Author Topic: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question  (Read 2334 times)

Offline dmtaylor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 773
    • View Profile
Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2013, 09:31:24 AM »
Thanks, Kai.  I see what you are saying.  You, and many brewers, may desire a gain of 5% efficiency.  Perhaps what I don't realize is that for me, efficiency doesn't matter at all since I already see brewhouse efficiencies in the mid-80s or even 90s for my small batches mashed for 40 minutes, to where there is truly not much left to be gained by mashing any longer.  Plus, for me, with a wife and 3 small kids to attend to, I like my brew day to be as short as humanly possible.  I can knock out a small batch in 3.5 to 4 hours, versus the 5 or 6 hours it might take to do 5 or 6 gallons.  So it does seem the answers are different for each brewer, depending on their batch size and system.  Interesting.  I guess I never really thought about this.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11665
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2013, 09:57:09 AM »
I find conversion is done in 15-20 minutes, and certainly within an hour.  Mash time is not a factor in my experience.  YMMV?

Definitely varies, Dave, as we've discussed before.  It's totally subjective, but I find lighter body and increased fermentability from longer mashes.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2013, 10:11:29 AM »
Thanks, Kai.  I see what you are saying.  You, and many brewers, may desire a gain of 5% efficiency.

If I'm not getting close enough to my expected efficiency I'll have to boil off more and I want to avoid that.


Quote
Plus, for me, with a wife and 3 small kids to attend to, I like my brew day to be as short as humanly possible.  I can knock out a small batch in 3.5 to 4 hours, versus the 5 or 6 hours it might take to do 5 or 6 gallons. 

I hear you just to well on that one. In my case longer mash rests can give me more time to help around the house. I have made a few beers in the past where I timed mash rests and boiling with preparing and eating dinner and putting the kids to bed, respectively. In that case long mashes do help.

Kai

Offline svejk

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 174
  • Seattle, Wa
    • View Profile
Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2013, 10:59:46 AM »
Am limited to 9 gal total water. Currently put 5 in mash and 4 in sparge. Equipment and boil off loses gives 5.5 gal to ferment and 5 gal to bottle. Maybe it would be better to max out the water in the mash and use the rest for sparge, keeping total at 9 gal. May have to add DME to hit SG.

I think the 9 gallon water limit is the key because you are bumping into the maximum gravity that you can get from your first runnings.  I have rarely seen my first runnings exceed a gravity of 1.080.  Even with huge grain bills, the gravity drops off from that starting number and if you have 9 gallons in your kettle at 1.060, that will boil down to 5.5 gallons at 1.098.  There is still a lot of sugar available in the mash, it is just getting thrown away.

One way to increase your water limit would be to bring 3 gallons up to a boil during the mash and put it in a corny keg.  It would then cool down to sparging temp by the time you need it and you could use a cobra tap and CO2 to push it into the mash tun.

Since your boil kettle is maxed out, you could collect those runnings in a bucket.  Those runnings could be added to the kettle slowly during the boil.  Using this method, if you can collect 12 gallons at an average of 1.055, that will boil down to 5.5 gallons at 1.120.  I think you'll find that an extended boil works really well with big beers.

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5688
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2013, 11:20:56 AM »
Am limited to 9 gal total water. Currently put 5 in mash and 4 in sparge. Equipment and boil off loses gives 5.5 gal to ferment and 5 gal to bottle. Maybe it would be better to max out the water in the mash and use the rest for sparge, keeping total at 9 gal. May have to add DME to hit SG.

why do you say you are limited to 9 gallons total water? you say you have an 8 gallon pot with a 10 gallon HLT. That right there says you could have 18 gallons of water ready for mashing/spargeing.

try mashing at 2 qt/lb then spargeing with as much additional water as you can fit in your kettle after. with a big 20lb+ grain bill you are going to lose close to 3 gallons of water to the grain so...

20 lb grain @ 2 qt/lb = 10 gallons mash water with ~7.5 coming back out. put 2 gallons of those first runnings in a big kitchen pot on the kitchen stove and boil till yer scared as they say. reduce it down to say 2 qt or 1 qt even, syrup.

then sparge to the limit of you boil kettle maybe another 2 gallons. you would have to baby sit the boil for a while until it evaporated a couple qt but...

Now, with the remaining hot sparge water, sparge again into a third pot or bucket, just a gallon or two, and put that into mason jars pressure canned for starters later!
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2013, 12:36:59 PM »
Tighten your mill.  You're at .039, go to .037 and see what happens.  Then go lower.  You'll hit a point where either the mill won't mill the grain or you don't like the way it is milling.  Back off to a gap you like and go from there.

It sounds like you are bumping up against system constraints, so tweak the ones you can and then accept it.  Supplement with DME for big beers as needed.
Tom Schmidlin