Author Topic: Efficiency issue  (Read 98122 times)

Offline chugly

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #30 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


Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #31 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.
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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #32 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.

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KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #33 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

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.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 07:58:24 AM by KernelCrush »

Offline ihikeut

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #34 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?)

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #35 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. 

Offline cmbrougham

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #36 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!

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #37 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.

Offline cmbrougham

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #38 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.

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #39 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. 
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KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #40 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.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #41 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. 


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Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
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Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #42 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.
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #43 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? 

Offline RiverBrewer

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2014, 06:41:31 AM »
My mill's rollers are standard.
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