Help: Embarrasingly Low Efficiency On First Braumeister Brew.

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Mr. No-Tip

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Hey Brewers,

I put my new 50l braumeister through its paces this weekend - an IPA and a Porter with the small malt pipe. Things went pretty well, but the efficiency was terrible.

(I realise there's a BM tips and tricks thread, but didn't want to derail it with this can of worms)

Saturday - IPA.

My IPA mashed in 5.45kgs at 23l, step mash: 38,52(10min),65(60min),72(30min),78(15min). Sparged up to 25l, boiled down to ~19l in 90 mins.

I ambitiously planned for 80% efficiency based on experiences I'd read. Beersmith suggested I should have hit 1.054 pre boil and 1.065 post. Instead I got 1.038 and 1.050. That's low 50s efficiency! :(

Sunday - Porter.

After the IPA issues I tried a finer crack - I'd been wanting to avoid wort fountains, but maybe overcompensated (pics below). I don't actually know what the crack widths are on my millmaster, but it was a couple clicks in from the day before's crack. Pump found it a little harder, but no major issues.

For the Porter I mashed in 5kg of grain at 23l, step mash same as yesterday except went an hour at 67 instead of 65. Same sparge and boil as yesterday.

I decieded I'd build the recipe baes on 70% eff this time. On that basis, grav should been 1.045/1.054, but instead I got 1.038/1.051. Still under 60% efficiency.

Other notes:

- I've attached photos of the two grain cracks - I thought for sure the finer crack would get me out of trouble, but not so. The crack seems to be similar to what I've gotten from the HBS previously. Anymore and I'd be concerned that the BM would struggle to pump

- I was doing the old 'pause and stir' - two or three times during the main mash period.

- Today I noticed that the machine wasn't entirely even - after the wort was pumped it was gravitating to the back slightly - but the flow was still going on all sides of the pipe.

- I think my sparge was 'slow' but don't have much to compare it with. Poured in 1l lots over about a minute - let that drain for a few minutes before the next. Yesterday I poured straight into the grain, but today left the filter on to disperse the liquid more.



My problem isn't the efficiency numbers in terms of grain cost, but due to the water/grain limits, this sort of efficiency just won't let me brew the beers I want.

Any ideas what I could be doing wrong?

Day1Grain.jpg


Day2Grain.jpg
 

doon

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What did you take the reading with? Hydrometer or refrac?
 

Florian

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Have you checked your crush? It's a bit hard to see on the picture, but it looks to me that there are quite a few uncracked grains in there.
I usually check that the grains that look uncracked are indeed cracked, I also usually run my grist twice through the mill on the same setting.

I recall on one of my earlier brews I had a really low efficiency too, and on closer look there was a ton of uncracked grain on top of the malt pipe.

At a quick glimpse your numbers, mash, procedure etc seems ok, so I would concentrate on the crush, unless someone else has a better idea.
 

doon

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Also I don't do the pause and stir anymore don't see the point in it. I think mine always tends to run to one side more then the other.
 

Mr. No-Tip

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Thanks for the quick replies.

Reading were taken on both hydro and refrac - similar within a few points. And my hydro is one of those fancy ones with a themometer....so I am pretty sure it's accurate.

First crack I definitely saw some solid looking grains, but a quick inspection suggested they all had some cracking. Maybe not enough. The second crack there was a lot more flour and I couldn't find anything that looked solid - I'll try running through twice.

Stirring - I guess that was a desperate attempt to get the eff up - I've heard mixed advice as to whether there is any point.
 

humulus

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Have you checked your crush? It's a bit hard to see on the picture, but it looks to me that there are quite a few uncracked grains in there.
I usually check that the grains that look uncracked are indeed cracked, I also usually run my grist twice through the mill on the same setting.

I recall on one of my earlier brews I had a really low efficiency too, and on closer look there was a ton of uncracked grain on top of the malt pipe.

At a quick glimpse your numbers, mash, procedure etc seems ok, so I would concentrate on the crush, unless someone else has a better idea.
I do the same as Florian,run my grain through the mill twice without changing the setting getting around the high 70s/low 80s eff
 

MHB

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Couple of points that might help
Cracking finer gave you a better if still too low a yield, so looking at your crush it might be part of the problem.
Is this your first AG brew? Why Im asking is if you were previously doing AG what was your efficiency (your sig doesnt say where youre from) and I would like to know a lot more about your water chemistry. Its worth noting your darker beer gave a better yield (crush aside) it could be that your water is just too at high a pH and that the darker wort was naturally closer to the right balance.
Very much worth knowing your waters calcium content too
Mark
 

black_labb

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Have you checked that the temp probe is reading the correct temperature with a glass thermometer?
 

Mr. No-Tip

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Couple of points that might help
Cracking finer gave you a better if still too low a yield, so looking at your crush it might be part of the problem.
Is this your first AG brew? Why I'm asking is if you were previously doing AG what was your efficiency (your sig doesn't say where you're from) and I would like to know a lot more about your water chemistry. It's worth noting your darker beer gave a better yield (crush aside) it could be that your water is just too at high a pH and that the darker wort was naturally closer to the right balance.
Very much worth knowing your waters calcium content too
Mark
Hi Mark, I am in Canberra. I understand our water is pretty decent, though Dr. K has suggested to members of the brewer's club that calcium additions can be beneficial. Total hardness of 39.6 as CaCO3. In terms of PH: "90% of values between 7.5 and 8.5". I have some of that PH5.2 stuff, but haven't used as yet.

I have done BIAB for a little while previously . My last couple brews were also low eff - low 60s, but I've also managed to be well into the 70s before. Never anything below 60.

Have you checked that the temp probe is reading the correct temperature with a glass thermometer?
No. Excellent idea. I'll stick 30 litres in tonight and see what I find. I did notice that the boil became pretty visible at about 98 degrees - this surprised me after hearing the boil is fairly subtle at 100+. Will report back.
 

matho

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Hi Mark, I am in Canberra. I did notice that the boil became pretty visible at about 98 degrees - this surprised me after hearing the boil is fairly subtle at 100+. Will report back.
I just googled the elevation of canberra and its about 580m, I live in the blue mountains at an elevation of 620m and wort starts to boil at about 97 degs up here and peaks at about 98, 100 deg boil is just for those low land people
cheers steve
 

Hadrian

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Looks like you didn't use much sparge water?
 

Florian

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Looks like you didn't use much sparge water?
About 7L, more than enough for the system. It's designed to be a full volume mash, no or only minimal sparging is required.
 

Mr. No-Tip

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Have you checked that the temp probe is reading the correct temperature with a glass thermometer?
Shame, I really thought you had something there. An explanation....and one that was not my fault. Unfortunately, ze Germans spot on (of course). I tracked the temp perfectly against two glass thermometers all the way from mash in to boil.

...back to the drawing board...
 

mikec

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Mate, you're BM's fucked. I'll give you $100 for the scrap metal value.
 

Mr. No-Tip

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Mate, you're BM's fucked. I'll give you $100 for the scrap metal value.
Shit, you're probably right. I have some other stuff here you might want, too. Few kegs (full of course)...what else? My car needed petrol last week, so you'd better take that, too....

:p
 

Mr. No-Tip

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Revisiting this thread a couple brews later.

A double mash 1090 DIPA came out in the low 60s, and today's Little Creatures clone cleared 70% efficiency....I put this down to a finer crack. Still not hitting the efficiencies I've read about on here, but getting there...
 

Bizier

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What sorts of malts are you using (e.g. highly modified/undermodified)?
Did you alter the water on your mash with some CASO4 (or anythingt else) for your recent batches?
Have you checked your mash pH yet?
 

Mr. No-Tip

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What sorts of malts are you using (e.g. highly modified/undermodified)?
Did you alter the water on your mash with some CASO4 (or anythingt else) for your recent batches?
Have you checked your mash pH yet?
B&B Ale Malt has been the primary malt in all the brews so far.

Now that you mention it, I used PH5.2 stabilizer on the last two batches as well - possibly also a factor?
 

Batz

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OK silly question I know but worth asking.

You are using the small malt pipe in your 50lt BM, have you adjusted the volume in your brewing software to accommodate this?
 
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