Author Topic: Mash Efficiency Problem  (Read 12767 times)

Offline nicosan1

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Mash Efficiency Problem
« on: August 03, 2013, 06:53:10 AM »
All-Grain experts, I recently built a cynlinder cooler mash tun (10 gallon) and started All grain. But I have been having problems getting all the projected sugars out of my grain.

I followed a recipe for a saison that would have gotten me 1.066 OG, but instead I got 10.52.

The cooler I use is a rubbermaid 10 gallon, I use a mesh tube to filter.

I mashed in at 153 when 154 was called for and after stirring, I noticed a temperature drop of 5 degrees., I mashed for 60 minutes, did an iodine test that showed Sac was occuring, not many starches. 

Batch sparged at about 168 degrees for 15 minutes and collected about 7 gallons total. 

What am I missing here? Am I doing something wrong in the process? Is my equipment to blame? Should I not stir much during the 60 minutes to keep temperature steady?

I have been reading John Palmer's book, watching videos, checking out Denny's notes to make sure I am not missing a step, but it seems like I am.

Thanks for your help and guidance.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2013, 06:59:27 AM »
I mash 90 min

Offline nicosan1

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2013, 06:59:51 AM »
Could mash time be the answer? should instead of mash infusion for 60 minutes, should I extend to 75?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2013, 07:01:34 AM »
Efficiency problems are usually caused by inadequate crush of the grains.  Who crushed the grains?  Can you tighten the gap on the mill?  If not, you'll want to get your grains double-milled in the future.  The best thing of course is if you have your own mill and can set it up right yourself.  LHBS's are notorious for setting the gaps too wide because it reduces brewer efficiency so they need to buy more grain so the stores make more $$$.

The other problem could be volume.  What was your post-boil volume?  For example, if this was a 5-gallon recipe but you ended up with 6 gallons of wort, then your efficiency will be way off if it was calculated assuming you would end up with 5 gallons.  Volume measurements are crucial for nailing efficiency.

Those are the two biggies.  It might be a combination of the two.  I am doubtful that your efficiency issue has anything to do with your mash tun setup.  I've mashed in various different ways over the years but my efficiency has been consistent because I crush the grains consistently, and I always measure volumes with precision.  Anyone with efficiency questions must do the same.

By the way... I mash 40 minutes, and I still get efficiencies hovering around 90%.  Mash time has very little to do with it.
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 nicosan1

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 07:02:25 AM »
Jim, how often do you stir to prevent dough balls? I want to make sure that I am not losing temp while I am mashing and I am concerned my stirring loses me a few extra degrees that I need. 

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 07:06:35 AM »
Stir well, once, at the beginning of the mash, eliminate all dough balls, and close it up and be done with it.  Do not stir during the mash.  You just lose too much heat that way.
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 nicosan1

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2013, 07:07:33 AM »
dm, I had my grains crushed at a homebrew store in Brooklyn, should I ask for a tighter gap next time? I'm doing my equipment in babysteps given that I live in New York and space is a concern, eventually I will get a mill once I move back to California.

I used 13 lbs of grain, I mashed in at 4.25 gallons, I sparged with 5 gallons, I ended up with what I can get as 7 gallons of wort pre boil when I should have had about 6.5. I followed a recipe/schedule that was predetermined. At end of boil I had probably about 5.75 gallons.  Is there a ratio you tend to stick to? or should I use a specific water calculator?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2013, 07:10:31 AM »
I stir about three times in 90 min.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2013, 07:15:37 AM »
Your efficiency is incorrect because you got the incorrect volume.  I pump all my recipes into software, then adjust the post-boil volume to what I really got, then adjust the efficiency until the OG turns out where I actually got, and this will give you your actual efficiency.  Then you'll know for next time.

You could get your grains double crushed in future.  But also take care to hit your volumes correctly.

As for equipment in baby steps... ha!  You are talking to Mr. Ghetto Brewer.  I used a blender to "crush" grains for 3 years.  It works great!  Eventually I asked for a mill for Christmas because I was too cheap to buy one myself.  And a good mill takes up very little space.  It's definitely a worthwhile purchase and use of space.
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 gymrat

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2013, 07:16:25 AM »
That is an extra 3/4 of a gallon of water in your wort. That will bring OG down some. And I stir my mash a lot. Not only to get dough balls out but also to get even uniform temperature throughout. I take frequent temp readings as I stir. Then put the lid on.
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2013, 07:21:51 AM »
I get the best efficiency when my initial runnings and sparge runnings are about the same.  Looks like you had about 2 gallons or so of initial runnings and then collected about another 5 gallons after sparge.

I mostly use a 1.75 - 2 qt/lb ration of mash water to grain.  Once you catch your initial runnings, see how much you've collected and subtract that from what your goal is for total wort.  This will give you how much water to sparge with.  Not much if any of your sparge water will be absorbed by your grains (at least in my experience w/ my cooler set up) so what ever you amount you sparge with will be close to the amount you get out. 

Over shooting your desired wort volume will decrease your efficiency, but boiling longer to get to your post boil volume will help. 

As for stirring, like Dave, I've always stirred well once, close the lid and don't open till I'm ready to collect the runnings.  Main reason I do this is to keep the heat inside the cooler. 
Jeremy Baker

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2013, 07:24:19 AM »
thebigbaker is right on and brings up a lot of great points that I totally agree with and use in my own brewing as well.
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 nicosan1

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2013, 07:33:21 AM »
So basically better to up my ratio on initial mash-in water and dial down on sparge volume to compensate. Don't stir throughout, just a thorough stirring at mash-in to get out dough balls and perhaps mash for longer (90 minutes?)  Whats a good calculator for mash-sparge water volumes? Beer Smith or Brew 365?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2013, 07:40:17 AM »
As said :  1/  Measure volumes very correctly. I use a wooden dowel that I've marked with measurements for liquid volumes in my kettle.  If you want to end up with 5.5 gallons as I do, you can be sure to end up with that accurately, which helps you hit target gravity as well.
              2/  As said, try to get fairly equal volumes from mash and sparge. For example I try to get a pre-boil volume of 7 gallons which at the end of boil will leave me with 5.5 gallons. So I try to get right at 3.5 gallons from the mash and 3.5 gallons from the sparge.
              3/  +1 to getting your grain double crushed at your LHBS if you don't have a mill.  I've been doing this for a long time.  It will help your efficiency big time.
               Finally, try to get your system down for consistency. These things will help your efficiency, but after that it's about being able to brew a given recipe reliably and consistently. An extra lb of grain because you're only at 70% efficiency versus a higher number really doesn't matter in the end.
Jon H.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2013, 07:40:32 AM »
Mashing longer will not improve your efficiency at all.

I had to develop my own spreadsheet for volume calculations due to inadequacies with others I found online.  Not sure what's out there today.
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)