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AG Brewhouse Efficiency - What do You Get?

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samale

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For me it's not specifically 'working it out' but on brewmate it has the efficiency as part of the overall software so if I dont hi the OG I'll know I'm under target efficiency and its just a simple matter off toggling efficiency number down to match what OG I got, which works it out for me
I normally hit 1.050 for 5 kg of grain. I don't use calculation software. I just go of experience. If I want higher I add more grain I have also started experimenting with adding sugar to give it a lift.
 

Mrhandsome

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I do pretty much exactly the same as you @terrym

My BHE varies from about 67-80% so I input 70% on brewers friend when calculating my recipes.

I've found longer mashes increase it, I keep it at temperature for an hour and then if I'm busy I'll let it freefall until I get back to it.

Last brew my wife wanted to go for a walk halfway through so I did a 4 hour mash and got 85%! So much for a nice mellow 5% beer 😂
 

Gerryjo

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For me it's not specifically 'working it out' but on brewmate it has the efficiency as part of the overall software so if I dont hi the OG I'll know I'm under target efficiency and its just a simple matter off toggling efficiency number down to match what OG I got, which works it out for me
Brewers friend has a similar set up allowing to dial in you're equipment and BH efficiency. Best I ever got was 78% but usually average between 65 and 70=
 

PhilBrew

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Hi Terry

Lots of suggestions for improving things from the above posts ... but I'd suggest you should perform a simple test first, to pin-point which part of your process you should focus any efforts to improve on ... next time you brew, at the end of the mash but before you do any sparging take a sample for a gravity reading from the wort you've created, and use that gravity and the volume of water you mashed in to calculate your mash-efficiency ... you can return the wort to the pan after you've measured the gravity of it, so doing this shouldn't contribute to losses.

If you're getting mash-efficiencies below the mid-80%s, then you definitely need to improve that first ... after the mash efficiencies can only be lowered (through losses) so if you're getting low mash-efficiency you can't sort your brewhouse efficiency by improving your sparging, or whatever :?: ... and the suggestions above around grain-crush, mashing techniques (like stirring) and mash-thickness/mash-duration ... and I haven't seen it mentioned yet above, but you may end up having to look at your water chemistry and its alkalinity, to sort out mash pH ... should all be candidates for trying to resolve that.

If you're getting reasonable mash-efficiencies but poor brewhouse efficiency, then you're suffering more losses than average, post mash ... and then the techniques for improving your sparging and reducing losses in transfers (getting more of the sugars out of the wort left in trub/hops) described above will be where you should focus your efforts.

Regards, PhilB
 

Ajhutch

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I do a fairly thin BIAB mash, big squeeze and a dunk sparge. I’ve set my BeerSmith mobile profile for recipe generation to 65% and I tend to get pretty close to that now, sometimes a little higher. I was getting really bad efficiency for a while and the three major changes I made were:

1. doughing in much more slowly (stove top is good for this because it’s easy to control the water temp)
2. mashing for longer. I now tend to allow mash length to vary with the rhythm of the day (playing with the kids or lunch or whatever) but I rarely mash for less than 90 minutes now
3. Mashing out. I used to not bother with this step because I was lazy but I think this was a bad idea. So now I really focus on a mash out for 10-15 minutes; again this is pretty easy to do in BIAB and gets started on heating the wort up to the boil as well.
 

Cwrw666

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Trub and all? I keep telling myself “right, next brew I’m gonna throw the whole lot in the FV” then I just get to the last of the clear and think “nah” I always end up leaving a good couple of litres in the Peco!
No. Surely you've got a filter?
 

trueblue

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For years with my 3V system it was always within a few points of 70%. Since I bought the grainfather it is around 75% once reaching 79%.
 

cushyno

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For years with my 3V system it was always within a few points of 70%. Since I bought the grainfather it is around 75% once reaching 79%.
Was the lower efficeincy in the 3V system due to deadspace losses, or something else? Any idea?
 

Sadfield

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A pretty consistent 77%, since adopting water treatment and buying 25kg sacks of the same malt variety from the same supplier. With the exception of when I brew anything high gravity (9%+).
 

Cwrw666

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Just used the BF calculator for my latest brew - more or less Ron Pattinson's recipe for 1864 Lovibond XB pale ale - an EKG smash. BIAB brew with a dunk sparge, and some sugar replacing some of the pale malt.
I got 83%
 

Clint

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My efficiency jumped nearly 10% by making a manifold for the cool box instead of the bazooka filter.
I also sparge slower and maintain my sparge water temp while doing so.
It's now in the 70's consistently so I'm happy with it.
 

darrellm

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Similar process to you Terry, 12L pot BIAB on the hob. Get a consistent 68% with a dunk sparge.

I have noticed it varying slightly with different grain batches.
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Trub and all? I keep telling myself “right, next brew I’m gonna throw the whole lot in the FV” then I just get to the last of the clear and think “nah” I always end up leaving a good couple of litres in the Peco!
I’m the same, just can’t bring myself to chuck all that muck in with my beautiful wort. Through the mash I skim off the hot-break, I use a protofloc tablet to drop out the proteins - can’t make sense of throwing it all back in :?:

Having said all that I tried to make a hazy IPA so deliberately didn’t skim, didn’t use a protofloc tablet, and did throw everything in the FV - clearest beer I ever made!

I must be brave. I must be brave.
 

Markk

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I’m the same, just can’t bring myself to chuck all that muck in with my beautiful wort. Through the mash I skim off the hot-break, I use a protofloc tablet to drop out the proteins - can’t make sense of throwing it all back in :?:

Having said all that I tried to make a hazy IPA so deliberately didn’t skim, didn’t use a protofloc tablet, and did throw everything in the FV - clearest beer I ever made!

I must be brave. I must be brave.
Yes, I must be brave too. I always use a protofloc and leave the wort in the kettle for a bit after cooling before tapping into the FV. I keep telling myself if the wort drops clear in that half an hour in the kettle surely it’ll clear after a fortnight in the FV too. But do I listen? asad.
 

wizurd1977

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Just bunged my last brew into the brew house calculator on brewers friend but this time took out most of the losses i get from the boiler and it takes my efficiency up to 70%. So once i sort that out my actual efficiency isn't that bad
 

terrym

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Thanks to all who contributed. athumb..
Although its a small sample I would say BIAB seems to get lower efficiencies than all-in-one type systems, although even that is variable.
Other things that seem to improve matters are thinner mashes (I noted today John Palmer recommends 4 litres/kg which I will now aim for), grain source, type and milling, doughing in, longer mashes, and perhaps mash chemistry and sparging methods. And if you leave stuff behind in the boiler (which I don't) that will not help the efficiency
Finally I liked the idea of testing the concentrated wort prior to sparging so I might try that.
 

foxy

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Each brewer can get different efficiencies using the same method and same grain bill, its the technique which gives the different efficiencies, as has been mentioned pH, water chemistry, fluid mash, milling the grain. Though leaving the trub in the kettle will contribute, take a hydrometer reading of the wort in the settled trub will verify that. It is better to leave that where it is, in the kettle, or save it for making starters. Just adjusting the grain bill to suit our equipment and technique is really all we can do. Unless someone comes up with a Meura filter for home brewers.
 

DaryllLand

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My AG brewing technique is stove top BIAB in my kitchen, based on an 11 litre pot which is the largest size that will comfortably sit on the electric hob. I normally follow the mash with a sparge, then give the grain a firm but not excessive pressing to extract as much liquor out as I can before the boil and then set the spent grain aside during the boil so that anything remaining that will drain does so, although this usually doesn’t amount to very much. I use about 1:1 mash to sparge liquid volumes, and use pre-crushed grain well within date.
Up until recently I normally brew partial mashes and the DME quantities I use mostly masks grain extraction efficiencies and I usually get just under the predicted OG. However yesterday I did a 10 litre AG only brew and found the OG was noticeably less than I expected and worked out that my brewhouse efficiency was of the order of 67%, compared to the 75% used by the BF calculator. That got me thinking as to what others got. A look through past posts came back with a variety of miscellaneous answers from different AG brewing methods. I know grain is relatively cheap but it you need to be aware of your own typical efficiency if you are going to match a recipe to reality.
So the question is what do others get for brewhouse efficiency on their AG systems, and what do people believe significantly affects it?
great topic Terrym! Today I reached an OG of 1047 (tilt hydrometer reading) when I should’ve got 1060 but I did do some experimenting where I think it hindered me. I’ve not got to the stage where as a home brewer it bothers me. I’m just happy I get good flavour and something drinkable. The better I get the stronger or more accurate the strength of the brews becomes. But like I said, today I missed my targets but I’m not bothered! Hope you figure out why you’re not hitting yours but hey if it’s okay then that’s good enough!
 
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