Author Topic: Mash specs for high gravity  (Read 1475 times)

Offline 69franx

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Mash specs for high gravity
« on: November 05, 2015, 04:33:23 AM »
i am planning on this year's version of our local Double Nut brown, from am old school home brewer, innovating legend. the brew targets an OG of 1.100, so I am looking t around 26# of grain. My 70qt extreme can handle any ration for this brew, including no sparge. I am really just wondering if I should target a "typical" 1.5-1.75 qt/# and a smallish sparge, or would I be better with closer to 1qt/# and a decent sparge. The other alternative is just a no sparge, but no experience really tracking gravity of first runnings, so not sure what that would net me. i am planning a 120 minute boil to help. With these parameters, a roughly 1.25qt/# yields a sparge of just 3.92G for my preboil of 8.56G. If I switch it up to 1.75ish, my sparge is only .57G. I know there was a post recently about mashing with a high ratio and a small sparge, just really not sure where to go with this brew. i have attempted twice before and never came close to the 1.10 OG, even using software with predicted efficiencies of 55-60%. What suggestions do you have? First 2x I tried this brew I went with roughly 1.25qt/# once and less than 1qt/# on second attempt. 1.25 got me close to 60% efficiency while .90qt/# yielded only 53%, but it was twice the batch size
Frank L.
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Offline Pricelessbrewing

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2015, 06:10:00 AM »
If you can provide some numbers on your system, boil off, batch size, any loses in mash tun or kettle, and typical grain absorption as well as your "average" mash efficiency, I should be able to ball park some numbers at you from a batch sparge/mashanalysis/partigyle spreadsheet I have that's based on brau kaisers mash efficiency analysis.

I usually aim for 1.75-2 qt/lb as I feel it gets the most consistently high conversion efficiency, then aim for as close to equal runnings batch sparge for maximum lauter efficiency.

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2015, 11:57:12 AM »
If you can provide some numbers on your system, boil off, batch size, any loses in mash tun or kettle, and typical grain absorption as well as your "average" mash efficiency, I should be able to ball park some numbers at you from a batch sparge/mashanalysis/partigyle spreadsheet I have that's based on brau kaisers mash efficiency analysis.

I usually aim for 1.75-2 qt/lb as I feel it gets the most consistently high conversion efficiency, then aim for as close to equal runnings batch sparge for maximum lauter efficiency.

You beat me to the point! Any of the many Partigyle calcs out there will help you out. That will help you determine the combine gravity of your 1st and second runnings.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2015, 12:25:53 PM »
You have to do no sparge or partigyle, or just plan on adding some extract after the mash.  Figure your efficiency at 45-50%.  Then you will hit your goal.  Water to grain ratio doesn't matter much.  Just be sure to mill the grains well.  If your LHBS is milling the grains for you then mill at least twice if not 3 times.  There is no incentive for LHBSs to do a good job milling, it costs them money and customer complaints of stuck sparges.  It works wonders for your efficiency to double mill if they won't change their mill settings.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 02:26:07 PM by dmtaylor »
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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2015, 12:41:50 PM »
Anything higher than 1.5 qts/lb for water to grist with No Sparge is going to max you out in your cooler. 1.5 qts/lb is about 66 qts. May be a b**** to stir.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2015, 03:03:53 PM »
First runnings of a mash at 1.5 qts/lb is about 1.080 depending on the grist.  I happen to be planning a 1.100 beer right now.  I  plan to get 12.5 gals of first runnings and to boil it down to 10 gals to hit 1.100.  I also plan a second runnings beer, but haven't worked out the gravity details yet.

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2015, 03:32:59 PM »
I also have a 70 quart Xtreme (with a bazooka).  I designed my system around a 10 gallon (finished) batch size for my Scotch Ale.  It has a 1.105 OG typically.  I mash a little over 40# of grain at 149 for 90 minutes with a roughly 1.25qt/lb ratio (it just fits).  I typically do 2 or 3 batch sparges.

Lots of factors can affect your efficiency, including malt modification, mash pH, mash time, mash temperature, etc.  Mash thickness is only one factor.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2015, 04:27:05 PM »
I am really just wondering if I should target a "typical" 1.5-1.75 qt/# and a smallish sparge, or would I be better with closer to 1qt/# and a decent sparge.

Are you batch or fly sparging? With batch a really small sparge will seriously hurt efficiency since you can't rinse all the grain. If you're fly sparging it doesn't matter quite as much but efficiency will be highest for the thickest infusion ratio.

I'm running some numbers through my batch sparging calculator, and you'd have to have pretty bad conversion efficiency (<80%) to only hit 1.100 OG off of a 26 lb grist and 8.5 gal pre-boil. This is a 5-6 gal batch, right? Your lauter efficiency for a single batch sparge would be around 70%. Figuring out why you're seeing incomplete conversion would be the best place to start. Like Dave said, the most likely culprit is an incomplete crush.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2015, 04:44:16 PM »
If you have your own mill I'd say tighten the gap, get yourself a BIAB to fit that Coleman Extreme and go for no sparge. I've moved to BIAB in the cooler for both of my mash tuns (16 and 70 quart) doing no sparge and I'm very pleased with the results. Next step is to get my own mill so I can grind a little finer than my LHBS does.

Offline Pricelessbrewing

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2015, 06:25:27 PM »
I am really just wondering if I should target a "typical" 1.5-1.75 qt/# and a smallish sparge, or would I be better with closer to 1qt/# and a decent sparge.

Are you batch or fly sparging? With batch a really small sparge will seriously hurt efficiency since you can't rinse all the grain. If you're fly sparging it doesn't matter quite as much but efficiency will be highest for the thickest infusion ratio.

I'm running some numbers through my batch sparging calculator, and you'd have to have pretty bad conversion efficiency (<80%) to only hit 1.100 OG off of a 26 lb grist and 8.5 gal pre-boil. This is a 5-6 gal batch, right? Your lauter efficiency for a single batch sparge would be around 70%. Figuring out why you're seeing incomplete conversion would be the best place to start. Like Dave said, the most likely culprit is an incomplete crush.

Agreed. Also didn't know you had a little batch sparge calculator, I'll have to check my math against yours. PS: I emailed you a little bit ago about your refractometer correction tool. Awesome work!

Offline 69franx

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2015, 09:50:10 PM »
Ok thanks for all the thoughts. My system is the 70qt extreme, a 15G BK. The extreme is fitted with a braid from bargain fittings and leaves about a qt behind. i do batch sparge. This cooler was not used for the first 2 batches, I used a 50qt for those. The first batch was only a 3.5G test batch with a 60 minute boil. The second batch was a 5G batch with 90 minute boil.
     My current kettle, also not used on those first 2 batches, boils off around .9G per hour for batches in the 5.5-6G range. I usually leave about 1/2 gallon in kettle between break mats, hops, etc. My mash efficiencies for these 2 batches were very different from most of the other brews I have made, coming in at around 55% each. Earlier this year, I made an attempt at Drew's "The Queen's Diamonds" and with 25# of Marris Otter, I hit 6.25g @1.098 into the fermenter(actually need to boil another 30 minutes longer to get to the target of 5.5G and I would have hit about 1.111) I mashed that batch at 1.2qt/g and used 4.29g sparge for my target of 8.54g pre-boil. I actually hit 8.75G at 1.073  pre-boil. This was the last big brew I made.
     The first small batch, the grain was milled by the LHBS while I milled the grist for the second batch. I do have a mill at home now. This brew is my homage to a local favorite from Dan Listermann's Triple Digit Brewing Co. It is essentially an imperial version of Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar clocking in at the 1.100 (triple digit) OG. The grist is my guess, I know the grist components, roughly the color, the OG, and the IBU's. I know they use 2Row, Wheat Malt, Honey Malt and Chocolate Malt. I am running this batch at:
almost 17# Rahr Pale Ale malt(my sub) 65%
just over 5# wheat 20%
roughly 2.4# Honey malt 9%
and just over 1.5# Crisp Pale chocolate 6%
this grist when entered into beersmith, with my profile , hits the 1.100, 28srm, and with 1.16oz brewer's gold at 60 minutes, also hits the targeted 28 IBUs

     In my beersmith profile for this beer, I am estimating 62% eff, .9G boil off per hour, 1 qt cooling loss, and 1/2 gallon left behind in kettle from my Pre boil volume of 8.56G to leave me with 6G into fermenter.

     The goal for moving up to a 90 minute boil was to be better able to sparge with a more appropriate amount of liquor. As I stated in OP, with 26# grain, mashing in at 1.2qt/# leaves less than 4 gallons to sparge with to rinse those 26#

The first 2 attempts at this brew were likely way too ambitious for a rookie brewer(first attempt was only my 4th brew). In reality, I am not overly concerned with my current efficiencies, just wondering about mash options. No sparge, single batch sparge after very thick or thin mash in, etc. I really dont have a small beer planned, but have plenty of grain and hops on hand to do a partigyle, but what thoughts do you all have with that original grist for a second beer?
    Sorry to ramble on, just trying to cover all the questions asked in your responses. I appreciate all the ideas so far and yet to come, thanks again all
Frank L.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2015, 10:14:25 PM »
I am really just wondering if I should target a "typical" 1.5-1.75 qt/# and a smallish sparge, or would I be better with closer to 1qt/# and a decent sparge.

Are you batch or fly sparging? With batch a really small sparge will seriously hurt efficiency since you can't rinse all the grain. If you're fly sparging it doesn't matter quite as much but efficiency will be highest for the thickest infusion ratio.

I'm running some numbers through my batch sparging calculator, and you'd have to have pretty bad conversion efficiency (<80%) to only hit 1.100 OG off of a 26 lb grist and 8.5 gal pre-boil. This is a 5-6 gal batch, right? Your lauter efficiency for a single batch sparge would be around 70%. Figuring out why you're seeing incomplete conversion would be the best place to start. Like Dave said, the most likely culprit is an incomplete crush.

Sean, I followed your link (for probably the tenth time) and help me understand please. With 25.95# and initial infusion of 8g and second of 3.92 with 1qt dead space, it says the result for a 6g post boil volume will be 1.111 at 68.6% lauter efficiency. Is this in ideal situations and at what delta from that should I really start to worry and trouble shoot my system? I am also going to run it at lower infusion numbers for a shorter boil to see the differences
Frank L.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2015, 10:42:54 PM »
Is this in ideal situations and at what delta from that should I really start to worry and trouble shoot my system? I am also going to run it at lower infusion numbers for a shorter boil to see the differences

It's ideal in the sense that it assumes 100% conversion efficiency in the mash. Personally I don't lauter until conversion efficiency (percentage of projected first runnings gravity) is at least 90%. That means I can plan for 95% conversion and be confident that I'll always be within 5% of my target gravity. Most mashes, I overshoot by a little. But essentially, as long as you check, even if conversion efficiency falls short you can decide whether it's close enough, and continue the mash if it isn't.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2015, 10:46:26 PM »
So next question from the guy who really has not checked or tracked his conversion efficiency: are you checking this by gravity sample, iodine, etc? Just one more tool I have not been using, but I guess I should. I just need to compare the actual gravity to the projected gravity of first runnings from your calculator?
Frank L.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Mash specs for high gravity
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2015, 01:38:34 AM »
Yep, I just check gravity shortly after beginning the vorlauf.
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