I've been using my brewery for about 6 months now and have had pretty consistent results in terms of efficiency. My software (Brewers Friend) says I'm in the neighborhood of 85%. I know that's a bit low - I sparge a bit quicker than I should and that's OK. This last time I made a weizenbock and the numbers came in really low. I ended up with a post boil gravity of 1.067 and should have had 1.081. The entire brew went smoothly. The grain bill was 30.5 lbs with 17 of the pounds being wheat malt. I added 2 pounds of rice hulls that I mixed in with the grain before mashing in. The same method of grain milling was used. Was careful during mash in to stir to avoid dough balls, and after mashing in I gave a final stir. The vorlauf went great with the wort pump - no fluctuation of the wort level indicator. I sparged 14.9 gallons over 80 minutes. Had 2 inches of sparge water above the grain bed. Everything went great.
So I assume there must have been channeling, perhaps at the outset of vorlaufing. I can't think of anything else. I did not perform a starch test, however the wort at the beginning of sparging was clear.
Did I need to use more rice hulls? Is there anything that would tip me off in the future so I can avoid this? Should I partially close the ball valve on the wort pump to slow the vorlauf in wheat beers?
My set up is a Kal clone with 20 gal Blichmann kettles. Blichmann false bottom, chugger pumps.
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10808 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA
Link Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:27 am Post subject: Re: Didn't hit the numbers this time.
If I understand correctly, you brewed with no issues for 6 months with a mash efficiency of 85% and now you had issues for the first time?
Did I need to use more rice hulls?
You mentioned not having any flow issues so I don't think additional rice hulls will make any difference. (You mentioned the level in the MLT sight glass didn't drop significantly when you started to recirculate after mashing in, so that's good - that's a tell tale sign that you have stuck flow).
Should I partially close the ball valve on the wort pump to slow the vorlauf in wheat beers?
You shouldn't have to. You didn't have any flow issues.
It could be as simply as mis-measuring something. For example, not using as much grain as you needed.
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