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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: zman51 on September 07, 2017, 05:05:02 PM

Title: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: zman51 on September 07, 2017, 05:05:02 PM
Hello All

About three brews ago I switched over to All Grain from extract. I love the process and the beer has tasted good but not getting the projected alcohol content. I believe this is because I have yet to get the OG recipe suggests. I am using a sparge calculator as well as formula on paper to get mash water temp and sparge water temp. My procedure right now is after the mash I drain that into brew kettle. I then add the sparge water and let sit 15 minutes and then slowly drain that to brew kettle. Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

thx
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: denny on September 07, 2017, 05:27:55 PM
Hello All

About three brews ago I switched over to All Grain from extract. I love the process and the beer has tasted good but not getting the projected alcohol content. I believe this is because I have yet to get the OG recipe suggests. I am using a sparge calculator as well as formula on paper to get mash water temp and sparge water temp. My procedure right now is after the mash I drain that into brew kettle. I then add the sparge water and let sit 15 minutes and then slowly drain that to brew kettle. Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

thx

First of all, although it isn't your problem, there's no reason to let the sparge water sit for 15 minutes.  You're not really gaining anything.  See www.dennybrew.com

My guess for your low OG is that you aren't adjusting recipes to your system's efficiency.  You can't assume you'll get the same as what the recipe is written for.  You need to adjust every recipe to fit your system.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: BrewBama on September 07, 2017, 05:33:12 PM
+1 on adjusting to your system. Also, do you crush your own grain? Do you check conversion prior to lauter? If so, are you getting complete conversion?


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Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: zman51 on September 07, 2017, 05:42:43 PM
sorry for stupid question but what do you guys mean by adjusting to my system?
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: BrewBama on September 07, 2017, 05:47:42 PM
Most recipes are written for X efficiency. If you get Y efficiency you need to add or subtract to brew the same beer the recipe describes.


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Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: zman51 on September 08, 2017, 12:56:58 PM
ok thanks
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: Visor on September 08, 2017, 03:19:23 PM
  +1 for checking for complete conversion, it isn't unusual for me to find that a 60 minute mash hasn't fully converted the starches to sugars. Other things that can help improve efficiency are getting your water right before mashing, some of us also feel that malt conditioning prior to grinding helps our efficiency. How much water loss to absorption are having? If you're losing much more than 1/10 of a gallon per pound of grain, you might get some improvement from allowing for a longer run-off from mash and sparge, assuming you have time to spare. I use a grain bag in a mash cooler & batch sparge, and am one of the heathens who squeezes as much wort out of the bag as is practical. I usually recover an additional 2 to 4 quarts of wort that others would have thrown away with the grain. And no, I haven't tasted any nasty tannin bitterness from squeezing.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: denny on September 08, 2017, 03:55:33 PM
  +1 for checking for complete conversion, it isn't unusual for me to find that a 60 minute mash hasn't fully converted the starches to sugars. Other things that can help improve efficiency are getting your water right before mashing, some of us also feel that malt conditioning prior to grinding helps our efficiency. How much water loss to absorption are having? If you're losing much more than 1/10 of a gallon per pound of grain, you might get some improvement from allowing for a longer run-off from mash and sparge, assuming you have time to spare. I use a grain bag in a mash cooler & batch sparge, and am one of the heathens who squeezes as much wort out of the bag as is practical. I usually recover an additional 2 to 4 quarts of wort that others would have thrown away with the grain. And no, I haven't tasted any nasty tannin bitterness from squeezing.

Wow, that's really surprising.  In 526 batches I don't think I've ever had one that didn't convert in 60 min.  I've also found water to make a minor difference in efficiency.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: Pricelessbrewing on September 08, 2017, 04:39:03 PM
Wow, that's really surprising.  In 526 batches I don't think I've ever had one that didn't convert in 60 min.  I've also found water to make a minor difference in efficiency.

While I'm nowhere near 526 batches... I agree, most of my mashes reach full conversion 92-95% usually within ~45 minutes. Water can have a profound impact on conversion, but your almost always notice an off flavor due to the poor mash pH.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 09, 2017, 11:28:21 AM
I think crush is likely the culprit here.   If you are crushing your own grain try tightening up the mill gap some (.029 is a setting that works for me, but others go as tight as possible).  If you get it from a LHBS, try double milling it.  If you order online crushed, just adjust with more grain.  I have xperienced gravity slippage on identical batches and it is always an indicator that my mill has loosened up a bit.  I use a feeler gauge to keep it consistent.  I BIAB, use a RIMS step mash and mash press and get steady efficiencies in the ugh 70's.  That works for me.  Just one data point, though.....
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: zman51 on September 09, 2017, 11:45:05 AM
thanks all.

I think I will first get my own mill so I can double mill.

I was wondering is this a good one?


https://www.morebeer.com/products/monster-mill-3-roller-body.html

Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: zman51 on September 09, 2017, 11:46:00 AM
also was wondering if there are any biab's for a standard 40 qt cooler?
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 09, 2017, 12:19:09 PM
thanks all.

I think I will first get my own mill so I can double mill.

I was wondering is this a good one?


https://www.morebeer.com/products/monster-mill-3-roller-body.html

That is a good one, I have one. That does two crushes on one pass.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 09, 2017, 12:26:46 PM
  +1 for checking for complete conversion, it isn't unusual for me to find that a 60 minute mash hasn't fully converted the starches to sugars. Other things that can help improve efficiency are getting your water right before mashing, some of us also feel that malt conditioning prior to grinding helps our efficiency. How much water loss to absorption are having? If you're losing much more than 1/10 of a gallon per pound of grain, you might get some improvement from allowing for a longer run-off from mash and sparge, assuming you have time to spare. I use a grain bag in a mash cooler & batch sparge, and am one of the heathens who squeezes as much wort out of the bag as is practical. I usually recover an additional 2 to 4 quarts of wort that others would have thrown away with the grain. And no, I haven't tasted any nasty tannin bitterness from squeezing.

Wow, that's really surprising.  In 526 batches I don't think I've ever had one that didn't convert in 60 min.  I've also found water to make a minor difference in efficiency.

With your water, no problem. I've found adjusting my water helps. The alkalinity is very high, and the pH would be greater than 6 for a light colored beer, which places it out range for the enzymes to work optimally. Been there years back.

Edit read the pH section.
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Understanding_Efficiency
Title: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: BrewBama on September 09, 2017, 01:57:08 PM
also was wondering if there are any biab's for a standard 40 qt cooler?

You can get a bag made for any vessel. There are a couple vendors out there that accept your dimensions and make the bag to fit. I used Brew Bag but Wilser bag is suppose to be reputable as well. There may be others.

http://biabbags.webs.com/

https://www.brewinabag.com/


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Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: Visor on September 09, 2017, 02:57:19 PM
  +1 for checking for complete conversion, it isn't unusual for me to find that a 60 minute mash hasn't fully converted the starches to sugars. Other things that can help improve efficiency are getting your water right before mashing, some of us also feel that malt conditioning prior to grinding helps our efficiency. How much water loss to absorption are having? If you're losing much more than 1/10 of a gallon per pound of grain, you might get some improvement from allowing for a longer run-off from mash and sparge, assuming you have time to spare. I use a grain bag in a mash cooler & batch sparge, and am one of the heathens who squeezes as much wort out of the bag as is practical. I usually recover an additional 2 to 4 quarts of wort that others would have thrown away with the grain. And no, I haven't tasted any nasty tannin bitterness from squeezing.

Wow, that's really surprising.  In 526 batches I don't think I've ever had one that didn't convert in 60 min.  I've also found water to make a minor difference in efficiency.
[/b]
   Maybe it's the difference in elevation ;). I'm only on my 50th batch - 47 mashes and 3 parti-gyles, so I'll defer to your experience Denny, but believe it or not as you choose, I have had several mashes that an iodine test indicated still had unconverted starches after 60 or more minutes. I don't recall exactly how many without going through my brewing notes, nor what the particulars of each incident were.
   I didn't mean to suggest that water chemistry absolutely makes a huge difference to M.E. in all cases, but it certainly can have an effect, albeit only a small effect in some cases.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: Visor on September 09, 2017, 03:07:28 PM
thanks all.

I think I will first get my own mill so I can double mill.

I was wondering is this a good one?


https://www.morebeer.com/products/monster-mill-3-roller-body.html
    To my way of thinking, you're better off getting the desired crush from a single milling rather than milling the grain twice, if for no reason other than trying to keep the husks as intact as possible in order to facilitate faster run-offs. There was a thread on this forum within the past couple weeks or so that delved into the matter of grain conditioning, it might be worth your time to find and peruse it, rather than re-hashing it all over again on this thread. Additionally, buying your grain uncrushed greatly extends it's shelf life.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: denny on September 09, 2017, 03:42:02 PM
  +1 for checking for complete conversion, it isn't unusual for me to find that a 60 minute mash hasn't fully converted the starches to sugars. Other things that can help improve efficiency are getting your water right before mashing, some of us also feel that malt conditioning prior to grinding helps our efficiency. How much water loss to absorption are having? If you're losing much more than 1/10 of a gallon per pound of grain, you might get some improvement from allowing for a longer run-off from mash and sparge, assuming you have time to spare. I use a grain bag in a mash cooler & batch sparge, and am one of the heathens who squeezes as much wort out of the bag as is practical. I usually recover an additional 2 to 4 quarts of wort that others would have thrown away with the grain. And no, I haven't tasted any nasty tannin bitterness from squeezing.


Wow, that's really surprising.  In 526 batches I don't think I've ever had one that didn't convert in 60 min.  I've also found water to make a minor difference in efficiency.
[/b]
   Maybe it's the difference in elevation ;). I'm only on my 50th batch - 47 mashes and 3 parti-gyles, so I'll defer to your experience Denny, but believe it or not as you choose, I have had several mashes that an iodine test indicated still had unconverted starches after 60 or more minutes. I don't recall exactly how many without going through my brewing notes, nor what the particulars of each incident were.
   I didn't mean to suggest that water chemistry absolutely makes a huge difference to M.E. in all cases, but it certainly can have an effect, albeit only a small effect in some cases.

I think the problem is more with the iodine test than your mashes.  I stopped doing it 18 years ago because I found it worthless.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: Visor on September 09, 2017, 03:59:24 PM
Is there another way to test for conversion that is available at the homebrew level?
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: denny on September 09, 2017, 04:16:36 PM
Is there another way to test for conversion that is available at the homebrew level?

You can trust biochemistry and just skip it (which is what I've done for the last 18 years).  Or use Kai's conversion efficiency chart to measure it.  But it's so easy to get false readings with the iodine test that it has no value to me.
Title: Re: All Grain not reaching projected OG
Post by: lindak on September 11, 2017, 10:35:24 AM
If you do look to purchase a mill-- I called Monster Mill and based on their recommendation went with a 2 roller model--  morebeer carries that model, too.