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# Mash Efficiency Problems (only 1.04SG from 1.094 potential SG) Help!!

edited April 2016
``````13.5 Gallons Water
Mash Ratio = 2.9 lbs/gallon = 39 lbs grain

Corn   = 29.25 lbs (75%) 33 ppg
Rye    =  5.00 lbs (13%) 29 ppg
Barley =  4.75 lbs (12%) 35 ppg

Potential specific gravity:

Corn   33 x 29.00 lbs = 957.00 ppg
Rye    29 x  5.00 lbs = 145.00 ppg
Barley 35 x  4.75 lbs = 166.25 ppg

957 + 145 + 166.25 = 1268.25 / 13.5 gallons water =
93.94 or approximately 1.094 SG potential
``````

My process:

1. Brought 13.5 gallons of water to 205 degrees.
2. Added 29.25 lbs of rinsed cracked corn, water temp dropped to 175 degrees, continued heating back to 190 degrees and held for 25 minutes while stirring.
3. Turned heat off let cool to 178 degrees and tested PH. The PH was 6.5 so I added citric acid to reduce PH to 5.5, then added SEB-Star high heat enzyme.
4. I then put the pot with the corn in my homemade insulated box, made of 2” pink rigid sheet insulation. Starting temp when I put the pot into the insulated box was 176 degrees. I left it in the insulated box for almost 20 hours. The temp was 160 degrees when i took it out of the box. Only a 16 degree drop in 20 hours.
5. Checked PH and adjusted it down again from 5.9 to 5.6 with a little more citric acid. I let it cool to 150 degrees and added alpha amylase and the 9.75 lbs of malted Rye and Barley grains.
6. I then put it back into the insulated box at a temp of 147 degrees for another 10 hours. The temp was still 141 degrees when I took it out after the 10 hours.
7. Took the mash out of the insulated box and tested it for conversion with iodine. The test was good and showed no starch (no black).
8. I then took a 4 ounce sample off the top of the mash and cooled to 70 degrees and tested the specific gravity. It only showed 1.041 SG. The full potential was 1.094. I was thinking I should get at least a 1.07 or even 1.06. WTF??

Can anyone tell me what I might try next time to get a better conversion? My only thought might be that I should crack the corn smaller? Would that help me get better results, am I just missing something? Does anyone see any glaring rookie mistakes that would cause the SG to be so low? Any and all ideas/ help would be greatly appreciated.

A few extra items:

• I added the two enzymes at rate of 0.36 ml per pound of grain
• The PH of the water before the boil was 7.1
• The texture of the corn after all the time it was heated and left in the insulated box wasn’t as soft as I would have expected but is was still not hard by any means.

Thanks for any help with this, it is very frustrating to say the least.

Tagged:
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• edited April 2016

I am a novice, but have been reading and reading the last few days. If you don't do the de-gelatinizing 90-120 min boil, I think you may need a finer crack... The enzymes can't get to all the starch on a coarse grind.

I just got this corn to do a 40 gal pilot batch with next week, and a friend used a similar process to yours with this fine ground and got 1.070 with 50lb in 20 gal it was \$15.04/50lb vs \$7.25/50lb for cracked, I will try both eventually..

• edited April 2016

If I read your text correctly, you used high temp alpha amylase first, and then alpha amylase second?

Why didn't you use any beta amylase or glucoamylase? (separate from your malt)?

GA is a good addition if you can't maintain gel for an hour or so, because it does have the ability to hydrolyze starches.

• edited April 2016

@CothermanDistilling - I tried that gig once - make sure you have your heavy duty drill and mixer paddle standing by.

That stuff will turn into concrete if you push high weight/liquid ratios.

Works great though.

Strike near boiling, try to hold as long as possible - once you get into the window of HTAA - drop it in, even if you need to dose twice because you are denaturing.

• I know HTFU but not HTAA?? Hang on, High Temp Alpha Am? Denaturing? You mean the enzyme due to high heat?

• Yeah, high temp alpha amylase. Exactly - destroying the enzyme with heat.

We use HTAA on the way up, and the way down. Obviously, we lose the enzyme once we get up near the boil. However, it's worth the expense as it keeps the everything liquid enough for the agitator not to struggle.

• edited April 2016

If you are using corn meal like that - and you have the ability to increase temp and HOLD - I would try adding the corn cold, adjusting PH, adding enzyme, raising temp, and holding near the top end of the HTAA temp range.

You might be able to skip the polenta entirely.

The first and only time we played around with this, we did not have enzyme. We did not have a drill. We had a mash paddle. It was awful.

• edited April 2016

Just for reference - we are currently doing 90 minutes holding at 200 - plus the heat up time and cooling time to 158, which is another hour or so. This is on what is really a mixed medium/fine crack.

30 minutes - no way - it doesn't pay to hold this temp at such a short time - especially after you've invested all of the energy to get to this temp.

60 minutes - larger pieces (1/2 or 1/4 kernels) will likely still be hard - this may not be a problem if you ferment on grain with GA though.

• edited April 2016

I have a giant RIMS tube from stout tanks, and we are kinda warm...

Trial#1 - I will insulate my 60 gal container and use a strong pump and stay kinda thin...
- pretty much what pintoshine does in his video

Trial#2 I will boil water in my 380L and pump to my 60 gal container and do that simultaneous thing

I have Ultraferm GlucoA, but waiting on my Opti-Mash HTAA to show up... I looked at visco-buster BetaG, but will get somewhere that does not need me to buy 10L, and I am not doing unmalted or rye just yet..

meanwhile, I have a guy at a new brewery making me 300gal of 2-row barley mash (boiled, whirlpooled, cooled) today for the cost of the grain +\$250 for his labor (he was giddy at the \$250, his fermenters are full and his brew system is idle and he has a brewer to train) that is 5 of those batches, and I don;t want to work all day for \$50 except for trials and learning!

• edited April 2016

White labs is where I get mine - did they stop carrying the 1 liter visco?

• No htaa - drill and thinset paddle from Home Depot - telling you it's the only way to go if you are doing 55 gallon or so.

2 lbs per gallon total grain max with that stuff, until you got your process down pat.

• edited April 2016

@CothermanDistilling thanks for the input. I am going to run my cracked corn through my grain crusher and give it another go. I am hoping the smaller crack will give me better efficiency.

• edited April 2016

@grim

I am using SEBstar enzyme kit I bought. SEBstar HTL and SEBstar GL. So beta or glucoamylase would help if I'm not holding at a high 200+°. So really you will never get the gelatinization I need to release the starches holding it at temps between 170-180° for long periods of time, I'm guessing?

My malt was purchased just a month ago so not that old and the crack on the corn is course for sure.

• @grim said: 30 minutes - no way - it doesn't pay to hold this temp at such a short time - especially after you've invested all of the energy to get to this temp.

60 minutes - larger pieces (1/2 or 1/4 kernels) will likely still be hard - this may not be a problem if you ferment on grain with GA though.

I am fermenting on the grain. Do you think if I used a finer crack on the corn and an addition of glucoamalyse, with my current process that while it ferments I would get more conversion, but would have no real way to measure what final efficiency I really got. I was hoping to be able to trade the long high temp boil of the corn for it sitting in the insulated box for 20 hours, are you thinking that's a losing battle for me?

• @grim said: If I read your text correctly, you used high temp alpha amylase first, and then alpha amylase second?

Why didn't you use any beta amylase or glucoamylase? (separate from your malt)?

I'm new to all these enzymes, so to get it correct I used high temperature Bacterial Alpha-Amylase and then High Productivity Glucoamylase. Does that seem correct for my best chances at a high efficiency conversion? Thanks @grim for all the help with this.

• Would soaking the corn in water overnight help to gelatinize the corn any better before I let it soak in the 170-180° overnight?

• edited April 2016

Here is the size of the crack on the corn I use.

• oh crap that's too large compared to what i use.... come on pro's give him the real story

• @FullySilenced said: oh crap that's too large compared to what i use.... come on pro's give him the real story

I ran that sized crack back through my grain crusher and cut it to about half that size crack in the picture I posted. I will give it another go this weekend, see if I get better efficiency :D

• @grim said: White labs is where I get mine - did they stop carrying the 1 liter visco?

yeah, only 10L, so I will get some elsewhere until I dive in to use that quantity..

• @Kdog said: Would soaking the corn in water overnight help to gelatinize the corn any better before I let it soak in the 170-180° overnight?

@grim said you would be asking for an infection, and I believe him, so unless you are going to boil, I would not...

• @grim said: No htaa - drill and thinset paddle from Home Depot

^^^^ does the above mean:

"No need to use HTAA, just use GA "

or

"No, use HTAA and a drill..."

You know, it is the "Are you helping your uncle jack off a horse, or are you helping your uncle, Jack, off a horse?" thing

• Hah - if you do not have High Temp Alpha Amylase - make sure you have a drill and mixer paddle handy, because you will need it.

• That is way too coarse, I would re-mill that finer, it looks like you have nearly whole kernels.

• Thanks @grim I'll give it a go back through the mill...

• @grim said: White labs is where I get mine - did they stop carrying the 1 liter visco?

I called them, they have the 1 and 2.5L, they were not sure why it was not listed on the web order page.

They were very nice and added 1L of WLN4400 to my order that ships next Tuesday, they are really nice people to work with.. not cheap for yeast overnighted, but great to work with...

• edited April 2016

The one thing that irked me is they shipped me a bag full of nutrient that had ripped before, or during shipping, and half the container spilled in shipping. They didn't seem to care much. It isn't granular, it's fine powder - what a mess.

• edited April 2016

• edited April 2016

Here is the grind of my corn. It takes me about 20 minutes to grind 50 pounds with this little grinder

• We take it as fine as our farmer can reasonably hammer mill it. At the price we pay to get it cleaned, milled, and delivered, it doesn't pay to mill ourselves. We do mill some adjuncts though.

• This is about as fine as I can get it, this is a single pass with a spinning blade grinders. I am happy with the grind I am getting with my chicken feed grinders. @grim, I think you said that you use high temp on the way up and on the down side, so do you use 1/2 dosage each way or is it double dosage?