Author Topic: water/grist ratio and efficiency  (Read 7010 times)

Offline greatplainsbrewer

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water/grist ratio and efficiency
« on: February 18, 2012, 09:51:37 AM »
Quick question.  I'm a batch sparger and I seem to achieve a better efficiency with a higher water to grist ratio.  Today I mashed with a 1.9 qt/lb ratio and achieved a 78% efficiency.  Generally I'm closer to a 1.5 qt/lb ratio and a 73% efficiency.  Is there anything to this or should I look in another direction to explain the jump. 

I mill my own and haven't changed the settings.  PH was at 5.6 (a little high).

Offline denny

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 10:03:11 AM »
I have found the same thing.  It wasn't a huge increase for me, but going from 1.25-1.3 qt./lb. to 1.75 did increase my efficiency a bit.
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Offline malzig

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 11:19:50 AM »
Higher efficiency is a common effect of mashing thinner.

Offline nateo

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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 08:32:35 PM »
Awesome article, if you haven't seen it:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Effects_of_mash_parameters_on_fermentability_and_efficiency_in_single_infusion_mashing#Mash_thickness

But what's the effect on flavor?  Are there any tests of the same recipe/same equipment using thicker/thinner mash?

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Offline weithman5

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 02:23:48 AM »
i don't know that anyone has put together a formal testing scheme but i have heard some claims by some that they think their beer tastes better to them when they don't try to go overboard on just efficiency
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Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 06:04:43 AM »
I wondered about other effects as well.  The only reason I went that high was to balance (within a gallon) the volume of water in my mash and sparge.

Somewhat related.  I mash in a 48 qt cooler and have to drop my ratio to about 1.25 qt/lb when making a big beer like Denny's BVIP.  When I do that my efficiency will drop to about 70-71%.  Is that just the lower water ratio or is it just more difficult to wash that much sugar out of the tun?

I'm not a pro so efficiency isn't that big of a deal to me except that I would like consistency/predictability so that when I'm brewing for competition I am not adjusting on the fly like yesterday to stay within the style guidelines.  Otherwise not that big of a deal.

Thanks

Offline nateo

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2012, 07:35:35 AM »
I wondered about other effects as well.  The only reason I went that high was to balance (within a gallon) the volume of water in my mash and sparge.

I try to get my mash and sparge as balanced I can too. I batch sparge, and I can definitely tell a taste difference between a thin mash and only one round of sparging, or a thick mash and having to sparge twice. I get more grainy off-flavors when I sparge two+ times, and that's with pre-acidified sparge water.

Sometimes the second round of sparging will drop the gravity too low, but at that point it's either take the runnings and hope for the best or take a lot less gravity and volume.
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Offline malzig

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2012, 07:46:59 AM »
But what's the effect on flavor?  Are there any tests of the same recipe/same equipment using thicker/thinner mash?
It's based on German brewing techniques, where thinner mashes are favored to preserve the flavor of delicate lagers.  One goal of a thinner mash is to reduce the tannin extraction that can increase with larger sparge volumes.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2012, 08:33:49 AM »
But what's the effect on flavor?  Are there any tests of the same recipe/same equipment using thicker/thinner mash?
It's based on German brewing techniques, where thinner mashes are favored to preserve the flavor of delicate lagers.  One goal of a thinner mash is to reduce the tannin extraction that can increase with larger sparge volumes.

The thinner mashes also allowed the mash to be pumped easily, which comes in handy for decoctions, which was traditional in German brewing.
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Offline denny

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2012, 09:43:13 AM »
Awesome article, if you haven't seen it:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Effects_of_mash_parameters_on_fermentability_and_efficiency_in_single_infusion_mashing#Mash_thickness

But what's the effect on flavor?  Are there any tests of the same recipe/same equipment using thicker/thinner mash?

Anecdotally, and based on my own experience of many batches, I can tell you that I have found no effect on flavor.
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Offline melferburque

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2012, 10:42:43 AM »
after reading this thread and lamenting my own mash inefficiencies, I decided to up my ratio yesterday.  it made no effect.

15.5 pounds of grain, beersmith recommended 19.38 quarts of water.  I always round up to the nearest gallon anyway (five), but I figured I'd bump it up to a full 24 quarts.  still stuck at 60%.  granted, that's still only ~1.5 qt/pound.  maybe today I'll get it closer to 1.75 qt/pound and see if that helps?

edit: my mash temp was a spot on 150 deg and 5.3 pH at the start, I stirred several times throughout, and ended up at 148 by the end of the sixty minute mash. I sparged with 185 degree water and noticed the sparge was only 165, so maybe that was part of my problem?  initial runoff was 1.060m OG after boil was 1.066.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 10:46:09 AM by melferburque »

Offline denny

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2012, 10:54:51 AM »
I don't think a hotter sparge would help much, if at all.  I'm  betting it's your crush.
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Offline repo

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2012, 10:56:09 AM »
after reading this thread and lamenting my own mash inefficiencies, I decided to up my ratio yesterday.  it made no effect.

15.5 pounds of grain, beersmith recommended 19.38 quarts of water.  I always round up to the nearest gallon anyway (five), but I figured I'd bump it up to a full 24 quarts.  still stuck at 60%.  granted, that's still only ~1.5 qt/pound.  maybe today I'll get it closer to 1.75 qt/pound and see if that helps?

edit: my mash temp was a spot on 150 deg and 5.3 pH at the start, I stirred several times throughout, and ended up at 148 by the end of the sixty minute mash. I sparged with 185 degree water and noticed the sparge was only 165, so maybe that was part of my problem?  initial runoff was 1.060m OG after boil was 1.066.

Have you tried adding a half hour to your mash time? It will tell you right away if its your crush. And it's the easiest thing to do -which is nothing- for 30 minutes.

Offline melferburque

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Re: water/grist ratio and efficiency
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 11:05:25 AM »

Have you tried adding a half hour to your mash time? It will tell you right away if its your crush. And it's the easiest thing to do -which is nothing- for 30 minutes.

used my barley crusher for the first time yesterday, and the crush looked pretty damn fine.  I'll give the mash today an extra half hour, see if that helps.