Author Topic: efficiency problem  (Read 4761 times)

Offline fabb2004

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efficiency problem
« on: October 12, 2017, 07:51:04 AM »
I'm at a loss for words and hope someone can shed some light on my low efficiency problem ~ 60%.
I have a 20 gal HLT with a heat exchanger (HERMS) and a 20 gal mash tun. I mashed this time at about 154 for about 45 mins, then fly sparged with 168 water until I met my boil volume of 7 gal.

I used to get half of my kettle volume with first runnings, then batch sparge the rest to get the full volume. I was anticipating this being the problem for my low efficiency numbers, so I moved to a fly sparge method and drain slowly. This is the 2nd batch that has come out the same at ~60%, with 2 different supply stores milling the grain.

My sparge arm isn't the best (came with my all grain HLT and Mash kit), but still I expected improvement over the batch sparge method.

Here is the recipe.
8 lb 2 row brewers Briess
1 lb Munich
1 lb pilsen
0.5 lb carapils
0.5 lb caramel 60
0.5 lb of Gambriesus honey

Estimated 6 gal OG is 1.044 with 60% efficiency....My measured OG was 1.043 - 1.044.

I'm open to suggestions... Haha

Offline BOB357

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 08:03:49 AM »
Mash efficiency or Brewhouse efficiency?
Bob

Offline fabb2004

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 11:19:51 AM »
Mash efficiency. Seems like I should be doing better than 60%. My grist ratio was ~2:1 (11.5 lbs of grain and 6 gallons of water). I thought about adjusting my ratio, but my grain bed is currently around 3 inches, with the water just at the top of the bed. Not all the grain would be under water if I went with a thicker mash. 2:1 gives me pretty good viscosity on my lautering too.

Thoughts?

Offline Oginme

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 11:56:25 AM »
Theoretically, a fly sparge will be more efficient than batch sparging.  However, in practice there are many issues which can keep fly sparging from being efficient, such as channeling of water, dead spaces that don't drain well, poor drainage design, etc. 

Your water to grain ratio is fine.  Since you are getting about half of your volume from the initial runnings, you have a good split to maximize your efficiency. Changing your initial infusion amount will not correct for a poor crush.

Low mash efficiency usually is a case of poor crush.  Look through your grist and if you can pick out uncrushed kernels of grain in a  small handful, then your crush is inefficient.  Many LHBS will grind coarse because the last thing they want is for customers to come back complaining of stuck sparges.  One way to check for your crush being too coarse is to extend the time of your mash.  Take a small amount our to check the gravity at your normal time, then wait for a half hour and check it again.  With a poor crush, you should see a significant jump in gravity readings over time.  If the gravity readings are close to the same, then your issue is most likely channeling or poor drainage.

 
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Offline fabb2004

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 12:41:24 PM »
That makes sense. My initial inspection of the crush seemed okay, but this is certainly worth trying.
It's worth noting that I didn't drain my initial runnings first this time...pretty much went right into fly sparging. Normally I would drain the first runnings to get maybe half of the boil volume, then batch sparge the rest.

I think next time I will extend my mash period and run the first runnings before fly sparging.

Thanks for the input.

Offline TIANTAI Derrick

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 01:01:46 AM »
Normally we think the mashing efficiency at about 74%-79, which can influence by many factors.

1)The malts.
There is a saying, the best brews start from best malts. As you know, the great quality malt exist lots of amylase and protease which can convent starches into sugars.
So higher quality malts can produce much more extraction.

2)The brewhouse
The process of malt extraction must go through some different heating stage, which require efficient heating capacity and accurate temperature sensor on tanks.
So steam jacket, insulation, and temperature sensor etc for mash/kettle tank is necessary.

3)Mashing method, for example infusion mashing and decoction mashing
Longer mashing time can get a higher mashing efficiency.

Offline jtoots

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 05:25:12 AM »
It's worth noting that I didn't drain my initial runnings first this time...pretty much went right into fly sparging. Normally I would drain the first runnings to get maybe half of the boil volume, then batch sparge the rest.

I think next time I will extend my mash period and run the first runnings before fly sparging.

You want to keep the water level above the top of the settled grains during the entire sparging process, not drain first then start fly sparging.  This will prevent the channeling that Oginme referred to.  In other words, the grains optimally will remain completely submerged during the sparge (until the end if you drain the mash tun).

Offline KipDM

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2017, 04:50:08 PM »
If you don't check your pH you might want to start checking that, just in case. Or you could just go ahead and use pH stabilizers.
Also, if you tend to stockpile it could be your grains have gotten old and lost efficiency/starches that way.
Another cheap option to attempt [if you wish] is to add just a little [say 1/4 the recommended amount] of amylase enzyme to a batch.

Are you mashing in at 154 or is that the temperature after mashing in? If it is your premash temp then you need a longer mash time.
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Offline bowhunter64

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2017, 10:33:29 AM »
there have been some posts on here about Briess 2 row and low efficiency. I use Briess and have had similar issues as of late from what I understand there were some lots of 2row that were bad.

Offline Ck27

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Re: efficiency problem
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2017, 01:46:57 PM »
there have been some posts on here about Briess 2 row and low efficiency. I use Briess and have had similar issues as of late from what I understand there were some lots of 2row that were bad.

Yeah from what I was told 3 lots have potential to be bad and Briess told me more beer also got the same lot as my local home brew shop so if you live in California or the western coast in general your Briess is possibly bad.