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Brewing Topics => Brewing Discussion => Topic started by: Shakey_Dog on September 15, 2004, 07:37:36 AM

Title: Efficiency
Post by: Shakey_Dog on September 15, 2004, 07:37:36 AM
The last two batches I have made I have not gotten the efficiency I had hopped for.  One in the low 50's and the other in the mid 50's.  I have a 5 gal cooler system and did not do anything different that usual.  Any Suggestions on how to boost things? ???
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: maltdog on September 15, 2004, 09:24:01 AM
Don't know if this will help, but I had a similar problem.
Earlier this year, my efficiency dropped from 80% to around 67%, which coincided with a perceptible difference in the taste of my brewing (filtered tap) water. Turns out the pH was around 7.8!
My last brew, I adjusted the brewing water with food grade 10% phosphoric acid (from LHBS) to approximately 6.0. Mash pH was 5.3, and efficiency rose to 76%.
I never used to measure pH before, but then the water always tasted the same. In another state, I used artisinal wellwater to brew- it tasted great, I regularly got around 83%, and I always got fantastic creamy foam with good retention. Sure wish I could fing good water around here.
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: t on September 15, 2004, 11:37:10 AM
do you gring your own grain?
if someone else does it for you that could have a big impact on Eff.

do you mash out?

if not give that a try some time.
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: Shakey_Dog on September 15, 2004, 11:47:33 AM
I do not grind my own.  Could it be that the grind is too corse?  

Sometimes I do mashout by pulling off some of the wort and heating that then adding back to the mash.  Using a coller system I do not always have room to add the extra water.

Thanks
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: t on September 15, 2004, 12:43:47 PM
well im not sure of your problem but i can say this.

when i have my grain milled sometimes they mill to cource and that will take me from 75% to 60%-65%

do you measure your water usage corectlly? extra water will have a big impact.

did you properly wiegh out the ingreadiants? if it was a kit and they where a little off on the grain and you were off on the water that could be alot.

keep a log of everything and you will see where the problem is.

crush gap
water quanity
weights
temps
time etc. etc.

after that you will start to see what needs to be done.

hope that helps

Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: BeerSmith on September 15, 2004, 01:01:27 PM
I concur,
 The mill of the grain has been most important in my experience.

Brad
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: cmbrougham on September 15, 2004, 01:13:53 PM
I had efficiency problems when I first began AG. Turns out that my thermometers were way out of whack, and were giving seriously erroneous measurements. Verify that your thermometer is properly calibrated in boiling water, and in water with some crushed ice, or at least against another thermometer that you know is correct. I guess I just have a hard time believing that if your grain crush could change enough to cause such a hit... but stanger things have happened :D
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: Shakey_Dog on September 16, 2004, 01:00:17 AM
I think I may have got lazy on the amount of water :P.  Looking back at my notes I do not have anything checked off.  Maybe over sparge also.

Thanks everybody ;D
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: littlebrew on October 10, 2004, 03:10:17 AM
I am slowly improving metodologies and equipment.  I have learned more from DIY efforts, errors in design, and advice from you experienced and wise homebrewers.  

Do any of you have a "blue print" for a Good homemade sparger??
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: BeerSmith on October 10, 2004, 03:16:52 AM
I used to have a separate lauter tun, but I've found it is much easier to just buy a cooler and mash and sparge all in one tun.  I have a rubbermaid 5 gallon "water cooler".

Mine is fitted with a "Phils false bottom" which works well, and then the output is routed through the hole for the spigot.

Many other people use square coolers with networks of small PVC or copper pipes.  If you cut the pipe halfway through with a hacksaw in many places it can make a very efficient lauter screen.

Cheers!
Brad
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: Shakey_Dog on October 10, 2004, 12:11:31 PM
Update on the batch that started this thread.  

It tastes great ;D.  It is more like a hoppy pale ale then what I had intended it to be.  It was supposed to be more like an amber.  But as long as the final result is good who the hell cares, right :-*.  Next time I will pay closer care to the amount of water and worry less about what cigar I am smoking ::).  But it seems to be going fast.

I also use a 5 gal rubbermaid cooler and it is very easy to use.  Mash and sparge in the same one.  And I just started to batch sparge.  That is the way to go.

Brew On!

Don
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: cmbrougham on October 10, 2004, 02:45:12 PM
Quote
Do any of you have a "blue print" for a Good homemade sparger??

Yes! I wrote an article awhile back about the mash/lauter tun that I built and currently use. Several brewers have used the plans and also had success with the MLT. It's based around a 48-quart rectangular picnic cooler. PM me with your email address if you're interested in the file--it's a Word document with pictures.

colin
Title: Re: Efficiency
Post by: liquidbrains on October 25, 2004, 05:22:18 AM
Quote

Do any of you have a "blue print" for a Good homemade sparger??


They key is to distribute the sparge water evenly over the suface of the mash and to prevent channeling.  If you let the water rain down onto one spot, it will drill a hole straight to the bottom of the mash.

I've seen a variety of design, from trickling the water in over the back of a spoon to rotating sparge arms.

I have a Phils sparge arm in a 5usg Gott cooler. Before that, I used a foil pie plate that I had perferated with a carpet tack.

Or, you could just batch sparge...  :)

-L