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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2007 * Archive through February 12, 2007 * Effect of water/grain ratio on efficiency < Previous Next >

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Marlon Lang
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Username: Marlon_lang

Post Number: 25
Registered: 12-2006
Posted From: 70.149.179.241
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 12:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Fellow beer lovers,
I was brewing a "small" beer last Saturday and things did not go well. First, I missed my mash temperature - got 141F, wanted 148F - so I added boiling water to get 148F, but water/grain ratio was now out of sight. Promash predicted gravity of 11P, but the boil persisted at 14P (TC refractometer). Makes me think that increasing the water/grain ratio increases efficiency. Comments, please.
 

Bob Wall
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Username: Brewdudebob

Post Number: 719
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 139.76.128.71
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 12:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Marlon,

First of all, you have been around here a while, how is it you only have 25 posts?

Second, according to Palmer:

The grist/water ratio is another factor influencing the performance of the mash. A thinner mash of >2 quarts of water per pound of grain dilutes the relative concentration of the enzymes, slowing the conversion, but ultimately leads to a more fermentable mash because the enzymes are not inhibited by a high concentration of sugars. A stiff mash of <1.25 quarts of water per pound is better for protein breakdown, and results in a faster overall starch conversion, but the resultant sugars are less fermentable and will result in a sweeter, maltier beer. A thicker mash is more gentle to the enzymes because of the lower heat capacity of grain compared to water. A thick mash is better for multirest mashes because the enzymes are not denatured as quickly by a rise in temperature.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14-6.html
Give a man a beer and he'll waste an hour. Teach a man to brew and he'll waste a lifetime.
 

Bill Pierce
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Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6472
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.220
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 01:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bob (and John Palmer) is correct, but this has much more to do with fermentability than efficiency. Even then, the most important factors in fermentability are the malt itself and the mash temperature. Mash time and thickness are minor in comparison. As for efficiency, as most of us well know, assuming that the malt is of high quality, the crush is the most important factor. In general, as long as the mash thickness is within a reasonable range (1.0 - 2.0 quarts per pound) there should not be a lot of effect.

To hijack the thread somewhat, does anyone know why Palmer recommends a rather thin mash (around 2.0 quarts per pound) when 1.20 - 1.50 is more common both by homebrewers and commercial breweries? I suppose I should write John and ask him.
 

R. M. Zelayeta
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Username: Troglodyte

Post Number: 104
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 141.156.242.79
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 04:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for bringing that up Bill. When I finally transitioned to complete all-grain last fall, I spent several evenings trying to figure this discrepency between Palmer and the thicker consensus. It's been nagging me ever since, as I seldom deviate from Palmer's methods unless I'm certain about the effect I'm trying to produce.

(Message edited by troglodyte on February 08, 2007)
 

Gary Muehe
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Username: Garymuehe

Post Number: 182
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 75.57.144.65
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is interesting....

To Mash or not to Mash Kurz / Hoch
By Moritz Kallmeyer
Chief Brewer of Drayman’s Microbrewery, Silverton Pretoria, October 2004
Introduction
The Kurz /Hoch method of mashing were recently advocated when both studies at Weihenstephan State University and reports by Michael J. Lewis and Tom W. Young (Brewing, Second edition, p.244) confirmed the following: wort dextrins have no flavour of their own and are not viscous enough in solution to account for the perceived (sensory) viscosity or “body” of beer. Something else (the subject of current research) contributes to the perception of “body” in beer, not dextrins. It is thus assumed that traditional complex mashing regimes which were done to promote dextrin formation in order to promote “body” are redundant. The main question to ask if you are considering mashing Kurz/ Hoch is: “What malt am I going to use?” The Kurz /Hoch mashing method is not suitable for cereal adjunct inclusions.
1. Mash short
With the great excess of enzymes in modern malt, conversion can be achieved a lot faster than once believed (remember almost all fully modified malts are designed for big brewers with high cereal adjunct rates). The less time spent mashing the better. 20 Minutes maximum at conversion temperature. The underlying principal is to create maximum extraction with minimum grain contact time.
2. Mash high
Mashing is a beta-amylase sensitive (and therefore a fermentability sensitive) event. . The following arguments demonstrate that mash conditions, especially temperature range must primarily be chosen to accommodate the enzyme content and degree of modification of the malt.
When malt is poorly modified (or not as well modified) the brewer’s window is higher on the temperature scale, say 67-70°C. Thus poorly modified malt must be mashed hotter than well-modified malt to achieve adequate extract yield. To produce the required level of fermentability, the malt must also have sufficient enzymes (especially beta-amylase) to survive the higher mash temperatures used. This malt is thus suitable for Kurz/ Hoch mashing.
Brewers Window: It is the temperature range where both Alpha- (AA) and Beta-amylase (BA) work “in concert” to create the required degree (for beer type) extraction and fermentability. * When malt is thoroughly modified (well-modified) with just adequate enzymes the brewers window of mashing temperature is lower on the temperature scale, say 65-67°C.
No respected maltster will produce malt which is both poorly modified and low in enzyme so we can exclude that option.
Traditional British two row malt, for which the longer rest, single temperature infusion mash was developed are very well-modified malts (but with quite low enzyme content) which can only be mashed successfully at low temperatures (say 65°C). Because the starch dissolves easily, enzymes are conserved sufficiently at these low temperatures so that adequate fermentability can result over say 60 minutes.
The ideal malt for the Kurz /Hoch mashing method would thus be well-modified malt with also a high enzyme content. Does the Pale Malt from Southern Associated Maltsters fit this specification?
3. Mash dilute (3L/kg)
The often reputed advantages of thicker mashes are a lot of baloney. Enzymes might survive longer in thicker mashes but do less useful work – so what’s the point? Thinner mashes generally convert faster, have higher extract yield, and are less prone to darken. When mashing thinner cut back on sparge-water quantity to avoid over-extraction. Thicker mashes do cause more caramelization and Maillard reactions but is far less efficient than when the maltster creates it.
4. Mash in a single vessel of the correct design.
During infusion mashing it is the malt grist, mainly the husk material, which forms the filter bed at the bottom of the mashtun. At the start of the infusion mash this layer is separated from the false bottom of the mashtun by a liquid layer of dense extracted malt sugars. The floating of the filter bed depends on a suitable coarse crushing of the malt and partly on the presence of air bubbles on, and entrapped within the husks. In this case the mash is not stirred. Wort filtration thus takes place in the grain bed itself and not on the slotted false bottom of the tun. The mashtun configuration should be slightly wider than it is deep. The malt bed upon compaction at the end of runoff should not be deeper than 25cm. If it is deeper, efficient sparging will not be possible and the bed will “set” before enough of the good runnings can be extracted. Applying less dense sparge liquor also makes the bed less buoyant and so over time the mash sinks and the bed eventually compacts under any runoff regime. Skill is required to control the flow rate so that enough of the good worts are out of the bed before it collapses.
5. Mash at 5.3 pH.
pH affects the flavour of beer, its flavour stability and resistance to spoilage micro-organisms. Substances such as phosphates and products of protein breakdown in wort act as salts of weak acids at wort pH. Wort pH is often adjusted by addition of lactic acid but the pH change is relatively small because of the buffering effect. A salt of a strong acid and a strong base (like NaCl, the salt of hydrochloric acid) on the other hand provides no buffering action and adding the acid or the base changes the pH immediately. Buffering capacity is very important in brewing since it controls wort and beer pH. Overall, the optimum pH for enzymes that is active during mashing is pH 5.3 – 5.4. If the pH is higher than this, breakdown of proteins, starch and large dextrins is less efficient. This results in slower wort separation at the end of mashing, lower extract, lower soluble nitrogen and FAN concentrations and often lower fermentability. At higher pH values more polyphenolic material is extracted from the cereal husks with resulting astringency and unwanted increased colour. It is therefore good brewing practice to reduce water hardness by reducing the bicarbonate concentration of brewing liquor to less than 20mg /L (20ppm). One method is by adding phosphoric acid to the hot liquor tank and overnight heating to above 90°C. The mashtun pH is then further reduced to 5.3 - 5.4 by adding calcium sulphate and or lactic acid to the mash. The pH at the end of boiling also to a large extent determines the pH of the final beer. In general the pH decreases by about 1 pH unit during fermentation. 5.2 pH pitching wort thus usually gives a beer with a pH of about 4.2.
6. Use a single step rest only if your malt allows it.
Start sparging immediately with 76°C water which will aid in increasing the bed temperature – no mashout is done.
7. Add an antioxidant.
It is now realized that oxidation during mashing has several unwanted effects. Wort gets stale. Proteins containing free-Sulphur Hydrogen groups are oxidized and sulphur-sulphur bonds then formed between them can cause these proteins to form a coating on starch and malt endosperm cell wall fragments. As a result proteolysis, amylolysis and Beta-glucan breakdown are partially inhibited, causing a decrease in the amount of soluble extract obtained, and slows down mash separation. Oxidation of the mash also results in the oxidation of polyphenols. This causes increased colour and astringent bitterness. Even worse, lipid oxidizing enzymes oxidize unsaturated fatty acids and form products that accelerate stale flavours in the finished beer. When using dry milling and dumping malt in through the top of the mashtun air is trapped in the husks again increasing oxidizing potential. Our tiny mashtuns have loads of surface area with air exposure per volume, compared to enclosed mashtuns and bottom filling of big brewers. Good quality sweet wort has a fresh flavour and sparkling quality. This freshness is greatly diminished with long mashing times. Wort tastes dull and bland after a few hours and is irreversible damaged due to oxidation processes. The impact on the final beer is a lack of certain positive flavours – less maltiness, greater astringency and overall dull flavour. Other severe forms of staling (cardboard, aldehyde) may result. Fortunately all this is preventable with the simple technique of adding 20-30 ppm KMS to the mash. There is even now a special kind of anti-oxidant malt that is produced in Europe.
8. Crush coarse gelatinize well.
The Kurz / Hoch regime advocates a gentle vorlauf of 5-10minutes after the 20minute stand until runnings are clear and then runoff. One primary objective of milling is to leave the malt husk as intact as possible. An intact husk, including absence of shredded husks, helps wort separation in lautering and may reduce extraction of tannins, beta-glucans, silica and other undesirable components. Crushing finer will produce a smaller particle which more easily yield extract and probably yield higher extract, but comes with the risk of a stuck mash. Larger particles (from coarser crush) allow faster wort separation but come with the risk of extract loss. Mashtuns, with their deep grain beds, require coarse milling of malt. Coarser crushes will also allow ease of “mashing in” because it does not tend to form clumps and clots like finely crushed malt.
9. Sparge with 76°C water and pH of sparewater 5.5.
Higher temperature and pH during sparging increase polyphenolic material extraction with resulting astringency.
10. Stop runoff at 1010 and 5.5 pH
Extract recovered at the end of sparging is not simply diluted (quality) first wort. Last runnings contain little of interest to brewers making quality beer. Although large breweries have financial interest in collecting last worts as low as 1.003, craft brewers rarely collect below 1010.
11. Buy your Maillard compounds don’t try to mash them!
Many homebrewers have some fantasy image of immense malty flavours emanating from a decoction, but the reality is that decoction imparts only a subtle flavour difference. A no sparge will outdo a decoction every time! Adding a little additional münich, vienna or melanoidin malt will do the same.
12. Use quality malt!
The role of quality base and specialty malt in recipe formulation is going to become far more crucial in times to come. If your malt is likely to throw a haze use nitrogen dilutant or mash in at 58°C for a touch of proteolysis (15 minutes) then step up to 68/70°C. The most obvious time to degrade protein is during malting, when a full complement of proteases and peptidases are present. The vast bulk of amino acids are thus formed in malting, not mashing. In the malting of well-modified malt, more than 40% of the protein is broken down to soluble components. The “protein rest” in mashing is thus probably a misnomer because extensive proteolysis is unlikely in mashing due to the many protease enzymes that are inactivated during the kilning and the short duration of the low temperature stand. Solubility characteristics commonly define barley proteins. The less easily dissolved proteins dominate in high-protein barley. The ratio of the total soluble nitrogen (TSN) to total malt nitrogen (TN) is expressed on malt spec sheets as the Kolbach index. Too high and you’ve got problems associated with too much proteins in the beer like chill haze. Too low and there is no foam on the beer. Two row barley malt has lower nitrogen and protein content and also lower husk content. Six row barley malt has a higher nitrogen and protein content (is less modified) and a higher husk content. It has a higher diastatic power (more enzymes) so it is the malt of choice when large amounts of cereal adjuncts like maize grits are used (in double mashes). The extra husk aids in providing a lautering filterbed.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6475
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.220
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 01:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There are a lot of claims in the material Gary cites. Some of them represent conventional brewing wisdom, while others are more controversial. It would take a lot of space to examine each of them, but I wouldn't want to treat it all as gospel truth.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 6476
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.220
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 03:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I thought I might at least highlight the more controversial recommendations of the text:

Mash short
While the ability of modern well-modified malts to convert quickly is well-known, there is less agreement about the profile of the sugars that result from a very short conversion. The conventional wisdom is that a longer time (45-60 minutes) results in a more fermentable wort because it allows beta amylase to break more of the complex sugars into simple ones.

Mash dilute
As Palmer points out, a thinner mash is considered slightly more fermentable because the enzymes are less inhibited by the concentration of sugars. And it's clear that the starches need to be well-hydrated in order to be gelatinized and be acted on by the enzymes. I believe Palmer also mentions that any increase in the grain/water ratio beyond 1.0 quarts per pound results in an increase in mash volume only equal to that of the additional water, which would indicate complete hydration at that point. But this is the first claim I have seen that a thinner mash results in higher efficiency.

Crush coarse
This to me is the most controversial claim. Virtually all of the evidence from homebrewers is that a finer crush results in increased efficiency. Indeed the so-called "congress mash" used to determine the maximum extract potential of malt uses a crush that could be described as coarse flour. It's true that difficult and stuck sparges can result from too fine a crush, especially in the large lauter tuns used in commercial breweries, but this is less of an issue for small homebrew systems. The conventional wisdom is that you should crush as finely as does not result in sparging difficulties.


I will comment about one of the claims that I happen to agree with. Indeed in my experience the maltiest beer results from using no sparge water at all and boiling only the first runnings, of course at the price of greatly reduced efficiency. The old-fashioned procedure of parti-gyle mashing results in the stronger beer having exceeding flavor.

And of course it would be very difficult to argue with the recommendation to use the highest quality malt available.
 

Steve Pierson
Intermediate Member
Username: Stevepierson

Post Number: 299
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 66.162.131.34
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 05:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Threads like this are the reason I read this forum daily. There is always some new food for thought.

I have always batch sparged - KISS. I mash with 1/2 the desired runoff plus the water that the grain will absorb - mash for 60 to 90 minutes. This usually results in a mash ratio from of 1.5 qts. to 2 qts. of water per lb. of grain. I haven't seen any problems with mashing this way and I don't get any dough balls in a thin mash. Efficiency runs around 75% with the LHBS crush and I think I will do better when I buy a mill and crush finer at home.
None of us knows more than all of us. - Bill Herzog
 

Hophead
Senior Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 2430
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 167.4.1.41
Posted on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 05:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In my experiences, the thickness of the mash is about as important as the phase of the moon on brew day. I also believe there is a 0% chance that your mash thickness made a 3P difference in your OG.

Got a chance to try out one of those refractometers at a brewout recently; pretty cool little gizmo.
 

Christopher Allen
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Username: Treeboy

Post Number: 18
Registered: 01-2007
Posted From: 130.39.215.236
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 03:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was the small beer for the brewoff? What style did you go with?
 

Denny Conn
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Username: Denny

Post Number: 6165
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 06:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Marlon, it certainly does, but in more in an indirect way. Efficiency is mainly influenced by the crush, but all other things being equal, using more water at any stage of the brew will rinse out more sugar, thereby increasing your efficiency. So, by adding water to the mash, you increased your efficiency not because of the ratio itself, but because there was more water there to get the sugar out.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Chumley
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Username: Chumley

Post Number: 4628
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 06:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

5 stars for Denny! That pretty much summarizes my biggest factor in increasing/decreasing my efficiency...
 

Mike Huss
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Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1534
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.123.94.154
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 06:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeaahhhbut....Denny, those of us that batch sparge either add more on the mashout/first sparge to bring the volume up to 1/2 the boil volume or we do a big enough second charge to seriously dilute the sugars. Wouldn't that do the same thing as a thinner dough-in?

I mean c'mon, my last couple beers have been around 90% and I dough in at around 1.1/1.2.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 6167
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 07:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, it's the total volume of water that you run through the mash that seems to matter. Although I haven't quantified it yet, I *think* my efficiency is a bit better when I get more from the first runoff than the 2nd. This of course is counter to Ken Schwartz's equal runoff calcs.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Marlon Lang
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Username: Marlon_lang

Post Number: 26
Registered: 12-2006
Posted From: 68.155.74.90
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 07:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bob: I removed myself because the board was degenerating into a name-calling contest between a few members. They are no longer here, so I returned.
Christopher: It is for a local contest and I've never brewed below 11P before. Recipe based of Zymurgy "Summer Ale"
Denny: Thanks and I'll see you in July.
All: I hope that the spirit of this thread will spread.
 

Denny Conn
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Username: Denny

Post Number: 6168
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Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 07:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You heading west in July, Marlon? Give me an advance notice so we can get together!
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Derric
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Username: Derric

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Posted From: 85.195.119.14
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 07:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Regarding the "more water, better efficiency" statements...

I batch sparge. I first runoff the mash water, then do a 1st batch, then a 2nd batch. I usually collect a total of 7.5 gallons and boil for 90 minutes. I consistently get 85% efficiency.

So... how much different would the efficiency be if I sparged for a total collection of 6 gallons and boiled for 60 minutes?

Obviously that extra 1.5 gallons of water must get more sugars out... anyone have any idea about how much it would affect the efficiency? Perhaps a test is in order.

I wonder if this is one of the reasons why people report such a wide variety of efficiencies?

Derric
 

Mike Huss
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Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1535
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Posted From: 24.123.94.154
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 07:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Derric,

Why do you run off the mash liquor first?

I use Promash to calculate how much I will get from the mash. (As a side note I really need to play with that setting, I consistently get less from the mash than Promash says I will and I always end up making up for it on the second charge.) Anyway, I then attempt to add enough sparge water to bring the theoretical mash volume to 1/2 the boil volume, if I have enough room in the tun (my beers are usually fairly big and a charge that's big enough to give me 1/2 the boil volume will max out my MLT on 10 gallon batches). Then I stir it all up and run it off all together as my first runoff.

*edit* Yes, I know, I need a bigger MLT.

(Message edited by mikhu on February 09, 2007)
 

Derric
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Post Number: 12
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Posted From: 85.195.119.22
Posted on Friday, February 09, 2007 - 10:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> Why do you run off the mash liquor first?

Good question - it's just one of those things I've been doing lately. I read of others doing it and started doing it that way a year or so ago. I believe I get better efficiency and also it is very easy to figure the additions. I used to do the "two batches" and try to equal them out. Now I just drain the tun and measure what I get out, then I just split the different on what I need to reach my desired point for the two batches.

The math is easy and it is usually, 2.5 gallons on the drain, then 2.5 for each batch, total of 7.5.

I suppose it is like doing 3 batches. I like it because it is easy to calculate and I get a little better efficiency with the "extra" batch.

Derric
 

Ted Grudzinski
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Username: Tgrudzin

Post Number: 169
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Posted From: 68.77.40.185
Posted on Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 04:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"In my experiences, the thickness of the mash is about as important as the phase of the moon on brew day." Hophead, did you really have to bring that up again? :-)
I thought Marlon was either "born again" or turn over 9999 post and it re-set itself to zero. :-)

Ted
 

Marlon Lang
Junior Member
Username: Marlon_lang

Post Number: 27
Registered: 12-2006
Posted From: 65.0.99.249
Posted on Saturday, February 10, 2007 - 01:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There are side bets as to who will "roll over" 9999. My money is on chumley, but BP is also a strong contender.
Pat: Do you still have that program that counts the posts?