Author Topic: Mash Efficiency Problem  (Read 11718 times)

Offline scottNU

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #90 on: August 19, 2013, 10:03:25 AM »
I have never used rice hulls. I won't say that I have never had a stuck runoff, I have for sure but I stir it up and re-vorlauf. Adds maybe 15 minutes to the brew day, 20 when I did an all wheat ale. I had to stir and restart that one about 3 times. gotta love the cheap and easy batch sparge system.

I have been brewing with 50%+/- flaked grain lately and I don't even get a stuck runoff every time. maybe every other time.

I had also never used rice hulls in my previous batches.  During the last dunkelweizen I brewed, I decided to give it a shot.  I added 0.5 lb of rice hulls. The grist was 50%+ wheat.  It is hard to quantify the improvement, but I didn't have any stuck runoff with the batch. 

I spent about $0.75 for the rice hulls, so cost wasn't a big deal. The only thing I really didn't like was that the rice hulls made the spent grains hard to "chew on".  I like to taste the grist after the sparge is completed - it's dumb, but helps me recognize differences from batch to batch.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #91 on: August 19, 2013, 10:18:29 AM »
I crush hard enough to where I get stuck runoffs on occasion.  So I either just deal with it, with patience, or I throw in a handful of rice hulls and be done with it.  For whatever reason, I haven't really needed rice hulls for wheat beers, but it comes in handy when using a huge amount of rye (e.g., 40%), and probably oats too.  In my humble opinion, if you don't get a stuck runoff every once in a while, then you're either really awesome like Denny and have your mill tweaked exactly right, or... you aren't crushing hard enough.  Close that gap on your mill, or double crush, and watch your efficiency rise.  On the other hand.... I also have a theory that too great of an efficiency can adversely affect malt flavor.  So for that reason I recently opened the gap on my mill.  Not to mention I was getting more than a few stuck runoffs.... play around till you get it right for what you want.  To me, an average 85% efficiency is plenty.  I don't need to get 95% efficiency but with a lot of stuck runoffs, no thanks.
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 scottNU

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #92 on: August 19, 2013, 11:29:09 AM »
On the other hand.... I also have a theory that too great of an efficiency can adversely affect malt flavor. 

Interesting!  I see there may be a practical and reason to limit high efficiency.  Other than using more grain (and spending some more $$), is there a similar argument on the low end?  For example, if you are not at XX% efficiency, you don't develop a certain flavor or head retention characteristic? 

I know that this is a YMMV-thing, but is a range of 70% - 80% considered normal efficiency? 

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #93 on: August 19, 2013, 11:59:38 AM »
On the other hand.... I also have a theory that too great of an efficiency can adversely affect malt flavor. 

Interesting!  I see there may be a practical and reason to limit high efficiency.  Other than using more grain (and spending some more $$), is there a similar argument on the low end?  For example, if you are not at XX% efficiency, you don't develop a certain flavor or head retention characteristic? 

I know that this is a YMMV-thing, but is a range of 70% - 80% considered normal efficiency?

I run in the mid to low 60's but I often do no sparge. closer to high 60's low 70's if I sparge.
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Offline mripa

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #94 on: August 19, 2013, 12:44:58 PM »
http://www.flickr.com/photos/100511326@N02/9547203203/

This is the mill at my LHBS.

Any idea where to adjust?  Generally it is in the middle.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #95 on: August 19, 2013, 02:44:20 PM »
On the other hand.... I also have a theory that too great of an efficiency can adversely affect malt flavor. 

Interesting!  I see there may be a practical and reason to limit high efficiency.  Other than using more grain (and spending some more $$), is there a similar argument on the low end?  For example, if you are not at XX% efficiency, you don't develop a certain flavor or head retention characteristic? 

I know that this is a YMMV-thing, but is a range of 70% - 80% considered normal efficiency?

Yes, about 70-85% efficiency is all pretty normal, and anywhere in that range would be what I would consider to be a good balance between flavor and not wasting too much money.  If your efficiency is in the 50s or 60s... that kind of sucks as you're wasting money, but on the other hand, you'll make awesomely malty beer that way.  "They" say that the lower your efficiency, the more malty the beer can be.  For instance, if you do a no-sparge beer, you might only get 55% efficiency, but dang that beer tastes nice and malty because you're essentially making the beer out of nothing but first runnings.  You're not watering down with a lot of sparge/rinse water that needs a long boil to be concentrated.  Nope.  Just first runnings.  So yeah, efficiency sucks, but yum.... So that's kind of where I got my theory from for the other way around.  I can achieve 95% efficiency, but this requires a really hard crush and a lot of sparging.  So, you're getting more sugar out of less grain.  So, since you're using less grain, you get less grainy flavors.  That's the theory.  To date and to my knowledge, no one has bothered to prove it right or wrong.  I need to run more experiments.  Eventually.  Maybe.
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 scottNU

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #96 on: August 19, 2013, 04:38:48 PM »
Yes, about 70-85% efficiency is all pretty normal, and anywhere in that range would be what I would consider to be a good balance between flavor and not wasting too much money.  If your efficiency is in the 50s or 60s... that kind of sucks as you're wasting money, but on the other hand, you'll make awesomely malty beer that way.  "They" say that the lower your efficiency, the more malty the beer can be.  For instance, if you do a no-sparge beer, you might only get 55% efficiency, but dang that beer tastes nice and malty because you're essentially making the beer out of nothing but first runnings.  You're not watering down with a lot of sparge/rinse water that needs a long boil to be concentrated.  Nope.  Just first runnings.  So yeah, efficiency sucks, but yum.... So that's kind of where I got my theory from for the other way around.  I can achieve 95% efficiency, but this requires a really hard crush and a lot of sparging.  So, you're getting more sugar out of less grain.  So, since you're using less grain, you get less grainy flavors.  That's the theory.  To date and to my knowledge, no one has bothered to prove it right or wrong.  I need to run more experiments.  Eventually.  Maybe.

Thanks for the thoughtful answer!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #97 on: August 19, 2013, 04:54:07 PM »
I have a single tier system, and use a pump to transfer. Thinking about a.grant someday, to keep from pulling a vacuum on the false bottom. Or trying a just using a small kettle to drain into, the pouring into the boil kettle.

I get stuck mashes with rye or some other grains. Guys like Denny never does, so I am looking into a process change to solve that. A blue cooler also might be in my future.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #98 on: August 26, 2013, 04:14:15 AM »
I know that this is a YMMV-thing, but is a range of 70% - 80% considered normal efficiency?
If you sit down and do the math, an optimized, single batch sparge following complete conversion maxes out around 89% for a 1.050 beer, depending on the percent of your volume you boil off.  I usually get 87% for my typical 12 Plato beers batch sparged.  For a batch sparge, unless you have a large dead volume and leave a lot of wort behind in the tun, I would consider anything above 80% "normal" for a batch sparge, since that would indicate >90% conversion and about a pint of dead space.  For comparison, I get ~75% for a no sparge of a beer that same size, so I've almost completely abandoned sparging.

If you are stuck using a LHBS crush, you may never get good conversion without performing a step mash to higher gelatinization temperatures.  I crush very fine, and would have an occasional batch run slow if I opened the runoff too quickly.  Now I malt condition, so I never have a slow runoff.

Online klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #99 on: August 26, 2013, 06:54:00 AM »
Once a wise old brewer told me that consistent efficiency is more important that how high. That's good, cuz I think I run about 70%, but I am always within a few points of my target or expected OG

Offline malzig

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #100 on: August 26, 2013, 09:08:30 AM »
Once a wise old brewer told me that consistent efficiency is more important that how high. That's good, cuz I think I run about 70%, but I am always within a few points of my target or expected OG
I've found that one of the most reliable ways to get consistent efficiency is to learn how to approach 100% conversion on your system.  A pleasant side effect of converting all the starch is high efficiency.

I'm also happy with 75% efficiency, which is why I usually go no-sparge. It also gives me the arguable benefits to flavor.

Offline denny

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #101 on: August 26, 2013, 11:18:19 AM »
+1 to concentrating on conversion efficiency.  And big thanks to Kai for getting us all to think about it!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline mripa

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #102 on: September 01, 2013, 04:39:07 PM »
Update on my poor efficiency.  The beer came out great just low abv.  I brewed the same IPA recipe today and went from 51% to 65% efficiency.  I did a double crush. Seemed to help.  The adjustment knob on the mill at the LHBS moves if not really tight.  I think that was the problem.  A question for Denny....Should I stir after mashing for 1 hour - before vorlauf?  I'm using a rectangle coleman cooler with a ss braid hose.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #103 on: September 01, 2013, 07:09:56 PM »
I know you were shooting for Denny, but IMHO, the answer is, no, it doesn't matter.
Dave

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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #104 on: September 01, 2013, 07:14:48 PM »
I know you were shooting for Denny, but IMHO, the answer is, no, it doesn't matter.
+1
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