Author Topic: Efficiency issue  (Read 94224 times)

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #15 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
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #16 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.

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #17 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.
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #18 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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #19 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.   



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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #20 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. 
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #21 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.
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline tom_hampton

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R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline all grain

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2014, 11:24:28 PM »
thanks for those tables, First runnings table, ext. they are vary helpful. never knew they existed. 
brewing is an art form not just a science ,dude where's my beer!

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #24 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.   

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #25 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. 

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #26 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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #27 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.
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #28 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.

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #29 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.  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. 

 

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