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Mash Tun Efficiency

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bus680

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I am having trouble with mash tun efficiency. I have an outermark esky with a copper manifold. I am batch sparging. However I am only getting 62- 65% out of the mash. Can anyone give me some tips on how to increase the efficiency as I am having to add more grain every time to get the gravity up.
 

sponge

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What is your mash out temp?
 

QldKev

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Whats your full mash and sparge regime including temperatures?
 

bus680

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Whats your full mash and sparge regime including temperatures?

I am mashing at 67 deg celcius and for one hour and sparging at 75 deg celcius. I am using Beersmith as my brewing software. I have attached a photo of the mash tun. I hope that it worked.

mashtun.JPG
 

Thirsty Boy

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full sparge/lauter routine too please (as well as your mash routine too)

run off before adding sparge?
Do you stir? When? How Long?
One addition of sparge water? Two? Three?


those sorts of things. Your exact and whole process, every little thing you do from crushing the grain to starting your boil

Thats the only way we can reasonably analyse what you are doing and suggest changes.

Oh - and how many brews have you done?? Because efficiency has a way of magically going up after you've got a few brews under your belt - if you haven't done more than 5 or 6 brews.... to be honest its too early for anyone to reasonably guess whats going on. You could be doing everything completely right and its just that the brewing furies have failed to grant you the efficiency they eventually will.

TB
 

AndrewQLD

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Looks like you could be getting some channeling given the uneven spacing of the copper manifold components, could affect eff. if your fly sparging.
 

bus680

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full sparge/lauter routine too please (as well as your mash routine too)

run off before adding sparge?
Do you stir? When? How Long?
One addition of sparge water? Two? Three?


those sorts of things. Your exact and whole process, every little thing you do from crushing the grain to starting your boil

Thats the only way we can reasonably analyse what you are doing and suggest changes.

Oh - and how many brews have you done?? Because efficiency has a way of magically going up after you've got a few brews under your belt - if you haven't done more than 5 or 6 brews.... to be honest its too early for anyone to reasonably guess whats going on. You could be doing everything completely right and its just that the brewing furies have failed to grant you the efficiency they eventually will.

TB
I do a 2 step sparge. First step about 5 liters depending on the recipe. I then drain the mash tun and add the rest of the sparge water. I stir for about 1 -2 minutes proir to closing the lid of the mashtun and leaving for 10 minutes before run off. I also temp check at every stage.

I have been brewing for 7 years and this is my 10th allgrain batch. The funny thing is that my first batch I had 81% efficiency and it has gone down from there. Could the crush have something to do with it? I get my grain crushed at the home brew store and they are a really knowledgeable bunch. Here is a photo of the crush.

P7030003.JPG
 

jonw

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That crush looks OK to me, though you'd probably get away with a bit finer.

Different malts will give you different efficiencies - are you comparing like with like between your first brew and your last?

If you're consistently getting ~60% efficiency, it's not such a big deal for the time being. Being consistent is more important than being efficient, when the cost of the latter is a few bucks.
 

felten

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Just FTR, where/how are you measuring the efficiency?
 

Thirsty Boy

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I do a 2 step sparge. First step about 5 liters depending on the recipe. I then drain the mash tun and add the rest of the sparge water. I stir for about 1 -2 minutes proir to closing the lid of the mashtun and leaving for 10 minutes before run off. I also temp check at every stage.

I have been brewing for 7 years and this is my 10th allgrain batch. The funny thing is that my first batch I had 81% efficiency and it has gone down from there. Could the crush have something to do with it? I get my grain crushed at the home brew store and they are a really knowledgeable bunch. Here is a photo of the crush.
Ok let me paraphrase your sparge process and see if i have it right - (btw - If i were to describe my process to someone this is the sort of format and level of detail I'd think it needed.) Yourprocess as Imunderstand it in blue, my comments in orange

After mashing for 1 hr at ??C at an L:G ratio of ?? - I conduct my lauter step by...

- add 5L of 75 water to the mash tun and stir it in thoroughly for a minute or two. The 5L is recipe dependent? Why? What is it dependent on? - I'm going to assume its because you are trying to make your two run-off volumes roughly equal?
- let the mash rest for 10 mins
- gently recirculate some wort till your run-off becomes nice and clear
- Drain the whole volume (run off step 1) to the kettle
- Add remaining sparge water @ 75 to the mash tun, stir it thoroughly for 1-2 mins
- Let the mash rest for 10mins
- gently recirculate some wort till your run-off becomes nice and clear
- Run-off the second batch to the kettle
- First and second sparge additions are calculated to give you your full kettle pre-boil volume in two equal run-off batches


If thats it - then your process is pretty bloody good and needs no real change except the ones I'll detail below - where it perhaps differers from that process (with my suggestions included).... is where your issues are likely to be.

- I added the vorlouf steps into your process, i assumed you had just forgotten to mention them, if y actually dont re-circulate your wort for a little while - start doing it
- The temp of your sparge water is too low. you want to bring if possible, the whole grain bed up to 78-80C - which you aren't going to do by adding 75 water to it. Try adding 85-90 water. The small amout you add in your first batch will heat things up a bit, and the secnd batch will get things all the way there.
- If you want you could have those rests a lot shorter than 10mins... a couple would do. I'd sooner see "stir two minutes, rest two minutes, stir two minutes, rest two minutes.... vorlauf" - less resting and more stirring, especially as you get your temperature up towards 78-80. No total increase in time required, but with added heat and added stirring, a much more intensive mash


And with that sort if mash/lauter regime there is no reason at all you shouldn't be getting "into the kettle" type efficiencies in the 78-80 range pretty regularly. Of course your efficiency will go up on beers with small grain bills and it will go down on ones with large grain bills - that always happens with batch sparging

If you aren't in that range and you are following your process with my tweaks - then its time to look at things like grain crush and mash pH - the things that stop you making the sugar in the first place rather than the things that allow or hinder you from simply collecting what you made
 

ashley_leask

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Quick way to isolate whether you have a conversion problem or a lautering problem is to measure the gravity in the mash before your 5L addition or any runoff and compare to the chart here for 100% conversion at whatever your water/grain ratio is. The entire article is well worth a read too.

Doing that measurement should tell you whether you need to look at factors (pH etc) to improve your conversion in the mash to get the best possible starch -> sugar outcome, or look at your lautering process to get more of those converted sugars out of your mash tun and into the kettle.
 

wessmith

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What happened to the good old fashioned iodine starch test? This should be a front line tool for any mashing analysis.

Wes
 

Thirsty Boy

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True Wes - but lets face it - most of the time people (or at least new brewers) aren't having massive conversion issues - its usually just something basic in their routine that they didn't realise was incorrect.

Reasonable up to very high L:G, sensible mash temp, couple of stirs, 60-90 min mash...... something else would have to be pretty wrong to be having significant issues with poor conversion.

That said - every newer brewer should know how to do an iodone test and get into the habbit of doing them - us experienced brewers should probably remember to do them more regularly as well :)
 

bus680

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Thanks for all the info and putting up with my inexperiance. I will try all of the things that Thirstyboy and Wes mentioned. I have also been doing an iodine test and I am getting full conversion.

Again thanks.
 

stux

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What happened to the good old fashioned iodine starch test? This should be a front line tool for any mashing analysis.

Wes
The problem with the "iodine starch test" is it pretty much goes like this "get some iodine and do the test"

So, is that iodine? tincture of iodine? betadine? iodophor? or does it not matter...

I'd always assumed it was iodophor... maybe...

but then...

http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=61935

Some say it does matter...

So, what iodine do you use for the test? and where do you get it?
 

ashley_leask

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The problem with the "iodine starch test" is it pretty much goes like this "get some iodine and do the test"

So, is that iodine? tincture of iodine? betadine? iodophor? or does it not matter...

I'd always assumed it was iodophor... maybe...

but then...

http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=61935

Some say it does matter...

So, what iodine do you use for the test? and where do you get it?
1 part iodophor to 9 parts rubbing alcohol. I researched the concentrations a while ago and mixed up a solution using betadine and isocol (for the alcohol component), then only ever used it a couple of times, but I don't remember the proportions anymore. I do remember the dilution was important, so straight iodophor or betadine or something with a fairly high concentration made it more difficult to interpret the colour change. Or something.

I find it much easier to just do a gravity reading with a refractometer and compare it to 100% extract efficiency to see if full conversion or close to it has taken place. For my usual process of using about 3.5 liquor:grist ratio 1.074 is full conversion (according to the braukaiser link I posted earlier). If I'm at about 95% or better than that after the mash I call it done, and start the first runoff.
 

stux

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Yes,

I've been doing BIAB based on volume calculations based on Conversion Efficiency. I found i normally end up with a mash gravity which equates to 99% or so conversion efficiency. So I guess I'm doing the same :)

In my BIABs I use a 90 min agitated mash with a mashout. I do sometimes find that the gravity increases during the mashout ramp, which I think indicates final conversion hurrying along

Did try an iodophor based starch test once, results weren't clear
 

Thirsty Boy

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In my BIABs I use a 90 min agitated mash with a mashout. I do sometimes find that the gravity increases during the mashout ramp, which I think indicates final conversion hurrying along
That last minute conversion is exactly why i tell people to do the stirred ramp to mashout step with BIAB. Its about conversion efficiency and the fact that with a lack of a proper grain bed to run off/vorlauf through, any unconverted starch might not only decrease your efficiency, but get stirred up into the wort as you lift the bag, end up in your boil and make your beer hazey and less stable.

Nothing to do with enzymes - to do with efficiency and quality.

Nice to see that someone else has directly observed it happening.

TB
 

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