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Author Topic: Variable mash efficiency  (Read 5290 times)

Offline dIPA2

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2019, 05:12:16 pm »
Just wanted to provide an update and say thanks for the help. I've done two brews using batch sparge. While not conclusive, need a few more brews, the batches were within 1% efficiency of each other, 83% and 84%, again this is mash efficiency = conversion + lauter. One batch was 2-row based from the LHBS and one was Maris Otter based from MoreBeer.com. So, very promising that the base grains were from completely different maltsters but efficiency very similar. Certainly seems as though I had a fly-sparge lauter issue.

Offline Robert

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2019, 05:19:45 pm »
Very cool!  Sounds like you've found a way to achieve the predictability you were after. 
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline dIPA2

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2019, 05:48:23 pm »
Just read your tagline, "I'd rather have questions I can't answer...", not sure I agree, haha. What was I doing that was causing the fly-sparge lauter I presume to channel? Disturbing the grain bed somehow differently putting the vorlauf back in or not perfectly identical inflow/outflow rates? Oh well, yes, it appears I have a solution and am extremely happy. I can finally start properly targeting and hopefully hitting OG's as I keep dialing things in, plus I shaved about a half hour from the brew day.

Offline Robert

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2019, 06:41:17 pm »
As to what was causing compaction and channeling in your fly sparge, my guess would be velocity of liquid through the grain bed.  This needs to be optimized for a given false bottom area, grain bed depth, grist mass, mash thickness, and other factors.  Batch sparging does simplify things by removing the need for any optimization of flow.  If you have a configuration other than a false bottom, it negates other potential causes of uneven extraction, and will usually result in more efficient and consistent results than fly sparging.  I suspect you were running the fly sparge too quickly in some cases, and if you like saving time and are happy with the efficiency you get from a batch sparge, you may not want to go back.  But if you want to troubleshoot your system and try fly sparging again, I think this article will be helpful in understanding the issues to be addressed:   http://brewlikeapro.net/lautering.html
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline denny

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2019, 08:42:01 am »
Just read your tagline, "I'd rather have questions I can't answer...", not sure I agree, haha. What was I doing that was causing the fly-sparge lauter I presume to channel? Disturbing the grain bed somehow differently putting the vorlauf back in or not perfectly identical inflow/outflow rates? Oh well, yes, it appears I have a solution and am extremely happy. I can finally start properly targeting and hopefully hitting OG's as I keep dialing things in, plus I shaved about a half hour from the brew day.

Usually it's lauter design.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2019, 09:04:07 am »
Just read your tagline, "I'd rather have questions I can't answer...", not sure I agree, haha. What was I doing that was causing the fly-sparge lauter I presume to channel? Disturbing the grain bed somehow differently putting the vorlauf back in or not perfectly identical inflow/outflow rates? Oh well, yes, it appears I have a solution and am extremely happy. I can finally start properly targeting and hopefully hitting OG's as I keep dialing things in, plus I shaved about a half hour from the brew day.

Usually it's lauter design.
I *think* the tun he has has a well designed false bottom, so that's why I figure it has to be flow rate/velocity.  If I'm mistaken as to the design of the tun, then we're back to that as the starting point, and a batch sparge is probably the way to go.
Rob Stein
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I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline denny

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #36 on: December 01, 2019, 09:27:57 am »
Just read your tagline, "I'd rather have questions I can't answer...", not sure I agree, haha. What was I doing that was causing the fly-sparge lauter I presume to channel? Disturbing the grain bed somehow differently putting the vorlauf back in or not perfectly identical inflow/outflow rates? Oh well, yes, it appears I have a solution and am extremely happy. I can finally start properly targeting and hopefully hitting OG's as I keep dialing things in, plus I shaved about a half hour from the brew day.

Usually it's lauter design.
I *think* the tun he has has a well designed false bottom, so that's why I figure it has to be flow rate/velocity.  If I'm mistaken as to the design of the tun, then we're back to that as the starting point, and a batch sparge is probably the way to go.

Yeh,  it AFAIK not all false bottoms are the same
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline dIPA2

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #37 on: December 01, 2019, 10:10:01 am »
As to what was causing compaction and channeling in your fly sparge, my guess would be velocity of liquid through the grain bed.  This needs to be optimized for a given false bottom area, grain bed depth, grist mass, mash thickness, and other factors.  Batch sparging does simplify things by removing the need for any optimization of flow.  If you have a configuration other than a false bottom, it negates other potential causes of uneven extraction, and will usually result in more efficient and consistent results than fly sparging.  I suspect you were running the fly sparge too quickly in some cases, and if you like saving time and are happy with the efficiency you get from a batch sparge, you may not want to go back.  But if you want to troubleshoot your system and try fly sparging again, I think this article will be helpful in understanding the issues to be addressed:   http://brewlikeapro.net/lautering.html

Thanks for the information and the lautering link, that website is where I gleaned information to adjust my mill with only the #14 sieve, I will definitely give it a thorough read.

To clarify my setup and process, I have the SsBrewtech Infusion mash tun, 10 gal. I swapped out the provided false bottom for a Blichmann false bottom. It fit perfectly and did a much better job of keeping more particles in the mash. I never did actually time the fly sparge, but I would say it typically took ~30 minutes. Fly sparging was a set it and walk away operation, which I didn't mind, so I may give it another go after reading the lautering article. But it's hard to argue with the simplicity of the batch sparge as long as I continue to see the same consistency as the last two brews.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2019, 10:37:50 am »
When you are mentioning #14 sieve.

Here is write up how to mill and sparge to improve your efficiency.
http://www.craftbrewersconference.com/wp-content/uploads/ImprovingBrewhouseEfficiency-Havig.pdf

I usually sparge 90 min unless I am going for 7+ ABV beers. Then I go even slower.

And yes it is all in Mashtun design how much load it can take. Shallow wide tuns ate better for bigger beers. Over all it is an compromise between your average beer and your biggest beer.
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Offline dIPA2

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2019, 11:27:34 am »
Interesting, thanks for the link. Bummer that it is different than brewlikeapro and I suppose my experience. Prior to adjusting my mill it was at 62% retained on the #14 sieve, I adjusted it to get 55% retained as recommended by brewlikeapro and my mash efficiency jumped ~8%.

Yeah, after reading brewlikeapro lautering, it is clear that I was running off waaay to fast given my cylindrical mash tun. I never spent more than 30 minutes and likely it was less than that at times.

Offline Megary

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2019, 05:06:32 pm »
When you are mentioning #14 sieve.

Here is write up how to mill and sparge to improve your efficiency.
http://www.craftbrewersconference.com/wp-content/uploads/ImprovingBrewhouseEfficiency-Havig.pdf

I usually sparge 90 min unless I am going for 7+ ABV beers. Then I go even slower.

And yes it is all in Mashtun design how much load it can take. Shallow wide tuns ate better for bigger beers. Over all it is an compromise between your average beer and your biggest beer.

Like button! 

That link was super interesting. Thanks for that. Im brewing 2.5gal and mashing in a bag, so I'm not sure there's anything I can take from that, but a great read nonetheless. 

Offline BrewBama

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Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2019, 07:51:02 pm »
I currently have my mill set to leave 70% on the screen but may begin experimenting with leaving less on the screen. The drawback is a stuck mash due to recirculation thru a RIMS where maximum mash permeability is desirable. We’ll see.




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« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 08:29:04 pm by BrewBama »

Offline dIPA2

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2019, 08:08:09 pm »
Yeah, maybe it's one of those commercial vs homebrew equipment dilemmas. I absolutely saw a significant bump in efficiency after using the #14 sieve with 55% retained. Also have had no issues with the lauter which I was certainly worried about after dialing down the mill.

Offline Robert

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2019, 08:30:04 pm »
One thing to keep in mind is that priorities may be different for homebrewers and commercial brewers, when it comes to efficiency.  Both will want to have predictability.  But maximizing efficiency is of greater importance to commercial brewers who are trying to run a profitable business.   Homebrewers may find it desirable to sacrifice a bit of efficiency if it serves another goal, like getting clearer wort, or simply saving time.  We can be flexible in designing our process.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

I'd rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Variable mash efficiency
« Reply #44 on: December 01, 2019, 08:44:34 pm »
One thing to keep in mind is that priorities may be different for homebrewers and commercial brewers, when it comes to efficiency.  Both will want to have predictability.  But maximizing efficiency is of greater importance to commercial brewers who are trying to run a profitable business.   Homebrewers may find it desirable to sacrifice a bit of efficiency if it serves another goal, like getting clearer wort, or simply saving time.  We can be flexible in designing our process.

I believe I recall reading another reason for a coarser crush:  “... the finer the crush, the greater the LOX activity and oxidation.  Like everything in brewing, there's a trade off between efficiency and other things you might prioritize.  Crush is just another area of compromise.”


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