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Another efficiency question

Hey all,

Brewed an Indian pale lager today with the following grain bill:

9 lbs pale
1 lb carahell
.5 lbs Vienna
.5 lbs carapils
.25 lbs special b
.5 lbs cane sugar

After the boil I did a gravity check and came up with 1.056, which roughly equates to 70% efficiency. Here is what am doing.

Hydrometer works properly and all values are based on 60 degrees.
I mashed today with a ration of 1.75 qts per gallon instead of he usual 1.5
Grain was crushed using a barley crusher. Good mix of flour and broken husks
I batch sparge and mashed today at 148.

I’ve gotten close to 80% efficiency with my current system with several batches, but this is the second time in a row that I’ve been much lower than expected. The only thing that I can think of would be to drain the wort slowly out of my mashtun. I typically open he valve up all the way. Any advice or tips are appreciated.

Thanks

Forgot to add that I mashed for 80 minutes and my sparge water was 180 degrees. Boil volume was a
Little over 7 gallons and post boil volume was right at 5.75 gallons.

I would question the temperature or time of the mash as a typical culprit. My old Blichmann thermometer mounted on the mash tun is not terribly accurate if I have not thoroughly mixed the mash (and then some), so I now rely on a Thermapen placed in five or six spots located around the tun. At 148F, you might need 90 minutes or more for good conversion, especially if the mash is not uniformly at that temperature.

:cheers:

Isn’t 180 F a bit too high of a temp to sparge? I think you have tannin extraction issues if you go much above 170 F right? I suppose it depends if you are doing a mash out though and boosting your mash temp then.

I typically do 10 gallon batches and I usually drain my mash and sparge slowly, maybe a gallon every 4-5 minutes or so. Do you know at what rate you are going at? If your valve is fully open, it may be causing your efficiency issue.

Also, have you been checking your mash pH, just to make sure that is all good?

180 correlates to 168 in the mash tun with the final runnings. I should slow down the flow rate. Takes roughly 5 minutes to drain the wort :slight_smile: . We shall see next time.

[quote=“westcoastbrewer”]Isn’t 180 F a bit too high of a temp to sparge? I think you have tannin extraction issues if you go much above 170 F right? I suppose it depends if you are doing a mash out though and boosting your mash temp then.

I typically do 10 gallon batches and I usually drain my mash and sparge slowly, maybe a gallon every 4-5 minutes or so. Do you know at what rate you are going at? If your valve is fully open, it may be causing your efficiency issue.

Also, have you been checking your mash pH, just to make sure that is all good?[/quote]

Tannin extraction is much more dependent on pH than temp. You can even sprge with boiling water of the pH is OK. If not, no one could do decoction mashes!

Also, the OP is batch sparging so a fast runoff is fine.

That’s about how long it takes me. In batch soarging, there is nothing to be gained by a slow run off.

70% efficiency is not a bad number in my opinion. You said you got 5.75 gallons in the fermenter. Is that the volume your recipe assumed? The higher the gravity, the worse your efficiency will be as well.

Sorry for the bad advice, you clearly said that you were conducting a batch sparge but for some reason I thought you were doing a continuous sparge.

In retrospect I should have boiled longer to reach my desired volume according to the recipe. Since it was for 5.5 gallons, and I ended up with close to six, that might explain things. I know 70% efficiency isn’t bad, but when you bank on a beer starting in the low to mid 1.060s and get a beer in the mid to low 1.050s, it’s disappointing.

That’s about how long it takes me. In batch soarging, there is nothing to be gained by a slow run off.[/quote]

I’ve found that I do get a stuck mash when vorlauf and draining at full boar with my false bottom. However, if I vorlauf slow so as to set the grain bed I can usually open the drain fully when draining the tun. However, that doesn’t mean the wort just blasts out the tube, instead it drains as fast as the properly set grain bed allows it to drain, which most of the time is like having the valve open 1/2 way. This also seems to provide exceptionally clear wort.

I always boil to the OG I want, not the volume. About 20 min. before what I think will be the end of the boil, I check the gravity before making my final hop additions. If I’m on track, I go ahead. If not, I wait and let it boil longer before I add my finishing hops.

Denny that’s great advice. I’ll try the 20 minute gravity check inthe future to see where I’m at, opposed to just testing after chilling. Thanks.

I always boil to the OG I want, not the volume. About 20 min. before what I think will be the end of the boil, I check the gravity before making my final hop additions. If I’m on track, I go ahead. If not, I wait and let it boil longer before I add my finishing hops.[/quote]

Ha, I just did this today before reading this. 8)

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