Terrible efficiency mashing rye

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by peterlambert, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. peterlambert

    peterlambert New Member

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    I just finished brewing a rye pale ale (recipe linked in my profile) with the grain bill:

    7 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Pilsen
    1 lb American - Munich - Light 10L
    1 lb American - Rye
    .5 lb American - Caramel / Crystal 20L

    I mashed the grains in a grain bag in a pot (which I then later added to larger boil kettle) in 4 qts water for about 80 min. My strike temp was 164F, and the final mash temp was 153F. I've used this process before with pretty good efficiency (70% or so overall).

    This time, based on OG, it seems that I got almost nothing out of my mini-mash (although hopefully I will at least get some flavor / body from the rye, munich and crystal).

    Is this because of the rye? I've heard rye can be harder to mash, but not sure exactly what that means. Does anyone know what I did wrong?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    Ive heard several reports of pilsner grain not mashing well, its not the rye, most likely the grain or the crush or not sparging, you can kind of sparge by dunking up and down, then drain as long as you can, sometimes allot of sugar is in the last bit

    wait I read that wrong, you only get a very small amount of sugar if any when steeping or mashing specialty grains, just count that as flavor only, 35% is the norm
     
  3. peterlambert

    peterlambert New Member

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    I forgot to mention that I did sparge the grains by dunking the bag into 4 gallons that had been heated to 170F. Also, I thought rye and Munich were base malts, so they ought to mash themselves (as well as the crystal).

    Using the recipe editor, it seems that the only difference between steeping and partial mashing (with sufficient base malts) is the efficiency, so I've been using partial mash for my recipes, since that seems closer to what I am doing. It did seem to work well for the last batch (a wheat ale, got about 70%).

    In this case, I didn't even get 35% -- it was essentially 0, meaning all the sugar came from the extract. I used a different brand new hydrometer that I have not yet checked so I guess I could do that ...
     
  4. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Definitely check hydrometer but rye is a little different as it is a sticky malt. It doesn't sparge well at all. Should have got something out of it though.
     
  5. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

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    Double check the rye that you had. I say this because crystal malts have 0 diastatic power, even the 10l you have listed. That being said ensure the rye was malted and was not any variety of crystal. I had a wheat beer that only achieved 40% efficiency, and turns out the red wheat I used as 50% of the grain bill had 0 diastatic power.
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    your only talking about a couple of pounds that ferment, I wouldn't expect too much
     
  7. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    1# of munich and 1# of rye @ 75% should yield +/- 50 gravity points. so if you divide by 5 gallons, they should raise your final gravity by 10 points.
    The sugars are a constant and the caramel, although mainly unfermentable, will yield you another +/- 2 points.
    What was your OG @ 60° and what was the volume to your fermentor? Kettle Losses?
    Brian
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the grain bill, I'd go with what's been alluded to already: No enzymes to convert the rye. Munich is a base malt but with just enough diastatic power to convert itself. So I'm guessing you lost about a pound of grain. I'm guessing here: The rye was likely flakes or unmalted. The Crystal would provide about 20 ppg steeped. Converted, the rye would likely have produced 30 ppg or about 6 points in a 5 gallon batch. Same with the Munich, about 5 points. Brian is alluding to other possible causes. I recently completed a batch and left a bunch of wort in the kettle. Needless to say, the efficiency of that batch was fairly low. The syrup would have given you about 280 points, or 1.058. So just back-of-the-envelope, I get a 1.065-1.070 wort. Just to be clear, was the 35% from the grains only because the efficiency of the syrup is 100%.
     
  9. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    at the end of the day we make brew to drink it and we do that very well :D
     
  10. peterlambert

    peterlambert New Member

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    I've been wondering about the rye malt vs flaked rye issue, since I just had written rye on my grain bill, and a new guy at the LHBS got the grains for me. I just assumed he'd know I needed rye malt since I had shown him my recipe. As far as I know, both rye malt and munich have enough power to mash themselves.

    Topping off to 5 gallons in the fermenter, I measured an OG of 1.049. I think this is what I would get from the extract alone, hence thinking the rye didn't mash. I'm not too worried, since I'm sure the beer will be very drinkable. Fermentation has been great, and it smells fantastic so far.
     

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