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What Happened

So last weekend I brewed my third all grain batch. For some reason I ended up half the amount of first runnings that I should have. I was doing a Munich Dunkel with 12.25 lbs of Munich and .25 Carafa III (calculated for 65% efficiency), shooting for 1.054 OG. BeerSmith told me too mashed in with 18 qts of water (4.5 gallons) and then sparge (batch) with 3.5 gallons to get to my 6.5 gallons for boil (60 min). When I drained my first running I only got about 1.5 gallons, half of what I expected. I sparged with about 3.5 gallons but left it for 15/20 minutes and lost another .75 gallons. Sparged again to get up to my boil rate. In the end my gravity was a little low (1.051 vs 1.054) but I couldn’t figure out what happened. My first couple batches I had no problems hitting my volume numbers so… can any one help shed some light on this for me? Thanks!

Are you sure you had the correct measuments? I had that happen on my second batch and I attributed it to thinking I added the water and miscalculated how many gallons I added. Do you have your dead space in your mash tun correctly calculated? My guess is your leaving wort behind in the tun.

Could you have skipped a water infusion that was supposed to happen before you drained the first runnings?

As others mentioned you most likely left a lot of wort behind because of a huge dead space or a stuck mash.

As a side note: Your mash was pretty thick @ .95:1. Just a suggestion… Try something between 1.3 and 1.5:1 next time.

Cheers & Happy Brewing!!

As you brew more batches, keep very good notes about the volumes of water and grain that you are using in mashing. Drain you mashtun the same way each time you run off wort, whether it be tilting it to get all the wort out or not. Have your grain milled the same each time. If you do these things, you’ll be able to know exactly how much water is being absorbed by the grain and then be able to predict how much hot liquor will get you to your final volume. With only three batches in, it may take 2 or three more to get really good repeatability.

If you do the same with your boil in terms of volumes, boil vigor, and time, you’ll get to know your evaporation rate. Same goes for mash efficiency.

Keep careful notes and don’t go changing things out of paranoia about efficiency and the like and you’ll get to the point where you can hit your volumes and gravities spot on every time. Then you can start tweaking this that and the other thing.

Thanks guys. I have been trying to keep close attention and writing everything down. I use the same process each time and the first two were dead on. Next time I get a few days of free time I am planning to brew several batches over a couple days to start dialing in my process. The biggest problem I am having is the milling issue, my shops mill sucks. Hopefully that will be solved over x-mas (fingers crossed on a shinny new mill).

Are you batch sparging?
What type, size of mash tun and manifold do you have?

He mashed at a rate of 1.44qts per Lb. 18qts/12.5lbs

[quote=“gregscsu”]Are you batch sparging?
What type, size of mash tun and manifold do you have?

He mashed at a rate of 1.44qts per Lb. 18qts/12.5lbs[/quote]
Yep. I was including grain absorption of .125 into the calculation.

That first running figure strikes me as a partial or stuck sparge. Just 1.5 gallons? That’s gotta be a stalled sparge of some sort.

What was the flow like on that first sparge? A quick gush followed by a trickle? Was the grain bed still immersed?

An easy, if sometimes unpleasant way to clear a stuck sparge is to blow hard, sometimes several times, into the draining tube.

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