Author Topic: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge  (Read 3223 times)

Offline SPAMR

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55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« on: April 09, 2016, 02:59:53 PM »
Disclaimer: yesterday was my first time brewing all grain. I have only read about the process, and watched a few contradicting YouTube videos.

In short:
I was hoping to achieve 72% efficiency but ending up hitting only 55%. Thankfully I was originally trying to brew an Imperial IPA, but ended up brewing an IPA instead.  ;D

The process:
15# of grain and 4.5 gallons of water in a 10 gallon SS Brew Tech mash tun.
Strike water was 170*, the grains were steeped for 60 minutes at ~154-149 by the end.
Batch sparged with 3.3 gallons of water which was inserted into the mash tun at 195*
Mixed grains and emptied into the brew kettle.

Any advice on what/where I went wrong?

Next time I am going to try fly sparging since I have the attachment for the mash tun. The only reason I didn't use it last night was because I have t built out the HLT yet...

« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 03:11:19 PM by SPAMR »

Offline tommymorris

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55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 03:14:31 PM »
That's a lot of grain so you will have a lower efficiency.

Your mash water volume (quarts) to grain weight (pounds) was 1.2. I like to mash at a 1.75-2 qts/pound. I get a nice efficiency boost with the higher ratio. Admittedly, that may not work so well with a big grain bill.

PS. I don't think switching to fly sparge will help. You should probably try to perfect one method before trying another.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 03:18:09 PM by alestateyall »

Offline fmader

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2016, 03:20:18 PM »
I don't think batch sparging is your issue. Like said above, I'd increase ratio to at least 1.5 lb/qt. I go bigger myself. My real concern is your grain crush. Is your grain being crushed fine enough?
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2016, 03:50:40 PM »
I switched to batch sparging two batches ago and get almost exactly the same efficiency as when I fly sparged, but in less time.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 03:53:20 PM »
Is this a 5 gal batch? Even with 100% conversion efficiency and 72% lauter efficiency that would only be an OG of ~19°P/1.080 SG. Just a reality check…

Did you collect the full 6.0 gal of pre-boil wort? Does the crush look adequate (no intact kernels)?

On your next batch, before lautering, check the gravity of the first runnings. That will give you your conversion efficiency and get you started figuring out where the losses are coming from. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Troubleshooting_Brewhouse_Efficiency#Determining_Conversion_Efficiency
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 04:01:03 PM »
I use 1.65 but also got a boost when I switched from 1.25. Also, dough balls float so you can see them better in a thinner mash and break them up.
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Offline SPAMR

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2016, 04:02:50 PM »
Is this a 5 gal batch? Even with 100% conversion efficiency and 72% lauter efficiency that would only be an OG of ~19°P/1.080 SG. Just a reality check…

Did you collect the full 6.0 gal of pre-boil wort? Does the crush look adequate (no intact kernels)?

On your next batch, before lautering, check the gravity of the first runnings. That will give you your conversion efficiency and get you started figuring out where the losses are coming from. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Troubleshooting_Brewhouse_Efficiency#Determining_Conversion_Efficiency

I was shooting for 1.080 but hit 1.060. Did I set my expectations too high?

I'll be sure to check first running next time!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 04:37:51 PM by SPAMR »

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2016, 04:03:49 PM »
Big beer, lots of grain = lower efficiency.  That's all this is, I think.  Could also be that the grains weren't crushed quite enough.  But the bigness of the desired beer and the big grain bill was the real killer.  For a big beer it's a good idea to double-sparge and boil for a long time, like 100-120 minutes, to rinse more of the sugars out of those grains and concentrate down more.  Otherwise you throw a lot of sugars away with just a single sparge because so much wort stays soaked into the huge grain bill.

Unlike the advice of others, for a big beer I also REDUCE the water to grain ratio, down to about 1.0 qt/lb.  This likewise forces you to sparge more, helping your efficiency significantly.

Otherwise, about 65% is about the best efficiency you could have hoped for, in my experience, with just a single sparge of a desired 1.080 beer.  So, 55% wasn't bad really.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 04:07:47 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline a10t2

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2016, 04:13:40 PM »
I was shooting for 1.080 but hit 1.050. Did I set my expectations too high?

No, that's just right but you'd need 100% conversion efficiency to get there. If your crush/time/temperature/pH was off then you won't get full conversion and sparging technique can't help you. FWIW I'd estimate 74% efficiency maximum given your volumes. http://seanterrill.com/batchsparge/
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Offline SPAMR

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2016, 04:28:24 PM »
Big beer, lots of grain = lower efficiency.  That's all this is, I think.  Could also be that the grains weren't crushed quite enough.  But the bigness of the desired beer and the big grain bill was the real killer.  For a big beer it's a good idea to double-sparge and boil for a long time, like 100-120 minutes, to rinse more of the sugars out of those grains and concentrate down more.  Otherwise you throw a lot of sugars away with just a single sparge because so much wort stays soaked into the huge grain bill.

Unlike the advice of others, for a big beer I also REDUCE the water to grain ratio, down to about 1.0 qt/lb.  This likewise forces you to sparge more, helping your efficiency significantly.

Otherwise, about 65% is about the best efficiency you could have hoped for, in my experience, with just a single sparge of a desired 1.080 beer.  So, 55% wasn't bad really.

Could it be that 3# of the 15# was flaked oats? Just realized that the oats are the only thing that I was told not to crush. The rest of the grains were crushed by the LHBS.

When you double sparge do you recycle my of the water, or just use less for each sparge?

Offline tommymorris

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2016, 04:35:36 PM »
Big beer, lots of grain = lower efficiency.  That's all this is, I think.  Could also be that the grains weren't crushed quite enough.  But the bigness of the desired beer and the big grain bill was the real killer.  For a big beer it's a good idea to double-sparge and boil for a long time, like 100-120 minutes, to rinse more of the sugars out of those grains and concentrate down more.  Otherwise you throw a lot of sugars away with just a single sparge because so much wort stays soaked into the huge grain bill.

Unlike the advice of others, for a big beer I also REDUCE the water to grain ratio, down to about 1.0 qt/lb.  This likewise forces you to sparge more, helping your efficiency significantly.

Otherwise, about 65% is about the best efficiency you could have hoped for, in my experience, with just a single sparge of a desired 1.080 beer.  So, 55% wasn't bad really.

Could it be that 3# of the 15# was flaked oats? Just realized that the oats are the only thing that I was told not to crush. The rest of the grains were crushed by the LHBS.

When you double sparge do you recycle my of the water, or just use less for each sparge?
He is suggesting to increase your preboil volume and boil longer. If you normally have 6 gallons preboil for 1 hour boil. Go to 7 and boil longer. Moving to a larger preboil volume will give you more water to sparge with and will rinse more sugars into your wort.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2016, 04:42:10 PM »
Could it be that 3# of the 15# was flaked oats? Just realized that the oats are the only thing that I was told not to crush. The rest of the grains were crushed by the LHBS.

When you double sparge do you recycle my of the water, or just use less for each sparge?

The oats didn't hurt anything, that's not an issue.

Split the sparge in half.  Try to get 1/3 of your total preboil volume from the first runnings, then 1/3 from the first sparge and 1/3 from the second sparge.  The two sparges are the same 1/3 of the total each.
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Offline SPAMR

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2016, 04:44:50 PM »
Could it be that 3# of the 15# was flaked oats? Just realized that the oats are the only thing that I was told not to crush. The rest of the grains were crushed by the LHBS.

When you double sparge do you recycle my of the water, or just use less for each sparge?

The oats didn't hurt anything, that's not an issue.

Split the sparge in half.  Try to get 1/3 of your total preboil volume from the first runnings, then 1/3 from the first sparge and 1/3 from the second sparge.  The two sparges are the same 1/3 of the total each.

Makes perfect sense to me. Thank you.

Any estimation on the type of efficiency achieved by using this method? (For projection sake next time)

What temperature do you heat the sparge water to? Is 195* safe to use?

Offline fmader

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2016, 05:12:00 PM »
See if your LHBS will double crush your grains.
Frank

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: 55% Efficiency after Batch Sparge
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2016, 06:00:50 PM »
Any estimation on the type of efficiency achieved by using this method? (For projection sake next time)

What temperature do you heat the sparge water to? Is 195* safe to use?

You should experience an increase in efficiency of at least 5-10% with a double sparge.

195 F is perfect sparge temp for batch sparging.  You did good.
Dave

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