Author Topic: Mash Efficiency Problem  (Read 11798 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2013, 07:42:59 PM »
I stir about three times in 90 min.

Try not stirring.  I'm willing to bet that it won't make any difference.  I found that the only thing that happens when I stir during the mash is that I lose heat.

Probably right, but it gives me something to do lol

Offline denny

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2013, 07:52:22 PM »
I stir about three times in 90 min.

Try not stirring.  I'm willing to bet that it won't make any difference.  I found that the only thing that happens when I stir during the mash is that I lose heat.

Probably right, but it gives me something to do lol

Take a walk, drink a beer, post on the forum instead!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2013, 07:54:45 PM »
I will try it once, just for you

Offline denny

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2013, 08:01:24 PM »
I will try it once, just for you

Lemme know if it makes any difference.  I may owe ya an apology and a beer!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2013, 08:13:49 PM »
Will do. It will be one stir for doh in, and one at sparge in

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2013, 08:23:15 PM »
Will do. It will be one stir for doh in, and one at sparge in
Those are the only times I stir, Jim.  Otherwise there's a blanket wrapped 'round the cooler to hold in the heat.  I go with Denny on the have a beer and post something plan :)
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2013, 08:27:05 PM »
Next brew day is Wednesday. Will test it out then

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2013, 09:55:43 PM »
I don't think anyone else caught this, but you said you batch sparge at 168F. If you're adding 168F water, that's not hot enough. I use ~180F or higher which brings the grain temp up around 170. A lower temperature will definitely hurt your extraction during the sparge. In case you're worried, extracting tannins with high temp water is less a concern with batch sparging.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #38 on: August 04, 2013, 06:24:24 AM »
mtnrockhopper has another good point.  My sparge water usually has to be about 190 F to hit mid 160s after adding and stirring.  But my temperature is probably higher than others because I typically only make 2-3 gallon batches.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2013, 06:57:00 AM »
I'd recommend a stir right before running off the first runnings, too.  When I have forgotten to do this I got reduced efficiency.

Sparge temperature shouldn't make much difference unless you haven't fully converted your grain before the sparge.  A possible exception might be for very high gravity beers, but I can't speak to that.  For the beers I make, I often sparge with 150-160F water and still get efficiencies of >85%.

Nocosan, if your volumes are near accurate, they make it look like you have about 2/3 gallon of dead space in your tun.  If that is true, that will hurt your efficiency. 

Also, a starch test won't tell you if you have converted your grain completely, only that the starch in solution is converted.  Late in the mash, solubility of the starch becomes limiting, so that test is misleading.  You should check the gravity of your wort, after stirring and vorlauf, to see in your grain is converted.  Kai Troester has a handy chart that will tell you what the gravity should be based on your mash thickness, here.

One way to improve conversion with a less than ideal crush is to add a short alpha amylase rest up around 160F, which will improve starch gelatinization.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 10:12:43 AM by malzig »

Offline joe_feist

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2013, 07:31:11 AM »
Lots of good info in this thread. I noticed the O/P said he had  5* drop after stirring. I noticed early in my brewing that my first temp readings were terribly inaccurate right at stirring. Now I stir really well, close the lid on my cooler, wait a few minutes for things to stabilize and then adjust if necessary. To Denny's point- calculate and prep the water and then use what you need.

I do stir a couple times during my 60 - 90 minute mashes. I don't get more than 1 - 2 degrees temp drop, so I'm not all that concerned. Seems folks have different opinions on that.

I thought it interesting that he had .75 more gallons of wort than planned on. I didn't do the math, but that'll have an impact, too.

Oh, +1 to brewers friend. I only started using it yesterday, but there's lots of good tools in there. Loved the check lists.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 07:34:06 AM by joe_feist »
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Offline malzig

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2013, 08:16:52 AM »
Lots of good info in this thread. I noticed the O/P said he had  5* drop after stirring. I noticed early in my brewing that my first temp readings were terribly inaccurate right at stirring. Now I stir really well, close the lid on my cooler, wait a few minutes for things to stabilize and then adjust if necessary.
Excellent point.  If you take the temperature reading too early, you might still be equilibrating the temperature.  In that case, you could be mashing lower than you think because most of that heat will be lost during the first few minutes.  If you are mashing in the mid 140s instead of the low 150s, you could get reduced or slow conversion.

I stir in well, close the lid, come back in 5 minutes, stir, and check the temperature again.  That second temperature measurement is usually within 2 degrees of what it will be after an hour.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2013, 08:35:38 AM »
Accurate weights and volumes.
Good crush.
Calibrate your thermometers.
Hit the right mash pH.
Slow run off for fly sparge.

Those are things that I have found to be important. That and not worrying.

It is also a good thing to measure your conversion efficiency, if you are having problems.
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Offline nicosan1

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2013, 08:39:30 AM »
I sparged at I believe 178 degrees, it ended up around 168, but good point about temperature, I will sparge a bit higher.  As for the dead space in my tun is a 10 gallon rubbermade with a mesh screen tube as the filter, 2/3 a gallon is what you would calculate my dead space to be?

A lower mash temp say of high 140s will slow down my conversion correct?

It seems like my strike/sparge volumes, my temp being a bit low and perhaps my grain crush have all played a key role in my poor extraction.

Any others things I am missing? I am going to keep trying this until I hit closer to my strategies.

Perhaps another Saison or a Pale Ale after this can be my shot at improving extraction of sugars.

Offline denny

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Re: Mash Efficiency Problem
« Reply #44 on: August 04, 2013, 09:04:13 AM »
I'd recommend a stir right before running off the first runnings, too.  When I have forgotten to do this I got reduced efficiency.

It's fascinating to hear about different techniques that people use.  For me, stirring before run off makes no difference.

Sparge temperature shouldn't make much difference unless you haven't fully converted your grain before the sparge.  A possible exception might be for very high gravity beers, but I can't speak to that.  For the beers I make, I often sparge with 150-160F water and still get efficiencies of >85%.

Nocosan, if your volumes are near accurate, they make it look like you have about 2/3 gallon of dead space in your tun.  If that is true, that will hurt your efficiency. 

Also, a starch test won't tell you if you have converted your grain completely, only that the starch in solution is converted.  Late in the mash, solubility of the starch becomes limiting, so that test is misleading.  You should check the gravity of your wort, after stirring and vorlauf, to see in your grain is converted.  Kai Troester has a handy chart that will tell you what the gravity should be based on your mash thickness, [urlhttp://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Troubleshooting_Brewhouse_Efficiency#Determining_Conversion_Efficiency]here[/url].

One way to improve conversion with a less than ideal crush is to add a short alpha amylase rest up around 160F, which will improve starch gelatinization.

Agreed!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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