Author Topic: 2.5 gallon batch  (Read 2853 times)

Offline kygolfpro

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2.5 gallon batch
« on: August 10, 2015, 12:14:24 PM »
First post to the forum but not new to BeerSmith! I only make 2.5 gallon batches and I'm using a 3 gallon cooler I purchased that has a valve attached. Have noticed that on my last couple of beers my efficiency has been in the upper 50's to low 60's, while BeerSmith projects 70 which is what I'm shooting for. My previous beers have all been relatively close to 70. Not sure what is happening. Two of the beers where high gravity beers; a Scottish Ale and a Christmas beer. However, I did a Kolsch recently and missed my preboil number 1.039 predicted, 1.023 actual. Mash for 60 minutes on all beers. Any advice would be appreciated!!

Online Oginme

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Re: 2.5 gallon batch
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2015, 01:24:43 PM »
First, the obvious question:  At what wort temperature are you taking your gravity readings? If you are not taking your gravity readings at room temperature or the calibration temperature of the hydrometer, then you must convert the gravity reading to a room temperature reading.

Generally, when it comes to efficiency, I would focus on two things: 

(1) the grind:  If you have a lot of uncrushed kernels, then you have a grind problem which is affecting the ability of the water to get in to solvate the starch and allow the enzymes to break it down into fermentable sugars.

(2) Channeling:  if you have channels in your system, the water will preferentially use those channels to bypass the grains either when draining the initial mash or when sparging. I've seen this more often than not affect fly sparging more than batch sparging.

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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: 2.5 gallon batch
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2015, 03:44:11 PM »
I'll agree that grind is very important. I use a Corona mill instead of a crusher, and it took a while to dial in the perfect crush. Well, as perfect as I can get with the darned thing. You want it fine but not flour. Flour will gum up the works, and large chunks won't convert.

Channeling can be avoided when fly sparging by keeping the water level an inch or two above the grain. That way the grain is still floating a bit, as opposed to being a solid mass through which the water is flowing.

Also, mashing out helps. That's when you raise the temperature of the mash to the sparge water temperature before starting. I do this by removing an eyeballed third of the mash, bringing it to a full boil on the stove, then mixing it back in. The process is called decoction. That usually raises the temperature to the mid 160s. This stops enzymatic activity while making sugars more viscous and easier to wash off the grain.

The single most important variable though is probably the crush. Do you do it yourself or buy it that way?
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Offline kygolfpro

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Re: 2.5 gallon batch
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2015, 01:20:37 PM »
Thanks for the replies! I use a refractometer to check preboil and original gravities. The refractometer is supposed to compensate for temp.. I have a supplier do my grain milling. I never thought to check out the grain crush; will do that my next brew!! Thanks again!!

Offline brewfun

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Re: 2.5 gallon batch
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 10:52:43 AM »
The refractometer is supposed to compensate for temp.

ATC doesn't correct just any old temperature. The thin drop of wort will continue to change readings as it quickly cools. ATC works in the range of 50o to 80oF, outside of that it's not accurate.

Taking a small sample and letting it cool before taking a reading is the best way to assure consistent and reliable readings. Keep it covered to avoid it changing from evaporation.

Tom Hampton did two very thorough posts on his methods of measuring all aspects of his brewing process. His methods stand up to anything done on a professional level. It's an excellent read, or reread if you've seen it before.

http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9508.msg39762.html#msg39762

http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,9875.0.html
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