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varying efficiencies
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skelley




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


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Maybe this is assumed but if you begin sparge immediately and match sparge in to wort out you will run out of sparge water before you hit your 15 gallons in the blk. You will be able to get 15 gallons of wort but you can not be meeting the criteria of starting sparge immediately and equal in vs equal out without running out of sparge water. Maybe this is simply so obvious you fail to mention it but that is what I am trying to clarify.

The reason for all of this is that I am trying to nail down efficiency still and I am on my 18th batch. I am sure it is due to the high grain loads that have yet to be less than 32 lbs. I should have gotten the 30 gallon mash ton.
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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 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skelley wrote:
Maybe this is assumed but if you begin sparge immediately and match sparge in to wort out you will run out of sparge water before you hit your 15 gallons in the blk.

Correct.

Quote:
You will be able to get 15 gallons of wort but you can not be meeting the criteria of starting sparge immediately and equal in vs equal out without running out of sparge water.

I do not say that the amount going into the MLT has to equal the amount going out. It's not a criteria.

See: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step?page=8

Quote:
Turn the ELEMENT SELECT switch OFF. Turn the WATER PUMP and WORT PUMP switches OFF. CLOSE all valves. Connect hoses as shown in the picture below. The longer 6 foot hose directing wort into the Boil Kettle is simply placed over the side to make it easier to take samples for pH and gravity measurements. OPEN all Mash/Lauter Tun and Hot Liquor Tank valves. Turn the WATER PUMP and WORT PUMP switches ON. Slowly OPEN the Wort Pump valve to produce a slow trickle of wort into the Boil Kettle at a rate of approximately 1 gallon every 5 minutes (a slow rate helps maximize sugar extraction). OPEN the Water Pump valve to match the rate and provide a source of sparge water to the top of the grain bed. Try and keep a minimum of 1-2 inches of water on top of the grain bed at all times. Turn the WATER PUMP switch OFF once the Hot Liquor Tank is empty. Collect 14.9 gallons of wort in the Boil Kettle. Discard any additional wort.



Maybe it's the text "Try and keep a minimum of 1-2 inches of water on top of the grain bed at all times." that is confusing since you can't do that when the HLT runs out? I'll change it.


Kal

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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 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, so I think I've found a clearer way:

Quote:
Turn the ELEMENT SELECT switch OFF. Turn the WATER PUMP and WORT PUMP switches OFF. CLOSE all valves. Connect hoses as shown in the picture below. The longer 6 foot hose directing wort into the Boil Kettle is simply placed over the side to make it easier to take samples for pH and gravity measurements. OPEN all Mash/Lauter Tun and Hot Liquor Tank valves. Turn the WATER PUMP and WORT PUMP switches ON. Slowly OPEN the Wort Pump valve to produce a slow trickle of wort into the Boil Kettle at a rate of approximately 1 gallon every 5 minutes (a slow rate helps maximize sugar extraction). OPEN the Water Pump valve the same amount to match the rate and provide a source of sparge water to the top of the grain bed. Until the Hot Liquor Tank is empty, try and keep a minimum of 1-2 inches of water on top of the grain bed. Turn the WATER PUMP switch OFF once the Hot Liquor Tank is empty. Continue to collect wort in the Boil Kettle until a volume of 14.9 gallons is reached. Discard any additional wort.


If anyone can think of a clearer way to express this please let me know.


Kal

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skelley




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


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that and like I said I was confused a little. So to put it in regards to efficiency; you do not believe that sparging more water than needed to hit your preboil volume negatively affects efficiency. Is that reflective of your belief/thought?

I think that another recommendation for this site would be that if you want to brew big beers consistently with OG>1.080 a 30 gallon mash ton would be superior. Having the hlt larger would be no big deal to me as you can always add water there prior to mash in.
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kal
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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 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skelley wrote:
I like that and like I said I was confused a little. So to put it in regards to efficiency; you do not believe that sparging more water than needed to hit your preboil volume negatively affects efficiency. Is that reflective of your belief/thought?

Correct. The sparge water is in motion pushing the sugar out the bottom. Like a piston. That's why there's less sugar on top than the bottom. It's in motion towards the bottom If you simply added water, stirred, then drained (batch sparging) then the water/wort combination would be equal everywhere and more water than you need would result in lower efficiency.

Quote:
I think that another recommendation for this site would be that if you want to brew big beers consistently with OG>1.080 a 30 gallon mash ton would be superior.

Why?

I do brew 1.080-1.090 IIPAs often enough. My last one was Bell's HopSlam that came in at around 1.085 OG with 28 lbs of grain. 28 lbs of grain is only slightly over half full on my 20 gallon HLT. A larger MLT is not required if you follow my design.

I've also brewed a 1.112 beer that required just under 40 lbs of grain that ended up 12% ABV ([b]link). (Efficiency drops as you go too high). For this massive Barley Wine my 20 gallon MLT was full up to the 16.5 gallon mark so there was still some room left and I could have gone even bigger. Doing some quick math I think even a 14-15% ABV beer (1.140) would be possible if I had grain up to the 20 gallon mark (the kettle's still 1-2" or so higher).

I don't see why you'd need to go larger if you follow my design unless you're consistently brewing 14% ABV or bigger beers. These are very rare, almost experimental.

If someone's efficiency is much lower then there are other factors at play.

Kal

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skelley




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


PostLink    Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess my problem is still efficiency and this is why I am so interested in all its variables. My set up is identicle to yours but I still have only been getting 73-80% efficiencies with big beers. I know I need to slow down my sparge even more. My last sparge was 40 minutes and I got 73% efficiency. I find it a bit frustrating but I will really keep sparge time to 60+ and see what happens. One problem I have run into with the sparge is keeping a constant flow to the BK that is so slow. The adustment at the pump is very finicky when flow rates are so low. Do you only adjust flow at the pump or do you also adjust at the outlet of the MLT. My mash pH is consistently 5.4-5.45, I run the herms full throttle, my temperature track well so I am largely left with sparge as my final variable.
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kal
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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 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

73-80% isn't bad however. Keep that in mind.

Something somewhere has to be different. It may not be the equipment. It may be the way you use it (process) or the water even.

I only adjust the flow on the pump output. I set the WORT pump to get the flow I want into the BK and then set the other pump to match. Never impede flow at the input of these pumps, only the output.

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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

skelley wrote:
my temperature track well so I am largely left with sparge as my final variable.


What's your crush look like? That's where I would be looking first.

If you are taking 45 minutes to sparge, you definitely want to slow it down. I'm in the same boat with the finickiness of the controls but what I typically do is to get the flow into the BK at the level that I want and then match the input from the HLT.

I understand your frustration but hang in there!
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kal
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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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think 45 mins on a 10 gallon batch is that fast... I've done some in 60 minutes and did not notice any drop in efficiency. I'm usually around 75 mins though.

I do what perogi does: Get a slow drizzle at the BK and then set water pump the same way. Then place a binder clip at the water level like this:



After 30 seconds you'll know if you set the water pump too high or low. You don't want the level to go up or down. Tweak it slightly, re-adjust the clip and wait another 30 seconds. It takes 2-3 adjustments like this and then I'm good. So about 2 minutes to get the flow perfectly matched and then it's ok. If you have to be off, better for the rate into the MLT to be higher than the rate out. It's really not that critical. Sometimes near the end of the sparge when I want to empty the HLT so that I can turn off the pump I just crank up the water pump to get it emptied. No problems as the false bottom I use can handle the extra weight.

The hardest for a new brewer is to know what what the recommended 1 gallon every 5 min flow rate actually looks like. What the video at the bottom of this pag: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step?page=8
It shows the flow in action a few times running into the BK.

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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off Topic: Kal those videos are what sold me on the Electric Brewery Smile
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kal
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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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really? I always thought they were horribly done. Wink It's a $99 pink handheld flip camera I borrowed from my wife. Video is so much harder than photography.

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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha!

It wasn't the cinematography, it was comparing what you were doing to what I did in the 90s with an igloo cooler and tons of pots and pans. I watched that video and told my wife that was what I was going to build - her response was "Cool can you make Fat Tire with it?" Smile

She's learned from the yawneF Park Wiffleball field (and knowing me for over a decade) that if I say I'm going to do something, it's going to get done. No questions asked Mug
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skelley




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


PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think my crush is fine and consistent as I now do it on a barley crusher at the brew shop and now am able to run pumps full out without getting a stuck mash. I think the sparge is my big problem. I simply need to be more patient. Thanks for the help and ideas.
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rcrabb22




Joined: 23 Dec 2010
Posts: 462
Location: Illinois


PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal -

not to hijack this thread but I have always been dumbfounded by the picture of the sight tube. If the sight tube is filled from the bottom, how the heck did the clear water get in the sight tube above the wort during the sparge???
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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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good question!

The separation between water & wort on that one is *really* clear. Most of the time it's a bit hazier but it's still there: I can always see the separation and see it move down as I sparge.

The only explanation I have is that the sugary wort is heavier than water so it naturally separates (?). (I'm hypothesizing here but it seems plausible and I can't think of what else it can be).

Kal

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mcl




Joined: 11 Oct 2011
Posts: 156



PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@skelley

Quote:
My set up is identicle to yours but I still have only been getting 73-80% efficiencies with big beers.


Is this the brew house or mash efficiency?
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huaco




Joined: 05 Apr 2012
Posts: 1508
Location: Burleson Texas


PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only ever calculate mash efficiency.
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rcrabb22




Joined: 23 Dec 2010
Posts: 462
Location: Illinois


PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Good question!

The separation between water & wort on that one is *really* clear. Most of the time it's a bit hazier but it's still there: I can always see the separation and see it move down as I sparge.

The only explanation I have is that the sugary wort is heavier than water so it naturally separates (?). (I'm hypothesizing here but it seems plausible and I can't think of what else it can be).

Kal


Wouldn't that only be possible if the clear sparge water got below the wort level during the sparge to make it's way into the sight tube at the bottom of the MLT? Conceptually, I always thought the clear water laid on top of the wort since it was added so gradually to the MLT. That would imply channeling during sparge
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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: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO the clear water in the tube is from the original addition of the mash in water. It didn't have a chance to pick up stuff from the grain and never mixes. It also gets more clear the longer it sits per Kal's reasoning. Just a hypothesis.
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Kevin59




Joined: 03 Aug 2012
Posts: 1049
Location: Fort Collins, CO

Drinking: Imperial Brown Ale

Working on: Oatmeal Stout, IPA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rcrabb22 wrote:
Kal -

not to hijack this thread but I have always been dumbfounded by the picture of the sight tube. If the sight tube is filled from the bottom, how the heck did the clear water get in the sight tube above the wort during the sparge???


On my setup at least, the sight glass is filled with water when you first fill with the strike water, so from that point forward the heavier wort "creeps" in there during the mash, particularly as I'm starting to recirculate and things move around a bit with respect to the fluid level in the sight glass.

So at any rate from that point on there's heavier wort in the bottom of the tube with clear water on top much like shown in Kal's picture.
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