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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: johnny_b on May 06, 2010, 01:02:15 AM

Title: Questions after first all grain
Post by: johnny_b on May 06, 2010, 01:02:15 AM
Hello all,
First off, all in all I think it went well, just have some questions about the numbers.

I am using Beersmith and the estimated boil volume was 7 gal, with the amount of water suggested, I collected 7.25 gal. This seems to be an easy adjustment in the equipment settings for next time.

The estimate for OG was 1.049 and I achieved 1.045 going in to the fermenter. This worked out to 62% efficiency according to Beersmith. I mashed at 154F with a ratio of 1.25 qt/lb for 60 min. (grain bill was 10 lbs for 5 gal batch) My mash tun is a 48 qt ice cube using a copper manifold with 4 main rails that are roughly equally spaced. There are slots cut at about 1/2" intervals in the copper tube.

I stirred the mash at mash in, mash out, and after adding the final sparge water. Before running off, I allowed the mash to sit for 10 min each time.

I did not take any pH readings and used the same filtered tap water that I have always used for extract.

Does my efficiency seem out of line?
Can it be improved by some obvious means that I may not know of?
Maybe a more vigorous or frequent stir?

Thanks in advance,
Steve
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: dhacker on May 06, 2010, 01:10:36 AM
First question . . did you have exactly 5 gallons going into the fermenter, or more like 5.5? (or even more)
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: johnny_b on May 06, 2010, 01:31:48 AM
I had 5 gallons in the fermenter. At the end of 60 min boil I had about 5.75 gal, I boiled about 15 min. longer to get to 5.5 gal on my sight glass.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: tygo on May 06, 2010, 01:33:08 AM
What was your recipe?
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: johnny_b on May 06, 2010, 01:36:17 AM
BeerSmith Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Midwest Sierra Pale Ale
Brewer: Captain & Crew Brewery
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal      
Boil Size: 6.66 gal
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 5.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 61.0 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
9 lbs         Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        90.00 %      
8.0 oz        Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)              Grain        5.00 %        
8.0 oz        Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)     Grain        5.00 %        
2.00 oz       Pearle [7.70 %]  (60 min)                 Hops         58.7 IBU      
1.00 oz       Cascade [7.20 %]  (2 min)                 Hops         2.3 IBU      
1.00 items    Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)          Misc                                        
1 Pkgs        American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [Starter Yeast-Ale                  


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 10.00 lb
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Medium Body
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp    
60 min        Mash In            Add 12.50 qt of water at 168.0 F    154.0 F      
10 min        Mash Out           Add 7.00 qt of water at 197.7 F     168.0 F  

the boil volume was originally estimated at 7.0, I have already updated my equipment setting in Beersmith.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: weithman5 on May 06, 2010, 01:46:48 AM
efficiency smischiency.  let me know how it tastes.

that said. probably reasonable job.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: Hokerer on May 06, 2010, 02:02:03 AM
Does my efficiency seem out of line?

Doesn't seem particularly out of line.  Seems like the biggest contributor to efficiency is your crush.  Did you crush your own grain?  have the LHBS do it?  LHBS seem to crush with a generally larger gap than most people crush at home.  They're more concerned with you not having a stuck mash than they are with your getting max efficiency.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: The Professor on May 06, 2010, 04:24:47 PM
efficiency smischiency.  let me know how it tastes.
that said. probably reasonable job.

+1
exactly...that's the main issue. 

As you dial in your methods & procedures by brewing more, you'll get a better idea of what your own brewhouse efficiency is and you'll be able to formulate beers and achieve desired gravities just by eyeballing it.  A gravity reading before the boil helps to determine if the boil needs to be slightly longer or shorter (based on the initial volume and your evaporation rate)...it just takes a couple of batches to get a feel for that. 

The software solutions can be helpful at times, but I think the mistake a lot of brewers make is to take the data output by the programs (or a printed recipe for that matter) as some kind of definitive goal.  Besides, missing target numbers generated by a piece of software (which can only calculate based on educated guesses as to interpreting the data you input)   doesn't constitute failure or a lesser brew. 
The bottom line is ALWAYS "how does it drink". 

A  few gravity points are not all that significant anyway, really.   Such variations occur in commercial brewery operations of every size, every day,

 
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: weithman5 on May 06, 2010, 04:35:57 PM
wow. my first +1  woot woot.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: euge on May 06, 2010, 04:46:41 PM
What was your method? Fly sparging? Batch?

I think 62% isn't too bad. If the beer tastes good, and it probably will- don't worry you on track. Chasing that elusive "higher efficiency" is the road to madness. Aim for consistency.

Congratulations on the first all-grain experience!
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: bbump22 on May 06, 2010, 06:26:25 PM
Does my efficiency seem out of line?

Doesn't seem particularly out of line.  Seems like the biggest contributor to efficiency is your crush.  Did you crush your own grain?  have the LHBS do it?  LHBS seem to crush with a generally larger gap than most people crush at home.  They're more concerned with you not having a stuck mash than they are with your getting max efficiency.

I batch sparge and hit between 66%-68% pretty consistently.  I believe that the crush is the most important...depending on your water source, the pH may play a role.  I also hear that fly sparging can bump up your efficiency rates too...i track the efficiency so I can use it as a basis when creating recipes, but I don't use it as a tool to measure my success as a brewer.  I use the final product to measure the success rate.


Cheers and welcome to AG!  My first couple of AG recipes are kegged and bottled - ready for tasting this weekend - im stoked!
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: Hokerer on May 06, 2010, 07:06:34 PM
i track the efficiency so I can use it as a basis when creating recipes, but I don't use it as a tool to measure my success as a brewer

+1 Well said.  The goal of figuring out efficiency issues should be consistency in the percentage and not necessarily getting the maximum.  Once you consistently know your efficiency, your recipes will start turning out as you predict.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: fritzeye on May 06, 2010, 08:01:06 PM
Great job. From what I understand any efficiency in that range yields the the meat and potatoes part of the grain.  I batch sparge as per Denny and one thing I did notice is that when I slowed down my run off to about 15 minutes from 5 minutes, my efficiency got 5-10 points higher.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 06, 2010, 08:51:45 PM
Great job. From what I understand any efficiency in that range yields the the meat and potatoes part of the grain.  I batch sparge as per Denny and one thing I did notice is that when I slowed down my run off to about 15 minutes from 5 minutes, my efficiency got 5-10 points higher.

Boy, that's interesting!  I've tried all different speeds without any difference.  I wonder why it's different for us?
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: bbump22 on May 06, 2010, 09:02:42 PM
Great job. From what I understand any efficiency in that range yields the the meat and potatoes part of the grain.  I batch sparge as per Denny and one thing I did notice is that when I slowed down my run off to about 15 minutes from 5 minutes, my efficiency got 5-10 points higher.

Boy, that's interesting!  I've tried all different speeds without any difference.  I wonder why it's different for us?

I've used Denny's method of Batch Sparging too and always just open the valve all the way once it has started flowing and I know I shouldn't get a stuck sparge.  One question I have always had is should I continue to tilt the MT when the flow is down to a slow trickle so that I can get all of the final drips out or am I just waisting my time with that since it doesn't bring my volume up by much?   
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: johnny_b on May 06, 2010, 09:22:52 PM
Hey, thank to all for the replies. I too determine success on the taste, I just want to evaluate my process and know what I get to plan later recipes. That said, I did not crush my own grain and I batch sparged. I just opened the valve wide for each runoff.

I really enjoyed doing this for the first time, it was no big deal at all. If I had started with AG, it may have been a little overwhelming, but after doing extract for a while it's no big deal.

 I did learn that if you intend on doing AG and are going to stick with 5 gal batches that you by no means need a pump and a cooler mash tun when loaded with grain and strike water is definitely light enough to lift above your boil kettle for running off. I also learned that I should have listened to everyone that says that the 23 jet NG burners are overkill. Anyone considering these to use with keggles, do yourself a favor and GET THE 10 JET BURNER.

I am happy to have made the leap and look forward to tasting the difference of AG. I actually brewed the same recipe extract and
AG to compare side by side (the wife is out of town and I wanted to do an exbeeriment).
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: richardt on May 06, 2010, 09:31:56 PM

One question I have always had is should I continue to tilt the MT when the flow is down to a slow trickle so that I can get all of the final drips out or am I just waisting my time with that since it doesn't bring my volume up by much?   
[/quote]
Yes, you should.  I do it because of my frugal nature.  "Waste not, want not."  
It may not be efficient in terms of time spent, though.  
I haven't done the math to determine how much fermentable sugar is in one or two gallons of 1.016 last runnings (if fly sparging) or in one or two gallons of 1.024 last runnings (if batch sparging).  

I typically brew 10 gallon batches.
I mash and batch/fly sparge with the same 10 Gallon [orange ;)] Igloo cooler.
I usually do 2 or 3 batch sparges to get a lot of volume quickly into the boil kettle, and then do a fly sparge with the remaining sparge water while the kettle is bringing the wort to a boil.  I only mildly rake the upper 1/2 of the grain bed with my stirring spoon when fly sparging to avoid having to vorlauf again.
I always take the extra time to tip and drain the fluid (takes as long as 10-15 minutes.  It's amazing how much the grain bed compacts and shrinks as the final runnings are pulled off.  We're talking a good gallon or two of wort.  I always make sure it remains above 1.008-1.016 (brix 2-4, if using the refractometer), in order to avoid astringency issues.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 07, 2010, 03:14:15 PM
One question I have always had is should I continue to tilt the MT when the flow is down to a slow trickle so that I can get all of the final drips out or am I just waisting my time with that since it doesn't bring my volume up by much?   

Either way....for years, I didn't bother to tilt.  These days, I usually do, even though it usually only yields an extra cup or 2.  For me, it's easy enough to do that I just go for it.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: edward on May 07, 2010, 04:27:23 PM

I usually sparge about a gallon more than what is recommended.  My runoff gravity never goes below the astringency zone and it helps me to pick up a few gravity points.  Checking the runoff gravity is a good way to find out if you can sparge a little more or not.  Off course you will have to boil that much longer to get down to your target volume.

If I am brewing to style and my gravity is too high at the end I usually add water to get the gravity into spec.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: euge on May 07, 2010, 05:07:32 PM
As far as tilting goes I usually place a piece of 1 x 2 under the far end of the tun before doughing in. Not really necessary with the Coleman xtreme but out of habit it still gets done...
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: cbiddy on May 07, 2010, 10:01:52 PM
..
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: theoman on May 09, 2010, 04:18:45 PM
Congrats on going all-grain!

I had a bit of the opposite problem with my latest batch. I was going for a nice, easy drinking, low-alcohol pils. My efficiency is normally in the low 70's, so that's what I planned for. For this batch, I tightened my grind a bit, added a stir to the mash, let it rest a bit longer before sparging and slowed the sparge down compared to what I normally do. I accidentally got near 85% efficiency.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: malzig on May 11, 2010, 12:07:34 PM
By the way, even using 37 ppg I calculate 67% mash efficiency, not 62.  69% using 36 ppg.
I believe you're underselling your efficiency at 62% because you are calculating it based on the volume you got into the fermenter, which is partially a measure of how good you are at siphoning.  A more useful number in calculating recipes is the mash efficiency, which helps predict OG based on the amount of grain and water used, ignoring transfer efficiencies.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: coypoo on May 12, 2010, 04:24:00 PM
By the way, even using 37 ppg I calculate 67% mash efficiency, not 62.  69% using 36 ppg.
I believe you're underselling your efficiency at 62% because you are calculating it based on the volume you got into the fermenter, which is partially a measure of how good you are at siphoning.  A more useful number in calculating recipes is the mash efficiency, which helps predict OG based on the amount of grain and water used, ignoring transfer efficiencies.

How are you getting those numbers? Isnt it 10lbs x 36ppp= 360 / 5gal= 72, and he got 45, so 45/72= 62%. Am I doing the calcualtions wrong??
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: malzig on May 14, 2010, 10:41:47 AM
How are you getting those numbers? Isnt it 10lbs x 36ppp= 360 / 5gal= 72, and he got 45, so 45/72= 62%. Am I doing the calcualtions wrong??
No, that's a perfectly good way to do the calculation, except that he said he had 5.5 gallons at the end of the boil.
So, 10lbs x 36ppp= 360 / 5.5 gal= 65.5, and he got 45, so 45/65= 69%
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: coypoo on May 14, 2010, 05:16:37 PM
Ah, didnt see the 5.5post boil volume. That makes sense
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: dean on May 18, 2010, 01:37:17 PM
Great job. From what I understand any efficiency in that range yields the the meat and potatoes part of the grain.  I batch sparge as per Denny and one thing I did notice is that when I slowed down my run off to about 15 minutes from 5 minutes, my efficiency got 5-10 points higher.

Boy, that's interesting!  I've tried all different speeds without any difference.  I wonder why it's different for us?

Denny, do you suppose that by slowing the speed down that fritzeye might actually be allowing a more complete conversion = a longer mash time?  Just a thought and wondering.

Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 18, 2010, 03:19:48 PM
Great job. From what I understand any efficiency in that range yields the the meat and potatoes part of the grain.  I batch sparge as per Denny and one thing I did notice is that when I slowed down my run off to about 15 minutes from 5 minutes, my efficiency got 5-10 points higher.

Boy, that's interesting!  I've tried all different speeds without any difference.  I wonder why it's different for us?

Denny, do you suppose that by slowing the speed down that fritzeye might actually be allowing a more complete conversion = a longer mash time?  Just a thought and wondering.



I guess that's a possibility I hadn't considered, Dean.  Seems like a logical idea.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: Kaiser on May 18, 2010, 07:31:05 PM
Denny, do you suppose that by slowing the speed down that fritzeye might actually be allowing a more complete conversion = a longer mash time?  Just a thought and wondering.


I guess that's a possibility I hadn't considered, Dean.  Seems like a logical idea.
[/quote]

If that is the case then the gravity of the run-off would increase while it is running off. You could test that with a hydrometer or refractometer.

Kai
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: bluesman on May 18, 2010, 08:37:00 PM
Denny, do you suppose that by slowing the speed down that fritzeye might actually be allowing a more complete conversion = a longer mash time?  Just a thought and wondering.


I guess that's a possibility I hadn't considered, Dean.  Seems like a logical idea.

If that is the case then the gravity of the run-off would increase while it is running off. You could test that with a hydrometer or refractometer.

Kai
[/quote]

+1

Targeting your gravity is the key to hitting your numbers at the end of the day. Mash efficiency can have a significant impact on your final numbers. Measure your runoff volume and gravity after mashing. This will enable one to make adjustments to the pre-boil volume if necessary and boil down the wort to your target gravity. Blindly attempting to lauter as much as possible may complicate things. Saving the wort for starters is a plus.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: dean on May 19, 2010, 01:33:44 PM
I've read where other people have said their efficiency goes up by slowing down their runoff and thats the only thing I could think of that it might impact, but adding ten minutes doesn't seem like enough time to make much of a difference.  I generally start slow and then open the valve completely.  The only part that sometimes bothers me is at the end of a run, I almost panic when it gurgles.   :D
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 19, 2010, 03:41:46 PM
Yeah, while it makes some sense, you;d have to check the gravity throughout the runoff, as Kai suggests, to confirm it.  I can tell you that I runoff all the wort for a 5.5 gal. batch (about 7.5-8 gal.) in 15 min. of less.  That includes mash runoff, stirring in the sparge water, vorlauf, and sparge runoff.    That's about as fast as I can go.  So it looks like my fastest time is about what fritzeye slowed down to.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: Kaiser on May 20, 2010, 03:39:42 PM
I've read where other people have said their efficiency goes up by slowing down their runoff and thats the only thing I could think of that it might impact,

You need to make a distinction between batch and fly sparging here. In fly sparging the efficiency of the lauter process is sensitive to the run-off speed. It batch sparging it is not. But that does not mean that there is not the possibility that a slower run-off in batch sparging can gain overall efficiency. In particular if there are still conversion processes happening in the mash.

Has anyone ever conducted the test where the gravity of the mash is tested after adding and stirring in the sparge water and then after a 10 min sparge rest and another good stir?

Kai
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: a10t2 on May 20, 2010, 03:47:32 PM
Has anyone ever conducted the test where the gravity of the mash is tested after adding and stirring in the sparge water and then after a 10 min sparge rest and another good stir?

I have, but only once. There was no change. Which makes sense to me - after an hour of mashing my conversion efficiency is always >90% anyway.

edit: I should add that I stir constantly for 2-3 minutes after adding the sparge water anyway. If you weren't doing that I could understand why there would be a benefit.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 20, 2010, 04:20:57 PM
Has anyone ever conducted the test where the gravity of the mash is tested after adding and stirring in the sparge water and then after a 10 min sparge rest and another good stir?

Kai

I did about 8-9 years ago, which is about when I started questioning if a rest after adding the sparge water was necessary.  At that point, it didn't seem to change anything.  But I'll try it agin and take better notes.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: Kaiser on May 20, 2010, 05:50:32 PM
This might be a test worth trying on a mash with a coarse grist. Many brewers argue that during sparging the sugars, which are converted but still in the grits, diffuse out of those grits. If that is the case then you should see the gravity of the wort increase during a sparge rest. But I’m convinced that most of the sugars have already diffused into the wort during the 60 min of mashing and all we are trying to do during sparging is to wash those sugars off the spent grain particles. Though there will be some diffusion out of the grain particles as well I would expect that to be minimal.

Kai
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 20, 2010, 06:08:59 PM
I'm in agreement with your hypothesis, Kai.  And I won't be testing a coarse grist since that would require me to readjust my mill.  I'm not gonna mess with that.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: bluesman on May 20, 2010, 09:07:54 PM
I usually stir once after adding the sparge water. I believe additional stirring wouldn't render any significant amount of additional sugar assuming one has achieved starch conversion during the mash.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 21, 2010, 03:41:09 PM
I usually stir once after adding the sparge water. I believe additional stirring wouldn't render any significant amount of additional sugar assuming one has achieved starch conversion during the mash.

That's been my experience.
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: Kaiser on May 21, 2010, 03:50:16 PM
I'm in agreement with your hypothesis, Kai.  And I won't be testing a coarse grist since that would require me to readjust my mill.  I'm not gonna mess with that.

No, I was not really soliciting volunteers. :)

Kai
Title: Re: Questions after first all grain
Post by: denny on May 21, 2010, 04:20:46 PM
I'm in agreement with your hypothesis, Kai.  And I won't be testing a coarse grist since that would require me to readjust my mill.  I'm not gonna mess with that.

No, I was not really soliciting volunteers. :)

Kai

I realize that, but my facetiousness level was low.....;)