Author Topic: Efficiency issue  (Read 106413 times)

KernelCrush

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Efficiency issue
« 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 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.


Offline cmbrougham

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #1 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?

Offline grathan

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #2 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.





KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #3 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. 

Offline texasdan

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 08:49:25 PM »
Deleted by poster.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 11:55:46 PM by texasdan »
Next Up: 
Fermenting: None
Lagering:     
Conditioning: #46-Special Helles
Drinking:       #45-Klosterbier, #44-Honey Ginger Lager, #43-Oktoberfest, #42-Festbier, #40 Ayinger Style Jahrhundertbier Hell, #41-Klosterbier

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #5 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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #6 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.     


Offline all grain

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #7 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. 
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 07:52:19 AM by all grain »
brewing is an art form not just a science ,dude where's my beer!

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #8 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.

Offline all grain

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #9 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-     
brewing is an art form not just a science ,dude where's my beer!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #10 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.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #11 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. 

Offline all grain

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #12 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.
brewing is an art form not just a science ,dude where's my beer!

Offline grathan

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #13 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.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 02:19:54 PM by grathan »

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #14 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. 

 

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