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Old 22-10-2017, 07:52 PM   #1
Ciaran12s
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Default Poor mash effeciency

AG3 went off fairly hitchless last night. Was proud as punch til brewers friend told me my mash was 55%ish. I'm a big all round fan of efficiency to be honest so I was rather displeased with this.

My mash temp held a steady 65 after underletting. AG2 had a stuck sparge so I put a colander in over the top of the bazooka and it ran really well. I think it was about 30-45 minutes fly sparging in total. Using a copper pipe with some holes drilled in.

As that's a 100% low efficiency rate I'm thinking of BIABing in the cool box mash tun.

Can anyone advise how to boost the efficiency?

Cheers in advance
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Old 22-10-2017, 08:46 PM   #2
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If your getting poor efficiency fly sparging the best advise I can give is try batch sparging, if you get better efficiency you know its the sparge if not you can look at the mash. What efficiency did you get in 1 & 2?
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Old 22-10-2017, 09:36 PM   #3
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No 1 was pretty good. 70ish as I recall. That was using young's pale malt.
2nd was in the 50s but it got stuck and I had to drain the grain through a tea towel towards the end.

Batch sparging in the cooler, is that going to be better done with BIAB bag or as Is? I've not really read much on batching. I will though. Cheers
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Old 23-10-2017, 12:55 AM   #4
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Theres no need to BIAB especially if your not already. Do the mash exactly the same then drain and refill stir in leave 10 mins to settle drain, refill stir and leave 10 mins and drain. Its supposed to be 1-3% less efficient than fly sparging but is very consistent, I get at 75%+ with very basic equipment.
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Old 23-10-2017, 08:39 AM   #5
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Using a bag in the mash tun has been great for me, never had an issue since I started using one no matter what I'm mashing
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Old 23-10-2017, 09:22 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. I'll not be brewing for another 3 weeks so I've got some time to decide what to do. I looked in to it quickly last night and seen people using a sheet of tin foil with small holes pierced in over the top of the grain bed. Could be a faff though so not sure about that one.
Likely going to batch sparge, with or without a bag
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Old 23-10-2017, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciaran12s View Post
Thanks guys. I'll not be brewing for another 3 weeks so I've got some time to decide what to do. I looked in to it quickly last night and seen people using a sheet of tin foil with small holes pierced in over the top of the grain bed. Could be a faff though so not sure about that one.
Likely going to batch sparge, with or without a bag
Mash in a bag
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Old 23-10-2017, 09:34 AM   #8
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I've had really bad efficiency before and here are a couple of things I've done to improve:

Mash longer. I Went from 60 to 90 minute mashes and my efficiency went from ~70% to 80%+

Change the water profile. I did get a boost once I started doing this, but if the water is very alkaline where you are brewing the mash might not be getting to optimum pH for extraction.

Something I noticed as well was I had pretty good efficiency on my first kit, around 75% or so, then I got a new mash tun which was wider than tall (chode, if you will). It was made for 50L mashes, but I never filled it properly and usually only mashed half the size. Something about this design cut my efficiency. A few months ago I downsized to a Grainfather and my efficiency has gone up.

Grain crush is quite important. I'd imagine you're getting your grains pre crushed from the shop and not milling yourself? NEarly all shops will do a good crush, but leaving crushed malt for long periods of time will lower the efficiency.
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Old 23-10-2017, 11:30 AM   #9
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A few good pointers there cheers.

The first batch was good but very long. So maybe the trade off for time has resulted in poorer efficiency. That was a 90 minute mash and the tun drained so slowly the sparge took over 90 minutes as well. With constant elements on and off and cracking the HLT valve. I currently don't have time for that and so the quicker sparge resulted in a)a stuck sparge and b)poor efficiencies.
It looks like I either have to commit that time or change my setup. It's trial and error as well and although I'm getting poor efficiency, the quality of the beers seems to be very good so on the whole things aren't so bad. AG2 aka stuck sparge tasted delicious when bottling Friday night.

To be honest I haven't looked at water at all. I chatted briefly to my LHBS and they said the water here is good and doesn't really need treatment.

I think as Simon says, trying a batch sparge to see how it goes may be the first adjustment and take it from there. I am worried about it getting stuck though so I'll maybe get a bag to have on standby, or an old pillowcase anyway!
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Old 23-10-2017, 12:36 PM   #10
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Mash in a bag
The mash in a coolbox works very well for me, don't stir the mash post doghing in and leave it for an hour - you will get lovely clear runnings. I also do the silver foil sparge technique - this works well also.
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