Author Topic: Low efficiency  (Read 1037 times)

Offline TMX

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Low efficiency
« on: September 02, 2014, 03:04:43 PM »
My first 2 brews on my new system have come in rather low on efficiency. Averaging about 65% .  After my first brew the only thing I changed was the gap on my mill, I forgot to check it prior to milling, and found it was set rather wide. For the 2nd brew I set it to 0.35 inch and seem to have a good crush, but saw no rise in my numbers.



My System



3 x 15 gallon pot eHerms

50’ SS Herms coil mounted in the HLT

2x 5500 watt elements (HLT / BK)

12 inch domed false bottom

2 PID control box



My Process



Fill HLT with 13g and MT with 8-9 gallons of strike water, heat to strike temp.

Dough in, set PID for Mash temp and mash for 60 min continuous recirculation.

Raise temp to 168 for mash out, and for double batch sparge with a 10-15 recirculation with each sparge addition.

Boil



My Ideas



•Might need to slow down my run off

•Might need to mash longer

•Might need to try fly sparging

•Might need to crush finer ( not sure how much further I can go with my false bottom, first time ever using one)



Any other input is more than welcome, but I would like to get a handle on this.



Tim
"The ART of brewing Beer, is the ACT of brewing Beer"
https://txbrewing.wordpress.com

Ferm 1: Irish Red Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: American Wheat

Keg 1: Un-Common
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2015) - 10

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 03:18:06 PM »
if you are batch sparging runoff speed has nothing to do with efficiency. Also, fly sparging does not necessarily result in higher efficiency.

I'm guessing you don't actually mean .35 on an inch as that's pretty wide and I would think the grain would just fall through.  ;D but .035 would be fine. Maybe too fine, but if you are not getting stuck runoff then it's not too fine!

The next thing to look at is your measurements. It's not possible to calculate efficiency accurately without accurate measurements of all volumes, weights, and gravities.

If those are all right on then water chemistry is next on the list.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 03:23:54 PM »
+1 to Mort's comments.

I generally set my crush finer than you are using (assuming .035").  On my system (everyone is different) I set the gap on my mill to around .030".  Any finer and my runoff sticks all the time.  Any wider and I drop efficiency.

Paul
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Offline TMX

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 03:25:41 PM »
Yes 0.035
"The ART of brewing Beer, is the ACT of brewing Beer"
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Ferm 1: Irish Red Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: American Wheat

Keg 1: Un-Common
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2015) - 10

Offline dak0415

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 03:52:27 PM »
if you are batch sparging runoff speed has nothing to do with efficiency. Also, fly sparging does not necessarily result in higher efficiency.

I'm guessing you don't actually mean .35 on an inch as that's pretty wide and I would think the grain would just fall through.  ;D but .035 would be fine. Maybe too fine, but if you are not getting stuck runoff then it's not too fine!

The next thing to look at is your measurements. It's not possible to calculate efficiency accurately without accurate measurements of all volumes, weights, and gravities.

If those are all right on then water chemistry is next on the list.
+1 For all of these!  Need grain weight, strike water volume, sparge volumes.  Also, where in your wort flow are your PID temp sensors?  Are you stirring your mash after you add your sparge water infusions?  How fast are you recirculating?  You may be getting some channeling during your conversion time, then when you sparge, its not circulating through ALL your mash bed.

Dave Koenig
Anything worth doing - is worth overdoing!

Offline dak0415

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 03:59:02 PM »
FWIW I have essentially the same setup and process.  I get 80% efficiency every time (for 5%-6% beers) more for smaller beers, 72%-75% for big beers.
Dave Koenig
Anything worth doing - is worth overdoing!

Offline TMX

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 04:33:25 PM »

if you are batch sparging runoff speed has nothing to do with efficiency. Also, fly sparging does not necessarily result in higher efficiency.

I'm guessing you don't actually mean .35 on an inch as that's pretty wide and I would think the grain would just fall through.  ;D but .035 would be fine. Maybe too fine, but if you are not getting stuck runoff then it's not too fine!

The next thing to look at is your measurements. It's not possible to calculate efficiency accurately without accurate measurements of all volumes, weights, and gravities.

If those are all right on then water chemistry is next on the list.
+1 For all of these!  Need grain weight, strike water volume, sparge volumes.  Also, where in your wort flow are your PID temp sensors?  Are you stirring your mash after you add your sparge water infusions?  How fast are you recirculating?  You may be getting some channeling during your conversion time, then when you sparge, its not circulating through ALL your mash bed.

1st beer was 24 pounds of grain at 1.25 qt per pound amber Ale
2nd was 26 pounds at 1.33 qt per pound IPA
1 temp probe for the hlt temp one at the herms return at the mash tun

1st beer circulated at about 1/2 open 2nd wide open and yes I stir at every infusion
"The ART of brewing Beer, is the ACT of brewing Beer"
https://txbrewing.wordpress.com

Ferm 1: Irish Red Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: American Wheat

Keg 1: Un-Common
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2015) - 10

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2014, 05:27:38 PM »
try a thinner mash maybe? that's pretty thick. I know it's standard for fly sparging but you might be better off with closer to 2 qt/lb batch sparging.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2014, 05:37:26 PM »
try a thinner mash maybe? that's pretty thick. I know it's standard for fly sparging but you might be better off with closer to 2 qt/lb batch sparging.

+1.  2 qts/lb for me (batch sparging) most times.
Jon H.

Offline dak0415

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2014, 05:41:22 PM »
My sweet spot is 1.5 qt/lb.  Thicker mashes slowed everything down to the point where I could not maintain mash temps.  I have a very small recirc. pump.  Its also way easier to dough in!  Try mashing longer (75 min) and /or thinner mash and see what that does to your efficiency.  Also, post your water report!
Dave Koenig
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2014, 05:59:36 PM »
another thing to check, if you are condifident on your measurements, is the conversion efficiency. Take a sample at 60 minutes and use http://seanterrill.com/2013/10/05/batch-sparging-calculator/ this tool to determine your conversion
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline TMX

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2014, 09:15:35 PM »
try a thinner mash maybe? that's pretty thick. I know it's standard for fly sparging but you might be better off with closer to 2 qt/lb batch sparging.

Not sure I can get 2qt/lb in my kettle, but I can move to at least 1.5 or 1.75 qt/lb.
I use a length of silicon tubing for the sparge, so I might be getting some channeling during the recirculation, I can see how that might be happening...

Might introduce some mash paddle action during the mash, stop the pump, stir by hand, restart the pump again.

I will also relook my grain mill, and go back to double crushing like I did with my old corona mill.

T
"The ART of brewing Beer, is the ACT of brewing Beer"
https://txbrewing.wordpress.com

Ferm 1: Irish Red Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: American Wheat

Keg 1: Un-Common
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2015) - 10

Offline TMX

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Re: Low efficiency
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 04:09:33 PM »
So moving into the next brew day these are the things I will try...
 
crush a litle bit finer at 0.032, and double crush.
 ensure that I stir the crap out of the initial dough in.
 recirculate a bit slower, the design of my sparge "snake" may be leading to channeling
 Several times during the mash, stop the recirculation and stir the crap out of the mash.
 Continue to mash out
 Fly sparge
 Gravity drain into the boil kettle.
 Take better notes
 
hope somewhere along the way, I will learn more about what I need to do on this set up to achieve my goals.
"The ART of brewing Beer, is the ACT of brewing Beer"
https://txbrewing.wordpress.com

Ferm 1: Irish Red Ale
Ferm 2:

On Deck: American Wheat

Keg 1: Un-Common
Keg 2: Switchback Stout

Total Gallons brewed (2015) - 10