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Old 28-11-2017, 02:03 PM   #11
_jon_
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I'm using a Mash Tun, and I suspect that a lot of my efficiency issues are relating to water quantities.. Ending up with too much / not enough in the boil kettle. Then I've also had issues getting a rolling boil, I can get to a strong simmer,, but not a rolling boil. I can't get it hot enough with the burner. However, thanks to Brewery21 on here.. I now have an electric boiler which should help to up my efficiency.

I've only done 2 AG brews with my equipment, so I won't start changing too much until I've done a few more brews and got things a bit more acurrate.

I have a pump now, and have also ordered a flow meter with a solonoid valve, so I can set a number of litres on the meter, and kick the pump off... it'll then pump through exactly the right amount. Once I have this, and the new boiler on the go... there are no excuses for super low efficiencies.

The next thing which may be an issue is that I buy my grains pre crushed.. I don't have a mill.
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Old 28-11-2017, 03:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxbat View Post
BIAB inefficient? Don't know where that idea comes from. No such thing as a stuck sparge with BIAB so we can crush virtually to flour. I generally get 83 to 85% with my self-crushed BIAB setup on a 60 minute mash with dunk sparge.
No argument here, as I mentioned I got about 80% myself this time, I was just referring to this post:-

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Originally Posted by Pheqit View Post
The main variable in efficiency is your mashing technique, usually the more time spent the higher it will be (eg. this is why BIAB normally has low efficiency). So if you don`t have time then adjust the grain bill or reduce the wort to get the desired ABV.
It could also be the grain your using and a few factors come in here harvest quality, age, storage, crushed or uncrushed, how it`s crushed etc..

As to calculating my efficiency. Well using brewing software I know what OG I should be getting at 75% default then I change that % up or down until it shows the approx OG I actually got. I`m usually a little low, about 70% because I`m a little impatient doing the sparge.
I think a far more common problem I see is the same one I had with my first brew. A lot of people advise folks to use a strike temperature of 72 degrees, rather than calculating the sparge temperature according to grain temperature. I did that my first time, and ended up with an overly warm mash. Much better to use a tool like BIABacus, Brewsmith 2 or the like to calculate your strike temp than just pull a number out of the air.

Regarding using too much water, that's an awfully complex way of addressing that. lol Lots of much simpler way to measure the volume of the water going into your mash I'm sure. I can empathise with the boil problem big time though, had the same problem myself trying to use a stock pot and gas hob, happily sorted by upgrading to an ACE mash tun boiler system. I'm sure you'll get a much better boil with your new boiler. It won't do anything for your mash efficiency though, but if that is a problem with too much water you have a handle on that.

Good luck.
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Old 28-11-2017, 03:59 PM   #13
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Do you stir consistently throughout the mash, @AdeDunn? I'm thinking of going in the BIAB direction.
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Old 28-11-2017, 04:03 PM   #14
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"BIABacus"

Brewinabagacus! I love that!
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Old 28-11-2017, 04:10 PM   #15
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Do you stir consistently throughout the mash, @AdeDunn? I'm thinking of going in the BIAB direction.
I started out stirring every 15 minutes, but dropped this to 30 mins as I found taking the lid of to stir was dropping my temps. As others told me, I needed to make sure I was lifting all of the grain off the bottom of the bag whilst stirring, getting it moving around in the water column (I believe this isn't the same for tun mashing, I could be wrong though) so as to get more surface area exposed to the liquor, and get more sugars into solution. Between the better stirring, getting my strike temperature right by calculating it rather than using a figure drawn out of the air, and reducing my mash pH, I got better efficiency than I could have hoped for.

That, and using the ACE mash tun boiler, which came with pretty much everything I needed for BIAB, made for a good brew day, much better than my first attempt where I used a 33 litre SS stock pot on a gas hob, with an eBay grain bag.... I did however have to peg the bag handles as they were a bit too long making it hard to stop grain from escaping over the rim. The bag was plenty long enough, and the boiler was plenty deep enough, it was just hanging too low.

I'd also suggesting getting a kH test kit and testing your tap water. I already knew my kH was high from my shrimp keeping hobby. It can really help to know ahead of time if your water is hard and might need adjusting.
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Old 28-11-2017, 04:54 PM   #16
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I have some PH Strips. Just tested... My water is PH 7. The kit says it's middle of the road, and pretty neutral.

I have been using Campden tablets though, as I read that all water companies use chlorine.

Do you think there is anything else I should do with the water?
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Old 28-11-2017, 05:17 PM   #17
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I have some PH Strips. Just tested... My water is PH 7. The kit says it's middle of the road, and pretty neutral.

I have been using Campden tablets though, as I read that all water companies use chlorine.

Do you think there is anything else I should do with the water?
It's the pH of the MASH you need to look out for.
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Old 28-11-2017, 06:12 PM   #18
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Oh right. What range should the PH of the mash be in? Similar to that of the water?
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Old 28-11-2017, 06:27 PM   #19
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Just wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom regarding brewhouse efficiency...

What should I be recording on every brew to mark efficiency, other than OG etc.

Today, my recipe stated I should have got an OG of 1.046, but I actually got 1.039. So quite a way off.. and if I get the OG down to what the recipe says 1.006, it makes the ABV right down to 4.3%.. almost a whole % below where I wanted it.

Water is a problem for me, it seems.. as I don't have a specific way of measuring acurately. Just a 2 litre jug which I use to measure water between vessels. (I've now purchased a flow meter, with solonoid valve so that I can get water bang on.


I suspect I should wait until I have that before I start adjusting recipes to match my poor efficiency?

What calculations do you make, to get your % number of brewhouse efficiency?
1 litre of water - 1kg. why not try weighing it?
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Old 28-11-2017, 06:41 PM   #20
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Oh right. What range should the PH of the mash be in? Similar to that of the water?
No iirc it's 5.2-5.7. You need narrow range PH strips not the ones you get from ebay 20,0000000 for a quid. Those or a ph meter
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