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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 15, 2013, 06:21:43 PM

Title: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 15, 2013, 06:21:43 PM
Hey Guys

I am looking for any pointers on getting consistent results when switching systems. I am scaling up a 5 gallon batch to 10 gallons. My 5 gallons setup is a 10 gallon igloo cooler with false bottom and a 30 qt aluminum kettle. For this weekend's 10 gallon batch I will be using a 60 qt stainless steel mash tun/kettle. I batch sparge with both setups.

Unfortunately my efficiency has been all over the place lately due to using different LHBS and a recent move with different water (although I am not sure how different). The last batch at my previous house had 80% efficiency and my first batch at the new house got 63%. The process stayed the same however there were too many variables to know what the cause of the decrease was (different water, different LHBS-grain mill, etc). I am not sure how to estimate my efficiency for this 10 gallon batch so that I can get close to the beer that got 80%. Should I just use 63% and increase the amount of grain? I am afraid I will overshoot that efficiency. I guess I may just have to guess and see what happens?

Any other advice regarding brewing on different systems/sizes would be great.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 15, 2013, 07:03:14 PM
Since I am kind of shooting in the dark I chose 70% for my estimated efficiency and adapted the recipe. That will give me a lower OG so I also decreased the IBUs to match the bitterness ratio of the last attempt. I think I will just have to go for it an see what happens.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: klickitat jim on April 15, 2013, 08:27:43 PM
That's probably all you can do with multiple changes and water being an unknown. If you are required to duplicate accurately it would be difficult if not impossible

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 15, 2013, 09:00:09 PM
Very true. The unpredictability of my efficiency has driven me crazy for a while now but I haven't taken the proper steps to correct it. Getting a grain mill would be the first step for me. Over about 24 batches I average around 70% but it swings anywhere between 64 and 80 depending on the circumstance.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: klickitat jim on April 15, 2013, 09:10:03 PM
I mill my own on a hand crank victory. I find it fun and seems to be fresher. I also found that my system can handle a finer than normal grind.

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Slowbrew on April 15, 2013, 09:19:02 PM
I can only say that you will need to pick one variable at a time and work form there.  If you can control the crush on the LHBS mill that would be a good start.  Then you can work out your temp issues on the new equipment and/or research your water.  I can tell you that you cannot solve a problem with random changes.  (I tried too many times myself).

Come back and report in on the changes and its effects.  Many on the board will be happy to help but hey will want details so take good notes.

Good luck with it.  Pick one spot to start and keep working, you'll get there.

Paul
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 15, 2013, 09:26:30 PM
I plan to go to the same LHBS as last time so the crush should be the same. The water will be the same as well. The only thing that is going to be changing will be the equipment/batch size. Like you said if I can hit my temps I should start to move in a better direction. If I get around 63% I would assume it is either related to the crush from this particular LHBS or the water/mash pH.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Slowbrew on April 16, 2013, 11:44:09 AM
At some point you'll want your own mill.  Buying one and really controlling my crush made a huge difference in my brewery.

Paul
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: HoosierBrew on April 16, 2013, 12:01:43 PM
At some point you'll want your own mill.  Buying one and really controlling my crush made a huge difference in my brewery.

Paul
+1.  A mill is on my list of purchases, but for now, I have my LHBS double crush my grain.  I've picked up several efficiency points since doing this.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Jimmy K on April 16, 2013, 12:39:16 PM
Since I am kind of shooting in the dark I chose 70% for my estimated efficiency and adapted the recipe. That will give me a lower OG so I also decreased the IBUs to match the bitterness ratio of the last attempt. I think I will just have to go for it an see what happens.
This was my though. If you have room in your fermenter, you can always dilute the wort with water if the OG winds up too high.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: erockrph on April 16, 2013, 05:24:10 PM
At some point you'll want your own mill.  Buying one and really controlling my crush made a huge difference in my brewery.

Paul

Same here. My efficiency numbers were all over the place until I started milling my own grain. Now I'm reliably in the mid-80% range every time.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on April 16, 2013, 05:58:01 PM
If you can control the crush on the LHBS mill that would be a good start...

Don't be that guy that asks the LHBS to change the gap setting. Shops normally err on the side of a wide setting so customers don't complain about slow runoff / astringency.

Make sure you have your own process lined out before taking it up with the shop. Remember, it doesn't matter what your efficiency is as long as it's consistent.

Runoff rate, water/grist ratio, and pH all affect efficiency and need to be consistent. If you're batch sparging, runoff rate is especially important.

As long as you monitor and adjust pH, your water supply should not affect efficiency.

As your dialing it in, I prefer to overshoot my target pre-boil gravity and adjust with water. I just have to make sure I also adjust hopping rate and spicing, as well as my boil-off calcs. More work, but I don't have to worry about my malt flavor profile, color, or fermentability changing.

Its a bit easier to undershoot your gravity, you just have to add DME. As long as you get your target volume, no other adjustments are necessary.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Slowbrew on April 16, 2013, 06:03:38 PM
If you can control the crush on the LHBS mill that would be a good start...

Don't be that guy that asks the LHBS to change the gap setting. Shops normally err on the side of a wide setting so customers don't complain about slow runoff / astringency.

Make sure you have your own process lined out before taking it up with the shop. Remember, it doesn't matter what your efficiency is as long as it's consistent.

Runoff rate, water/grist ratio, and pH all affect efficiency and need to be consistent. If you're batch sparging, runoff rate is especially important.

As long as you monitor and adjust pH, your water supply should not affect efficiency.

As your dialing it in, I prefer to overshoot my target pre-boil gravity and adjust with water. I just have to make sure I also adjust hopping rate and spicing, as well as my boil-off calcs. More work, but I don't have to worry about my malt flavor profile, color, or fermentability changing.

Its a bit easier to undershoot your gravity, you just have to add DME. As long as you get your target volume, no other adjustments are necessary.

True.  I wasn't really intending to suggest asking the shop to change their mill setting.  In my mind (the scary place it tends to be) that if you are sticking with one shop and they don't change their mill.  It is a constant.  Sorry for not being clear.

Paul
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: malzig on April 16, 2013, 11:44:35 PM
If you're batch sparging, runoff rate is especially important.
Nope.  I think you mean, "If you're fly sparging...".
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 22, 2013, 07:31:44 PM
I brewed the 10 gallon batch yesterday and got 71.3% efficiency I think...

My preboil gravity was 1.045 for 13.7 gallons and my post boil gravity was 1.046. I normally compute my post boil volume using the final gravity but that would give me 13.4 gallons which is obviously wrong. One of my readings had to be incorrect but I don't know which one. It's pretty strange because I am pretty sure it was mixed pretty well so I don't know what happened. I ended up with somewhere between 11-12 gallons post boil volume but couldn't accurately measure it.

Other than that everything went pretty well.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: aschecte on April 23, 2013, 01:28:16 AM
wow this is a tough one to answer. So many new variables. I would adjust your recipes to 70% and go from there. If I had to guess why such a dramatic change I would go with the water profile being more alkaline than your previous home. Brewing all grain 101 teaches us we want to pull our mash down to 5.2 appx. to get a good conversion of starches if you start out with a neutral 7 PH you will probably pull it down naturally pretty close to that mark 5.2-5.6 or so but if you are starting with a PH of 10 you will neer getthere and get crappy conversion. This is only a guess though. Scaling up the recipe should not give you that big of a loss. Another question did you use a lot of adjuncts in this recipe or any other thing weird ? Maybe the diastatic power of 2 row was not high enough to convert ? 6 row maybe a better option if you used a lot of adjuncts etc..... just keep trying and you will get back where you need to be and btw get a water report for your new brew water I have a gut feeling it will show something that is throwing things out of whack also, invest in a barley crusher or monster mill and then your crush will always be consistant.  good luck !!
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 23, 2013, 02:22:22 AM
What to do? What do big breweries do when they get a bigger system? They brew beer, test and taste, adjust for the next batch. They have good notes and a good baseline on taste. They might even dump batches, but they dial in.

Brew on the new system, you will get it figured out.
Title: Re: advice for adjusting to different system
Post by: Iliff Ave Brewhouse on April 23, 2013, 02:25:12 PM
Thanks guys. The main problem is I am only going to be living in my current location a few months and the 10 gallon system is not mine. So bascially everything is going to change again.

I am just going to have to keep brewing and try not to worry too much. Its just frustrating when you are trying to formulate a recipe and are it becomes a guessing game more or less. For the two batches I have done I got 63% and 71% for efficiency with the prior being for a 5 gallon batch. The process and grain crush has stayed constant. For the 71% batch I did focus more on stirring the mash and used a paddle to compact the mash at the end of the sparge. I am good about taking notes so next batch I will try to change nothing and shoot for the 70% mark.