Author Topic: Efficiency issue  (Read 131800 times)

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #45 on: April 04, 2014, 07:06:41 AM »
Tom,  I see now it was apples & oranges.  I did see Kai's chart in your previous post and printed it for my brewday folder.  I didn't consult it cause I knew I would be far away from his numbers.  Thank you for that.

I am over the small batch tests.  I skewed the tests last nite.  But I had to run my whole grains thru my mill 3 times to match the crush on the homebrew store bought crush.     Will read up on calibration batches.  I kinda figured that's where I was headed when Brewfun recommended it.  My shortcuts don't work.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2014, 07:38:27 AM »
...shortcuts don't work.

Shortcuts rarely do in problem solving.  They usually end up as longcuts. ;)

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KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #47 on: April 05, 2014, 05:06:21 AM »
I took another look at the numbers I got from the last test on the store-bought crush and the one that I ran thru my mill 3 times.  Was at a real high qt/lb but they were still on Kai's first wort gravity chart.

@3.04 qt/lb got 1.039 or 90%

@3.25 qt/lb got 1.037 or 90%

I think this points only at the crush.


KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2014, 09:13:21 AM »
Quote
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.

Is there a resource on how to do a proper calibration batch?  Its easier for me to do a 10 gallon. I understand the data points required.  I googled it and read into the double digit pages of results. Nothin.  Don't want to be a bore with a bunch of questions.  Thank you.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2014, 01:04:00 AM »
Is there a resource on how to do a proper calibration batch? 

Calibration batches are a pro thing. Nothing glamorous, they're just a reference measurement and a guide for optimizing brewery flow. Being consistent is everything, so weight is the best way to accomplish this.

I try to target easy numbers. I know your engineering background, but I'm going to add extra detail to the procedure for those that may have questions.

You'll need some tools:
#14 sieve (14 strands per inch)
#4 sieve, or just mesh fabric. (optional)
Both of the above are available on ebay
Scale precise to .01 oz. Even better if it'll do grams.

So, Let's shoot for 75% efficiency.
Precisely measure 20 lbs (10kg) of pale malt.

First calibration: Malt crush
Take a 8 oz sample of the malt.
Mill it
Weigh it and make sure it is still 8 oz. Look for places in the mill that might be collecting grain and clear them.
Don't shake it or compact the sample. Ideally, it should be as fluffy as it comes out from the mill.    Sieve the crushed malt through. Capturing the dust is a plus, but not required.
Use a fresh paint brush to remove any particles that went through the sieve but clung below the screen. 
Carefully pour the remaining malt into a clean container to weigh. Make sure to tare the scale to the container.

You should have between 5.2 and 5.6 oz of grist. This represents 65% to 70% of the grain weight. Above that and the mill gap is too wide, below that and it might be too fine. The number in a pro brewery is 50%. This is pretty perfect for a homebrewing setup and shoots for 85% total mash efficiency when fly sparging.

Secondary, you can sieve this through a #4 screen to separate out large and uncrushed grains. This weight should not exceed 5% and is hopefully just 2%. Look for out of parallel rollers as a source of large sized particles. This may not be correctable since at least one manufacturer (Schmidling) purposely engineers their mill to have a varied gap.

Obviously, you'd repeat the above until the crush lined up with optimal settings.

Mill the grain and make sure the total weight is still 20 lbs. Some makeup grain may be required if you had to repeat the gap procedure a lot.

Weigh out 40 lbs of water and heat to strike temperature, targeting 150 degrees. If your procedure is to preheat, do this with separate water. Drain completely. A few drops left are insignificant, a measurable puddle would be undesirable.

Mash in with 100% of the strike water, targeting 150 degrees. Mix thoroughly, but not too long. The crush should be sufficient to allow mixing. Nothing good comes from fondling the mash. Let this sit for 45 minutes.

While the mash rests, prepare 20 lbs more water and heat to 180 F

At 20 minutes into the mash, take a pH reading. This is your nominal pale grist pH. All future acid adjustments spring from this number.

At 30 minutes, take a gravity reading. Based on the tables that Tom posted, if you're at saturation at this time, you have optimal mash conditions. If you're not, take another gravity every 5 minutes and record the rise. At the point it doesn't rise for 3 consecutive readings, you're at saturation. Compare that to the mash conversion tables.

One note on the iodine test and why I don't include it. This measures large hydrolyzed starches that haven't debranched. A wort can pass the test in 25 or 30 minutes, but this DOES NOT guarantee full conversion. Measuring wort gravity tells you much more about that.

Once your wort is at full saturation, add the 10 lbs of water, stir gently. This should raise the mash to 155 F and excite any remaining alpha amylase into working faster.

Let this rest for 5 minutes and take a gravity reading. If the number falls below the same relative saturation, you may have a grist that is too coarse. Simply, the additional water isn't pulling enough sugar from the grain. This is confirmed if the gravity rises because the amylase is converting starch into dextrin.

This may have created questions, I will stop and pick up the sparge boil in a day or so.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 06:48:52 AM by brewfun »
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2014, 03:54:05 AM »
Wow.  I was just hoping for a reference to pick up a brewing text.  Thank you for this.  The time stamp on your post says it all.

Offline ofobrewing

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2014, 06:27:25 PM »
Hi Guys

I have a similar problem, my Brewhouse efficiency has been adjusted as indicated by the forum/video, but I only achieved 48.8%, 51.15% and 50,8% respectively on my last 3 brew days.

Normally I'm undershooting my pre-boil water and my runoff gravity
I'm using a 30 liters cooler with a metal filter in the bottom and it does keeps the temperature during the mash.

Is there a way to improve this, in my opinion this is a very poor performance knowing that I hit my target temps by 1 degree Celsius, and at the end of the mashing time still within one degree or so. I normally brew with bottled water as my tap water is super hard and with a lot of chlorine, on top of it I have a "water softener, which uses salt to get rid of the hardness.

Any ideas, it is frustrating......

Thanks.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2014, 06:39:56 PM »
Ofobrewing -

I don't mean to be rude, but have you read this whole thread?  There is a lot of advice in the previous 3 pages of posts.
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 ofobrewing

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2014, 08:28:17 PM »
No offense taken.... in my defense it was 3am in the morning when I posted it... now 4:30 am

I did fail to read the second page where the bulk of the information is located that's a lot of material to go through but is what it is....

Thanks a lot for all this information

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2014, 08:17:41 AM »
Just an update...

I'm attending a seminar today called "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Kettle."

It's data from one brewery. The presentations will present lauter efficiency under various mash, lauter and sparge conditions.

Seems timely!
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2014, 04:13:03 PM »
I am sieving with envy.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #56 on: April 12, 2014, 10:18:47 AM »
From the seminar I noted above, I did come away with 1 nugget to share. The concept of a 1:1 sparge ratio. This was new to me. It simply meant that the amount of sparge water used should equal the amount of total mash water. The benefit is to maintain efficiency and reduce polyphenol (tannin) and protein pickup that increases at the end of sparge.

Additionally, allowing the mash to drain at the end of the sparge increased efficiency.

Mash tun design is critical to total efficiency. In short, when the weight force and friction of the grain exceeds the buoyancy created by water, channeling and uneven extraction. In other words: there is a diminishing return to cramming a mash tun full, and/or having a sparge shape where the height is more than the width (i.e. keg shapes).  Batch sparging is pretty much the only way to overcome the inefficiency of that shape.

Thumbnail Procedure:
• 1:1 liquor to grist ratio
• Proper mash pH
*This creates the fastest and most complete conversion at temperatures of 150 F (65 C)
After full conversion is achieved (according to gravity, not iodine):
• Add water to achieve 1.4:1 to 1.5:1 ratio.
• Stir to distribute heat. EVEN HEAT IS ESSENTIAL!
• Hold until gravity stabilizes.
• The volume of runoff should be approximately 50% of your post boil volume.
• Fly or Batch Sparge with EXACTLY the same volume of water that went into the mash
Sparge water should be adjusted ONLY to create low RA
• Add top up water to achieve your preboil volume.

If anything, you should only have a minor change from your maximum efficiency. Runnings under 4 Plato (1.016) have increasing levels of polyphenol and significantly less fermentability. Keeping some of this is important to beer tasting right, but not all of it.

I’m going to put this into practice in my own brewery and report how well the results match the expectations above. I’d appreciate reports from anyone that uses the procedure as laid out.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 10:22:20 AM by brewfun »
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #57 on: April 12, 2014, 10:34:08 AM »
In case anyone thinks that this changes or negates any of the "tried-and-true" mash/sparge methods, it doesn't. Quality wort is still quality wort. Proper methods are assumed in the post above.

These include:
Fresh ingredients
Balanced, low RA water profile
Runoff pH below 6.0
Proper Calcium levels
Mashout Temperature achieved
Low oxygen pickup (don't fondle the mash!)
Appropriate time spent at each step

Use common sense. Obviously, over filled mashtuns might not take that liquor to grist ratio. But, still maintaining a 1:1 ratio seems to be a key according to the data presented. Every mashtun has an optimal gravity to efficiency ratio. We all routinely exceed this ratio and that's ok, but it varies the results a bit.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

KernelCrush

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #58 on: April 12, 2014, 10:46:00 AM »
When equalizing mash water and sparge water volumes, you do account for grain absorption?   I go to the volumes tab and use the figure under 'water available from mash' and use a sparge volume equal to that.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Efficiency issue
« Reply #59 on: April 12, 2014, 10:52:02 AM »
When equalizing mash water and sparge water volumes, you do account for grain absorption? I go to the volumes tab and use the figure under 'water available from mash' and use a sparge volume equal to that.

EXCELLENT QUESTION!!

I'm not entirely sure, because it wasn't directly addressed.

However, the ratio I stated above takes the grist to 1.25:1 (ish) PLUS grain absorption and achieves the 1:1 sparge ratio in the second half of the process.

It also streamlines the process in a way that can be utilized in BeerSmith.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.