Author Topic: Having efficiency issues, ending up with too much volume at end of boil  (Read 9812 times)

Offline WingedWheel329

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 17
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Having efficiency issues, ending up with too much volume at end of boil
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 07:30:00 AM »
It sounds like your boil off rate is significantly less than you think it is. The gain of 0.75 gallons means that your 90 minute total was 1.58 gallons of boil off, or 1.1 gallons per hour.

Your gravity of 1.041 in 6 gallons becomes 246 gravity points (41 x6 = 246). When that's divided by the pre-boil gravity, you had to have started with ~7.68 gallons (246 / 32 = 7.69). The difference is 1.58 gallons, which you said was your hourly rate.

I'm completely discounting trub loss, because that is only a factor for efficiency. Add that amount to my totals and the math will still work.

I'm not a big fan of the 5.2 product. It's tailored for a particular level of minerals and if they're exceeded, then all bets are off. I think you're better off with a little acidulated malt if you're working blind. I'm not going to suggest a full water report and water spreadsheet out of respect for your "relaxing hobby" thought.

In this case, I'm wondering if you got full conversion before sparging. A pretty standard 1.25:1 liquor ratio should get you about 1.096 first runnings when you have full conversion. The 1.078 first runnings your reporting are full conversion for a mash ratio of 1.6:1. This is one easy place to measure and gauge whether you're getting the most from the grain.

It's common for LHBS mills to be set wide. Simply, 75% of their business is new, extract brewers and a fine crush is more problematic for them. Since they want people to enjoy the hobby and buy more kits, that's what the mill is set for. Most often, just asking them to mill the grain twice is sufficient.
Over the summer, I tested the boiloff rate twice. First, I boiled for an hour and measured the difference between the known volume I started with, and what was left. Then, after thinking that 1.54 gals. was too much, I did it again (a different day) for 15 minutes, and multiplied the loss by 4. This gave me 1.625 gals. I averaged the two and used 1.58 gals. Is there a better way to measure this?

As far as the water report, I have one. Well, the report for the water system that I get my water from anyway. I've been intending to start using Bru'n Water, but haven't gotten to it yet.

I will start milling twice at the shop, but this may be an excuse to get my own mill, that way I can set it up properly and know that the crush is good.

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2288
  • Malt dust is just alcohol's glitter
Re: Having efficiency issues, ending up with too much volume at end of boil
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 06:25:28 PM »
Over the summer, I tested the boiloff rate twice.

I believe you.

I'm not able to come up with a better explanation for the extra volume because it equals either a half hour of boil time, or a high water evaporation rate that isn't transferring to wort.

Is your wort boil as vigorous as the water test was?

When troubleshooting, there's only three things to look at: Ingredients, Procedure or Equipment. Typically, any single issue only has one cause but can have multiple corrections. In the case of efficiency, it's likely ingredients. With the volume, I can safely assume a pot and burner work as intended, leaving procedure as the likely issue.

When my boil timing was dictated by other procedures that needed to happen (like emptying the mash tun) it could vary by 20 minutes or more. I averaged the timing into recipes and procedures and it worked. Once the jobs were separated, the boil timing became tighter and the result was less boil-off than intended, thus lower gravities. Not good, in a commercial setting.

In brewing, it's not was goes right that matters, but how you adapt to the variables of each batch.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline WingedWheel329

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 17
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Having efficiency issues, ending up with too much volume at end of boil
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2014, 06:33:03 PM »
Well thanks, brewfun. You've been a wealth of information and I appreciate your help immensely!

 

modification