Author Topic: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp  (Read 1705 times)

Offline brewsumore

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I'm trying to guess why my brewhouse efficiency dropped for this weekend's batch of IPA.  I got an OG of 1.061 and expected 1.067 to 1.069.  One screw-up was adding sparge water too hot and after stirred for a minute it was at 170F.  I normally come in around 165 - 167F sparge temp.  Although I stirred it to a lower temp quickly I was thinking that maybe the remaining saccharification/conversion had already been halted by the denaturing temperature.

I also need to start adding my phosphoric acid addition prior to heating the hot liquor and sparge water.  I've been getting away with adding a less-than-calculated (in Bru'n Water) amount of the acid to the hot liquor immediately prior to doughing in, and directly to the sparge prior to stirring.  No more of that.  What I'm saying is that my fairly average 73% brewhouse efficiency on this brew is probably due to missing the desired pH range for the sparge and not so much due to the too hot sparge.  I checked pH for the mash and it was ok at 5.5, but I neglected to check pH on either the sparge, or the pre-boil full volume that I believe Martin has said should be around pH 5.2 - 5.4 for lighter beers.  Since I started adjusting my water for the sparge as well as the mash with Bru'n Water I've been averaging 80% brewhouse efficiency for ~1.065 beers.

I also brewed on the spur of the moment and had a bit of hurried ambiguity estimating some of the malt colors, so might have gotten the SRM wrong.  As usual, for my high bicarbonate tap water I used a combination of gypsum, calcium chloride and phosphoric acid to try to get in range for pH, based on Martin's Bitter Yellow profile, which I came very close to except with higher calcium (93 ppm).

Still, I'm curious if anyone has estimated an approximate brewhouse efficiency loss for too hot of a sparge.

Sorry if this post is wandering a bit all over the map.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 10:38:19 PM by brewsumore »

Offline blatz

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 07:05:57 AM »
believe me - your sparge being at 170df vs 165-167df did not change your efficiency.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 08:00:57 AM »
Nor should sparge pH affect efficiency.  Conversion should be done in the mash, and if it's not, you won't get much more after your first runoff since most of the enzymes are in the liquid of the mash.
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Offline denny

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 08:15:04 AM »
What those guys said....and 170 is not too hot for a sparge.
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 09:31:54 PM »
ok, but Narvin, I never approached 80% efficiency until the release of Bru'n Water that provided water treatment measurements for sparge in addition to mash.  So in my case I truly believe that adding water treatment for the sparge, with my water, DID improve efficiency for me, since all other batch sparging BMPs have remained the same.  So you know, most of my beers get a 60 minute mash, or 90 minutes for Belgians, etc.  I'm going to change my process for adding phosphoric and see if I can obtain similar efficiency for every batch, of course dependent partly on the predicted OG.  I'm actually glad that this beer will come in with a lower than expected ABV, it nearly being summer and all.  More proof of my inconsistent thinking.   :o   One of those moments where crunching the numbers based on predicted results, although wrong, resulted in a better outcome.

I didn't see a hugely noticeable hot break on this beer but it was a little flour-y anyway and obscured by + 12 oz. of hops (10 gal batch) through the entire boil - mostly late addition as usual!

It has to end up a good beer since a bunch is for a pal taking us ocean fishing for three days in early August.  Based on the taste of the wort and the happy sounds of temp-controlled fermentation I think I'm on track.

cheers bros'!!!

« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 09:35:17 PM by brewsumore »

Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 10:02:58 PM »
Have you hit your gravity before, when dealing with that high of a gravity?  You may have to sparge with more water and boil longer.  The higher the target gravity, the lower the efficiency.
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 10:23:17 PM »
Yeah, been brewing 13.5 years, all-grain for +8 years and am pretty good about coming close to hitting my numbers - used to be around 66% efficiency for big beers and ~73% for 1.050 - 1.058 beers.  That is until my efficiency jumped to around 79-81% for ~1.055 beers, especially dark beers, after the previously mentioned water treatment changes.  After quite a few years I still use ProMash, including to calculate my brewhouse efficiency, for the volume measured in the fermenters minus system losses.  I'm pretty well dialed into using it, although i must admit I've had some issues lately in getting a different SRM calculation in ProMash than I'm getting in Bru'nWater.  Something I need to study and tweak some more.

My previous beer was a Czech Pilsner and although it was only 1.048 I hit 81% efficiency.  Of course I should expect a loss of efficiency for a 1.061 beer (my IPA) as compared to a 1.048 beer.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 10:27:33 PM by brewsumore »

Offline narvin

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 07:35:04 AM »
ok, but Narvin, I never approached 80% efficiency until the release of Bru'n Water that provided water treatment measurements for sparge in addition to mash.  So in my case I truly believe that adding water treatment for the sparge, with my water, DID improve efficiency for me, since all other batch sparging BMPs have remained the same.

Well, believe what you want, but I'd at least take a gravity measurement of your first runnings before the sparge and then of the batch sparge to better understand your efficiency.  :)
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 09:41:08 AM »
I'd at least take a gravity measurement of your first runnings

+1. If you're getting an efficiency boost from acidifying the sparge liquor, then it's almost certainly because conversion wasn't complete at the end of the mash rest. How long do you take to sparge, beginning to end?

That being the case, increasing the sparge temperature could make a difference, but 170°F still shouldn't be hot enough to pull the mash out of the conversion range.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Batch sparging: what % efficiency drop due to too hot sparge temp
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 07:20:17 AM »
I did a Gratzer yesterday and Adjusted my mash water with lactic acid. Towards the end of alpha rest i noticed PH was still a little high so I added some saur malt for the last 15 minutes. It got my ph down but would it have been  better to adjust at the beginning of the mash?  I dont have a problem getting 94% efficiency and i fly sparge.
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