Author Topic: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why  (Read 13201 times)

Offline kruz805

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2012, 10:38:11 AM »
I was in the same boat as you where a few years ago.  I could not get good efficiency results and they where very inconsistent.  Two things I did that really helped.  I made marks in my brew pot to collect that exact amount of wort each time.  This really helped since I was eye-balling it.  Second, if sounds like you are batch sparging and the most important step is to really let the first runnings drain well.  This is where the heavy sugars are and you need to collect as much as possible.  After that, you are diluting the sugars and wort down with other sparges.  This took me from high 50's to low 60's to 70's every time.  Lately, I have been having issues again but I at least know its not a volume or runnings issue.

One final thing, make sure your thermometers are accurate.  I had one that was off and noticed that I was not getting proper efficiency.  I switched to a better one and know my body and conversions are running better.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 10:41:59 AM by kruz805 »
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Offline rgnlkngtylrbmbstk

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2012, 10:55:40 AM »
Definitely calibrate everything so your data means something.
If you want to see your mash efficiency, simply measure your grains carefully and your mash liquor, then take a gravity reading before adding any sparge water. That will help narrow down any pH issues.
If you want to see your lauter efficiency, measure your runoff volume carefully and take a gravity reading. That will isolate mashtun deadspace and channeling issues (unless you batch sparge, which doesn't allow channeling.)
Also keep in mind that the bigger the mash in relation to preboil, the lower your efficiency must be.
If I have a 10# mash and collect 7g preboil for a 5g batch, that gives me 40% more volume for rinsing. You have 8g for 6g batch, 30% more, and you're using almost twice the grains. In theory if your "rinsing power," i.e., the volume preboil:postboil factor for a given weight of mash, stays the same your efficiencies should be pretty similar. That would mean if I can get 1.050 from 10# with a 7g preboil, I should be able to get about 1.100 from 20# pulling 14g preboil. In practice, there is a curve — not to mention the point of diminishing returns — but it should illustrate why I recommend "working out your mash efficiency" on normal-strength beers and then taking what you get on the big ones, keeping enough notes to know what to expect.

Offline repo

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2012, 11:25:51 AM »
. That would mean if I can get 1.050 from 10# with a 7g preboil, I should be able to get about 1.100 from 20# pulling 14g preboil.

HUH??? Typo somewhere???  ??? ???

Offline euge

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2012, 12:02:31 PM »
. That would mean if I can get 1.050 from 10# with a 7g preboil, I should be able to get about 1.100 from 20# pulling 14g preboil.

HUH??? Typo somewhere???  ??? ???

Should be the same without accounting for grainbed depth factor. Rethink this.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2012, 12:35:29 PM »
. That would mean if I can get 1.050 from 10# with a 7g preboil, I should be able to get about 1.100 from 20# pulling 14g preboil.

HUH??? Typo somewhere???  ??? ???

Should be the same without accounting for grainbed depth factor. Rethink this.

I think he is saying that if he boiled that 7 or 14 gallons down to the same 5 gallons post boil. The idea being that if you can rinse with the same ratio of water to grain you should be able to avoid part of the efficiency loss to larger grain bills.
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Offline repo

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2012, 02:17:45 PM »
. That would mean if I can get 1.050 from 10# with a 7g preboil, I should be able to get about 1.100 from 20# pulling 14g preboil.

HUH??? Typo somewhere???  ??? ???

Should be the same without accounting for grainbed depth factor. Rethink this.

I think he is saying that if he boiled that 7 or 14 gallons down to the same 5 gallons post boil. The idea being that if you can rinse with the same ratio of water to grain you should be able to avoid part of the efficiency loss to larger grain bills.

I don't think so. . I can get equal efficiency from 10 pounds or 15#'s of grain while collecting 8 gallons of total runnings.  While the size of my system will affect me at a point, if I doubled my mash tun size I would see the same results.  I think this is more to what is trying to be conveyed. The efficiency of your vessels, meaning you can only achieve your standard mash efficiency up to a certain amount of grain, before you need a larger system. On my system I am limited to about 1.065 og for 10 gallon batches before the limitations of my vessels crush my efficiency but I can hit 1.1 for 5 gallon batches. This is because a mash tun can only handle so much grain and mash water for the conversion, not because of the amount of sparge water. Though sparge water plays a role in efficiency.

Offline rgnlkngtylrbmbstk

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2012, 11:30:12 PM »
Your initial runoff ought to give you about the same efficiency for a given liquor:grist ratio. What happens after that is where it changes:
10# of grain with 13qt of liquor will give you something like 2g of runoff.
20# in 26qt will give you about 4g of runoff.
If you want a 6.5g preboil, you get to run 4.5 gallons through that first mash, but only 2.5g through the second.

There is no way in hell to get the same efficiency. But if you take the same pound-to-preboil rate, and pull 13g preboil, and boil the hell out of it, you ought to be close to the same extraction rate as the smaller mash.
Make sense?

Offline a10t2

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #52 on: February 01, 2012, 06:14:58 PM »
I don't think so. . I can get equal efficiency from 10 pounds or 15#'s of grain while collecting 8 gallons of total runnings.

To put it bluntly, no you can't. If all else remains constant, efficiency will be the same for any given total liquor-to-grist ratio. To get the same efficiency with 15 lb of grain that you'd get with 10 lb and an 8 gal pre-boil volume, you'd have to increase the pre-boil volume to 12 gal.
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #53 on: February 01, 2012, 07:29:47 PM »
Quote
To put it bluntly, no you can't.

I don't know. If you can fly sparge efficiently enough to get most of extract of 10 lb you just might be able to get most of 15 too. Batch sparging is more limited. You would have to have a very good lauter tun that efficiently replaces the absorption with liquor. I don't think most homebrew setups work all that well.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 07:38:08 PM by Malticulous »

Offline a10t2

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #54 on: February 01, 2012, 08:05:29 PM »
I don't know. If you can fly sparge efficiently enough to get most of extract of 10 lb you just might be able to get most of 15 too.

Most, sure. But even if the difference is too small for your instruments to resolve, there is a difference.
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Offline malzig

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #55 on: February 02, 2012, 04:19:45 AM »
If I get more conversion in the mash- which I can, I will not need to rinse with more water.
Are you saying that you intentionally get low conversion when you use less grain so that your efficiency remains the same, or am I misunderstanding you?

Offline rgnlkngtylrbmbstk

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2012, 11:26:52 AM »
It seems what I said wasn't very clear, but maybe others have clarified it.
Repo, you get how the extract efficiency is very tied to runoff efficiency and that is tied to how close you can get to 1.012 SG or whatever your normal cutoff is. More grain needs more rinsing, simple. Maybe your system has a quirk we could all learn from. Can you give us the mash weight, preboil/postboil volume and OG of a couple of different-strength recent brews?

Offline repo

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #57 on: February 13, 2012, 12:03:28 PM »
It seems what I said wasn't very clear, but maybe others have clarified it.
Repo, you get how the extract efficiency is very tied to runoff efficiency and that is tied to how close you can get to 1.012 SG or whatever your normal cutoff is. More grain needs more rinsing, simple. Maybe your system has a quirk we could all learn from. Can you give us the mash weight, preboil/postboil volume and OG of a couple of different-strength recent brews?

No, alt10 clarified this for me with all things being equal. I understand what you  were saying now, was having trouble before. There is no quirk, I simply meant I could hit 80% with the 10 or 15 pound grain bill. I can change other variables to offset  that decrease in  efficiency with larger grain bills, ie fly sparge vs batch, step mashes, longer mashes or finer grinds, they all involve more time one way or another but help offset the ability to only go so far with my setup. Yes if I did those things with the 10 pound grain bill it would soar much higher than the 15 pounds.  I used to do identical small mashes with 1st runnings to get enough for a barley wine, and tried finding a way to make it quicker.  I can still give you some numbers still if you like. :)

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #58 on: February 14, 2012, 12:28:01 AM »
Once you get your own grain mill, another trick you can use to improve efficiency is malt conditioning:

  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Malt_Conditioning

Basically, you dampen the malt just before you crush it. This softens the grain husks just enough that they don't tear as much, giving you bigger pieces of husk and smaller pieces of starch. It also cuts down on dust.

Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: poor all grain efficiency, don't know why
« Reply #59 on: February 15, 2012, 06:52:17 PM »
I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes at all.  So forgive me my misgivings!   I've researched alot about everything you guys are talking about.  And had to just keep brewing on my system and figure out what was wrong, or what I thought was wrong.  Every malt has different diastatic power, even 2-row from different malting companies.  Don't over complicate it.  Start with your crush, agreed. 

Honestly on my system, I've gained 10 points, yes 10 (0.010)  in efficiency by mashing for 75-90 minutes.  I've also figured out my boil off for my system.  I boil off at least 2.25 gallons/hour.  I boil hard.  No wonder I spend so much on propane!

I would suggest to the OP, to mash longer, sparge only enough to collect your preboil volume.  Don't sparge and leave the tun full of water when you reach your pre boil volume, you're losing valuable sugar from the mash.  I double batch sparge enough to bring it up to PB volume.

Also, larger grain bills deserve a longer boil (obviously depending on the batch size).  Higher OG beers should be boiled longer to give you a better wort reduction.
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