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Efficiency - Elementary Mash Process

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Goose

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Hi chaps,

Onto my second PM, this time using 2 kg of Grain. For interests sake the recipe is below (comments welcome of course), but the purpose of the post is to get some idea of what kind of extraction efficiency you think I am getting using a very elementary process of mashing.

Because I am limited on equipment and starting slowly, I did it this way; grain goes in 2 muslin bags each containing approx 1 kg each. Mash water is ratio 3 : 1 ie 6 litres of water in a 20 litre boiler which I use as a mash tun. Temperature controlled beween 65-68 deg C using probe thermometer inserted directly into the grain bag centre and checked regularly, mash time 1 hour, I occasionally agitate the bags inside the mash pot by lifting and dunking. After the mash, in a separate pot containing 3.5 litres of water at 67 deg C I soak each bag sequentially for a bout 5 minutes, then raise and drain 4 or 5 times. Then I let each bag sit in a collander for another 5 or 10 mins for all the remaining liquid to drain out, I then return the drained liquid to the mash tun, which then becomes my boiler. So I end up with about 7.5 to 8 litres in the boil.

My question is, what kind of extraction efficiency would you guess I am getting doing this hack job of a mash ? Is 60% asking too much ? I suppose I could try to calculate it but would not know where to start...

Recipe is as follows:

Malt Extract
DME 2.41 kg

Grains
UK Pale 2 Row Grain 1.0 kg
Carapils Malt 0.5 kg
Crystal Malt 0.5 kg

Hops
NZ Green Bullet Hops cones 75g (1 hour boil in a mulsin bag)
Saaz Pellets 50g (25g for 30 mins, 15 g for 15 min, 15g for 3 mins and latter two go into primary fermenter)
Saaz 12g Dry Hopping in secondary

Yeast
SafAle yeast , hydrated
Brew Temperature: 18-20 deg C
Final Volume: 24.5 litres
 

pint of lager

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Trying to work out efficiencies for mini mashing is unfair on you and your equipment. It is like trying to work out litres per 100km for a lawn mower.

Mini mashing gear generally has low efficiency rates due to poor extraction.

A good general rule when working out recipes for mini mashing, is for every kilo of grain, expect roughly the equivalent of 500 gms of LME into your brew. So for people used to doing a regular kit and kilo brew, use the resulting fluid from 2 kilos of malted grain. The majority of the brew come from your LME or DME additions. Take og readings, and when you want to tailor your brews a bit more, such as extract and mini mashing brewing, you have a figure to work from.

Extraction efficiency figures need a few things. You need a starting point of how much a lab under controlled conditions can extract. You then compare how much your gear extracts and compare the two to give a percentage. This is extraction rate into the boiler. Then you have losses in your system due to wort losses in trub, hops etc. This alters your overall system efficiency rate into the fermenter.

When I started mini mashing, I sat down and worked through all the figures, and worked out my efficiency, it was under 50%, disheartening, until I realised, this is not what mini mashing is about. It is about getting some real grain flavour into your brew, exploring the brewing process and learning how to brew.

PLeae post the alpha acid rating of your green bullet hops, 75 gms sounds like way too much.
 

Goose

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Thanks POL.
Exploring is the right word the context of my brewing travels.

I will never brew another kit again, I found them inconsistent and most of them left kind of metallic, chemical aftertaste. My first partial grain brew, by comparison, was awesome. As you can see I am on the road to AG brewing, I figure it makes sense to do as much grain as I can with my existing equipment.

On the hops, yeah I reckon I've stuffed up there. The Green Bullet "immediate fresh" AA% is about 11% :blink: but they are not packed in foil, nor vaccuum packed (Oct 04) and I was told by the supplier to halve the "fresh" AA rating. Further, the last brew I did I used 55g Galena Pellets, supposedly 12% AA, I boiled these for 1 hour and the beer was OK, hardly too bitter. The AA% of these hops must depends on how fresh they are. Time will tell.

Sorr to go off topic, but while I have you here, I'm looking at some equipment. Debating whether I should go for a separate mash tun and boiler, or a Boiler Like this beast I've seen from EBS:


or


Presume I'd need a false bottom in there, but then I'd have to empy and clean, then get the wort back in the for the boil... so was wondering if you guys thought it best I go for one of these as well:



But I like the idea of being able to turn up the heat on the cooktop just a tad to maintain temperature, clearly I would not be able to do it with the glorified esky above..

Suggestions welcome.

I'm prepared to chuck bit of $ at it so would like to get it right.
 

pint of lager

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Everyone's choice is different, but I would suggest a separate boiler to the mash tun.

As you point out, a mash tun you can pop back on the heat is tempting, but a good esky will hold the temperature ok. In my mini mashing days, I mashed in a saucepan which I popped back on the stove. These days, I mash 10kg of grain with 25 litres of water in an insulated vessel with a false bottom fitted. Chiller has a ss vessel that he mashes in, and he can also gently heat it with his naasa burner.

A good 3 tier system makes brewing easier and lets gravity be your friend. The gallery is almost back up, and this will show many of the different bew systems people have. Just ask Barfridge, he wishes he had a proper stand, he now has a scalded arm and a dented boiler.

Whatever you buy, I can just about gaurantee, you will be saying in a years time, "gee, I wish I had bought the bigger/boiler/mash tun/chiller/mill." The people that are happiest are the ones that organised kegs as their boilers and brewgear.

Back to your hops, so long as they have been sealed and stored frozen, they should not have deteriorated too much. Promash includes an aging feature.

Welcome to the passion.
 

redbeard

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re : equipment

i have an esky for the mashtun using batch sparging, which is more forgiving than fly sparging. the esky keeps the heat surprisingly well. if you wanted to change the temp, you can drain some liquid from the esky & heat it up.

also have a 60l ss vessel which i currently use for both hlt & boiler. i can only do this by capturing the 1st sparge in a 18l stockpot. ive done a couple of ag's this way and is reasonably workable. ive decided to get a seperate boiler in the near future, but am still happy to be doing ag's.

you should also think about a chiller after deciding on a boiler.

cheers
 

Gough

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G'day Goose,

Just to back up what the others have said... Those boilers in the photos may well be fine depending on their capacity. An easy and often cheaper alternative though is to "find" a 50 litre keg or two. This gives an excellent capacity for your standard 23 litre batch in terms of boil size with room to increase your batch/boil size if you wish. An insulated keg can also make an excellent mash tun and can carefully be heated from below if you want. Personally though, the esky has worked well for me and is not a part of my setup I'm looking to really replace in a hurry...

Good luck,

Shawn.
 

warrenlw63

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Goose,

Getting all the gear together will take a lot of time and money. You said you don't mind spending the money. Power to you if you can afford it all. :beer:

Good advice though is to get whatever you can lay your hands on and just produce all-grain batches with whatever is available in the meantime. This allows you to get a good understanding of the process and to "get some miles under your belt".

The equipment will slowly take care of itself. Believe it or not the beer will be just as good produced on makeshift gear as it is on big dollar stuff. Even partial mashes will make beers very close to full mash beers.

As someone may have already pointed out. Best piece of equipment to start out with is a wort chiller, then maybe a good-sized boiler or a converted keg to allow yourself to do full wort boils. Then source yourself an esky. Probably the larger the better. Say between 40-60 litres for a mashtun.

Warren -
 

Goose

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Thanks for the suggestions guys, extremely helpful. I am looking forward to having the gallery on this site up and running, very keen to see your variety of setups. I can get my hands on an industrial boiler, and I will work on getting a machine shop to make me a decent wort cooler. Problem is I live in the tropics...ambient water temperature is 28 deg C :angry: , methinks some sterile ice or pre-cooled water and a pump may have to be employed in addition...

Question, if I go the esky route (the big rectangular jobs seem the most common) what do you use for an extraction manifold ? Secondly, these ones seem to have a large footprint, is this likely to result in a poor drainage ie excessive dead volume of wort ?

I've done a search and seen the Brewtree setup mentioned a few times with envy(http://www.brewtree.com/index.html). Nice. Like I said I don't mind investing some $ to get it right, but I do have my limits. This setup seems to make well use of that free gravity out there like you say POL...,but I'd guess its cost would also buy one helluva lot of beer :rolleyes: :
 

warrenlw63

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Goose,

There's a plethora of information on this site. Try searching for what you want. I could probably take 5 paragraphs to give you some advice and scratchy information.

Easiest thing would be to point you to John Palmer's excellent "How To Brew Site". Every thing the beginning brewer needs to know and then some.

How To Brew

Keep us all posted of your progress.

Warren -
 

Gough

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Goose,

If you are thinking of using a rectangular esky then Palmer's pics and description of how to put it all together with a copper manifold is excellent - something you should check out if you haven't already. www.howtobrew.com He goes into some detail about various manifolds and flow rates etc. Helped me a lot anyway :)

Good luck,

Shawn.
 

Gough

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Too quick for me there Warren... :lol:

Shawn.
 

warrenlw63

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Flying fingers of fury. :chug: :lol:

Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrren - :blink:
 

Goose

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Will do the reading, lads, thanks.

I almost feel I need to sign up for a course on this at a TAFE or something.

Cheers...
 

pint of lager

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Don't know if your TAFE can help you. Our local TAFE does do a course, aimed at K+K.

For all grainers, you can do the brewing course at Ballarat Uni.

Keep reading old threads in the forums, make sure youare getting to the older threads, some search pages default to the last 30 days. Follow the links pages. Buy a couple of books.

Work on your contacts, you may know a plumber, welder, fitter, etc. Go scrounge in the scrap metal yard. Join up with a local club. Find a good bottleshop.

Some of the bigger brewshops run demo days. If you live anywhere near these, check them out. Pat Casey of Blue Mountains brewing, Leon at ESB in Randwick, Paul Rigby at Grain and Grape all do demos.
 

Borret

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warrenlw63 said:
Flying fingers of fury. :chug: :lol:

Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrren -
[post="70810"][/post]​
Mate, you two should just set up an automated reply that has a link to HTB that responds to anyone's first five posts . :lol:
It's the quick and the dead round 'ere! If Uncle John had a dollar for everytime some hit that link he'd be laughin' (although he probably already is) It is a great resource.

Borret :blink:
 

warrenlw63

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Borret said:
Mate, you two should just set up an automated reply that has a link to HTB that responds to anyone's first five posts . :lol:
[post="70823"][/post]​
Hey I could be sleeping by my letterbox :p :p

Warren -
 

Borret

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Letterbox.....luxury :D

Hey we all have our hobbies.

Borret
 

warrenlw63

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Guess it beats etherizing insects. :lol:

Though I think these guys may argue that point. :ph34r:

Warren -

gumbies.jpg
 

Borret

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Speaking of which.
Have you seen/tried this? They have it at the bottlo near work. A little pricey but I may have to add it to the collection!
grailale.jpg

Borret
 

warrenlw63

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Oohhh... There is a god after all. :wub:

Warren -
 

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