Brewing Efficiency
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Questions on improving your efficiency? Or tips you have learned along the way?

    There are any number of things that effect your numbers, let's toss this out and get some solutions!
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  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 80,371
    Batch sparging.... One or two sparges? Sometimes equipment/recipe combonation restrictions dictate this, but I have a 15.5 gallon 5 day cooler I'm going to turn into an MLT. I should have no problem doing a single batch sparge on most 10 gallon batches with that dude. Is there any advantage to splitting the sparge?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I split the sparge into two, my thinking is the sugar in the grain hits an equilibrium with the water, then you drain it off, add more water, stir the heck out of it and wait for the sugar to hit equilibrium again before draining again,

    Using this thinking the more fresh water additions you have the more sugar you can extract from the grain

    My batch of mild I just made, first runnings were 1.061' it's sparge was 1.024' final sparge was 1.010

    Now could I get that low on a single sparge? I don't think I could do it.
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    From what I read, approximately 1/2 the sugar can be extracted in the first runnings, 1/3 on the first sparge, and 1/6 on the third.

    Fly sparging on a commercial scale can yield near lab extraction rates, but on a homebrew scale I feel it is marginally better than a split sparge for sugar extraction
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Do you let your sparge additions rest for 10-15 minutes before draining? I have found this really helped me efficiency- wise
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  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 79,814
    I often do many small batch sparges. Never an exact system; but when the first is empty (or I'm bored) I add water until it's just at about the grain line, maybe a little lower, like a really thick mash. Then stir it really well, and let it flow. Letting it sit at this point wouldn't be a bad idea, but that's mostly so a grain bed filter forms and you don't have to recirculate as much wort. I find that if I'm pulling from it this step takes about as long, so I suspect that if anything my eff is better for it as it was flowing and mixing at the time.
    Then when it's low or I'm bored I do it again.

    I started with fly sparging. rather complicated to set up and maintain, so I don't bother.

    I will be making a second 5gal mash tun. I'll batch sparge that, but what flows out of that would work nicely as a fly sparge for my other MLT.
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  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,449
    azscoob said:

    Do you let your sparge additions rest for 10-15 minutes before draining? I have found this really helped me efficiency- wise



    I normally do two 15 minute batch sparges. I typically get between 69 and 79% eff. Lately it seems to be at the 70% eff. I guess not bad but I would like to get better efficiency. I wonder if I have gotten lazy with stirring.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 51,204
    Yep.... batch sparge twice.... stir a lot.... I like longer sparge rests than most, like 20-30 minutes, but 15 will do for extracting sugars. Stir every 5-minutes or so. A fly sparge may be better at extracting sugars (if done right) but I think they leave a lot of flavor behind. A good crush can make a lot of difference too.
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,449
    ceannt said:

    Yep.... batch sparge twice.... stir a lot.... I like longer sparge rests than most, like 20-30 minutes, but 15 will do for extracting sugars. Stir every 5-minutes or so. A fly sparge may be better at extracting sugars (if done right) but I think they leave a lot of flavor behind. A good crush can make a lot of difference too.



    Yeah, I think I have gotten lazy and only stirr in and then leave it be. Next beer I think I will stir more during the mash and during both sparges.
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Invest in a mill, it is one of my best investments, now I buy base malt in bulk, and my other malts 5 to 25 lbs at a time
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    And I cab crush as fine as I want, with malt conditioning I have never had a stuck mash. Even on wheat beers with 69% wheat, no rice hulls used in a long while
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Can, not cab
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  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 80,371
    I should leave me spage rest longer. It may be 5-10 minutes. Maybe that long. And a grain mill is going on the Christmas list.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Santa brought me a barley crusher a couple years ago, I cryo treated the rollers to help in durability, and have since run around 500 lbs or better of grain through it, my first batch with the mill got me 75% eff. I adjusted it to .035 and got 80%, tightened it to .030 and am at 87% eff. On most every batch, turn the wick up to .026 orq .028 to mill rye or wheat and I am loving life!
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    SeaBee said:

    I should leave me spage rest longer. It may be 5-10 minutes. Maybe that long. And a grain mill is going on the Christmas list.



    I was pondering the time that the sparge rests, the sugar is extracted through osmosis essentially, so time is needed for the water to get in the grain bits, and the sugar to move into the water, once they reach equilibrium you can go ahead and drain, but the process takes time, so 10-15 minutes as I do, or even 20-30 as ceannt does, only helps in extraction of the sugars
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I would start trying to improve your numbers with longer rests between draining the tun, and splitting your sparge into two if you don't already
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Another thing if you don't mill your own is see if the shop will adjust the mill for your grain bill. If not, see if they will run it through the mill twice to get a finer crush.
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  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,449
    Let me see if I understand.

    Sparge #1: Rest for 15 min (minimum)
    Rest for 10 min?
    Sparge #2: Rest for 15 min - Or can this step be shorter?
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 51,204
    Yup .....
    15 minutes minimum first sparge ..
    Add the second sparge water immediately after draining ....
    15 minutes second sparge rest too.
    stir the heck out of it 3 times each sparge
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,449
    Ok, so no rest between sparges? I think I must have mis understood.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 51,204
    yeah.... you don't want the grain to loose heat or be dry.....
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    After my initial mash, I mashout with the volume absorbed by the grain, I bring it to a boil and dump it in the tun, stir the piss out of it and vorlauf and drain, when its almost drained I heat my sparge water to 170-175 so its ready to go in as soon as the tun is drained.

    I do this for the second sparge as well. As soon as the tun is drained I am ready to add more water.
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    I am also a mash tun tipper, I like to get every drop I can out.
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  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 79,814
    So what is the point of the rests?
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  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    The rests are to allow the sugars to leach out of the grain and into the mash water.

    It takes time to do that, like steeping a tea bag, if you were to put a tea bag in a cup, pour water in the cup and immidiately remove the tea bag, you have very weak tea, let it sit a while and it gets stronger.

    Same idea on the sparge rests
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  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 79,814
    But if you use loose leaf tea and stir the heck out of it; it takes much less time.
    CB's to do list:
    Your mom