Author Topic: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.  (Read 12914 times)

Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #60 on: March 17, 2011, 05:52:32 PM »
Is this only under the assumption that you're not getting 100% conversion efficiency already?  I use 1 qt/# mash, 2 qt/# sparge and routinely get low 80's efficiency.  I fly sparge and I'm sure I could up that because I sparge with my 3/8" valves wide open, I figure my time is worth more than the lost efficiency.

I need 7.75 gals to boil pot to get a post-boil 6gal batch (5.25 to the fermentor).  My mash ratio is around 1.7qts/1lb an that gives me roughly 50/50 on mash and sparg.

My efficiency is at 75%.  I am more concerned with consistency than max efficiency - also no dough balls.



Wow, you're losing 12.5% of your extract to the kettle.  Why so much dead space?  Or is this loss to trub or something?
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Offline malzig

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #61 on: March 18, 2011, 03:55:45 AM »
Is this only under the assumption that you're not getting 100% conversion efficiency already?  I use 1 qt/# mash, 2 qt/# sparge and routinely get low 80's efficiency.
Of course.  Mashing thinner isn't going to magically give you 120% conversion, but most brewers aren't hitting 100% conversion, IME.  In fact, since you mash so thickly and reserve more water for fly sparging, you might be making up for sub-optimal conversion by sparging more strenuously.  There's two extremes that will get you 80% efficiency.  One is to get 85% conversion and push lauter efficiency to 95%.  The second is to get 100% conversion and only push for 80% lauter efficiency.  The latter situation is more apt to produce superior beer.

It's popular to say, "I don't care about efficiency, I just want to make good beer."  Well, it's not about saving a couple bucks on grain; knowing your efficiency and how you achieve it can help you produce better beer.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #62 on: March 18, 2011, 04:54:14 AM »
Of course.  Mashing thinner isn't going to magically give you 120% conversion, but most brewers aren't hitting 100% conversion, IME.  In fact, since you mash so thickly and reserve more water for fly sparging, you might be making up for sub-optimal conversion by sparging more strenuously.  There's two extremes that will get you 80% efficiency.  One is to get 85% conversion and push lauter efficiency to 95%.  The second is to get 100% conversion and only push for 80% lauter efficiency.  The latter situation is more apt to produce superior beer.

It's popular to say, "I don't care about efficiency, I just want to make good beer."  Well, it's not about saving a couple bucks on grain; knowing your efficiency and how you achieve it can help you produce better beer.

Well said.  I suppose "equal runnings" is a compromise that would mostly put you in the middle of the two extremes.
Lennie
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #63 on: March 18, 2011, 07:56:20 AM »
Well said.  I suppose "equal runnings" is a compromise that would mostly put you in the middle of the two extremes.

Finding the optimum ratio of mash/sparge water additions in an effort to maximize conversion/lautering efficiencies can be a daunting task but I've been aiming for 1.5qt/lb for mash thickness and following up with the required volume of sparge water to achieve my targeted kettle volume. I think that conversion should be given a little more weight than lautering efficiency, that's why I target 1.5qts/lb and add the balance for sparging. YMMV
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 08:51:22 PM by bluesman »
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #64 on: March 18, 2011, 05:47:19 PM »

There's two extremes that will get you 80% efficiency.  One is to get 85% conversion and push lauter efficiency to 95%.  The second is to get 100% conversion and only push for 80% lauter efficiency.  The latter situation is more apt to produce superior beer.


How does one result in a superior beer over the other (assuming you end up with the same amount of extract)?

Is a negative iodine test enough to confirm 100% conversion, or is some other test needed?
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Offline malzig

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #65 on: March 18, 2011, 06:36:20 PM »

There's two extremes that will get you 80% efficiency.  One is to get 85% conversion and push lauter efficiency to 95%.  The second is to get 100% conversion and only push for 80% lauter efficiency.  The latter situation is more apt to produce superior beer.
How does one result in a superior beer over the other (assuming you end up with the same amount of extract)?

Is a negative iodine test enough to confirm 100% conversion, or is some other test needed?
The more strenuously you sparge, the more potentially undesirable compounds like polyphenols you'll extract.  Perhaps you've heard the word "oversparging" used to refer to this.

An Iodine test will only tell you if the already solubilized starches have converted.  Luckily, measuring conversion efficiency is even easier than an iodine test.  All you need to do is measure the gravity of the mash liquor and compare it to the mash thickness to know that you've fully removed all (or most) of the potential sugar from the grain.  Luckily, Kai's done the heavy lifting there, so you can use one of his tables:

Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #66 on: March 18, 2011, 07:18:14 PM »
But a thinner mash would not result in more solubilized starch would it?  So your presumption is that a thicker mash means oversparging (given that the same total amount of water is used for strike/sparge in the thick and thin cases).  I acidify (acidulate?) my sparge water in an effort to prevent oversparging, but perhaps I'm in need of an experimental batch to see if there's a taste difference... :)
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Online Kaiser

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #67 on: March 18, 2011, 09:02:56 PM »
Thinner mashes seem to make it easier for the extract to be extracted from the grain. How exactly, I don't know, but i have a few ideas.

However, thin mashes are not required to get close to 100% conversion efficiency. Let's not forget that. If you haven't tried mashing thin and you are looking for something new to try, go for it. 

Kai

beveragebob

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #68 on: March 19, 2011, 01:51:37 AM »
Awesome thread. Being a "continuous" or fly sparger with adequate space in my kettles I've always used the ROT that one should not go lower on the mash side of 1:1 ratio of MT water to HLT "sparge water"

btw and not to hijack the thread....is Ken Schwartz still around in the homebrewing scene somewhere?Just wondering.

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #69 on: March 19, 2011, 07:18:46 AM »
btw and not to hijack the thread....is Ken Schwartz still around in the homebrewing scene somewhere?Just wondering.

He mentioned in an email some years back the he's no longer active in brewing.  IIRC, his website even disappeared for a while, but he put an archival version back up.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #70 on: March 20, 2011, 09:56:37 AM »
But a thinner mash would not result in more solubilized starch would it?  So your presumption is that a thicker mash means oversparging (given that the same total amount of water is used for strike/sparge in the thick and thin cases).
Sorry for the slow reply, It's been a brutal week at work... Anyway,

Yes, for some brewers, thinner mashes may result in more starch gelatinization, which is synonymous with more solubilized starch.  But, yes, mashing thinner is not required to get 100% conversion efficiency, but it helps a lot of brewers who are having trouble getting good conversion efficiency.

No, I'm not presuming that a thicker mash means oversparging.  What I'm trying to say is that, without measuring your conversion efficiency, you don't know whether you are achieving the efficiency through good conversion or strenuous sparging.  Generally, pushing gravity higher by sparging would be considered less desirable than by conversion.


Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #71 on: March 20, 2011, 01:55:13 PM »
All this talk of mashing thin got me curious to try it for myself.  Today I mashed two small 5lb batches of a Vienna lager grist, 2lb pils, 2lb Vienna, 1lb light Munich.  On the first I used a 3qt/lb mash ratio and got 75% efficiency preboil.  On the second I used 3.2qt/lb and also got 75%.  I mashed at around 150F for two hours in each case, then just drained and boiled.

I did two batches because I inadvertantly added double the hops to the first batch, so my solution was to make another with no hops to get the intended IBUs.  Poor reason, but replicating an experiment is sound science.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #72 on: March 20, 2011, 05:52:52 PM »
Lennie,  did you see a change in efficiency compared to your usual procedure?

Kai

Offline gmac

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #73 on: March 20, 2011, 08:28:53 PM »
All this talk of mashing thin got me curious to try it for myself.  Today I mashed two small 5lb batches of a Vienna lager grist, 2lb pils, 2lb Vienna, 1lb light Munich.  On the first I used a 3qt/lb mash ratio and got 75% efficiency preboil.  On the second I used 3.2qt/lb and also got 75%.  I mashed at around 150F for two hours in each case, then just drained and boiled.

I did two batches because I inadvertantly added double the hops to the first batch, so my solution was to make another with no hops to get the intended IBUs.  Poor reason, but replicating an experiment is sound science.

Is this right?  3qt/lb for the first, 3.2 for the second?  I would think that 0.2 qt/lb wouldn't really be the difference between thick or thin.

Offline malzig

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Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« Reply #74 on: March 21, 2011, 04:05:29 AM »
On the first I used a 3qt/lb mash ratio and got 75% efficiency preboil.  On the second I used 3.2qt/lb and also got 75%.
Is this 75% with No-Sparge?  That's about what I see mashing thin without a sparge, depending on the amount of grain.