Missed numbers - tips for improvement?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by Chap, 6/8/17.

 

  1. Chap

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    Posted 6/8/17
    Hi all,

    So i've just done my first all grain batch - DSGA, BIAB in 40L crown urn no sparge, no chill, and seemed to have missed the numbers by a lot. details as follows:

    2.4kg Pale malt (BB)
    0.8kg Munich malt
    0.8kg Wheat malt
    0.25kg Caramunich

    Mash @ 66oC for 60 mins in 35L water, no sparge. Estimated boil volume of 30L. Preboil OG 1.027 temp corrected, OG to fermenter 1.030 in 24L wort. Brewers Friend is also giving me an estimated FG of 1.005, which seems pretty low.

    I'm wondering how can I improve my numbers. At a guess I would say I need more grain/less water for the mash, and possibly a sparge, but not sure where to start. Any tips would be greatly appreciated to improve my all grain experience.

    Cheers
    Chap

    Edit: spelling and FG
     
    Last edited: 6/8/17
  2. MHB

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    Posted 6/8/17
    What OG were you expecting, using a simple little equation and making a few assumptions...
    You grain bill 4.25kg, lets assume it has a combined potential yield of 75%, you have given us your mash water as 35L, which for the equation we need to express as L:G so 35:4.25 is 8.24:1.
    Anticipated OG in Plato = Yield%/L:G+Yield%, = 0.75/8.24+0.75 = 0.75/8.99 = 0.0834 or 8.34oP
    Anticipated OG 1.0334, means your efficiency was down a bit (29/33.4 = 87%)
    Really too much water is the main answer, be a good idea to take a long hard look at your grind, look for grain that hasn't been cracked or for dry bits (dough balls), be worth making sure your volume and temperature measurements are accurate to.
    Try mashing in at about 6:1 or 25.5L in this case.
    Mark
     
  3. Chap

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    Posted 6/8/17
    I had a look at the grain and it was milled at my LHBS pretty well from what i understand (no bigger than half a grain per bit, with a couple of full grains but not too many from what I could tell).

    I was hoping to hit the 1.040 - 1.045 range, but I think I may not have enough grain or too much water for what I'm trying to do. What I'm aiming for is approx 23L into the fermenter from my 40L urn @ that OG range. For my first all grain brew I have found very quickly its quite the learning curve. I'll continue to do some more research but the 6:1 ration is a good start. Thanks for the tip.
     
  4. Danscraftbeer

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    Posted 6/8/17
    Water chemistry can play a part too, pH etc. That could be a simple as 2% acidulated malt in the recipe. 1tsp Gypsum in the water.
    Stir the mash gently but thoroughly.
     
  5. Lionman

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    Posted 6/8/17
    Way too much water.

    As mentioned, mash into about 25L, then just batch sparge in a large bucket with about 10L or so in it. Basically rinse the grain in the water to get as much sugar out as possible and the tip it into the urn. That should get you to your 30L pre boil volume and should push you up around 70% mash efficiency.

    Also, I would boil for longer down to less volume, higher gravity wort.
     
  6. Schikitar

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    Posted 7/8/17
    Hey Chap, I'm only 3 brews in on the same setup so I can come into this from a complete beginners point of view. I've had an interesting time balancing the grain and water ratios to hit my target of 27L into the no-chill cube. I typically go in with 36L of strike water with a good 6-7kg of grain (roughly) and then drain, squeeze and light sparge to get to a pre-boil volume of approximately 34.5L - then I boil for 75-90 mins or to 30L (whatever comes first) so I can fit a relatively clean dumping of 27L to the cube (those 25L cubes actually hold more than they say).

    One thing I would say to you, if you haven't done it already, is don't rely on the sight glass on the kettle, mines highly inaccurate. I took a measuring jug, filled the kettle incrementally, and then used a ruler and transferred markings to the outside in permanent marker. Then whilst brewing I again use a SS ruler to ensure I'm measuring the volume as accurately as I can. Also, if you are using a false bottom, don't forget to account for that in your volume measurements. If you are following a recipe for a lower volume make sure you scale it correctly, if you're using Brewers Friend you can plug in the original recipe and then use the scale tool.

    The first brew I did was an Oatmeal XPA and it came out absolutely amazing, stick with it, you'll work it all out, the guys on here are extremely knowledgeable and helpful!
     
  7. Chap

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    Posted 13/8/17 at 2:38 AM
    thanks for the input guys, appreciate the tips. Turns out a sparge step has helped me bring up the numbers. I'm into my next brew now (IPA) ramping up to the boil and happy to say i hit my preboil gravity of 1.053. Mashed in 20L @ 67oC, squeezed bag and sparged with 10L of 70oC water. Unsure of boil volume as I havent etched my kettle yet, but at a guess its probably around the 25-26L mark. May have to dilute to hit the 23-24L fermenter volume but i'll check the OG beforehand and decide whether to or not from there. Thanks again!
     
  8. Droopy Brew

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    Posted 14/8/17 at 5:38 AM
    Get a measuring stick mate. Reading 1 number without the other is pointless.
    If you mashed 20L and sparged 10L to get 1.053 then I would assume your grain bill is in the vacinity of 6-7kg. Water absorption is approx 1l/kg of grain so you will get at best 23-24L preboil. Drop say 4L for evaporation and 2L to trub and you only have about 17-18L at say 1.060.
    Which is fine, but you need to know your measurements of both volume and OG to get an idea of your efficiency.
     
  9. Chap

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    Posted 14/8/17 at 11:02 AM
    My next step was to measure gravity of what I have and put into fermenter to confirm a final volume to confirm my numbers with the limited tools and knowledge I have at this stage. But as you said having the numbers in the middle will help me improve my processes.

    Spot on with the grain bill - 6.55kg.

    I'll be getting onto some measuring and marking to hopefully improve in this new world of all grain, biab and everything else
     
  10. Andy_27

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    Posted 14/8/17 at 11:08 PM
    From your original question, I use the same setup and it looks like your grain amount is way too low. My Smurto's Golden Ale recipe uses 6.05kg all up. I BIAB and mash in with 36L water which after squeezing the heck out of the bag, gives me about 34.5L pre boil, and 30L post boil. I can then get an easy 25L into the fermenter.

    On a separate note, as your grain bill increases, you will notice a big drop in efficiency. I did an IPA yesterday aiming for a post boil reading of 1.060. Knowing I'd take an efficiency hit with 7kg grain, I mashed in with 27L and batch sparged with 10L. (First time trying this) I just dunked the bag in a big pot with the 78 degree water and stirred it a bit then let it sit for 10 mins or so. I ended up with a Pre boil of 1.060! Which after a 75 min boil would have given me a final OG of 1.071! I had to add 4L water to get it back on track. This whole process made me realise how handy a refractometer would be over cooling boiling wort constantly to use a hydrometer...
     
  11. laxation

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    Posted 15/8/17 at 12:14 AM
    I'm by no means an expert, but just for another anecdotal reference, I have just started BIAB in an urn and have been trying to get my water right too..

    My first one was 6.93kg into 32L water. After fermentation, got about 19 litres of 8%
    2nd, 5.4kg into 27L and 6L sparge. Got about 20 litres of 6.5%
    3rd (finally got it!) 6.04kg grain, 35 L water = 23 into cubes and an extra litre I used for a starter. OG 1.051

    the guy on fasthomebrew aims for 27L into the fermtenter, so you could also use his videos as reference. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoAhRuxJb1K-d4BBSLNX1RQ
     
  12. Schikitar

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    Posted 15/8/17 at 1:40 AM
    I've done two reiterated mashes to tackle the large grain bill issue. I simply mashed in half the grain bill into 36L for 40 minutes (they say 20-30 mins is enough but whatever), pull/squeeze and light sparge back to 36L, dump the grain and then mash in the second half of the bill for the typical 60 minutes and again light sparge to hit the pre-boil volume of about 34.5L. I don't stress too much about checking the numbers (I do take samples but keep brewing and check later), they're gonna be what they're gonna be and so far I've finished on or slightly above. The last brew I did was a Rye IPA with 8.7kg of grain, it was supposed to be 1.065 and mine came in at 1.067 using this method. I also did a stout with over 11kg of grain, that was supposed to hit between 1.085 and 1.089, mine hit 1.089. Give it a run if you haven't tried a reiterated mash!
     
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  13. stm

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    Posted 16/8/17 at 5:53 AM
    Anecdotally, for a FV volume of about 23L at about OG 1.045, for a Crown urn 40L, you should be starting with about 33L of water and 5kg of grain. 90min mash and a very good squeeze should get you there. 60 minute boil. Real simple and not a lot of effort or stuffing around (eg sparges, two mashes).
     
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  14. Stouter

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    Posted 16/8/17 at 6:16 AM
    I must be the leading rep for anecdotal Brewing then.
    I'm yet to start measuring (yes, slap on the wrist, I know). I repeatedly lead in with 35L, average 5kg of grain, and mash for 90min, following with a 90min boil, and get 21L into my f.v. after negotiating trub.
    After having issues with my element cutting out mid boil I changed my mill setting by widening it and now seem to be back on track. Bag drain and loving squeeze included in the mix.
    Nothing like draining your bag and following up with a gentle squeeze!
     
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  15. Schikitar

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    Posted 16/8/17 at 7:31 AM
    I only use reiterated mash for grain bills larger than 7-8kg, maximise the water volume for the two mashes so as to extract all the sugars and maintaining efficiency. I think doing your average 5kg brew everyone knows all you need is a single mash, dead simple.. Also, a 90 minute mash is essentially unnecessary, most of the conversion happens in the first 30 minutes, better off doing a 90 minute boil..

    I had this problem brewing with rye as it basically crushes to dust it very easily attaches itself to the element..
     
  16. Stouter

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    Posted 16/8/17 at 8:37 AM
    Yeah, others have told of crushing the sheite out of grain to fine powder for BIAB without issues, and I never had problems with this element caking thing before, but after readjusting my mill it's fixed that problem and I'm achieving the right range. Don't get me wrong, I'm no statistician, and clearly my measuring methods are lacking, but my intended O.G and F.G's are hitting nicely.
     
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