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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: micsager on May 11, 2011, 02:39:52 PM

Title: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: micsager on May 11, 2011, 02:39:52 PM
Last weekend brewing a basic IPA.  Some grain must have gotten under my false bottom, and for the first time, when I went to sparge into boil bucket, all I had was a VERY SLOW trickle.  It took about 45 minutes to get all the wort out of the grain.  (I batch sparge)

Anyway, also for the first time, I hit my target OG (1.079) without any problems, adjsutments, or such. 

Was it the slow sparge?  And should I ALWAYS take the 45 minutes?
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: majorvices on May 11, 2011, 02:48:42 PM
Wait a sec .... a basic IPA you designed to be 1.079???  :D

theoretically, no. The sugars should all be in solution and rinsing as fast as you can should get you your target gravity. That said, the longer mash because you were struggling with the mash could have been the culprit. how long do you usually mash for?

Another possibility could be that you nailed your pH. pH has a big affect on efficiency. FWIW I batch sparge and almost always get about 80% efficiency.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: richardt on May 11, 2011, 02:49:04 PM
Assuming you did not mash out (T =168 F for >10 minutes) which would have denatured the enzymes, then you also might consider that you essentially had a longer mash which allowed for more gelatinization and conversion of the barley starches.

Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: micsager on May 11, 2011, 02:52:20 PM
This was a 90 minute mash, at at 150 degrees.

Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: majorvices on May 11, 2011, 03:04:47 PM
Do you always do a 90 minutes mash? Do you regularly check pH?
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: micsager on May 11, 2011, 03:07:45 PM
I normally only do a 60 minute mash.  And I never even check the ph.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: majorvices on May 11, 2011, 03:10:06 PM
longer mashes very regularly give you higher efficiency and can also help drive your attenuation down. You should really get in the habit of checking and adjusting pH. You will help stabilize your mash efficiency, help get clearer beer and help dial in the flavor profile by nailing the pH.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: denny on May 11, 2011, 03:40:20 PM
Assuming you did not mash out (T =168 F for >10 minutes) which would have denatured the enzymes, then you also might consider that you essentially had a longer mash which allowed for more gelatinization and conversion of the barley starches.



This seems like a good explanation to me.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: ccarlson on May 11, 2011, 05:23:12 PM
Last weekend brewing a basic IPA.  Some grain must have gotten under my false bottom, and for the first time, when I went to sparge into boil bucket, all I had was a VERY SLOW trickle.  It took about 45 minutes to get all the wort out of the grain.  (I batch sparge)

Anyway, also for the first time, I hit my target OG (1.079) without any problems, adjsutments, or such. 

Was it the slow sparge?  And should I ALWAYS take the 45 minutes?

If you didn't do it this time, next time do a mash out or at the very least raise the temperature of your mash. It will help your runoff.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: bluesman on May 11, 2011, 06:46:27 PM
I would also recommend dialing in your mash pH to help with your mash chemistry and your beer flavor profile. As far as you runoff goes, 45 min is long and can be reduced by getting your temp up and/or by taking a closer look at your grain bed. Sometimes a very fine crush can slow things down. Look for a blend of particles, some small, medium and large particle sizes to form a compact yet porous grainbed.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: richardt on May 11, 2011, 07:18:53 PM
Ron has a good point.  Check your mill gap.  I experienced similar lautering difficulties last year when I was chasing higher efficiencies by narrowing the mill gap.  While I did get a finer grist, and maybe higher efficiencies, it was not efficient in terms of my time spent brewing (too fine = slow or stuck).  My low point last year was the lauter from hell with a high-gravity wheat beer and an overly crushed grain bed compacting in a 10 gallon round Rubbermaid cooler.  Several hours.  Got done around 3 am, I think.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: Will's Swill on May 11, 2011, 11:40:06 PM
If your stuck sparge really was caused by grain getting underneath your false bottom, you might consider using a sparge bag to hold your grain.  I always use one with my false bottom because of grain that sneaks by/past it.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: malzig on May 12, 2011, 09:55:19 AM
Ron has a good point.  Check your mill gap.  I experienced similar lautering difficulties last year when I was chasing higher efficiencies by narrowing the mill gap.  While I did get a finer grist, and maybe higher efficiencies, it was not efficient in terms of my time spent brewing (too fine = slow or stuck).  My low point last year was the lauter from hell with a high-gravity wheat beer and an overly crushed grain bed compacting in a 10 gallon round Rubbermaid cooler.  Several hours.  Got done around 3 am, I think.
You should consider Malt Conditioning (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Malt_Conditioning).  Then you shouldn't have to worry about having too fine a grind.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: micsager on May 12, 2011, 04:07:14 PM
If your stuck sparge really was caused by grain getting underneath your false bottom, you might consider using a sparge bag to hold your grain.  I always use one with my false bottom because of grain that sneaks by/past it.

For a one time problem, I don't think I should change anything.  My stir paddle did hit the side of the false bottom, My guess is I was just stirring to vigerously, down low.  And lifted the false bottom a bit, letting grain underneath.  At least that's my guess. 
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: richardt on May 12, 2011, 06:48:36 PM
You should consider Malt Conditioning (http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Malt_Conditioning).  Then you shouldn't have to worry about having too fine a grind.

I did try malt conditioning.  However, I did not read the MC article as closely as I should have. 
I was overzealous with the sprayer (too much water).  The result was corn-dog rollers on my BC malt mill, a burnt out cheapo drill, and a massive upper body workout as a result of having to hand crank nearly 30 lbs of grain.  The rollers had to be disassembled and soaked to get the dough off.

I may consider it again in the future, but I'm not feeling the need right now.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: thomasbarnes on May 13, 2011, 04:46:41 AM
Was it the slow sparge?  And should I ALWAYS take the 45 minutes?

The slow sparge might have helped. Current wisdom from the malting guys is that (most) modern malts are well enough modified that you don't need to spend as much time mashing, but to get optimum extraction you should increase lautering time. Under optimum conditions, it might only take 30 minutes to get full mash conversion, but for optimum extraction you might want to go as long as 90 minutes on runoff. This according to a presentation by a rep. from Briess malt(?) at the 2009 NHC conference, although I can't find a link at the moment.

Other factors, like malt crush and proper pH might have helped as well. Also, make sure that your thermometer is properly calibrated. A few degrees of temperature error one way or another can affect mashing efficiency.
Title: Re: Another mistake, and good things happening. (I think)
Post by: malzig on May 14, 2011, 01:02:56 PM
I did try malt conditioning.  However, I did not read the MC article as closely as I should have. 
I was overzealous with the sprayer (too much water).  The result was corn-dog rollers on my BC malt mill, a burnt out cheapo drill, and a massive upper body workout as a result of having to hand crank nearly 30 lbs of grain.  The rollers had to be disassembled and soaked to get the dough off.
It takes very little water to see a benefit.  Even half or less what is usually recommended will result in better husks.  The grain should still be dry, not detectably wet.