Author Topic: Poor efficiency/very soft water  (Read 1469 times)

Offline DW

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2013, 01:43:29 PM »
DW, for the grains you have, the Munich is the only one that needs to be mashed, and it has low Diastatic Power. If you had those all together, the DP would be around 20 or 25, which is under the 35 often stated for conversion.

With the LME, and only a little grain that needs to be mashed, how far off were you?

So the Munich was not grain, it was LME, along with the Light LME.  The only grains I mashed were the Crystal 40, Chocolate, and Black Patent.  My PreBoil gravity was right on, but when I estimated the efficiency of extraction for just the mashed grains, my efficiency came to around 30%.  Even though my volume was 7 gallons pre boil, I went back and mashed those grained again and increased the volume to about 7.5gallons.  One problem I found was that my thermometer was about 20 degrees to low, so I was mashing in the 130 range.  I had held it there about 30minutes before I figured that out, so I raised the temp to the appropriate range and left it about 15 minutes.  I poured the extracted wort into the kettle along with the LME and only later went back and remashed and added up to 7.5gallons.-----------Having said all that, and I am appreciative of everyones' help, I transferred to the secondary today (I had good OG and FG), but found the color to be really more of a brown color than black.  Did I not extract enough of the CHocolate and Black Patent malt?  I know those malts need more alkaline water, and my water is much more suited for light beers. 

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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2013, 01:50:19 PM »
You've answered Duboman's question.  You are not mashing those grains.  You are steeping them.

There is no base grain in there to give you the diastatic power you need to convert the starches to sugar.  You are only getting color and flavor from steeping those grains.  I suppose you may extract some starches which could contribute to gravity, but you're not going to get much if anything.

If you want to mash, you'll need to include some base grains and hold the temp for 60 minutes.  Like I said in a previous post, the difference between mashing and steeping is really just time and what grains you've got in there.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2013, 02:13:59 PM »
For those specific grains, there isn't any benefit to mashing.  There would be a benefit to steeping (1) in more water (2) for a longer time  (3) at a hotter temperature (4) with a finer grind.  I don't think changing your water chemistry will have much effect on your efficiency since there is little to no starch to convert into sugar.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2013, 04:10:35 PM »
So by your term of efficiency and with confirmation of steeped grains, not mashed for conversion it appears perhaps you are calculating you expected OG incorrectly assuming the steeped grains will contribute to the gravity when it really won't.

Also, you mention various volumes of wort being adjusted on the fly which will also affect your gravity readings and result in either lower or higher efficiencies results.

So to summarize it seems you need to work on your recipe creation and calculations as well as fine tuning your process to be more consistent.

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Offline repo

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2013, 09:07:01 AM »
You've answered Duboman's question.  You are not mashing those grains.  You are steeping them.

There is no base grain in there to give you the diastatic power you need to convert the starches to sugar.  You are only getting color and flavor from steeping those grains.  I suppose you may extract some starches which could contribute to gravity, but you're not going to get much if anything.

If you want to mash, you'll need to include some base grains and hold the temp for 60 minutes.  Like I said in a previous post, the difference between mashing and steeping is really just time and what grains you've got in there.
So by your term of efficiency and with confirmation of steeped grains, not mashed for conversion it appears perhaps you are calculating you expected OG incorrectly assuming the steeped grains will contribute to the gravity when it really won't.

Also, you mention various volumes of wort being adjusted on the fly which will also affect your gravity readings and result in either lower or higher efficiencies results.

So to summarize it seems you need to work on your recipe creation and calculations as well as fine tuning your process to be more consistent.



This is some misleading and erroneous advice. There is absolutely no need to mash those grains, and you will absolutely get some gravity points from steeping them. The starches have already been converted by the maltster.  While 30% is a little low, 50% would probably be an average  expectation for a muslin bag of those grains. It is very difficult to get all the sugars out of a "ball" of grain. 

Offline duboman

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2013, 10:32:39 AM »
You've answered Duboman's question.  You are not mashing those grains.  You are steeping them.

There is no base grain in there to give you the diastatic power you need to convert the starches to sugar.  You are only getting color and flavor from steeping those grains.  I suppose you may extract some starches which could contribute to gravity, but you're not going to get much if anything.

If you want to mash, you'll need to include some base grains and hold the temp for 60 minutes.  Like I said in a previous post, the difference between mashing and steeping is really just time and what grains you've got in there.
So by your term of efficiency and with confirmation of steeped grains, not mashed for conversion it appears perhaps you are calculating you expected OG incorrectly assuming the steeped grains will contribute to the gravity when it really won't.

Also, you mention various volumes of wort being adjusted on the fly which will also affect your gravity readings and result in either lower or higher efficiencies results.

So to summarize it seems you need to work on your recipe creation and calculations as well as fine tuning your process to be more consistent.



This is some misleading and erroneous advice. There is absolutely no need to mash those grains, and you will absolutely get some gravity points from steeping them. The starches have already been converted by the maltster.  While 30% is a little low, 50% would probably be an average  expectation for a muslin bag of those grains. It is very difficult to get all the sugars out of a "ball" of grain.

So to some degree I will agree with your statement but I do not think my final reply is misleading at all or erroneous as the OP does need to refine his process to improve his efficiency. I am not really sure your assessment of 50% would be true based on steeping at 130 for 30 minutes, adjusting temps and then taking more wort then necessary from having to raise the temp (Really diluted wort) into the kettle.

This thread to me, having re-read it again, sounds as though more contribution was given to steeped grains then realistic, too much wort was collected making a diluted wort, not enough was boiled off and total efficiency suffered as a result, hence my suggestion to improve overall process. The Op's pre-boil gravity was stated as spot on and that is because all the gravity came from the recipe's DME/LME, not the grains. Once the OP then added the steeped grain wort with the extra water added he threw everything off and it wasn't accounted for. (At least this is how I am reading it, perhaps the OP might clarify in response)

I suppose we are both nitpicking or semantics are getting in the way, hard to say since some of the info is a little disjointed........... :-\
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Offline repo

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2013, 01:02:49 PM »
Sorry for the late reply.  I was making the robust porter recipe in "Brewing Classic Styles", which I believe is 8.6lbs LME + 1 lb Munich + 0.5lb Black Patent + 1.0lb Crystal 40 + 0.75lb Chocolate malt.  I have been hitting my gravities pretty well.  I calculated my efficiency from "How to Brew", where I took the Congress Mash expected points and compared that to what I actually got.
when I estimated the efficiency of extraction for just the mashed grains, my efficiency came to around 30%

You've answered Duboman's question.  You are not mashing those grains.  You are steeping them.

There is no base grain in there to give you the diastatic power you need to convert the starches to sugar.  You are only getting color and flavor from steeping those grains.  I suppose you may extract some starches which could contribute to gravity, but you're not going to get much if anything.

If you want to mash, you'll need to include some base grains and hold the temp for 60 minutes.  Like I said in a previous post, the difference between mashing and steeping is really just time and what grains you've got in there.
So by your term of efficiency and with confirmation of steeped grains, not mashed for conversion it appears perhaps you are calculating you expected OG incorrectly assuming the steeped grains will contribute to the gravity when it really won't.

Also, you mention various volumes of wort being adjusted on the fly which will also affect your gravity readings and result in either lower or higher efficiencies results.

So to summarize it seems you need to work on your recipe creation and calculations as well as fine tuning your process to be more consistent.



This is some misleading and erroneous advice. There is absolutely no need to mash those grains, and you will absolutely get some gravity points from steeping them. The starches have already been converted by the maltster.  While 30% is a little low, 50% would probably be an average  expectation for a muslin bag of those grains. It is very difficult to get all the sugars out of a "ball" of grain.

So to some degree I will agree with your statement but I do not think my final reply is misleading at all or erroneous as the OP does need to refine his process to improve his efficiency. I am not really sure your assessment of 50% would be true based on steeping at 130 for 30 minutes, adjusting temps and then taking more wort then necessary from having to raise the temp (Really diluted wort) into the kettle.

This thread to me, having re-read it again, sounds as though more contribution was given to steeped grains then realistic, too much wort was collected making a diluted wort, not enough was boiled off and total efficiency suffered as a result, hence my suggestion to improve overall process. The Op's pre-boil gravity was stated as spot on and that is because all the gravity came from the recipe's DME/LME, not the grains. Once the OP then added the steeped grain wort with the extra water added he threw everything off and it wasn't accounted for. (At least this is how I am reading it, perhaps the OP might clarify in response)

I suppose we are both nitpicking or semantics are getting in the way, hard to say since some of the info is a little disjointed........... :-\

No, I disagree with all you are saying. You are trying to help but there seems to be lots of confusion.  Those grains do not need to be mashed, steeping temperature is irrelevant, 5 minutes in room temp water will easily allow for 80% plus extraction of the sugars with a decent crush(the muslin bag was my 50%).  It is not his recipe, nor does it have unrealistic gravity expectations from the grains. 2 pounds at 50% extract efficiency would add about 32 points to 5 gallons, raising the og by a little over 6 points.  His process is sound, his thermometer failed him, even though he doesn't even need one. I don't know where the op talks about his postboil volumes or "overall efficiency" you reference. Hope this helps clear up something :-\

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2013, 01:23:45 PM »
Doesn't the pound of Munich need to be mashed?

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2013, 01:33:32 PM »
Doesn't the pound of Munich need to be mashed?

the op mentions later that the munich was actually LME.

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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2013, 01:38:19 PM »
Doesn't the pound of Munich need to be mashed?

He clarified that the Munich was extract.

Those grains do not need to be mashed

No one said he should mash those grains.  The OP said he mashed.  He appears to be unclear on mashing. If the OP wants to worry about efficiency and extraction, he should mash grains that will convert.  Steeping I would not worry about.  For me, that's the take away here.  Relax, you're not mashing.  You'll get what you get from steeping.

You are correct, though, that there are sugars in the roasted grains.  Will those sugars give 6 points?  It's possible, but we don't know what he was expecting nor what he acheived.  I don't know your source for steeping grains for 5 minutes in room temp water, but if that works for you, great.  I've never before heard anyone discuss the efficiency of steeping.  IME, one does not steep grains to get fermentables but to get the flavor contributions to make an extract beer more complex. 

As far as process being sound, if you are correct that you can extract 80% of sugar in a 5 minute steep than there must be something wrong in his process if he only got 30% in a much longer steep.  Perhaps his gravity readings are off?

Overall, I think worrying about the gravity contribution of 2.25lbs of steeped grains in an extract batch containing 9.5lbs of extract is letting the tail wag the dog. 
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Offline duboman

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2013, 01:48:08 PM »
Sorry for the late reply.  I was making the robust porter recipe in "Brewing Classic Styles", which I believe is 8.6lbs LME + 1 lb Munich + 0.5lb Black Patent + 1.0lb Crystal 40 + 0.75lb Chocolate malt.  I have been hitting my gravities pretty well.  I calculated my efficiency from "How to Brew", where I took the Congress Mash expected points and compared that to what I actually got.
when I estimated the efficiency of extraction for just the mashed grains, my efficiency came to around 30%

You've answered Duboman's question.  You are not mashing those grains.  You are steeping them.

There is no base grain in there to give you the diastatic power you need to convert the starches to sugar.  You are only getting color and flavor from steeping those grains.  I suppose you may extract some starches which could contribute to gravity, but you're not going to get much if anything.

If you want to mash, you'll need to include some base grains and hold the temp for 60 minutes.  Like I said in a previous post, the difference between mashing and steeping is really just time and what grains you've got in there.
So by your term of efficiency and with confirmation of steeped grains, not mashed for conversion it appears perhaps you are calculating you expected OG incorrectly assuming the steeped grains will contribute to the gravity when it really won't.

Also, you mention various volumes of wort being adjusted on the fly which will also affect your gravity readings and result in either lower or higher efficiencies results.

So to summarize it seems you need to work on your recipe creation and calculations as well as fine tuning your process to be more consistent.



This is some misleading and erroneous advice. There is absolutely no need to mash those grains, and you will absolutely get some gravity points from steeping them. The starches have already been converted by the maltster.  While 30% is a little low, 50% would probably be an average  expectation for a muslin bag of those grains. It is very difficult to get all the sugars out of a "ball" of grain.

So to some degree I will agree with your statement but I do not think my final reply is misleading at all or erroneous as the OP does need to refine his process to improve his efficiency. I am not really sure your assessment of 50% would be true based on steeping at 130 for 30 minutes, adjusting temps and then taking more wort then necessary from having to raise the temp (Really diluted wort) into the kettle.

This thread to me, having re-read it again, sounds as though more contribution was given to steeped grains then realistic, too much wort was collected making a diluted wort, not enough was boiled off and total efficiency suffered as a result, hence my suggestion to improve overall process. The Op's pre-boil gravity was stated as spot on and that is because all the gravity came from the recipe's DME/LME, not the grains. Once the OP then added the steeped grain wort with the extra water added he threw everything off and it wasn't accounted for. (At least this is how I am reading it, perhaps the OP might clarify in response)

I suppose we are both nitpicking or semantics are getting in the way, hard to say since some of the info is a little disjointed........... :-\

No, I disagree with all you are saying. You are trying to help but there seems to be lots of confusion.  Those grains do not need to be mashed, steeping temperature is irrelevant, 5 minutes in room temp water will easily allow for 80% plus extraction of the sugars with a decent crush(the muslin bag was my 50%).  It is not his recipe, nor does it have unrealistic gravity expectations from the grains. 2 pounds at 50% extract efficiency would add about 32 points to 5 gallons, raising the og by a little over 6 points.  His process is sound, his thermometer failed him, even though he doesn't even need one. I don't know where the op talks about his postboil volumes or "overall efficiency" you reference. Hope this helps clear up something :-\

Then you and I will just agree to disagree.

To the OP,
If you care to chime in again it would be a great help to see the recipe. It would help to get the expected OG and FG and what was to be expected as well as the expected and actual volumes you obtained. As it stands what you have provided thus far is somewhat vague. It would also help to know if this was partial or full boil as currently I am assuming full boil since you noted 7.5 gallons pre-boil.
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Offline repo

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2013, 06:53:17 PM »

 
Those grains do not need to be mashed

No one said he should mash those grains.  The OP said he mashed.  He appears to be unclear on mashing. If the OP wants to worry about efficiency and extraction, he should mash grains that will convert.  Steeping I would not worry about.  For me, that's the take away here.  Relax, you're not mashing.  You'll get what you get from steeping.

You are correct, though, that there are sugars in the roasted grains.  Will those sugars give 6 points?  It's possible, but we don't know what he was expecting nor what he acheived.  I don't know your source for steeping grains for 5 minutes in room temp water, but if that works for you, great.  I've never before heard anyone discuss the efficiency of steeping.  IME, one does not steep grains to get fermentables but to get the flavor contributions to make an extract beer more complex. 

 


 

   
Chapter 13 - Steeping Specialty Grains

13.2 Mechanics of Steeping
To use the caramel and roasted specialty malts, the grain must be crushed to expose the sugars to the water. While the grain is soaking, the hot water is leaching the sugars out of the grain and dissolving them into the wort. The factors that influence how well the sugars are extracted are the steeping time, temperature and the particle size. Obviously, the finer you crush the malt the more completely you can extract the sugars. However, most supply shops have their mills adjusted for mashing and lautering purposes and if the particle size where much smaller, it would be difficult to contain within the grainbag.

Table 10 - Nominal Malt Steeping Yields in Points/Pound/Gallon

Malt Type
 
PPG Steep

Brown Malt
 
8*

Dextrin Malt
 
4*
 
Light Crystal (10 - 15L)
 
14*
 
Pale Crystal (25 - 40L)
 
22
 
Medium Crystal (60 - 75L)
 
18
 
Dark Crystal (120L)
 
16

Special B
 
16
 
Chocolate Malt
 
15
 
Roast Barley
 
21
 
Black Patent Malt
21
 
Malto - Dextrin Powder
 
(40)
 

Sugar (Corn, Cane)
 
(46)
Steeping data is experimental and was obtained by steeping 1 lb. in 1 gal at 160°F for 30 minutes. All malts were crushed in a 2 roller mill at the same setting.
 

From a book you might have heard of, or maybe not ::)  "How To Brew". You can read it on line. The OP referenced this book as well as the recipe was from "Brewing Classic Styles".  The flavor contributions you want come from the sugars. Make beer however you want.

 
 
 

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2013, 07:44:37 PM »
steeping temperature is irrelevant, 5 minutes in room temp water will easily allow for 80% plus extraction of the sugars with a decent crush(the muslin bag was my 50%).


Chapter 13 - Steeping Specialty Grains

13.2 Mechanics of Steeping
To use the caramel and roasted specialty malts, the grain must be crushed to expose the sugars to the water. While the grain is soaking, the hot water is leaching the sugars out of the grain and dissolving them into the wort. The factors that influence how well the sugars are extracted are the steeping time, temperature and the particle size. Obviously, the finer you crush the malt the more completely you can extract the sugars. However, most supply shops have their mills adjusted for mashing and lautering purposes and if the particle size where much smaller, it would be difficult to contain within the grainbag.

His process is sound, his thermometer failed him, even though he doesn't even need one.

I'm not sure what you're arguing.  Time and temp doesn't matter (according to Repo), except it does (reference Repo's quote from "How to Brew" a book I may have heard of).

Rather than attempt to create an argument how about some constructive advice? 

If his process is sound and steeping is as simple as running room temp water over grains (your contention), why is his gravity low?  Do you have advice for the OP?  Or do you prefer to argue with those of us who have attempted to give advice?

I stand by my previous statements.  The gravity he will get from steeping grains is not something to worry about.  He is not mashing, so worrying about the efficiency of his steep is worrying too much.  He will not extract significant fermentable sugars from steeping and that is not the point of steeping.  If he wants to mash, he should go ahead and do it but the grains he is steeping are not grains you mash.

Your turn.  Constructive this time.

"con·struc·tive
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: helping to develop or improve something : helpful to someone instead of upsetting and negative"

From the Merriam Webster dictionary.  A book you may have heard of.
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Offline DW

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2013, 08:35:33 PM »
This was a full boil.  If you have access to Brewing Classic Styles, it's the Robust Porter recipe.  I think I mentioned the recipe in earlier posts.  I was not precise in measuring the volumes, and my 30% efficiency could be off by +-5%.  Something that I learned from this thread was that I'm not really mashing but steeping.  I called it mashing, because I thought I was actually getting fermentable sugars from the steep, but you guys have taught that I'm really just getting flavor/color. 

Offline repo

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Re: Poor efficiency/very soft water
« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2013, 08:36:47 PM »
 
His process is sound, his thermometer failed him, even though he doesn't even need one.

I'm not sure what you're arguing.  Time and temp doesn't matter (according to Repo), except it does (reference Repo's quote from "How to Brew" a book I may have heard of).

Rather than attempt to create an argument how about some constructive advice? 

If his process is sound and steeping is as simple as running room temp water over grains (your contention), why is his gravity low?  Do you have advice for the OP?  Or do you prefer to argue with those of us who have attempted to give advice?

I stand by my previous statements.  The gravity he will get from steeping grains is not something to worry about.  He is not mashing, so worrying about the efficiency of his steep is worrying too much.  He will not extract significant fermentable sugars from steeping and that is not the point of steeping.  If he wants to mash, he should go ahead and do it but the grains he is steeping are not grains you mash.

Your turn.  Constructive this time.

"con·struc·tive
adjective \kən-ˈstrək-tiv\

: helping to develop or improve something : helpful to someone instead of upsetting and negative"

From the Merriam Webster dictionary.  A book you may have heard of.
[/quote]

lol, I am sure JP would change a few things in his book.  The quote was for the extract efficiency chart from steeping grains, you "never heard anyone talk of before"  I have offered advice. Not following yours here will help him improve his brewing in this particular instance, sorry if that upsets you.
[ [/quote]
This is some misleading and erroneous advice. There is absolutely no need to mash those grains, and you will absolutely get some gravity points from steeping them. The starches have already been converted by the maltster.  While 30% is a little low, 50% would probably be an average  expectation for a muslin bag of those grains. It is very difficult to get all the sugars out of a "ball" of grain. 
[/quote]