Author Topic: Mash Efficiency  (Read 635 times)

Offline nickcw

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Mash Efficiency
« on: August 11, 2016, 07:46:31 PM »
I have drop my mash efficiency and don't know why. Over the past 6 to 8 months my efficiency has went.

Only two variables have changed, that I can think of. The weather is hotter out, (but I,m still mashing same temp.)and I have started adjusting my water.  My water adjustment, 2/3 RO and 1/3 well water.

I know that I don't have my process down to a science , such as I am not giving and actual water report here or the mash pH  etc.

Could my water be effecting my mash efficiency.  I have adjusted my roller mill too?
Any thoughts are helpful.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2016, 08:05:43 PM »
Crush is the first thing to look at.  Ensure you are crushing the grains fine enough.  If you look very closely at individual kernels of malt after the crush, each one should be broken into approximately 5-7 small white pieces.  If only 3-4 pieces then you are not crushing enough and need to reduce the gap on the mill.

Mash pH and water could certainly be factors as well.  If you have very alkaline water, even a blend with RO water will not fix this.  In your mash you need to measure the pH between 5.2 to 5.5.  If it is higher or lower than this, your efficiency and beer quality both may suffer.
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Offline denny

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2016, 08:06:08 PM »
Is all the grain coming from the same bags and same lot?
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2016, 08:38:06 PM »
You said you just starting adjusting your water and that it's 1/3 well water and 2/3 RO. Is the only adjustment the mixture that you're using? What was the mixture before?

Are you making the same recipes? Required pH adjustments are both water and grist-specific.

Offline nickcw

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2016, 08:46:44 PM »
You said you just starting adjusting your water and that it's 1/3 well water and 2/3 RO. Is the only adjustment the mixture that you're using? What was the mixture before?

Are you making the same recipes? Required pH adjustments are both water and grist-specific.

  Yes just the blending is all I have done.  before it was all well water.  I am mixing recipes, mostly IPA's

as far as the crush I might check that a little more

Offline denny

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2016, 09:07:43 PM »
You said you just starting adjusting your water and that it's 1/3 well water and 2/3 RO. Is the only adjustment the mixture that you're using? What was the mixture before?

Are you making the same recipes? Required pH adjustments are both water and grist-specific.

  Yes just the blending is all I have done.  before it was all well water.  I am mixing recipes, mostly IPA's

as far as the crush I might check that a little more

That would mean the crush has changed.  Do you crush it yourself?
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2016, 10:33:15 PM »
#1 - As said, crush is huge for efficiency. Even if your process is otherwise flawless, a poor (too coarse) crush limits the efficiency you can attain. Having said that, getting a consistent efficiency is the real key to being able to make what you want accurately, more so than an arbitrary efficiency number. Honestly, I wouldn't be thrilled with sub 65% efficiency because you can do better process-wise (assuming crush is good). But past that, it's about consistency of process.  If you have a mill, did you widen the gap recently?

#2 -  Also, it's very basic, but are you getting your volumes right? Meaning accounting for grain absorption, dead space, boiloff rate? With a little practice you should be able to hit the mash and sparge runoffs you target (and therefore your preboil volume), and given your boiloff rate, be able to hit your post boil target volume. Being off on these volumes will change your OG, and OG per volume of wort per given grist gives you your efficiency.

#3 - Finally (as said), it's not enough to mix 2/3 to 1/3 for every beer because how dark/light your grist is directly affects your pH, and mash pH is huge in all grain beers. Mash pH way outside the optimal range (5.2 - 5.6) will affect your beer drastically. You need to download Brunwater software. It helps you estimate and control the mash pH for every beer as well as select a water profile that is appropriate for the flavor characteristics of that beer. It's awesome software.

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/



Edit - Not meaning to patronize if you do some or all of these things. Just trying to help. Good luck.

« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 12:14:16 AM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2016, 12:41:18 AM »
I don't find that water is a big factor in efficiency. Crush and the duration of runoff play the biggest parts in my brewing. Of course, if you no-sparge, the runoff time shouldn't matter. 

Another factor that I find plays a minor part is conducting a mashout step. If you typically perform mashes only in the low 150F's, then the mashout step can easily add 1 to 2 brix to the wort gravity. If you mash at higher temps, then the mashout step becomes less productive.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2016, 12:50:07 AM »
Martin, FWIW I added the reference to water and pH control as a toss-in because the 2/3 : 1/3 ratio might work well for some beers, not so well for others, depending on his source. I agree with crush/crush consistency being by far the biggest factor, assuming process and volumes are good.
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Offline raventor

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Re: Mash Efficiency
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 05:18:21 AM »
I would recommend looking into a recirculating pump system. This has made all the difference in my brewing. One thing to look out for is over efficiency. When i did what they did in the Northern Brewer, Wil Wheaton youtube, i kept hitting 90-95%% efficiency. Lesson learned, only use the pump in the last 30 minutes before sparge. Love brewing this way!
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