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Thread: Measuring Mash Efficiency

  1. #1
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    Measuring Mash Efficiency

    Hello All,

    I have been trying to measure mash efficiency and while I completely understand the how from an equation perspective I find it difficult to get the actual numbers from the maltsters that I need. Everything I have seen is that I should be using course grind "as is" as the baseline for the extract potential. The problem I fine is the not every maltster provides this. In fact the info they provide even when contacting them directly seems all over the place. How are you guys adjusting for this inconsistency?

    Cheers,
    Sean

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgaura79 View Post
    Hello All,

    I have been trying to measure mash efficiency and while I completely understand the how from an equation perspective I find it difficult to get the actual numbers from the maltsters that I need. Everything I have seen is that I should be using course grind "as is" as the baseline for the extract potential. The problem I fine is the not every maltster provides this. In fact the info they provide even when contacting them directly seems all over the place. How are you guys adjusting for this inconsistency?

    Cheers,
    Sean
    What brand(s) are you using? Brands like Castle and Ireks provide enough on their websites to figure it out. You need the FG (Fine Grind), the FG/CG (Fine-Coarse difference) and the moisture content. For Castle Pale for instance, their website lists Extract (Dry Basis) as 80.0 min, moisture as 4.5 max, and Fine-Coarse difference as 1 min and 2.5 max, which I personally just call 2. So if the FG is 80, then the CG is the then 78 by subtracting the FG/CG, and then the CG (As-is) would be 73.5, by subtracting the moisture from that. My imported malts here in India tends to not be the cream of the crop and are sometimes a tad old, so I round that down to 73 for my own CG As-is.

  3. #3
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    Captn Kirk just nailed it....

    Most reputable manufacturers have the data available already. Swaen, Briess, Best Malt, Weyermann, Rahr, Fawcett, Cargill, Gambrinus and Patagonia are some more that have provided data in the past.

    If you don’t have info, run your own Congress mash to find out. It’s like 50 grams for each sample if I recall, so you can use a rolling pin/food processor and sieves if you need to. You can even do it in Bangalore (wink).

    Personally I like to see a very low grind differential because it gives you more freedom in the crush size. I like the coarsest possible mash without giving up efficiency, because it helps run-off times and prevents compacting. Usually it’s a few pennies (or rupees) between brands and efficiency in collection or run off time can recuperate those costs.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottjk7890 View Post
    What brand(s) are you using? Brands like Castle and Ireks provide enough on their websites to figure it out. You need the FG (Fine Grind), the FG/CG (Fine-Coarse difference) and the moisture content. For Castle Pale for instance, their website lists Extract (Dry Basis) as 80.0 min, moisture as 4.5 max, and Fine-Coarse difference as 1 min and 2.5 max, which I personally just call 2. So if the FG is 80, then the CG is the then 78 by subtracting the FG/CG, and then the CG (As-is) would be 73.5, by subtracting the moisture from that. My imported malts here in India tends to not be the cream of the crop and are sometimes a tad old, so I round that down to 73 for my own CG As-is.
    That is perfect! I figured there was a way to calculate the "as is" with the numbers that were given. I just couldn't seem to find that info any where. All of the maltsters I use provide at least that information. Some actually supply the CG "as is" so I was wondering what I was missing.

    Cheers

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnFermentable View Post
    Captn Kirk just nailed it....

    Most reputable manufacturers have the data available already. Swaen, Briess, Best Malt, Weyermann, Rahr, Fawcett, Cargill, Gambrinus and Patagonia are some more that have provided data in the past.

    If you don’t have info, run your own Congress mash to find out. It’s like 50 grams for each sample if I recall, so you can use a rolling pin/food processor and sieves if you need to. You can even do it in Bangalore (wink).

    Personally I like to see a very low grind differential because it gives you more freedom in the crush size. I like the coarsest possible mash without giving up efficiency, because it helps run-off times and prevents compacting. Usually it’s a few pennies (or rupees) between brands and efficiency in collection or run off time can recuperate those costs.
    Makes sense. I have been considering going to a slightly coarser crush. I am currently getting my malt precrushed from our supplier but they offer varying crushes. Hopefully I'll have my own mill in the near future so I can control the process a little better.

    Cheers

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    I'm intrigued about why you bother taking into account the CG/FG difference. The need to account for moisture if the specs are given as "dry basis" - fine, that is pretty obvious. But I have never used, and never before heard of anyone using CG/FG. As far as I, and anyone else have discussed this with simply take the total % available extract, which will always (as far as any maltsters I have had dealings with) use a fine grind. And then simply use that as the basis - irrespective of the grind. Otherwise you could not compare extracts from a traditional Brit style mash tun, mash mixer & lauter tun, and mash mixer & mash filter.

    Oh yes, finally, I am reviewing some training material for the IBD exams, with the sections on milling and mashing written by non Brits, and have worked with Heineken directly and Coors, SABMiller and AB personnel (when they were separate entities) - so these calculations are not confined to us Brits.

    Would someone please explain.

    Thanks
    dick

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    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    I'm intrigued about why you bother taking into account the CG/FG difference. The need to account for moisture if the specs are given as "dry basis" - fine, that is pretty obvious. But I have never used, and never before heard of anyone using CG/FG. As far as I, and anyone else have discussed this with simply take the total % available extract, which will always (as far as any maltsters I have had dealings with) use a fine grind. And then simply use that as the basis - irrespective of the grind. Otherwise you could not compare extracts from a traditional Brit style mash tun, mash mixer & lauter tun, and mash mixer & mash filter.

    Oh yes, finally, I am reviewing some training material for the IBD exams, with the sections on milling and mashing written by non Brits, and have worked with Heineken directly and Coors, SABMiller and AB personnel (when they were separate entities) - so these calculations are not confined to us Brits.

    Would someone please explain.

    Thanks

    Hi Dick,
    Thanks for your reply. The main information I am using comes from a seminar at CBC. See below for the link.

    http://www.craftbrewersconference.co...ency-Havig.pdf

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dick murton View Post
    I'm intrigued about why you bother taking into account the CG/FG difference. The need to account for moisture if the specs are given as "dry basis" - fine, that is pretty obvious. But I have never used, and never before heard of anyone using CG/FG. As far as I, and anyone else have discussed this with simply take the total % available extract, which will always (as far as any maltsters I have had dealings with) use a fine grind. And then simply use that as the basis - irrespective of the grind. Otherwise you could not compare extracts from a traditional Brit style mash tun, mash mixer & lauter tun, and mash mixer & mash filter.

    Oh yes, finally, I am reviewing some training material for the IBD exams, with the sections on milling and mashing written by non Brits, and have worked with Heineken directly and Coors, SABMiller and AB personnel (when they were separate entities) - so these calculations are not confined to us Brits.

    Would someone please explain.

    Thanks
    The FG is perfectly reasonable too, but you would be measuring the efficiency based off the total potential, instead of the total potential you could potentially get. Doing it with the CG as-is gives me a more accurate measurement of how efficient 'I' am being with my equipment, since I couldn't possibly get the FG without a mash filter.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgaura79 View Post
    Hi Dick,
    Thanks for your reply. The main information I am using comes from a seminar at CBC. See below for the link.

    http://www.craftbrewersconference.co...ency-Havig.pdf
    Thanks

    As it happens, I already have a copy of this, but it didn't answer the WHY?, just the HOW.

    Re the other comment about using the CG, again, I understand that, but I would still use the FG as it is more technically correct - you are comparing against the available extract.

    However, at the end of the day, as long as you are using a consistent calculation, and if you are looking into new kit, then the new kits potential efficiency is based on the same criteria, then this isn't a problem. And I wouldn't really expect a small brewery to bust a gut (i.e. spend a fortune on new kit) just to get 1 or 2 percent additional extract. Big breweries producing round the clock 5 or 7 days a week, yes, they can pay off - but a few brews a week - hardly likely.

    Thanks again

    At least I understand why you decided to do it that way.

    Cheers
    Last edited by dick murton; 10-01-2019 at 12:38 PM. Reason: entered DG instead of CG
    dick

  10. #10
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    My personal experience mirrors what the linked presentation shows in the fact I saw increased yields and faster run-off with a coarser crush on most malts. Many different Tuns. Now obviously the extract potential of the malt did not change at all (same malt), but my ability to extract it had increased resulting in greater "real" extraction (brewhouse efficiency) in most cases. I think this is what Scott is getting at, Extract Potential vs Brewhouse Efficiency. While many high-end manufacturer designs are capable of high extraction efficiency at a fine grind, many poor quality (read: Chinese) manufacturers simply lock up at that fine of a grind. Either way, they all tend to benefit from a coarser grind as far as run-off flow rate. Even on quality wedge-wire tuns. The tipping point is extract loss. If you are comparing malt extract potential itself the CG/FG is not a super important factor. If you are comparing brewhouse efficiency, it could be.

    If I have less differential between the CG and FG numbers, then there is less impact from my grinding process and I can optimize for run-off times and real extract. Improved time is money, if not at the cost of extract. If the differential is greater, then there is the potential for extract loss when adjusting the grind to a coarser crush, thereby negating the increased "real" extract of lautering improvements (no "real" gain, but rather a more direct exchange of time for extract).

    In that case you can weigh (figuratively) the loss of extract (potentially 1-2.5% in this anecdotal example) vs the time/labor savings of an improved lauter time (maybe 30 mins as the linked example shows from 120 to 90). Is 1-2.5% efficiency loss worth your 30 mins of time? Maybe, maybe not. It will depend on your equipment, process, labor, and overhead costs. If it was say 5% differential, then you might consider a different maltster or new process equipment as a real world solution for the balance of slow/stuck lauters or poor efficiency. This is where I have used the info most - troubleshooting lauter problems and designing economical solutions. I would not by any means consider it necessary info for a good judgement call to be made on the malt, but I will take advantage of all the data I can if I see a use for it.

    My client experience has been that most would rather give up a few dollars per batch (malt & labor) as opposed to pay more cash up front for long term ROI. A few dollars per day often SEEMS cheaper than loaning more money, and it is in the short term. This is not the best business practice to be sure, and I advise against it at every opportunity, however this is my experience. A poor quality mill, a poor quality tun, and improper pipe manifold designs can be common situational issues and funds are not often available for retro-fitting. Maximize what I have is the call of order, and this is just a tiny piece of the puzzle. If the clients are accepting of slightly lower efficiency (2-3%) they MAY see an improvement in process speed allowing for a larger return in other areas such as labor, utilities, or time. You see this a lot in mineral and hydrocarbon extractions as well. Pull 80% of the easy to get stuff and process more raw material. Leave some behind in exchange for time. It is just the cheapest way profit in the fastest time.

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