio on initial mash-in water and dial down on sparge volume to compensate. Don't stir throughout, just a thorough stirring at mash-in to get out dough balls and perhaps mash for longer (90 minutes?)  Whats a good calculator for mash-sparge water volumes? Beer Smith or Brew 365?

You really don't need a calculator.  Just mash with whatever ratio you like.  After you run that off, measure how much you got and subtract that from the amount you want to boil.  The answer you get is how much sparge water to use.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

#### ynotbrusum

• Brewmaster
• Posts: 640
• Da mihi sis cerevisiam
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2013, 09:42:59 AM »
If you double crush - try throwing in some rice hulls and running off slowly to start during the Vorlauf - when its clear, let 'er rip.  efficiency questions are almost always volume and temperature related, but I also found that going up to 1.75 quarts per pound or even a little higher increased the mash efficiency.  YMMV, of course.  The fellows above really know their shtick, so you should have most of your problem solved by following their lead.

Good luck and don't give up tweaking!

• Brewer
• Posts: 491
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2013, 10:17:42 AM »
You really don't need a calculator.  Just mash with whatever ratio you like.  After you run that off, measure how much you got and subtract that from the amount you want to boil.  The answer you get is how much sparge water to use.

I love how you make things simple, Denny! When thinking about it, this is probably the most accurate way of precisely measuring your needed water. I have always used a calculator... Most times it works, but occasionally you end up with a wtf happened with the water brew. I usually start heating my sparge water with about 20-25 minutes left in the mash. I may have to start sacrificing this time. I learn something everyday.
Frank

#### denny

• I must live here
• Posts: 10831
• Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2013, 10:30:50 AM »
You really don't need a calculator.  Just mash with whatever ratio you like.  After you run that off, measure how much you got and subtract that from the amount you want to boil.  The answer you get is how much sparge water to use.

I love how you make things simple, Denny! When thinking about it, this is probably the most accurate way of precisely measuring your needed water. I have always used a calculator... Most times it works, but occasionally you end up with a wtf happened with the water brew. I usually start heating my sparge water with about 20-25 minutes left in the mash. I may have to start sacrificing this time. I learn something everyday.

Franks, it's those WTF!  moments that made me go to the empirical method.  I still calculate how much sparge water I _think_ I'm gonna need, but I take measurements and make adjustments before I actually add it.  You can still go ahead and start heating your estimated amount.  Just make sure that you calculations leave you slightly on the high side so you can leave some out if needed.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

#### repo

• Brewer
• Posts: 326
• San Diego CA
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #26 on: August 03, 2013, 11:25:25 AM »

The other problem could be volume.  What was your post-boil volume?  For example, if this was a 5-gallon recipe but you ended up with 6 gallons of wort, then your efficiency will be way off if it was calculated assuming you would end up with 5 gallons.  Volume measurements are crucial for nailing efficiency.

By the way... I mash 40 minutes, and I still get efficiencies hovering around 90%.  Mash time has very little to do with it.

I'm sure you mean that your og will be way off, not your efficiency. If you get 300 gravity points, the efficiency will not change because those 300 points are in 5 or 6 gallons, og of 1.06 and 1.05 respectively.

Time is important especially when you have a bad crush, you need more time for conversion to occur so you can rinse the sugars. If the op has not reached full conversion time can improve efficiency.

#### denny

• I must live here
• Posts: 10831
• Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2013, 11:37:23 AM »
Time is important especially when you have a bad crush, you need more time for conversion to occur so you can rinse the sugars. If the op has not reached full conversion time can improve efficiency.

A longer time is also helpful for lower temp mashes.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

#### HoosierBrew

• Senior Brewmaster
• Posts: 1203
• Indianapolis,IN
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2013, 11:50:06 AM »
Time is important especially when you have a bad crush, you need more time for conversion to occur so you can rinse the sugars. If the op has not reached full conversion time can improve efficiency.

A longer time is also helpful for lower temp mashes.
+1.  I mashed my last Saison @ 147 for ~100 minutes. It easily got down to 1.004 FG.
Jon H.

#### dmtaylor

• Brewmaster
• Posts: 650
##### Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2013, 07:02:47 PM »
Time is important especially when you have a bad crush, you need more time for conversion to occur so you can rinse the sugars. If the op has not reached full conversion time can improve efficiency.

A longer time is also helpful for lower temp mashes.

Yep, yep, I agree with you guys -- good points.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)