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Brewing Topics => All Grain/Advanced => Topic started by: KernelCrush on March 24, 2014, 05:38:46 PM

Title: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 24, 2014, 05:38:46 PM
The last many brew sessions I have had a terrible time trying to hit my OG. Some mashes have gone on for hours.  And still didn't finish according to where they should be.  I stopped them, they didn't.  So I figured I would mimic a recipe exactly, and who better than Gordon Strong. But the latest bout last weekend I hit the pleasantly magical number of 42%.  Had to adjust with other fermentables that aren't shown in the recipe.  My mash pH was 5.6 room temp, I hit every temp within a degree and every volume within the accuracy of my graduated stick.  My meter was calibrated, my graduated stick has been checked many times recently.  Based on above I am starting to blame my crush pic attached. https://www.dropbox.com/s/1dsrpx37t7vr5tw/20140324_190959.jpg (https://www.dropbox.com/s/1dsrpx37t7vr5tw/20140324_190959.jpg) But it looks OK to me?  And recipe is attached. Have I messed up a setting somewhere in the software?  I don't get it.  Been staring at this crap for weeks.  Thanks for any help.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: cmbrougham on March 24, 2014, 06:24:16 PM
When is the last time you checked the accuracy of your thermometer that you use for measuring mash temperatures?
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: grathan on March 24, 2014, 06:42:05 PM
You've got %60 mash efficiency and then 3 gallons lost to trub and fermenter loss.


%42 is Brewhouse efficiency not mash efficiency, You understand the difference right?


Your predicting %72 brewhouse efficiency so you're setting yourself up for failure because you never reach the estimated %85 mash eff.


Change the brewhouse efficiency in your equipment profile to %42 if you want more accurate gravity predictions from the software.




Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 24, 2014, 06:56:50 PM
Quote
When is the last time you checked the accuracy of your thermometer that you use for measuring mash temperatures?

Yes I have a thermometer on every vessel for guidance and I cross check it with a DTQ450X every time.

Quote
You've got %60 mash efficiency and then 3 gallons lost to trub and fermenter loss.
%42 is Brewhouse efficiency not mash efficiency, You understand the difference right?

Yes I hope I understand but I've been terribly terribly wrong before.  I have never had the problem til recently using the same settings. Always had settings at 70% brewhouse. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: texasdan on March 24, 2014, 08:49:25 PM
Deleted by poster.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on March 24, 2014, 10:12:34 PM
Looking at this from a couple of angles....

Two gallons of Trub loss is huge. It's 15% of your volume. That means that even if you get 100% mash efficiency, you are only getting 85% Brewhouse efficiency (aka sugar into the fermenter). Is that accurate to what you system does? Is there any way to reduce this loss?  ???

I do see that your equipment settings expect 70% mash efficiency, which is reasonable.

I'm thinking that mash chemistry is an issue.

For a beer this pale, a mash of 5.2 to 5.4 would increase extraction. As-is, a half pound of acidulated malt would help.

The calcium level could be higher. Perhaps at least 6.5 grams gypsum and 5 grams chloride. Along with the acidulated malt, this would be very close to 5.2 pH.

The mash could be thicker. A thicker mash will hit pH easier and allow you to reduce the acidulated malt by 25%. ...Mostly, this is my opinion, but with well modified grains you only need single step and only 1.1 qt/lb. This gives you plenty of room in both space and temperature for a mashout infusion.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 25, 2014, 03:07:48 AM
I lose 1.5 G to kettle trub in an about 22" wide kettle leaving about an inch in the bottom of the kettle  and .5 G to coil chiller.   I wish I could reduce this, it doesnt take much depth in the bottom of the kettle to add up.  I sometimes chase it from the chiller if I need a bit more. 

I got 5.6 room temp mash pH, and if I am understanding the offset, that translates to a 5.3 pH at mash temperature?  I actually bumped up the minerals slightly from the original recipe seeing they were low. Looks like still not enough.

What I dont get is this low efficiency is only a recent problem and its over a range of beers.  Ive been using the same equip profile for a long time and always landed at 68-72% brewhouse efficiency, in an hour.     

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: all grain on March 25, 2014, 07:35:26 AM
when I see that you say your eff% went down but nothing has changed in your process, this makes me think that its water or grain quality. Then there's mash thickness,  my numbers went up when I used 1.6qt to 1 # of grain. I used to use 1.25 /1#grain.
What king of water do you use? water from city/wells can change with the seasons. Its the mix that the city uses that drives the changes in some places. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 25, 2014, 08:11:43 AM
I am on a well with a RO water system.  I was worried about the grain too till I dumped my inventory and started with fresh and got the same results.  The raccoons loved me for it.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: all grain on March 25, 2014, 08:31:19 AM
do you do any tests on your RO? And do you use iodine test for conversion?
as far as RO go's its what I use also, since the city water is vary hard here(300+on carbonate).
 A while back I had poor eff and never found out why but after changing to ro and using 1.5+ on mash thickness I'm back to 70%+or-     
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on March 25, 2014, 08:33:47 AM
Try making a batch and leaving the trub in there. What have you got to lose? A gallon and a half is not an insignificant amount to waste.  I leave the trub in my brews, and they come out great. Then again, I do leave it behind when I rack to secondary.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 25, 2014, 09:53:54 AM
Allgrain,  I haven't tested my water recently, but did several times in the past and it really doesn't change.  I don't have the water report handy but the numbers are attached. The membrane gets changed often.  I test for gravity during the mash using a refractometer and then double check with a hydrometer when I feel like gouging out my eyes at the refract reading.  I don't get anywhere close to where I should for the first runoff after an hour. 

Maine, your right, all I have to lose is a 1.9% beer. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: all grain on March 25, 2014, 11:05:12 AM
sounds like we you may have to brew more beer in order to figure this one out. all I can say is change one thing at a time and see what works. good luck.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: grathan on March 25, 2014, 02:13:49 PM

Quote
You've got %60 mash efficiency and then 3 gallons lost to trub and fermenter loss.
%42 is Brewhouse efficiency not mash efficiency, You understand the difference right?
Quote
Yes I hope I understand but I've been terribly terribly wrong before.  I have never had the problem til recently using the same settings. Always had settings at 70% brewhouse.

Actually you have it set to %72.

So you want to improve your efficiency instead of changing the software?


Yeah, then start with that crush. You need to go from %60 to %85 mash efficiency. You have several large white chunks hidden in husks. Buy some feeler gauges and adjust your mill gap, make it damn tight. You should see some white dust on top of that grain pile.

If you use a pump or want to be cautious, buy some rice hulls to keep on hand in case you get a stuck sparge.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 25, 2014, 04:19:45 PM
I see the 72%.  I had 70 on the brain cause that was my setting for quite a while.  I had recently bumped it up to 72% to follow my results trend. What I am trying to understand is why the bottom suddenly fell out and I either had to mash for multiple hours or throw in the towel like I did last weekend.  Thanks for looking at the crush.  I will tighten it up. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on March 25, 2014, 05:30:11 PM
Just looking @ your recipe, mash, & notes.

     Just my opinion:

Your initial mash for the first 30 minutes is .9 qt./lb. The majority of conversion takes place quickly during this crucial time. Is your mash WAY TO THICK to handle all the sugars created. I do see that more water is added to the mash, but is it too late?

I had trouble hitting my numbers using pilsner malts. (Until I started mashing whole or partial pilsner mashes for 90 minutes)

Your RO was acid treated. This is the way I do it too, but you will have to add more acid to get the mash pH DOWN to ~ 5.2 - 5.3.
I have found pilsner raises the pH more than 2-row. The mash grains will change your total water pH.

Unrelated.........Pilsner malt = 90 min boil
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 25, 2014, 05:45:24 PM
Yea, I followed Gordons recipe to the tee.  It was thick, but it was actually the first time I was able to step infusion in my cooler with any success.  The mashout temp was difficult to get, and I think brewfun suspected that in his reply.  Yes I have the same results with pils raising pH (it raised this one .2) but I measured 5.6 room temp, 5.3 mash.  I caught the 90 minute boil thing, too late for this one.  Lots of oops lately.  Nice fermentation though. Gonna be dry.  Next weekend will go at it different.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on March 25, 2014, 06:34:23 PM
Just reread Brewfun's post and have to agree your Ca is low, ~21, Shoot for 50 ppm Ca minimum while maintaining your ratio.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on March 25, 2014, 07:04:00 PM
The crush looks ok. It *could* be a bit tighter, but only to halve the size of the grits. Grain in husk isn't a problem if it is exposed to the water.

I hadn't looked in the notes section of your recipe. The pH's I got were just RO, minerals and grain. If you added Phosphoric, it may have bound with some of the calcium (probably the CaCl) and not worked like you intended. You didn't have much Ca in there to begin with. I use phosphoric to augment acidulated malt, not in place of it.

I'm not seeing anything in your recipe, ingredients, process or expectations that point to a single issue. I think there is more at work than is in evidence. About a year ago, I had to substitute Pilsner brands. The substitute only had 50% potential, compared to the 80+% of my regular.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on March 25, 2014, 09:14:58 PM
Ok.  No one has suggested taking some data.

First verify your measurement tools. Hydrometer, refractometer, volumetric tools. Cross check everything with something else.

There's 3 places that efficiency goes on brew day:

1.  It never gets converted. 
2.  It gets converted but stays in the mash tun.
3.  It gets left in the kettle.

How do you find out which?   Take data.  Gravity, temperature, and volume at each point.  If you batch sparge then take these measurements for each batch.

There is a fixed relationship between mash thickness and the expected gravity of your first runnings. You can find the table over at braukaiser.com. This will tell you if you are having a conversion problem.

After you are done with the lauter, you can refill the mash with 1 qt per pound and stir.  Then take a gravity reading.  Again, there is a table over on braukaiser.com that will tell you how much sugar you left in the mlt. If the gravity is high then your lauter needs attention.

Then there is the kettle. This one is easy and documented above. You are leaving a lot of wort in the kettle.   



Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on March 25, 2014, 09:18:08 PM
Ps: if you use a hydrometer be sure you cool all samples below 90f.

If you use a refractometer, then I'dsuggest cooling tthose samples for the time being. Just to eliminate some variables. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on March 25, 2014, 09:24:17 PM
Pps:  simplify things until you work out the issue. You are confusing things by continuing to change your processes.  Go back to single infusion with a recipe you've made many times.  Take the data and isolate the area of your process that is the problem(s).   It could be multiple parts, but quantify the magnitude of the issues in each area.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on March 25, 2014, 09:31:23 PM
Ppps:

First runnings table: http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:First_wort_gravity.gif

Lautering eff table: http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:Table_for_estimating_lauter_loss.gif
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: all grain on March 25, 2014, 11:24:28 PM
thanks for those tables, First runnings table, ext. they are vary helpful. never knew they existed. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 26, 2014, 02:24:10 AM
I have checked my measuring sticks a couple times recently.  They are good.  I am cooling my samples to room temp for measuring gravity and pH.  My meter is calibrated with fresh buffers.  I check with a refract, then 2 hydrometers, they all agree.  My thermometers have all been calibrated at ice & boiling, then at 150F.  The problem is definitely a lack of conversion.  I have been checking it before first runoff and am only about 1/2 the way to my expected points after 1 hour.   And its excruciatingly slow after that.  Thanks for the tables, less work for me.  Will be going back to a simple pils recipe on Saturday. We'll see how it goes.   
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 26, 2014, 05:19:53 AM
Quote
I think there is more at work than is in evidence. About a year ago, I had to substitute Pilsner brands. The substitute only had 50% potential, compared to the 80+% of my regular.

It may be the grain, I just went back thru my purchases and had switched to a new homebrew shop about the first of this year, which coincides closely with the start of the problem. Seems like too much of a coincidence.    He likes to advertise certain 50 lb sacks of grain and then ship something else then gets indignant when he has to make it right.  The last go-round I got a sack of Rahr 2-row and a sack of Weyermann Pils. The inigma scan wouldn't work on the Weyermann sack.  On the Rahr he felt the need to glue shut the analysis tag before shipping.  Since Rahr ships in a generic sack, its hard to know. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on March 26, 2014, 05:49:27 AM
Ok.  No one has suggested taking some data.

Actually, this was addressed in the first two posts. He noted calibrations. I took him at his word. The very next post asks about thermometer calibration.

The rest of the posts are perfect, Tom. Yes, Calibration batches may be in order.

Whenever I consult with a new brewery, I always ask for either a calibration batch to be made or to see the data from one. That never precludes problems, but is isolates variables.

My calibration batches are always the same: a precise amount of 100% pale malt (homebrew scale, 10 lbs, exactly) and 35 IBU boiling only, targeted. The resulting beer isn't much (dry hopping helps a lot), but it can be used to gauge crush, efficiency, fermentability, temperature stability, absorption pH, losses and chill haze reduction. It also reveals a lot of other things like kettle temperature slopes, pump performance and stuff you need to know in a commercial setting.

One important data point for every brewing session is to take first wort gravity readings. Not only is this a better reading to identify full conversion (iodine is a flawed and obsolete method), but it also tells you 50 to 60% of your pre-boil gravity.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on March 26, 2014, 01:35:05 PM
Tom, thanks for posting the link to www.braukaiser.com

The two reports which reference the charts are a valuable resource for brewing.

-Troubleshooting Brewhouse Efficiency
-Understanding Efficiency

I am slowly learning that the more data you collect, the more you will help yourself farther down the line.
Someday, I might even change one variable at a time.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on March 26, 2014, 07:40:54 PM
Tom, thanks for posting the link to www.braukaiser.com

The two reports which reference the charts are a valuable resource for brewing.

-Troubleshooting Brewhouse Efficiency
-Understanding Efficiency

I am slowly learning that the more data you collect, the more you will help yourself farther down the line.
Someday, I might even change one variable at a time.

Both of those tables are embedded in my custom brew sheet.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on March 31, 2014, 03:01:13 PM
I suspect the problem is conversion in the mash based on my first runnings gravities on the past many batches.  I stepped away from it this weekend, especially since I had run slap out of additional fermentable if I needed them again.  So yesterday I just steeped 1 lb of 6 row in I gallon of 160F water for 1 hour following Palmers 12.4.1 Table of Typical Malt Yields.  http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12-4-1.html (http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12-4-1.html).  I double checked gravity with a refract + hydrometer then calculated my pppg  based on the run-off volume. Am I doing this correct?  If so I nailed a whopping 16.  If I am going about this correctly I am going to try it again tonite using both the 2-row & pils that I used in the last brew with both my normal RO water and again with some pH adjusted city water from work.

I have been using a pH56 meter.  Doubting its reliability recently, I got an MW102 on the weekend and they read within .02 of each other.  I think some thought I was acidifying my water at 5.4, but that's what both meters say I am getting from the hose bib, and it agrees with the specs from my RO membrane (5.5 predicted) and I am bypassing the calcifier.  Water sample sent to Wards today. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: chugly on March 31, 2014, 03:31:23 PM
I have the same issues with my mash efficiency. However, I never had good mash efficiency, I bought my pico system about 1yr ago and on the avg. I was about 50% efficiency. Since then I have learned to SLOW DOWN my sparging, this has brought me up to about 55-60% efficiency. However, this past weekend with 19lbs base malt and 21lbs total for a (6 gallon batch postboil this way I can afford to leave a 1/2 gallon behind in the boil kettle, and then leave another 1/2 gallon behind in the primary carboy for a total of 5 gallons to keg), anyways, I only got about 48% efficiency????? My preboil gravity was targeted for 1.095 only was at 1.065  >:( not really sure what to do???? I think I will take the advice of going from 1.25qts water per lb to 1.5qts per lb, and yes one thing at a time.

Chugly

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 02, 2014, 09:28:05 PM
KernelCrush- 

Did you look at your grain after the mash? Mush the grain in your fingers. My guess is that you have a lot of dry starch trapped in your hulls.

What were your raw measurements? By raw I mean uncorrected. We can't verify your pppg calculation without the data.

I think your crush sucks. But, you need to look at the spent grain to know. Do you mill your own?  You can try the same thing, but run the grain through the mill twice. If your crush is the issue you will see a jump in first running gravity.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 02, 2014, 09:34:07 PM
I have the same issues with my mash efficiency. However, I never had good mash efficiency, I bought my pico system about 1yr ago and on the avg. I was about 50% efficiency. Since then I have learned to SLOW DOWN my sparging, this has brought me up to about 55-60% efficiency. However, this past weekend with 19lbs base malt and 21lbs total for a (6 gallon batch postboil this way I can afford to leave a 1/2 gallon behind in the boil kettle, and then leave another 1/2 gallon behind in the primary carboy for a total of 5 gallons to keg), anyways, I only got about 48% efficiency????? My preboil gravity was targeted for 1.095 only was at 1.065  >:( not really sure what to do???? I think I will take the advice of going from 1.25qts water per lb to 1.5qts per lb, and yes one thing at a time.

Chugly

See the links above. You have to break it down into the stages of the mash and sparge.  Mash efficiency is measured by first runnings gravity.  See the table above for gravity vs. Thickness.  This should always be above 90pct. If it's lower than that you have a conversion issue. See all the questions we've asked KernelCrush.  Ph, water chemistry, crush, etc.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 03, 2014, 05:12:26 AM
Well.  I reread my post.  Pretty silly to give you just a result.  I know you are pretty smart but mind reading would have put you on a whole new level.

That was with Pils steeped 1 hour.  I threw out the those results in disgust, but here are the numbers from one I did last nite on the next tighter detent crush setting.  I use a Crankenstein 3D stainless same setup same settings for many years.  Recently tuned up by the Dr himself. 

.3 cups (.19 Gallon) 5.4 pH water at 160F stirred into  .5 lb Rahr 2-row yielded 440 ml (.12 Gal)  wort after pouring thru a mesh.  30 minute steep
Cooled overnite to 72F.  Brix 16.2.   Hydrometer 1.065.  Should have been around 1.1 I think.

.12 Gal x 65 = 7.8 x 2 = 15.6 pppg  42% efficiency.  in line with brewday results from the past several months. 

The 'spent' grain has a consistency of childrens paste when rubbed in your fingers.  I attach a pic only cause I had to scale a fence in the dark this morning to retrieve it.  It looks like there are too many undissolved pieces to me.  But only very slightly sweet taste.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/v6ub3oto8etrlcm/20140403_064255.jpg (https://www.dropbox.com/s/v6ub3oto8etrlcm/20140403_064255.jpg)

I dont really look at my crush anymore since there was never a problem.  I almost forget what its supposed to look like. So I ordered milled grain from a homebrew shop for comparison and will do the steep test on it tonite.

Thank you Tom.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: ihikeut on April 03, 2014, 07:44:04 AM
From your calculations is just looks to me like you have way to much loss in you mash. ( start with .5 gal and retrieve only .12 gal, 75% loss?)
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 03, 2014, 07:58:50 AM
Quote
From your calculations is just looks to me like you have way to much loss in you mash. ( start with .5 gal and retrieve only .12 gal, 75% loss?)

Thanks for looking at it that way.  That was a typo.  I used .5 Gal on the previous Pils steep.  On this the Rahr steep I used 3 cups or .19 Gal to closer approximate mash thickness.  Corrected the post. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: cmbrougham on April 03, 2014, 08:03:47 AM
What was your actual mash temp? Did it settle pretty low? Typically, I think the bulk of conversion happens pretty quickly, but if your resting temperature was low, 30 minutes might not have been enough to do a full conversion. I know that's not your typical process for a "real" brew, but just to equalize some of the variables...

I think your crush looks pretty chunky as well. I use a Barley Crusher and my gap is set down to 0.031; the bulk of the crushed malt looks like polenta/coarse corn meal. Yours looks more like steel cut oats!
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 03, 2014, 09:02:22 AM
I failed to measure the mash temp.  That did cross my mind but thought I understood how Palmer did it.  I just looked at his steeping table again and see he steeped 'at' 160 not 'with' 160.  Whew. I am getting more wrong lately than I'm getting right.  Time to increase the meds.  Will make the temp adjustment & measurement next go round.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: cmbrougham on April 03, 2014, 09:13:09 AM
Ah, got it. That higher temp would encourage a faster conversion, for sure, and that's what you're trying to gauge--conversion, and not fermentability--I think that will go a long way toward figuring out if it's the crush, or even the malt itself.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on April 03, 2014, 03:33:53 PM
     Checked out your spent grain pics, your endosperm looks kind of huge and your hulls look good. My 3 roller mill is set @ .052 gap and my grain looks finer broken. You really have to keep your grain stored away from moisture. You want it to crack, not mush away from the rollers. I hope your not dampening your grain prior to milling. When you mill your mash grain, you need to crack the endosperm into half a dozen pieces and get great hulls too. If your mill can't deliver the goods after adjusting you have the option of shopping. Malted grain isn't as hard as un-malted barley which can crack your teeth, so it sucks up moisture easier. I buy 300 lbs. of base malt, 100 pale ale, 100 2-row, and 100 pilsner. And store it in a dry location, and airtight when opened.  I am even fussy about the bag the bulk grain comes in, If it doesn't have a good vapor barrier liner, I buy a brand that does. I avoid one U.S. maltster that uses paper sacks.

     You seem to be having a few errors with the batch. On the brewing days that are easiest, I attribute the ease to prepping the day before. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 03, 2014, 05:54:19 PM
Thanks River.  I don't have feeler gages, but the doc tells me I am at 48 based on the detent position.  I don't wet mill.  I wont tolerate it.  I store in mylar bags inside buckets in a climate controlled room.   I may be doing some mill shopping soon.  Its a shame the Crankenstein has served me well but it started to act up tonite like it did before I got it reknurled and the thumbscrews you need to loosen to reset the detents are ridiculously hard to turn suddenly (pliers).  I thought it was a lifetime purchase.   I see monster recommends against stainless for heavy use, and mine has certainly been thru the mill.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 03, 2014, 06:55:33 PM
You are trying to calculate extract efficiency using a no-sparge method.  Of course, that's going to suck!  You leave 1/3rd of the converted extract in the grain using no-sparge (more or less).  Your 42% is a red-hearing.  You are trying to look just at conversion (not total extract efficiency).   

You do that by comparing your first wort gravity to ideal based on mash-thickness.  Remember this chart?

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:First_wort_gravity.gif

Ok, so 3 cups for 1/2 lbs.  = 1.5 qt/lb thickness.  From the first wort gravity chart 100% conversion would yield a gravity of 1.082 (interpolating between 1.044 and 1.053 qt/lb). 

You got 1.065.  65/80 = 79% conversion eff.  That's lower than it should be (90+), but its not horrible. 

As I said above, no-sparge is ~approximately 66% efficient sparging process.  Here's the cross-check:

66% of 79% is (0.66 * 0.79) = 52% That's in the ballpark of your 42%.  Errors get amplified pretty quickly when you start dealing with smaller quantities like this.  Things like real grain absorption can really dominate the equation quickly. 

A decent sparge should recover 80% of conversion.  Which would equal about 63% extract efficiency.  Low again, but not horrible.  Its not really consistent with what you are reporting from your main brewing equipment.

-----------------
The experiment above was okay for isolating some of your mash.  But, its quite a bit different from your normal mash setup.  Different equipment, different conditions, etc.  The results were different too....so, I'm not sure how much you can really learn from it.  Seems like your crush is still a suspect.  But, other than that....it didn't say much.

You changed too many key parameters to make too many more parallels to your primary mash. 

-----------------

Like brewfun said above: you need to brew a calibration batch.  10 lbs of 2-row.  Make it a SMaSH if you don't want to waste the grain/time. 

Go back to my gravity readings post, and record everything I say to record. 

Do you batch or fly sparge?  If you fly sparge, record the data after every 2 gallons of sparge. 

After you finish sparging, drain any remaining wort from the MLT.  And refill with 10 qts of water, stir.  Measure the SG of the runnings.  compare to this chart:

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:Table_for_estimating_lauter_loss.gif

Measure all volumes very carefully, to the cup.  Record all RAW readings, then do all temperature conversions. 


Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on April 03, 2014, 07:38:29 PM
I have the 3 roller larger diameter Monster. I was a machinist for 25 years and have never seen knurling as first class as on the Monster mills.  The stainless rollers were offered when I bought mine but the price was far over budget. I blow mine off with compressed air when done. The malt dust seems to attract spiders making webs on the underside of my mill, in the grain chute, so I have to blow it out. Powered by a Harbor Freight 1/2 drill that I had a $20 off coupon, it has worked excellent. If there is any grain stuck in between the non-drive rollers prior to starting, the drive roller will just spin. You just have to make sure the non-drive rollers can free spin before you start. The top roller feeds the grain to the crushing gap. Go to an auto parts store and pick up some feeler gauges. I have probably put 600+ lbs. through it and it looks like the day I installed it.

Just a tip: the MM has thumbscrews on it too, You just have to snug them securely. Place a taut rubber band over the two thumb screws and they won't loosen from vibration.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 04, 2014, 04:20:10 AM
I have the 3 roller larger diameter Monster. I was a machinist for 25 years and have never seen knurling as first class as on the Monster mills.  The stainless rollers were offered when I bought mine but the price was far over budget. I blow mine off with compressed air when done. The malt dust seems to attract spiders making webs on the underside of my mill, in the grain chute, so I have to blow it out. Powered by a Harbor Freight 1/2 drill that I had a $20 off coupon, it has worked excellent. If there is any grain stuck in between the non-drive rollers prior to starting, the drive roller will just spin. You just have to make sure the non-drive rollers can free spin before you start. The top roller feeds the grain to the crushing gap. Go to an auto parts store and pick up some feeler gauges. I have probably put 600+ lbs. through it and it looks like the day I installed it.

Just a tip: the MM has thumbscrews on it too, You just have to snug them securely. Place a taut rubber band over the two thumb screws and they won't loosen from vibration.

I have mine bolted to a platform with a permanent motor/pulley setup.  I am with you on how it works.  I used matchbook covers for gapping the rollers away from the end blocks.  I always double check the free rollers by spinning with my hand before loading it up.  I see Monster has come out with a new billet knob design that gets rid of those pita thumbscrews.  Did you get the hardened rollers? 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on April 04, 2014, 06:41:31 AM
My mill's rollers are standard.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 04, 2014, 07:06:41 AM
Tom,  I see now it was apples & oranges.  I did see Kai's chart in your previous post and printed it for my brewday folder.  I didn't consult it cause I knew I would be far away from his numbers.  Thank you for that.

I am over the small batch tests.  I skewed the tests last nite.  But I had to run my whole grains thru my mill 3 times to match the crush on the homebrew store bought crush.     Will read up on calibration batches.  I kinda figured that's where I was headed when Brewfun recommended it.  My shortcuts don't work.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 04, 2014, 07:38:27 AM
...shortcuts don't work.

Shortcuts rarely do in problem solving.  They usually end up as longcuts. ;)

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 05, 2014, 05:06:21 AM
I took another look at the numbers I got from the last test on the store-bought crush and the one that I ran thru my mill 3 times.  Was at a real high qt/lb but they were still on Kai's first wort gravity chart.

@3.04 qt/lb got 1.039 or 90%

@3.25 qt/lb got 1.037 or 90%

I think this points only at the crush.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 06, 2014, 09:13:21 AM
Quote
My calibration batches are always the same: a precise amount of 100% pale malt (homebrew scale, 10 lbs, exactly) and 35 IBU boiling only, targeted. The resulting beer isn't much (dry hopping helps a lot), but it can be used to gauge crush, efficiency, fermentability, temperature stability, absorption pH, losses and chill haze reduction.

Is there a resource on how to do a proper calibration batch?  Its easier for me to do a 10 gallon. I understand the data points required.  I googled it and read into the double digit pages of results. Nothin.  Don't want to be a bore with a bunch of questions.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 09, 2014, 01:04:00 AM
Is there a resource on how to do a proper calibration batch? 

Calibration batches are a pro thing. Nothing glamorous, they're just a reference measurement and a guide for optimizing brewery flow. Being consistent is everything, so weight is the best way to accomplish this.

I try to target easy numbers. I know your engineering background, but I'm going to add extra detail to the procedure for those that may have questions.

You'll need some tools:
#14 sieve (14 strands per inch)
#4 sieve, or just mesh fabric. (optional)
Both of the above are available on ebay
Scale precise to .01 oz. Even better if it'll do grams.

So, Let's shoot for 75% efficiency.
Precisely measure 20 lbs (10kg) of pale malt.

First calibration: Malt crush
Take a 8 oz sample of the malt.
Mill it
Weigh it and make sure it is still 8 oz. Look for places in the mill that might be collecting grain and clear them.
Don't shake it or compact the sample. Ideally, it should be as fluffy as it comes out from the mill.    Sieve the crushed malt through. Capturing the dust is a plus, but not required.
Use a fresh paint brush to remove any particles that went through the sieve but clung below the screen. 
Carefully pour the remaining malt into a clean container to weigh. Make sure to tare the scale to the container.

You should have between 5.2 and 5.6 oz of grist. This represents 65% to 70% of the grain weight. Above that and the mill gap is too wide, below that and it might be too fine. The number in a pro brewery is 50%. This is pretty perfect for a homebrewing setup and shoots for 85% total mash efficiency when fly sparging.

Secondary, you can sieve this through a #4 screen to separate out large and uncrushed grains. This weight should not exceed 5% and is hopefully just 2%. Look for out of parallel rollers as a source of large sized particles. This may not be correctable since at least one manufacturer (Schmidling) purposely engineers their mill to have a varied gap.

Obviously, you'd repeat the above until the crush lined up with optimal settings.

Mill the grain and make sure the total weight is still 20 lbs. Some makeup grain may be required if you had to repeat the gap procedure a lot.

Weigh out 40 lbs of water and heat to strike temperature, targeting 150 degrees. If your procedure is to preheat, do this with separate water. Drain completely. A few drops left are insignificant, a measurable puddle would be undesirable.

Mash in with 100% of the strike water, targeting 150 degrees. Mix thoroughly, but not too long. The crush should be sufficient to allow mixing. Nothing good comes from fondling the mash. Let this sit for 45 minutes.

While the mash rests, prepare 20 lbs more water and heat to 180 F

At 20 minutes into the mash, take a pH reading. This is your nominal pale grist pH. All future acid adjustments spring from this number.

At 30 minutes, take a gravity reading. Based on the tables that Tom posted, if you're at saturation at this time, you have optimal mash conditions. If you're not, take another gravity every 5 minutes and record the rise. At the point it doesn't rise for 3 consecutive readings, you're at saturation. Compare that to the mash conversion tables.

One note on the iodine test and why I don't include it. This measures large hydrolyzed starches that haven't debranched. A wort can pass the test in 25 or 30 minutes, but this DOES NOT guarantee full conversion. Measuring wort gravity tells you much more about that.

Once your wort is at full saturation, add the 10 lbs of water, stir gently. This should raise the mash to 155 F and excite any remaining alpha amylase into working faster.

Let this rest for 5 minutes and take a gravity reading. If the number falls below the same relative saturation, you may have a grist that is too coarse. Simply, the additional water isn't pulling enough sugar from the grain. This is confirmed if the gravity rises because the amylase is converting starch into dextrin.

This may have created questions, I will stop and pick up the sparge boil in a day or so.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 09, 2014, 03:54:05 AM
Wow.  I was just hoping for a reference to pick up a brewing text.  Thank you for this.  The time stamp on your post says it all.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: ofobrewing on April 09, 2014, 06:27:25 PM
Hi Guys

I have a similar problem, my Brewhouse efficiency has been adjusted as indicated by the forum/video, but I only achieved 48.8%, 51.15% and 50,8% respectively on my last 3 brew days.

Normally I'm undershooting my pre-boil water and my runoff gravity
I'm using a 30 liters cooler with a metal filter in the bottom and it does keeps the temperature during the mash.

Is there a way to improve this, in my opinion this is a very poor performance knowing that I hit my target temps by 1 degree Celsius, and at the end of the mashing time still within one degree or so. I normally brew with bottled water as my tap water is super hard and with a lot of chlorine, on top of it I have a "water softener, which uses salt to get rid of the hardness.

Any ideas, it is frustrating......

Thanks.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 09, 2014, 06:39:56 PM
Ofobrewing -

I don't mean to be rude, but have you read this whole thread?  There is a lot of advice in the previous 3 pages of posts.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: ofobrewing on April 09, 2014, 08:28:17 PM
No offense taken.... in my defense it was 3am in the morning when I posted it... now 4:30 am

I did fail to read the second page where the bulk of the information is located that's a lot of material to go through but is what it is....

Thanks a lot for all this information
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 10, 2014, 08:17:41 AM
Just an update...

I'm attending a seminar today called "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Kettle."

It's data from one brewery. The presentations will present lauter efficiency under various mash, lauter and sparge conditions.

Seems timely!
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 10, 2014, 04:13:03 PM
I am sieving with envy.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 12, 2014, 10:18:47 AM
From the seminar I noted above, I did come away with 1 nugget to share. The concept of a 1:1 sparge ratio. This was new to me. It simply meant that the amount of sparge water used should equal the amount of total mash water. The benefit is to maintain efficiency and reduce polyphenol (tannin) and protein pickup that increases at the end of sparge.

Additionally, allowing the mash to drain at the end of the sparge increased efficiency.

Mash tun design is critical to total efficiency. In short, when the weight force and friction of the grain exceeds the buoyancy created by water, channeling and uneven extraction. In other words: there is a diminishing return to cramming a mash tun full, and/or having a sparge shape where the height is more than the width (i.e. keg shapes).  Batch sparging is pretty much the only way to overcome the inefficiency of that shape.

Thumbnail Procedure:
• 1:1 liquor to grist ratio
• Proper mash pH
*This creates the fastest and most complete conversion at temperatures of 150 F (65 C)
After full conversion is achieved (according to gravity, not iodine):
• Add water to achieve 1.4:1 to 1.5:1 ratio.
• Stir to distribute heat. EVEN HEAT IS ESSENTIAL!
• Hold until gravity stabilizes.
• The volume of runoff should be approximately 50% of your post boil volume.
• Fly or Batch Sparge with EXACTLY the same volume of water that went into the mash
Sparge water should be adjusted ONLY to create low RA
• Add top up water to achieve your preboil volume.

If anything, you should only have a minor change from your maximum efficiency. Runnings under 4 Plato (1.016) have increasing levels of polyphenol and significantly less fermentability. Keeping some of this is important to beer tasting right, but not all of it.

I’m going to put this into practice in my own brewery and report how well the results match the expectations above. I’d appreciate reports from anyone that uses the procedure as laid out.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 12, 2014, 10:34:08 AM
In case anyone thinks that this changes or negates any of the "tried-and-true" mash/sparge methods, it doesn't. Quality wort is still quality wort. Proper methods are assumed in the post above.

These include:
Fresh ingredients
Balanced, low RA water profile
Runoff pH below 6.0
Proper Calcium levels
Mashout Temperature achieved
Low oxygen pickup (don't fondle the mash!)
Appropriate time spent at each step

Use common sense. Obviously, over filled mashtuns might not take that liquor to grist ratio. But, still maintaining a 1:1 ratio seems to be a key according to the data presented. Every mashtun has an optimal gravity to efficiency ratio. We all routinely exceed this ratio and that's ok, but it varies the results a bit.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 12, 2014, 10:46:00 AM
When equalizing mash water and sparge water volumes, you do account for grain absorption?   I go to the volumes tab and use the figure under 'water available from mash' and use a sparge volume equal to that.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 12, 2014, 10:52:02 AM
When equalizing mash water and sparge water volumes, you do account for grain absorption? I go to the volumes tab and use the figure under 'water available from mash' and use a sparge volume equal to that.

EXCELLENT QUESTION!!

I'm not entirely sure, because it wasn't directly addressed.

However, the ratio I stated above takes the grist to 1.25:1 (ish) PLUS grain absorption and achieves the 1:1 sparge ratio in the second half of the process.

It also streamlines the process in a way that can be utilized in BeerSmith.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 12, 2014, 11:00:27 AM
I reread Toms point post in the gravity readings thread. http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9508.0.html (http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9508.0.html)

He indicates equal volumes, adding additional volume to the mash to account for absorption.  That's what I am doing now, about to sparge.

Gonna be hitting the forum with a lot of numbers from this one.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 12, 2014, 12:21:15 PM
Brewfun, thank you very much for sharing!!!

From the seminar I noted above, I did come away with 1 nugget to share. The concept of a 1:1 sparge ratio. This was new to me. It simply meant that the amount of sparge water used should equal the amount of total mash water. The benefit is to maintain efficiency and reduce polyphenol (tannin) and protein pickup that increases at the end of sparge.

Additionally, allowing the mash to drain at the end of the sparge increased efficiency.

I'm going to put this into practice in my own brewery and report how well the results match the expectations above. I’d appreciate reports from anyone that uses the procedure as laid out.

Based on some articles I've read in the past (and perhaps the Braukaiser site (I am not sure)) pointing at a higher mash conversion at lower grain to water ratio's, I use a mash thickness default of 2,5 L/kg for my brews.
I would like to do the calculation to understand if I am doing things right according the findings from the seminar. I will take the recipe from the brew I have planned for tomorrow. My equipment set up shows me that I will use approximately both 14L of mash water and 14L of water for the batch sparge. I use to stir to distribute the heat and at the end I use to let the mash drain (drip) in another container and collect the wort during the time I slowly heat up the main wort to 100C. The fraction I collect I poor in the main wort when this starts to boil. Due to this procedure I've had to adapt my grain absorption ratio a bit in the past resulting in rather accurate pre-boil volumes (24,0L).
Run off volume is: 24,0 - 14,0 = 10,0L  The post boil volume (hot) = 20,75L or cold 19,9L. (In line with that the volume of the runoff should be approximately 50% of the post boil volume).

Am I doing things right in my approach according the findings from the seminar?
Since I am not only brewing one type of beer, do I have to adjust the grain to water ratio accordingly to get the figures right?

I am asking this because today it was brewday and I dropped a question on this blogg regarding the use of torrified wheat in a Belgium Tripel. I had pump/filter problems due to a very thick mash and wheat sediment. It was the first time that I used torrified wheat and crunched it together with the other grains, perhaps causing this problem. I already increased the grain/water ratio in the recipe a bit on forehand knowing that wheat is a troublemaker. But during the mash I had to go to a ratio of 3,3 L/kg. That worked fine for the mash and the rest of the process. But in this case (wheat) the findings from the seminar are a real challenge, or...?

Regards,
Slurk


Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on April 12, 2014, 04:04:19 PM
If I remember correctly, the higher the water/grist ratio, the more the enzymatic action is diluted, so you have to mash longer to get the same conversions as using a lower ratio.

When I get an possible mash sticking ingredient like wheat, rye, or torrified wheat, I put 1 lb. of it in my SS gallon measuring cup, in the oven at 150 degrees, with 2 quarts of water in it. Let it saturate like it would in the mash for 20 minutes, and pour into a strainer over a pot and measure the water. Now you know how much water one pound will absorb.

I am brewing a Dortmunder Export tomorrow, maybe I will try the 1:1, since German brewers have traditionally used higher water/grist ratios. It is kind of hard to hide tannins in a Dortmunder. Just ran the number to brew 1:1 up front, My water/grist ratio would be 1.686. That doesn't scare me, I mash 90 minutes with pilsner malt anyway. It will be interesting to see where my #'s go.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 12, 2014, 04:06:57 PM
I reread Toms point post ...

He indicates equal volumes, adding additional volume to the mash to account for absorption.  That's what I am doing now, about to sparge.

Yup. Tom adds it up front. My version has it as a second infusion. I'm not sure there is much more difference to it than technique.

The most important part of what he said is that he has a consistent strike volume no matter what the grain weight is. Plus, that this has led to consistent efficiencies and gravities. That's a pretty good indicator about how much process can effect wort production.

The method I posted would have variable volume needs, something Tom's system avoids.

Based on some articles I've read in the past (and perhaps the Braukaiser site (I am not sure)) pointing at a higher mash conversion at lower grain to water ratio's, I use a mash thickness default of 2,5 L/kg for my brews. I would like to do the calculation to understand if I am doing things right according the findings from the seminar.

Overall, you're riding the difference between what I posted in this thread and what Tom posted in the one cited by KC. If you're following what I posted, then a ratio of 2.08 L/kg would be the first infusion. The second infusion would take you to a TOTAL ratio of 2.9 to 3.1 L/kg.

Quote
Am I doing things right in my approach according the findings from the seminar?
Since I am not only brewing one type of beer, do I have to adjust the grain to water ratio accordingly to get the figures right?

Yes, it looks correct, except you're adding all the water up front, instead of doing a double infusion. I'm not sure how much consequence this has on the conversion efficiency. Much of that will depend on pH and mineral content of your water.

Second question: No, the ratio stays constant and can be used as a mash profile across all batches. The water volume will vary according to grain weight.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 12, 2014, 05:46:59 PM
I am brewing a Dortmunder Export tomorrow, maybe I will try the 1:1, since German brewers have traditionally used higher water/grist ratios. It is kind of hard to hide tannins in a Dortmunder. Just ran the number to brew 1:1 up front, My water/grist ratio would be 1.686. That doesn't scare me, I mash 90 minutes with pilsner malt anyway. It will be interesting to see where my #'s go.

Exiting water/grist ratio RiverBrewer!
Today brewing this Belgium Tripel (including wheat) I had the biggest problems between 50-60C. The mash was very thick. It seems to me that at temperatures over 62C the mash "behaves" thinner. Good luck with the Dortmunder Export! Could you give us a Small report tomorrow?
R, Slurk
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 12, 2014, 05:50:45 PM
Brewfun thanks!
R, Slurk
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 12, 2014, 11:13:16 PM
I spent a year doing this.  I was having issues with variable efficiency from brew to brew. One would be 85 and the next 65.  At that time I mashed at 1.25 qt/lb. Then drain the mlt, and batch sparge with 3 batches for a total kettle volume of 7.5 gallons.

I began a year of experiments to resolve the variability.  My first change was to switch to a larger mlt, so that I could try a thinner mash.  This allowed me to mash at 1.25 and then add additional water @ 30 minutes to bring it to 1.65 qt/lb.  I continued to do 3 batch sparges.  After several batches, the consistency was much better.

Next I decided to try 2 sparges. This helped stabilize my kettle volume. I don't know why or where the water went, but when I did the a triple batch sparge it always seemed that one set of runnings would come up short.  Next I decided to equalize my runnings between the first and second batch. 

This necessitates abandoning a fixed water / grist ratio. This further stabilized my extraction.  Both conversion and extraction were all but dead predictable. 

At this point I was following the gist of your procedure.  Mash thick, add water later and wait for conversion to complete, drain runnings and batch sparge with the same quantity of sparge water as runnings.

Next I changed to a 90 minute boil for all brews. I used to only do 90 for pilsner malt brews and 60 for pale malt brews. The extra half gallon of preboil volume seemed to again make it more consistent. However, by this point a point or two of variation is kinda in the noise. So, it's hard to tell.

I spent a year brewing this way.

Finally, I just switched to mashing thin to start. I did this just to simplify the brewday.

Today, my procedure looks like this:

Preboil volume = 8.08 gallons @ 170f (8ish at room temp)   
Mash water = grain absorption + 4.04 gallons
Sparge water = 4.04 gallons.

As above I mash until the wort gravity matches the chart for the thickness of the day.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 12, 2014, 11:38:58 PM
Ps:  I didn't see any difference between mashing thick+late addition and mashing thin.  Since it made life a little simpler I stuck with the thin mash approach.

I also didn't see any significant difference in how long it took for conversion to reach saturation.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 13, 2014, 02:40:37 AM
Next I changed to a 90 minute boil for all brews. I used to only do 90 for pilsner malt brews and 60 for pale malt brews. The extra half gallon of preboil volume seemed to again make it more consistent. However, by this point a point or two of variation is kinda in the noise. So, it's hard to tell.

As above I mash until the wort gravity matches the chart for the thickness of the day.


I changed from 60 min to 90 min boils for 1.5 years ago (due to some clarity/haze issues) and have the same experience: more consistent boil volume.

Tom, I don't understand "I mash until the wort gravity matches the chart for the thickness of the day." Could you explain/do you have an example?
Thanks! Slurk
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 13, 2014, 05:21:02 AM
Slurk, I think what Tom is saying is by using a fixed mash volume every time, the water:grist ratio will vary depending only on the grain weight for that particular brew session.  Using Kai first wort gravity chart tells you where you should be for that particular ratio.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 13, 2014, 06:06:48 AM
Yes, kc is correct.

Read the "mash sg correction"  in my post, here:
http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9508.15.html




Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 13, 2014, 09:22:58 AM
Slurk, I think what Tom is saying is by using a fixed mash volume every time, the water:grist ratio will vary depending only on the grain weight for that particular brew session.  Using Kai first wort gravity chart tells you where you should be for that particular ratio.

Thanks KC!
Are you refering to this (link)? 
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Effects_of_mash_parameters_on_fermentability_and_efficiency_in_single_infusion_mashing

R, Slurk
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 13, 2014, 09:27:46 AM
Read the "mash sg correction"  in my post, here:
http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9508.15.html

Thanks Tom!
One of my favorite links, excellent work:)
R, Slurk
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 13, 2014, 10:29:07 AM
Slurk,  I didn't see it in that link.  Tom introduced it in reply 41 and earlier.
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:First_wort_gravity.gif (http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:First_wort_gravity.gif)
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 13, 2014, 10:43:47 AM
Quote
• Add water to achieve 1.4:1 to 1.5:1 ratio.

 I missed this on the first read.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 13, 2014, 10:56:49 AM
Slurk,  I didn't see it in that link.  Tom introduced it in reply 41. 
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:First_wort_gravity.gif (http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=File:First_wort_gravity.gif)

Thanks KC!
I like reading the braukaiser site, but I have to admit (and being slightly embarrassed) that I see the graph for the first time.
This first wort/gravity graph is very helpful :)
R, Slurk
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 13, 2014, 11:25:06 AM
Yes I have been to his site many times.  His preamble is usually so far over my head that I don't keep reading long enough to find the gems.  Thanks to Tom for providing these tables..
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: RiverBrewer on April 14, 2014, 08:21:38 PM
Just to follow up with my Dortmunder Export that I brewed Strike/Sparge , 1:1, Water/Grist 1.650
I use an Blichmann Auto Sparge and the last several years my sparge water volume was always insufficient amount, so I went to BeerSmith options/advanced/and changed the value for Grain Absorption to 1.037 and have been nailing my PB volume every brew. When my March pump runs dry, I am spot on my PBV. I know that sounds a little freaky, but it is consistent. I don't mash much wheat or rye which would change the consistency I am having.

Grain was 68% Rahr Premium Pilsner malt, 31% Weyermann Munich I, and 1% Weyermann Melanoiden malt. 90 minute mash @152 degrees F. / pH 5.18
Strike and sparge were both 10.31 gallons for a 13 gallon batch size/ 60 min. lauter

First running was 17.4 Brix, or 1.073 SG
So from the Kai chart, @ 1.63 qt./lb.= 1.076 SG
So 1.073/1.076*100=~99.7% Conversion Efficiency
PBG was 1.049 which moved a consistent 10 pts. to my OG of 1.059
My BrewSmith Measured Efficiency is normally ~84%
This 1:1 batch measured 88.1%, so that was the only bump of my numbers.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 16, 2014, 05:06:27 PM
Here is another cool tool from The Kaiser.

http://braukaiser.com/documents/efficiency_calculator.xls (http://braukaiser.com/documents/efficiency_calculator.xls)
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 17, 2014, 11:12:24 AM
I had a chance to try the method I posted. I did get an increase in both yield and gravity on my least efficient beer, Double IPA.

I gained a lot of kettle efficiency, going from 87% up to 91%. That represents 8% of the grain that could be removed from future batches. My sugar yield was up by 0.7 Plato (1.003) and volume by 15 gallons. This may not seem like much, but scaled to homebrew it's nearly 2# of grain in a 5 gallon batch.

In other words; in 5 batches, you'd save enough grain to make the 6th one for free. Not bad!

I need to type up the notes and then I'll post the recipe and data.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: grathan on April 17, 2014, 02:26:07 PM
We're you able to keep final runnings over 1.016?
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on April 17, 2014, 03:23:21 PM
Here is another cool tool from The Kaiser.

http://braukaiser.com/documents/efficiency_calculator.xls (http://braukaiser.com/documents/efficiency_calculator.xls)

I forgot about the spreadsheet.  I have a bunch of those left from when I was trying to figure out what was going on.  I used to fill one out for each brew, and saved each copy separately for historical data.  I used to place a "link" to the spreadsheet in the notes section of the brewlog entry.  I did the same thing with copies of EZ Water. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 17, 2014, 03:55:07 PM
Here is another cool tool from The Kaiser.

http://braukaiser.com/documents/efficiency_calculator.xls (http://braukaiser.com/documents/efficiency_calculator.xls)

Yes, realy cool!
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 17, 2014, 06:54:08 PM
We're you able to keep final runnings over 1.016?

Yes. Final runnings were 5P (~1.020).
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 22, 2014, 04:52:44 PM
Plan to do this on Saturday since I was too late to read the info last session.   When you add water to achieve 1.4:1 to 1.5:1 ratio, since conversion is complete, would you target a temperature rise or just maintain 150F?
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Slurk on April 23, 2014, 03:59:37 PM
I had a chance to try the method I posted. I did get an increase in both yield and gravity on my least efficient beer, Double IPA.
I gained a lot of kettle efficiency, going from 87% up to 91%. That represents 8% of the grain that could be removed from future batches. My sugar yield was up by 0.7 Plato (1.003) and volume by 15 gallons. This may not seem like much, but scaled to homebrew it's nearly 2# of grain in a 5 gallon batch.
In other words; in 5 batches, you'd save enough grain to make the 6th one for free. Not bad!
I need to type up the notes and then I'll post the recipe and data.

Do you expect some differences in taste/flavour (compared to your former Double IPA)?
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 26, 2014, 08:32:12 AM
I've had a chance to try the 1:1 sparge method on two batches now. Both are large grists for my mashtun and lose some kettle efficiency as a result.

BACKGROUND: This is the result of a seminar on lauter efficiency that I attended this month. The presenter used essentially identical methods to my own. This is a different reference point to the "calibration batch" posts I started and have only half completed in this thread. I want to complete this part of the conversation because it represents good working practices for a variety of mash/sparge methods.

It's very important to note that what I'm finding correlates very well with Tom Hampton's posted methods for his mashes. In both of these recipes, my kettle efficiency went up.

I'm posting the recipes as brewed, except for the kettle sugar addition. There's nothing really remarkable about them as IPA's go. Each of these recipes has 3.5% dextrose but that's set to zero because we're interested in the grain efficiency. All of my other ingredients are in there for those interested in such things.

To make things work with Beersmith and still track an inventory, some ingredient translation is in order: Hop extract represents 1 can at 175 gm of AA, rather than a pound. Makes it easier to count. Yeast at one "pkg" is 15 gallons of slurry.

To get accurate numbers, you may need to change your grain absorption to match mine at 0.725 [options > advanced > grain absorption].

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 26, 2014, 10:04:54 AM
My normal method is to dough in at 1:1 qt/lb and rest for 45 minutes, running a mash mixer for the duration. I then add some heat for 10 minutes to start the rise towards mash out. Then I underlet the mash to bring the ratio up to 1.2:1 and raise the temperature a little, with the mixer still on for about 10 minutes. I then recirculate for about 20 minutes (still with heat on) because that's how long it takes to get clear wort. Including dough in, total time is about 90-100 minutes.

Sparge takes 70 to 120 minutes depending on the recipe, using 170-174F water. I sparge to 2 Plato, but can go as low as 1.6 in some cases without astringency. Target mash pH is 5.3-5.4.

The goal of this new mash/lautering method is to extend out the higher gravity wort into the sparge and then stop before lower gravity wort is extracted (below 5 Plato or about 1.020). Those last runnings should still carry the final bit of sugar.

There's one paper out on the fermentability of wort under 8 Plato (1.035) and it shows that this isn't very fermentable.

A "perfect" sparge should look like this, where the top line is temperature of the runnings and the slope is the gravity.

(http://s10.postimg.org/82o7xucb9/IMG_2214.jpg) (http://postimg.org/image/82o7xucb9/)

More realistic is this slope of a fly sparge. The early slope up is recirculation as underletting is mixed in and heat is applied.

(http://s21.postimg.org/k9cso7c9f/IMG_2223.jpg) (http://postimg.org/image/k9cso7c9f/)

Batch sparging looks something like this:

(http://s7.postimg.org/i4wswtvon/IMG_2218.jpg) (http://postimg.org/image/i4wswtvon/)

To attain something closer to the "perfect" graph, more consistent heat and a longer slope are needed. Therefore, more water in the mash and less in the sparge become best practices. The concept of a 1:1 SPARGE is that an equal amount of water is used in both the mash and sparge.

AH-HA #1: It turns out that underletting or adding water to the first wort to thin the mash is counter productive. A mash ratio over 1.25:1 is also counter productive because an equal sparge tends to yield too much wort and too low a final gravity, though efficiency didn't seem to suffer. Best practice is going to be some kettle top-up water rather than sparging longer.

RECIPE METHOD: The water ratios are accurate, though not optimal. The DIPA simply can't take any more water and the IPA got a little too much. Between the two versions, I like the one that's a little drier, as it also hit my desired mash temperature of 152.

The mash mixer was turned off during the conversion rest and pre-recirculation heat up period. Of course it's off for recirculation and sparge. This allowed more air to stay in the mash bed.

RECIPE ANALYSIS: Conversion time was not affected.
DIPA 1st runnings: 25.7 Plato
IPA First runnings: 21.6 Plato
  Both of these represent 100% conversion efficiency and beat the table on Kai's website. According to Kai, this is expected on a pro scale. We mill finer than most homebrewers.

Past practice says we expect 10 Plato runnings with the kettle about half full (10 barrels), then lose 1 Plato per barrel until full (20.5 barrels). There is a slope change at about 3 Plato where it slows to 0.7 Plato per barrel for about 3 barrels.

1:1 Sparge results: In this method we shut off sparge when the volume was very nearly equal to the mash volume. Ideal would be completely equal.

DIPA: 24.5 Plato at 9 barrels. 17 Plato at 13 barrels. 11 Plato at 16.5 barrels. 7.7 Plato at 18.5 barrels. Final runnings 5 Plato. Preboil volume 21.25 barrels (21.0 was the target). Preboil gravity 18.9 Plato. Net kettle efficiency gain of 10%, net yield gain of 6%.

IPA: 18.7 Plato at 10 barrels. 13 Plato at 12 barrels. 9 Plato at 14 barrels. Final runnings 3 Plato. Preboil volume 20.6. Preboil gravity 15 Plato. Kettle efficiency 95.5% where typical is ~93%. Net of 5% increase in yield.

Time and temperature both improved as well. The outflow temperature stayed steady at 164F throughout the sparge. Previously this has had a variance of up to 12 degrees F over the course of the sparge. First falling then rising near the end.

CONCLUSIONS: The tighter mash ratio and lower sparge volume seemed to net a greater increase in efficiency. I'll temper that with the fact that a pro brewer needs to be close to 90% efficient to maximize yield and profitability. However, my DIPA represents the least most efficient beer I make, so the added efficiency shows some real promise.

I'm going to stick to a 1.15:1 mash ratio and sparge with an equal amount of water. As of now, I don't think adding water to the mash would be ideal. However, it seems that a mash ratio nearer 1.5:1 works about as well as a tighter mash ratio.

I'm going to apply this method to lighter gravity beers that already have very high efficiency. The aim will be to improve flavor and fermentability. I plan to stop sparge at equal volume OR when gravity falls to 8 Plato, with the idea that final runnings will not be below 5 or 6 Plato but full extraction is attained.

Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 26, 2014, 10:06:30 AM
Do you expect some differences in taste/flavour (compared to your former Double IPA)?

Hopefully not! At least not anything bad.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 26, 2014, 10:20:53 AM
Plan to do this on Saturday since I was too late to read the info last session.   When you add water to achieve 1.4:1 to 1.5:1 ratio, since conversion is complete, would you target a temperature rise or just maintain 150F?

I have come to the conclusion that adding water is unnecessary and perhaps detrimental. Add it all up front, then go right into recirculation and sparge.

I'm a bit out on a limb with this method. I'm showing my adaptations and learning curve as I go, with this one. Forgive me for any contradictions as I figure it out. I hope it could be useful to show my process, errors and all.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 27, 2014, 06:30:12 AM
Thank you for posting this for all to see. 
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on April 28, 2014, 05:27:18 PM
Quote
I’m going to put this into practice in my own brewery and report how well the results match the expectations above. I’d appreciate reports from anyone that uses the procedure as laid out.

I was knee deep into this on Saturday before I saw the new recommendations.  Got 99.6 conversion, 91.4 kettle, what I was unprepared for is the temp drop from, I suspect, using a smaller volume in a larger cooler.   
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: TAHammerton on April 30, 2014, 04:55:22 PM
Am I understanding this correctly? So for a 5 gallon batch I need 8 gallons of water. Ideally If I am mashing 12.5lbs of grain then I should mash with 16 quarts of water and fly sparge with the same to get the 1:1 strike/sparge ratio. This should give me a 1.28qt/lb water grain ratio. Which should in term produce a first running gravity of about 1.094 initially?
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: brewfun on April 30, 2014, 10:31:02 PM
Got 99.6 conversion, 91.4 kettle, 

Excellent! That's a huge improvement!

Am I understanding this correctly? So for a 5 gallon batch I need 8 gallons of water. Ideally If I am mashing 12.5lbs of grain then I should mash with 16 quarts of water and fly sparge with the same to get the 1:1 strike/sparge ratio. This should give me a 1.28qt/lb water grain ratio. Which should in term produce a first running gravity of about 1.094 initially?

Yes.

Plus any additional water to top up the kettle. Your sparge efficiency should be the only variable. Once you have full conversion (the gravity doesn't keep rising) you can proceed with sparging. Once your runnings drop to 1.032 (8 P), stop adding water and let the grain bed run dry. Your final runnings should be about 1.020 (5 P).
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: TAHammerton on May 02, 2014, 01:42:53 AM
Thanks brewfun!

I was thinking about the calibration brew discussed and I thought I would try to brew the same beer 3 times- each time refining the process. That way I can really fine tune my settings and procedures. But I do want to have something decent to drink. So I thought about doing a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone. I made up a recipe and saved a copy to the could as "SNPA Clone Classic Recipe" also pasted below (I could not figure out how to embed the recipe). I was also thinking maybe of trying the first two batches with a single hop variety, maybe Citra and Galaxy to better understand the hop flavours and aromas. The third batch would be an attempt to be as close as possible to the original. I thought the SNPA would be a good beer recipe for this experiment as it is a simple recipe representative of what people brew, is widely available and I don't know anyone who does not like it. It could be the standard that all homebrewers calibrate to.

Anyone else interested in brewing the recipe and sharing their results and experiences?

Also anyone want to check the recipe and procedure and suggest improvements? It is not my creation - it is based on a recipe by Beerfan on Northern Brewer forum - I just plugged it into BeerSmith with my set-up and local ingredients.

SNPA Clone Classic Recipe
American Pale Ale
Type: All Grain Date: 01 May 2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal Brewer: Tom Hammerton
Boil Size: 6.12 gal Asst Brewer: 
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Tom 10gal mash tun V2
End of Boil Volume 5.72 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 67.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.01 gal Est Mash Efficiency 73.7 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes: 
Ingredients
 
Ingredients Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 91.7 %
14.4 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 2 8.3 %
0.38 oz Magnum [12.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 3 16.1 IBUs
0.50 oz Perle [8.60 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 4 11.6 IBUs
0.88 oz Cascade [9.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 5 10.1 IBUs
1.88 oz Cascade [9.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min Hop 6 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast 7 -

 
Beer Profile
 
Est Original Gravity: 1.053 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.053 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.011 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.4 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.5 %
Bitterness: 37.8 IBUs Calories: 175.9 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 8.9 SRM 
Mash Profile
 
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs 14.4 oz
Sparge Water: 3.80 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 15.50 qt of water at 168.8 F 152.0 F 60 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 5 min 168.0 F 10 min

 
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 3.80 gal water at 168.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
 
Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 3.94 oz Carbonation Used: Bottle with 3.94 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: npg on May 16, 2014, 11:57:24 PM
Poorly crushed grain will affect your efficiency, as does pH and awful water.

Munich water is terrible, so it gets boiled for an hour, then racked the next day.   You want the mash pH reading at room temperature.  No need to make things complicated ;). Best is a pH meter with ATC.

I'm sure you'll get to the bottom of this...
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on June 03, 2014, 04:33:19 PM
Its about time for a Big Thank You to all who helped.  Karma to all.  It gone from abysmal to Whoa Nellie.  It was the crush from the start.  Sieve testing was the fix but I use all the other info from this thread every brewday now.   I will post a pic next time I crush.  If anyone uses the Crankenstein 3D try the third click down from finest.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: tom_hampton on December 04, 2014, 10:35:22 PM
Hey kc,

Glad it all worked out.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: KernelCrush on December 05, 2014, 02:57:19 AM
Learned a lot along the way, Thanks to you.  The search continues..
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Gwion on January 08, 2015, 10:04:00 PM
Great thread. I'm sure it will all make sense when i read it another 85 times!  :o

2nd attempt at all grain boiling now. Finer mill this time. Tried to stick to the 1:1 suggestion but checked temp 30min into mash; had dropped to 52 (+/-) degC. Strike at 67C. Added hot water to bring it up tp 66C again and extended mash by 15min (75min total). Still ended up with extremely poor efficiency. App was telling me expected OG of around 1050 but came out into boiler at 1022!  :o

Definitely need to check water quality (rain water in Limestone country so quite hard). But seriously, can water effect efficiency so dramatically? Am i losing a lot of efficiency because of rapid loss of temp at strike? Using 80L commercial esky (cooler) for mash tun, 70L stainless pot for hot kettle and 100L stainless pot for boiling wort.

Sorry to barge in. This is my first post but i did read this thread before going at my second attempt.

No big deal to make a light beer on my second attempt (brought OG up with dextrose last run) but would really like to get efficiency up. Only way i can make the app meet my results is to set total efficiency setting to around %40!

Anyhoo. I'll re-read the thread a few times before my next run (two weeks time).

Thanks for any further tips beyond what's already posted. I'm in Tasmania, by the way.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: npg on January 08, 2015, 11:22:20 PM
There are numerous factors that could be at play here.


Hope this helps ;)
Title: Re: Efficiency issue
Post by: Gwion on January 08, 2015, 11:32:43 PM
cheers. I'll look at those things for next time. Much appreciated.

PS[edit]: After the boil and into the fermenter/s OG=1038