Author Topic: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt  (Read 1295 times)

Offline zigs6

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Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« on: June 24, 2017, 11:36:16 PM »
This is truly a mash mystery to me if anyone has any guesses:

I just brewed a vienna lager with a 99% vienna malt grain bill and 1% of midnight wheat for a little color. Beer smith had me calculated at a 1.045 pre boil gravity and after 60 minutes I was at 1.025. The grains came pre milled from more beer so I doubt that was the issue. It was a 152F mash and the PH was measured at room temp at 5.37. It was Wyermann Vienna. I know that's not loaded with diastatic power but it should have converted no problem. I ended up adding a few pounds of DME which was fine and the beer ended up at 1.051 at the end of the boil which is what I was targeting. No harm done I suppose, but I just can't figure out why my extraction was so low. I no sparge and I usually get a 72% efficiency in a big 30 gallon mash tun doing 10 gallon batches. My water to grist ratio was pretty large about 3.2:1. Typical for my set up. The only thing that happened that I can think of was that originally the strike water was a bit too warm. It was 158 after doughing in so I threw in some ice cubes and got it down to 152 in under 5 minutes. Would that have been enough to mess with the conversion? I just can't figure it out since the PH was good. I even let it sit for 90 minutes. Anyone have any insight?
Thanks,

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 12:22:25 AM »
I would not say the crush from More Beer could not be the issue. That's the first place I'd look. Was it crushed as fine as normal for your normal efficiency?


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Offline zigs6

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2017, 02:07:57 AM »
I can't say I really inspected it. My friend was the one that cut open the bags and put it into a bucket. I didn't catch my eye as being too big or anything but I didn't examine it per say.

Offline lupulus

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 02:03:30 PM »
Most likely you had dough balls you did not dissolve properly. 

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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 05:42:52 PM »
Most likely you had dough balls you did not dissolve properly. 

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+1.  The vienna malt should be able to convert itself.

Offline The Beerery

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 05:51:20 PM »
Well, with that WTG ratio at 100% conversion and efficiency you only can have 1.041, beersmith is way off in these regards. At your normal 72% this equates to about 1.029 so you are not too far off (roughly what 63%). Crush, doughballs and temp could all have played a role.
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Offline zigs6

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2017, 05:01:33 AM »
Well, with that WTG ratio at 100% conversion and efficiency you only can have 1.041, beersmith is way off in these regards. At your normal 72% this equates to about 1.029 so you are not too far off (roughly what 63%). Crush, doughballs and temp could all have played a role.

How would beersmith mis calculate that? Can you tell me how you came up with that max efficiency? I haven't had that issue before and I've done about 4 batches using this exact method. Your numbers make sense but I don't know how you got there. Also to comment on the dough balls, the grain bear was much firmer than usual which was also a first for me with this method.

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2017, 09:19:29 AM »
Well, with that WTG ratio at 100% conversion and efficiency you only can have 1.041, beersmith is way off in these regards. At your normal 72% this equates to about 1.029 so you are not too far off (roughly what 63%). Crush, doughballs and temp could all have played a role.

How would beersmith mis calculate that? Can you tell me how you came up with that max efficiency? I haven't had that issue before and I've done about 4 batches using this exact method. Your numbers make sense but I don't know how you got there. Also to comment on the dough balls, the grain bear was much firmer than usual which was also a first for me with this method.

Since we brew using no-sparge exclusively, we incorporated Kai's numbers for maximum first wort gravity into our spreadsheet. The chart:



Bryan was consistently getting some wonky gravity readings (off by +/- a few gravity points) and getting some other inconsistent values for WTG, etc.

What I did was match Kai's numbers in the spreadsheet for a given WTG by setting mash efficiency to 100% and changing the WTG until I got the gravity from Kai's chart. I did this for all the WTG ratios and gravities on the chart. Kai assumes 80% lab extract for grains in his chart so what I did was find an extract % number to correspond with each WTG and gravity on the chart when the mash efficiency went back to normal numbers and we multiply the maximum grain points by the extract % and nail the maximum gravities in Kai's chart every time.




Offline mabrungard

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2017, 12:58:08 PM »
I've got Kai's Mashing Efficiency values written on the wall of my brewery. I find that check valuable, however its apparent that the extract that Kai assumed was slightly conservative since I routinely produce gravities that are slightly over 100% of his values. But, its close enough.

It is worth knowing and using this test to assess if you've extracted everything possible from the grain. Then it falls to the brewer to get that extract out of the bed and into the kettle.
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Offline 69franx

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2017, 04:08:16 PM »
I am struggling to see how to get where I want with no sparge. For 6 gallons of a pilsner I have made before, I need 10.61# grain at 75% eff. To go full on no sparge, I need 35.36 quarts in my mash, which come out to 3.33qt/# which according to the chart will net me around 1.04 OG roughly, while I am shooting for 1.05. My profile has been adjusted to get only 5.5% boil off (and I have never been that low in the past, just trying to limit the amount of starting water as much as possible,) but I do have about .4G of deadspace. How do you no sparge for a beer this size with roughly the figures I have outlined? No Sparge is something I have wanted to do, but just cant seem to get the numbers I want to see in software to make the jump. Single infusion for the bulk of water and add a mashout step with boiling water to keep the WTG lower on the actual mash (seems to require too much of a second infusion or way too high of a temp)? Any thoughts would be a great help
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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2017, 05:00:51 PM »
Beer smith had me calculated at a 1.045 pre boil gravity and after 60 minutes I was at 1.025. The grains came pre milled from more beer so I doubt that was the issue. It was a 152F mash and the PH was measured at room temp at 5.37.
Anyone have any insight?

(quote edited for length)

Have you checked calibration on your thermometer? In my first all-grain batch, I had efficiency similar to yours, and it turned out that my digital thermometer was reading about 20 degrees high (i.e., my mash was actually much cooler than optimal).

Dough balls as others mentioned could be a possibility, too.
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Offline zigs6

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2017, 05:21:36 PM »
Well, with that WTG ratio at 100% conversion and efficiency you only can have 1.041, beersmith is way off in these regards. At your normal 72% this equates to about 1.029 so you are not too far off (roughly what 63%). Crush, doughballs and temp could all have played a role.

How would beersmith mis calculate that? Can you tell me how you came up with that max efficiency? I haven't had that issue before and I've done about 4 batches using this exact method. Your numbers make sense but I don't know how you got there. Also to comment on the dough balls, the grain bear was much firmer than usual which was also a first for me with this method.

Since we brew using no-sparge exclusively, we incorporated Kai's numbers for maximum first wort gravity into our spreadsheet. The chart:



Bryan was consistently getting some wonky gravity readings (off by +/- a few gravity points) and getting some other inconsistent values for WTG, etc.

What I did was match Kai's numbers in the spreadsheet for a given WTG by setting mash efficiency to 100% and changing the WTG until I got the gravity from Kai's chart. I did this for all the WTG ratios and gravities on the chart. Kai assumes 80% lab extract for grains in his chart so what I did was find an extract % number to correspond with each WTG and gravity on the chart when the mash efficiency went back to normal numbers and we multiply the maximum grain points by the extract % and nail the maximum gravities in Kai's chart every time.

I have never seen this chart but it seems to read a little lower than my findings with this method of brewing. For example, I regularly brew within the 2.5-3.2 qt/lb range when no sparge brewing and I've produced worts with  higher gravity than the chart suggests. For example, my last beer was a Belgian Dubbel that had a preboil gravity of 1.050 and a WTG of 2.92. My last brown ale had a preboil gravity of 1.053 with a WTG of 2.83. Comparing those numbers to the chart, looks like I'm a little bit ahead. Is that basically what Martin was trying to say? That is fascinating though. Thank you for showing me something new. However with my latest Vienna at a WG 3.3, I should have been able to at least achieve a 1.040. Beersmith had it at 1.045 which isn't too far off. I came nowhere near either. I would think it would be rare to get dough balls with this WTG ratio.  As for the thermometer question, I calibrated it about 6 months ago but I will check it again as that could be the culprit.

Offline The Beerery

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2017, 05:32:09 PM »
Well, with that WTG ratio at 100% conversion and efficiency you only can have 1.041, beersmith is way off in these regards. At your normal 72% this equates to about 1.029 so you are not too far off (roughly what 63%). Crush, doughballs and temp could all have played a role.

How would beersmith mis calculate that? Can you tell me how you came up with that max efficiency? I haven't had that issue before and I've done about 4 batches using this exact method. Your numbers make sense but I don't know how you got there. Also to comment on the dough balls, the grain bear was much firmer than usual which was also a first for me with this method.

Since we brew using no-sparge exclusively, we incorporated Kai's numbers for maximum first wort gravity into our spreadsheet. The chart:



Bryan was consistently getting some wonky gravity readings (off by +/- a few gravity points) and getting some other inconsistent values for WTG, etc.

What I did was match Kai's numbers in the spreadsheet for a given WTG by setting mash efficiency to 100% and changing the WTG until I got the gravity from Kai's chart. I did this for all the WTG ratios and gravities on the chart. Kai assumes 80% lab extract for grains in his chart so what I did was find an extract % number to correspond with each WTG and gravity on the chart when the mash efficiency went back to normal numbers and we multiply the maximum grain points by the extract % and nail the maximum gravities in Kai's chart every time.

I have never seen this chart but it seems to read a little lower than my findings with this method of brewing. For example, I regularly brew within the 2.5-3.2 qt/lb range when no sparge brewing and I've produced worts with  higher gravity than the chart suggests. For example, my last beer was a Belgian Dubbel that had a preboil gravity of 1.050 and a WTG of 2.92. My last brown ale had a preboil gravity of 1.053 with a WTG of 2.83. Comparing those numbers to the chart, looks like I'm a little bit ahead. Is that basically what Martin was trying to say? That is fascinating though. Thank you for showing me something new. However with my latest Vienna at a WG 3.3, I should have been able to at least achieve a 1.040. Beersmith had it at 1.045 which isn't too far off. I came nowhere near either. I would think it would be rare to get dough balls with this WTG ratio.  As for the thermometer question, I calibrated it about 6 months ago but I will check it again as that could be the culprit.

Not that it could never happen, but I think its very highly improbable that you are getting higher than those numbers with a single infusion mash. I do a 6 step, step mash and I hit those numbers (decoction will exceed). A single infusion isn't going to net you all the sugars, it just can't. If you exceed those numbers with a single infusion, then I think your WTG (less water, more malt, both) is off or your gravity measuring instrument, or all of the above. This is drawing from over 1200 beer mashes conducted for me.
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Offline zigs6

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2017, 05:37:17 PM »
Possibly.....I calibrated my hydrometer on my last brew day though and I didn't need to make any adjustments. Only a hydrometer reading could tell for sure.

Offline zigs6

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Re: Mash mystery w/ Vienna Malt
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2017, 05:40:53 PM »
I am struggling to see how to get where I want with no sparge. For 6 gallons of a pilsner I have made before, I need 10.61# grain at 75% eff. To go full on no sparge, I need 35.36 quarts in my mash, which come out to 3.33qt/# which according to the chart will net me around 1.04 OG roughly, while I am shooting for 1.05. My profile has been adjusted to get only 5.5% boil off (and I have never been that low in the past, just trying to limit the amount of starting water as much as possible,) but I do have about .4G of deadspace. How do you no sparge for a beer this size with roughly the figures I have outlined? No Sparge is something I have wanted to do, but just cant seem to get the numbers I want to see in software to make the jump. Single infusion for the bulk of water and add a mashout step with boiling water to keep the WTG lower on the actual mash (seems to require too much of a second infusion or way too high of a temp)? Any thoughts would be a great help

Well as you can see, brewing at low gravities seems to complicate things a little bit. This is the lowest gravity beer that I have attempted to brew using no sparge and I ran into some issues. Anything above the 6% range seems to work out ok for me and I ran an 8% Foreign Extra Stout about 9 months ago that turned out amazing with a very easy brew day to boot. I think moving forward I will try to limit my WTG ratio to about 2.5 and then add the remaining kettle water afterwards to avoid complications.