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varying efficiencies
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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject: varying efficiencies Reply with quote


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Just wondering if people vary on their efficiencies? I know Kal reports 95% every time. Since I have moved to using the mill at the homebrew store I have had no issues with stuck mashes and I can run the herms system fully open. I adjust water and have mash pH around 5.4-5.5 every time. Despite all of this my efficiencies still vary +/- 10 pts. Most are around 80% but I just did a imperial IPA with 37.5lbs of grain that yielded only 70.45%. The remainer of my beers have been 80% plus or minus 3%. Does everyone else have the nearly unbelievble 95% every time like Kal gets? If so, do you have a secret? I think I should have gotten a 30 gallon mash ton given the grain bills I am using (I have yet to do a beer less with less than 30lbs of grain).
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Ben58




Joined: 14 Aug 2011
Posts: 409
Location: Hamilton, Ontario


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will find that efficency tends to drop when doing high gravity brews. ( I read that over at HBT ) Me personally, I tend to remain a consistant 88%.
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g8tors




Joined: 05 Oct 2011
Posts: 211



PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mash efficiency runs between 88 to 92 while my brewhouse efficiency runs between 77 to 85. Like Ben said, the higher your gravity the lower your efficiency.

Scott
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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume the mash efficiency is a gravity per pound of grain like that calculated in beer tools pro. I just don't get how I have a totally smooth brew process with herms pump on full the whole time with my normal crush of .040 and end up with an efficiency 10pts below my average range. Could it be the base malt? I used Briess pale instead of my usual base of Rahr pale. What bothers me is that having trouble designing exactly what I want because my efficiencies vary. I have been striking with water so my ramp up time to final mash temperature decreases. Could that be decreasing efficiency? Maybe I should mash for longer than 1-1.5 hours before ramp up to mash out with grain bills well above 30lbs? Any ideas out there as to why my efficiency seems lower than many but more importantly how I get such variability?
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Holter




Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 221
Location: Los Angeles, Ca


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slowing down my sparge is how i control my efficiency. One beers that have an OG of between 1030 and 1050 I will sparge for about 45 minutes. 1050 to 1070 60 minutes, anything with an OG above that i will sparge for 90 minutes. Like others have said, i have seen my efficiency plummet with higher gravity beers. Being consistent with your process will impact your efficiency a great deal. If you sparge too fast the wort will find the shortest route through the grain bed and end up leaving sugars behind.

So my questions would be:
How long is your typical mash? Are you seeing a variance in efficiency when using the same mash duration?
How long do you sparge for? Are you seeing a variance in efficiency when using the same sparge duration?
etc.

Start there for efficiency problems.

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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mash for an hour at main mash temp the ramp to 158 and hold 25 min and then mash out. This is quite consistent.

My sparge is a whole different story. I have made no attempts to really standardize it. My process is typically as follows:

-I begin my stransfer of wort and when the volume of wort in the mash is around 8-9 gallons in site glass I begin to sparge matching input to output to keep site gauge steady. When I have sparged my estimated needed amount as calculated in beer tools pro I stop the sparge water and continue runnings until I hit my desired preboil volume.

-Should I did not know to slow it down as long as I could get my preboil volumes but I will try that.

-Do you use gravity points during mashing to know if you have extracted enough sugar. I always wondered how innitial runnings correlated with sparge runnings so I could be sure I would hit my needed gravity points preboil. Any ideas? I am sure it is a nonlinear curve of some sort but an formuloma to approximate it must be possible.

Thanks for any thoughts people have in advance.
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wubears71




Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 278
Location: Webster Groves, MO

Drinking: Keg 1- Hefenweizen, Keg 2- Vanilla Scotch Porter, Keg 3-Munich Helles

Working on: Stinky IPA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've very consistent at 87% to 88% regardless of style.
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mcl




Joined: 11 Oct 2011
Posts: 156



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Kal reports 95% efficiency is he talking about brew house or mash? On 5.5 Gal batches I am losing 4.5% on equipment losses alone. This is obviously less on 11 gal batchs.
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kal
Forum Administrator



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


PostLink    Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MAsh.

Kal

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perogi




Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 848
Location: NH

Drinking: Perogi Pale, NEIPA, Nutter's Crossing Nut Brown Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Clone

Working on: Max's Maibock


PostLink    Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of MASH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gNvuJ7IbTw
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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I have asked a lot of questions about sparging but one more. When do you stop fly sparge water:
-When you have added the calculated amount of sparge water to hit you preboil desired volume?
-continue the entire collection period until you hit you desired preboil volume?

I believe the second way will decrease efficiency do others agree?
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Castermmt




Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 864
Location: Lowell, In

Drinking: Steelhead Porter, Alt-Toids, Hefty-Weizen, Terry's Kolsch, African Amber, Pumpkin Ale, Double Dog Ale

Working on: Janet's Brown Ale, Terry's Kolsch, Pilsner


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My last brew session my brew house efficiency was 86.6%. I'm very pleased with that Mug

I mash for 60 to 90 minutes, 60 for the .050 and below and 90 for everything higher. I sparge everything @ 60 minutes.

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Last edited by Castermmt on Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kal
Forum Administrator



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


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skelley wrote:
I know I have asked a lot of questions about sparging but one more. When do you stop fly sparge water:
-When you have added the calculated amount of sparge water to hit you preboil desired volume?
-continue the entire collection period until you hit you desired preboil volume?

I believe the second way will decrease efficiency do others agree?

I stop sparging once my boil kettle hits the pre-boil target volume.
The amount of calculated sparge water doesn't matter (I only need to know it myself because it's needed in EZWaterCalculator for salt additions).

See my brew day step by step article for more details.

Kal

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Castermmt




Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 864
Location: Lowell, In

Drinking: Steelhead Porter, Alt-Toids, Hefty-Weizen, Terry's Kolsch, African Amber, Pumpkin Ale, Double Dog Ale

Working on: Janet's Brown Ale, Terry's Kolsch, Pilsner


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
skelley wrote:
I know I have asked a lot of questions about sparging but one more. When do you stop fly sparge water:
-When you have added the calculated amount of sparge water to hit you preboil desired volume?
-continue the entire collection period until you hit you desired preboil volume?

I believe the second way will decrease efficiency do others agree?

I stop sparging once my boil kettle hits the pre-boil target volume.
The amount of calculated sparge water doesn't matter (I only need to know it myself because it's needed in EZWaterCalculator for salt additions).

See my brew day step by step article for more details.

Kal


+1

I use my ball valve to regulate the flow to achieve my 60 minute sparge to target boil volume.

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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read the brew day information. I use 25 gallons of water so my hlt is full above the coils. If I match input of sparge water to output into the blk I would sparge the entire time and when I hit my 15 gallons in the blk I would still have water available for sparge and have 2 inches above the grain. What I am asking is why would one do this? I believe that anytime you sparge more than you need you will decrease efficiency. Do you think this is true? If so one should stop the fly sparge at a calculated amount. This would also decrease the chance of pulling end runnings of less than 1.010.
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kal
Forum Administrator



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


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not entirely sure where the confusion comes from so I'll try and explain it a different way:

You don't sparge more than you need as you stop when you reach your boil kettle volume. how much water you have on top of the grain bed pushing down doesn't matter. The water on top is 100% water vs the water (wort) coming out the bottom has sugar in it. As your sparge progresses, the level of sugar in the wort coming out drops. By using "more" water on top doesn't change the amount of sugar in the wort coming out of the bottom. Ie: Whether you have 2" or 20" of water above the grain bed doesn't change the sugar content of the wort coming out the bottom.

You're not diluting the wort by using more water since you're not stirring. This is not batch sparging. It's fly sparging.

Kal

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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There has to be a sugar gradiant upwards. It is not a clear delineation between varying sugar levels anymore than Newton was right about mechanical physics. It may be a best approximation and I can buy that but not a clear delineation. I only wanted to be sure I understood your process. You can not begin with 20 gallons in the HLT strike from it and then sparge in an manner that has equal sparge in to wort out right from start of drawing off wort and not run out of water.
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kal
Forum Administrator



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


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skelley wrote:
There has to be a sugar gradiant upwards.

Correct.

Quote:
It is not a clear delineation between varying sugar levels anymore than Newton was right about mechanical physics. It may be a best approximation and I can buy that but not a clear delineation.

Correct.

Quote:
I only wanted to be sure I understood your process.

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step

Quote:
You can not begin with 20 gallons in the HLT strike from it and then sparge in an manner that has equal sparge in to wort out right from start of drawing off wort and not run out of water.

I don't understand what you're trying to say. You seem to be missing punctuation and/or words.

Kal

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skelley




Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 210
Location: brookfield, wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

20 gallon in hlt- add strike water- run mash- begin sparge in a fashion such that sparge volume in equals sparge volume out- unless your strike water was less than 5 gallons or you added water to the hlt after struck you can not pull 15 gallons into blk without running out of water in the HLT.
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kal
Forum Administrator



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


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never had issues getting 15 gallons into the BK after only filling the HLT to the 20 gallon mark for regular gravity beers. The only exception was a 12% ABV batch of barley wine with 40lbs of grain that was boiled extra long. (See my recipes section). All of the other beers I make and list work just fine on my setup with "only" 20 gallons the HLT.

The main thing that limits how much wort/water you can get into the boil kettle is the amount of grain you use as grain soaks up water. This water is lost.

Grain soaks up at a rate of about 12%. A typical batch size may be 20 lbs of grain.
So if you have 20 lbs of grain you will lose 20 x 0.12 = 2.4 gallons of water to grain absorption.

So if you fill the HLT to the 20 gallon mark you should be able to get at most 20 - 2.4 = 17.6 gallons into the boil kettle.
In practice it's likely going to be a little less, maybe 17.0 to 17.4 max due to other loses like dip tube not reaching right down the very bottom. There may be other factors too.

So I'm confused. I just brewed batch #153 last night and like all of the other batches before it I "only" fill the HLT to the 20 gallon mark and never add any more water. I get 13.9 to 14.9 in to the boil kettle (pre-boil) depending how long I boil for.

So it certainly is possible.

All my beers have had more than 5 gallons of strike water. They average around 6-9 gallons.

For an example of exactly how I do this, see my "Brew Day Step by Step" article. I give exact numbers for this sample batch.

Kal

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