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Fixed the stuck sparges...now my efficiency sucks

I would need an accurate, complete and succinct summary of all brewing equipment, measurements taken and nuances of the brew day. I know you’re looking for a precise answer but I can’t give you one simply because I would need the bigger picture and then perhaps question some inane minute detail of each step.

If you really left a gallon of liquid in your mash tun - simply tilt your mash tun to get it out! Seems to work for me, but I have the red model. :wink: [/quote]

Mines blue…there’s the issue. :wink:

i do tilt mine. This is just mind boggling to me that 1 gallon of water could be missing. I could swear there wasn’t that much liquid when I was cleaning it out. I’ve tested it before without grain and tilting and the dead space was less than half a gallon of water left.

I’m not looking for precise answers just a couple of ideas of what it could be. I can either check into those or eliminate them as possibilities. Problem solving 101.

I did use rice hulls previously when I was getting stuck sparges but perhaps I wasn’t using enough. I put down just enough the cover the bottom of the mash tun. Maybe a couple handfuls.

I always measure the gravity and volume of the first runnings, the gravity of the second runnings, and the gravity and volume of the combined runnings pre-boil. A refractometer is pretty useful for this. That is one more gravity measurement than I actually need to get all that info, but the redundancy is also protection against a bad reading (or writing something down wrong - which I have done). The second runnings gravity is particularly useful, because if I have roughly equal volumes for the two runnings like I typically try for, the second runnings should be very close to 1/4 of the gravity of the first runnings. If it is not, I know something is wrong immediately.

I personally think 72 quarts is too big for a Mash Tun for a 5 gallon batch. I have one of those coolers, and it’s great for 10-15 gallon batches.

I don’t really shoot for it…it’s just the combination if factors of what I do, I guess. Unless I screw something up, I’m always at or near 100% conversion efficiency. I leave almost no wort behind in the mash tun, so my mash efficiency is in the mid 90s. If I calculate kettle losses correctly, my brewhouse efficiency runs anywhere from 85-93%.

I use a 70 qt. often for 5.5 gal. batches. No problems here.

I use a 70 qt. often for 5.5 gal. batches. No problems here.[/quote]
But I will not believe you for one second if you say you don’t lose more than 1 degree over the course of 60-90 minute mash. With all that headspace, I just don’t see how it’s possible to not…

[quote=“mattnaik”]

i do tilt mine. This is just mind boggling to me that 1 gallon of water could be missing. I could swear there wasn’t that much liquid when I was cleaning it out. I’ve tested it before without grain and tilting and the dead space was less than half a gallon of water left.
.[/quote]

Are you sure you didn’t just accidentally short your strike water by a gallon?

[quote=“pb905”][quote=“mattnaik”]

i do tilt mine. This is just mind boggling to me that 1 gallon of water could be missing. I could swear there wasn’t that much liquid when I was cleaning it out. I’ve tested it before without grain and tilting and the dead space was less than half a gallon of water left.
.[/quote]

Are you sure you didn’t just accidentally short your strike water by a gallon?[/quote]

Yep, positive. I dilute my tap 50/50 with distilled. So i measured out 3 gallons from the tap and poured 3 gallons directly from the jugs into the kettle.

I use a 70 qt. often for 5.5 gal. batches. No problems here.[/quote]
But I will not believe you for one second if you say you don’t lose more than 1 degree over the course of 60-90 minute mash. With all that headspace, I just don’t see how it’s possible to not…[/quote]

Maybe 3-4…not enough to be concerned about.

In my experience, a pH of 5.0 vs 5.5 or anywhere in-between makes only a negligible difference on conversion.

Also, in my experience, draining all the free liquid can take TIME. While my run-offs and sparging was always rather quick for the first 5-6 gallons, getting that last 0.5-0.75 gallons took a few minutes. I’d typically prop the mash-tun up so that it’s at a nice angle, leave the ball valve open, and let it continue to collect in a small container while the majority of it was being heated to a boil. My container is graduated, so I know I collect at least half a gallon that way. Sometimes a full gallon. These were for finely crushed (<0.030") mashes, with rice hulls.

My bet would be that you have lots of “hidden” free liquid in your mash, and you need to follow a similar procedure.

Now, whether or not there’s anything inadvisable for such a procedure… I don’t know… but I suspect it’s okay.

[quote=“Silentknyght”]In my experience, a pH of 5.0 vs 5.5 or anywhere in-between makes only a negligible difference on conversion.

Also, in my experience, draining all the free liquid can take TIME. While my run-offs and sparging was always rather quick for the first 5-6 gallons, getting that last 0.5-0.75 gallons took a few minutes. I’d typically prop the mash-tun up so that it’s at a nice angle, leave the ball valve open, and let it continue to collect in a small container while the majority of it was being heated to a boil. My container is graduated, so I know I collect at least half a gallon that way. Sometimes a full gallon. These were for finely crushed (<0.030") mashes, with rice hulls.

My bet would be that you have lots of “hidden” free liquid in your mash, and you need to follow a similar procedure.

Now, whether or not there’s anything inadvisable for such a procedure… I don’t know… but I suspect it’s okay.[/quote]

I’ll give this a try next time. I just need something to safely hold the mashtun at a 45 without having to worry about it falling.

[quote=“Denny”]
Maybe 3-4…not enough to be concerned about.[/quote]
Gotcha. Same here. I don’t know how people keep it within 1 degree, unless they’re recirculating or something.

[quote=“Beersk”][quote=“Denny”]
Maybe 3-4…not enough to be concerned about.[/quote]
Gotcha. Same here. I don’t know how people keep it within 1 degree, unless they’re recirculating or something.[/quote]

Not may I suspect. And those who work so hard to do it probably don’t realize they’re wasting their time.

I think Matt is doing everything fine and it’s probably something like the rollers moved during the crush or something basic. Check the gap again?

It is currently set at .039 which is where i set it before the last brew. I may try to close it a little bit more (.036) and start using more rice hulls. Gotta find a balance somewhere.

You checked and the mill didn’t move? I was wondering if the roller settings slipped.

I am at 0.20". Never used rice hulls.

[quote=“zwiller”]You checked and the mill didn’t move? I was wondering if the roller settings slipped.

I am at 0.20". Never used rice hulls.[/quote]

I’m as fine as my JSP adjustable allows, whatever that is. Never used rice hulls, never had a stuck run off. But that will vary from person to person and system to system.

[quote=“zwiller”]You checked and the mill didn’t move? I was wondering if the roller settings slipped.

I am at 0.20". Never used rice hulls.[/quote]

Yep checked before and after.

[quote=“mattnaik”][quote=“zwiller”]You checked and the mill didn’t move? I was wondering if the roller settings slipped.

I am at 0.20". Never used rice hulls.[/quote]

Yep checked before and after.[/quote]
Pretty sure he meant 0.020". That’s a really tight gap. I’m at 0.032 and I could probably go finer since I use a bag in the mashtun as well, but not sure I need to. I’m pretty happy with the 75-80% efficiency range. Plus, it takes long to mill the grain with a tighter gap…less space to feed the grain through. Not that that is a huge deal or anything…most of my grain bills are in the 6-9lb range for 4 gallon batches. Gets a bit more tedious on my larger 6-7 gallon batches with 14-17lbs of grain. Try the bag in the mashtun, man…

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