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Old 27-11-2017, 05:19 PM   #1
_jon_
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Default Efficiency

Just wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom regarding brewhouse efficiency...

What should I be recording on every brew to mark efficiency, other than OG etc.

Today, my recipe stated I should have got an OG of 1.046, but I actually got 1.039. So quite a way off.. and if I get the OG down to what the recipe says 1.006, it makes the ABV right down to 4.3%.. almost a whole % below where I wanted it.

Water is a problem for me, it seems.. as I don't have a specific way of measuring acurately. Just a 2 litre jug which I use to measure water between vessels. (I've now purchased a flow meter, with solonoid valve so that I can get water bang on.

I suspect I should wait until I have that before I start adjusting recipes to match my poor efficiency?

What calculations do you make, to get your % number of brewhouse efficiency?
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Old 27-11-2017, 05:21 PM   #2
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Ive never done a Og or Fg reading. If it tastes ok, job done
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Old 27-11-2017, 05:26 PM   #3
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Ive never done a Og or Fg reading. If it tastes ok, job done
I advise anyone reading this to ignore it. You can get away with not taking an OG reading (I often dont bother and just rely on what a brewing/dilution/etc calculator tells me. But if you dont take a FG reading and then bottle, you risk bottle bombs.
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Old 27-11-2017, 06:52 PM   #4
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The main variable in efficiency is your mashing technique, usually the more time spent the higher it will be (eg. this is why BIAB normally has low efficiency). So if you don`t have time then adjust the grain bill or reduce the wort to get the desired ABV.
It could also be the grain your using and a few factors come in here harvest quality, age, storage, crushed or uncrushed, how it`s crushed etc..

As to calculating my efficiency. Well using brewing software I know what OG I should be getting at 75% default then I change that % up or down until it shows the approx OG I actually got. I`m usually a little low, about 70% because I`m a little impatient doing the sparge.
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Old 27-11-2017, 08:02 PM   #5
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I don't expect my method is accurate but since I always do the same method, it's a useful comparison.
I do X=295*total grain weight/volume in FV in litres. I then take my OG and remove the 1 at the start, so it might leave 0.050. Multiply by 100,000 to give 5000 in this case. Then 50/X give the % efficiency!
It seems simpler in practice than it is to explain.
To improve efficiency try a longer mash. Overnight if you can. Try to make sure your temperature doesn't drop too much, especially early on. Use a sparge stage. A simple "dunk" in enough water to cover the grains gives me a 10% improvement. A 2 stage dunk didn't improve things any further, though.
Rid your system of dead space. A big stockpot leaves no hiding place for the liquor. You get it all.
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Old 27-11-2017, 08:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _jon_ View Post
Just wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom regarding brewhouse efficiency...

What should I be recording on every brew to mark efficiency, other than OG etc.

Today, my recipe stated I should have got an OG of 1.046, but I actually got 1.039. So quite a way off.. and if I get the OG down to what the recipe says 1.006, it makes the ABV right down to 4.3%.. almost a whole % below where I wanted it.

Water is a problem for me, it seems.. as I don't have a specific way of measuring acurately. Just a 2 litre jug which I use to measure water between vessels. (I've now purchased a flow meter, with solonoid valve so that I can get water bang on.

I suspect I should wait until I have that before I start adjusting recipes to match my poor efficiency?

What calculations do you make, to get your % number of brewhouse efficiency?
Yeah, either use more grains or less water, to make up for the missing gravity for the time being. I'd go for more grains. 10% more should get you closer.
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Old 27-11-2017, 08:24 PM   #7
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I advise anyone reading this to ignore it. You can get away with not taking an OG reading (I often dont bother and just rely on what a brewing/dilution/etc calculator tells me. But if you dont take a FG reading and then bottle, you risk bottle bombs.
Here here
If I hadn't taken an sg yesterday and assumed my beer was ok to bottle this Thurs I definitely would have some problems, either with bottles or a sweet beer. It was at 1.022 from 1.060. ramped up the temp and gave it a stir (adding the nibs). If u have a hydro don't be afraid to use it
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Old 27-11-2017, 08:31 PM   #8
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TO calculate your efficiency numbers, I think this is a good tool

https://www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency/

I don’t know how many batches you’ve done, but a few guidelines I followed early on:
- to start with, worry about what your efficiency is rather than what it should have been. Learn what your system gives you on a consistent basis and then start plugging that assumption into your recipes
- to start with, just worry about the final gravity and volume into the FV. I didn’t start trying to worry about pre boil gravity and volume (and doing anything about it if I missed) until batch 10 when I had a better idea of what I was doing and wasn’t too frantic on a brew day. You will get better results once you do this though.
- to know what volume of water is in your kettle you could devise a measuring stick of some kind, you can make notches on a plastic spoon for example. I know the height and volume of my cylindrical pot so I use a steel ruler to measure from the top of the pot to the liquid and work it out from there
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Old 27-11-2017, 10:24 PM   #9
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What kind of brewing are you doing Jon? BIAB or multi vessel or the like? I ask as my first BIAB I had awful efficiency (just under 60%) and ended up too low on my OG. With help I narrowed it down to 2 things, too high a mash pH thanks to super hard water here buffering the water during the mash (fixed by mixing RO with treated tap water, mostly), and probably the bigger cause was too cautious stirring. I was been really gentle when doughing in and stirring during mashing, once somebody told me to make sure I was lifting the grain up into the water column thoroughly my efficiency shot right up this time around to around 79/80% (did somebody just say BIAB has low efficiency? lol) and my OG was too high.... If you're mashing in a tun though I don't think the stirring method is the same as for BIAB. I also have been using a 90 minute mash rather than 60 minutes.

Oh, I use 2 bits of software now, Beersmith 2 app on my phone, and the BIABacus spreadsheet, both give me various efficiency calculations once I add my measured data.

No ego stroking here though, I never would have been able to improve my efficiency without the help of folks on here and another forum!
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Old 28-11-2017, 12:42 PM   #10
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BIAB inefficient? Don't know where that idea comes from. No such thing as a stuck sparge with BIAB so we can crush virtually to flour. I generally get 83 to 85% with my self-crushed BIAB setup on a 60 minute mash with dunk sparge.
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