Homebrew Batch 45: Yet Another Stout

I’ve been having trouble with my all-grain brewing lately – horrendous mash efficiency – but I keep climbing back on the horse and trying to improve the process: while brewing extract IPAs in the meantime.

Today I brewed another 2.5 gallon batch of stout.  This time, I rounded up some quantities and added a few more specialty grains, with the hope that even if my mash efficiency sucked, I’d still get a decent starting gravity.  It looked like this:

4 lb 2 row malt

.5lb roasted barley

.5lb flaked oats

.5lb chocolate malt

.5lb crystal 60

.125lb coffee malt

.5lb Cara-pils

Mash: 75 minutes, 9 quarts, 154 degrees

Sparge: 9 quarts @ 175 degrees

bring to a boil, add: 0.5 oz challenger

After 55 minutes, add: 0.5 oz styrian golding.

After another 5 minutes (60 total), remove from heat, chill to 70 degrees, pitch Safale T-58 dry yeast.

I should talk about my mash/sparging process because I’ve been having so much trouble.  At the advice of commenter Dynomite633 in a prior thread, I abandoned the hole-poked-tinfoil for sparging.

I mashed with 9 quarts of water at 152 degrees for 75 minutes, stopping at the 40 minute mark to stir and check temperature, which was good.   After the mash was complete, I stirred my mash, vorlaufed several times, then drained roughly 5 quarts – everything – into my kettle.   I added roughly 7 quarts of 175 degree sparge water, which brought my grains up to around 168 degrees (this is the only area where I think I may be able to alter the process?  get it even hotter next time?) and then stirred and let it rest for 15 minutes.

I vorlaufed again, then drained about 5 1/2 more quarts – everything –  into my kettle.

In the end, my final quantity was perhaps 10% heavy  – maybe 2.75 gallons of 1.06OG wort.  That corresponds to about 60% efficiency, which still sucks.

anyway, it will still be beer, and I expect it to be pretty decent…

-KD

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