Efficiency

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by _jon_, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Nov 27, 2017 #1

    _jon_

    _jon_

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    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?
     
  2. Nov 27, 2017 #2

    Irishwizard

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    Ive never done a Og or Fg reading. If it tastes ok, job done
     
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  3. Nov 27, 2017 #3

    MyQul

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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.
     
  4. Nov 27, 2017 #4

    Pheqit

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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.
     
  5. Nov 27, 2017 #5

    Duxuk

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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.
     
  6. Nov 27, 2017 #6

    GerritT

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    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.
     
  7. Nov 27, 2017 #7

    BeerisGOD

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    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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  8. Nov 27, 2017 #8

    Ajhutch

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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
     
  9. Nov 27, 2017 #9

    AdeDunn

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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.... :lol: 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!:thumb:
     
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  10. Nov 28, 2017 #10

    foxbat

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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.
     
  11. Nov 28, 2017 #11

    _jon_

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    I'm using a Mash Tun, and I suspect that a lot of my efficiency issues are relating to water quantities.. Ending up with too much / not enough in the boil kettle. Then I've also had issues getting a rolling boil, I can get to a strong simmer,, but not a rolling boil. I can't get it hot enough with the burner. However, thanks to Brewery21 on here.. I now have an electric boiler which should help to up my efficiency.

    I've only done 2 AG brews with my equipment, so I won't start changing too much until I've done a few more brews and got things a bit more acurrate.

    I have a pump now, and have also ordered a flow meter with a solonoid valve, so I can set a number of litres on the meter, and kick the pump off... it'll then pump through exactly the right amount. Once I have this, and the new boiler on the go... there are no excuses for super low efficiencies.

    The next thing which may be an issue is that I buy my grains pre crushed.. I don't have a mill.
     
  12. Nov 28, 2017 #12

    AdeDunn

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    No argument here, as I mentioned I got about 80% myself this time, I was just referring to this post:-

    I think a far more common problem I see is the same one I had with my first brew. A lot of people advise folks to use a strike temperature of 72 degrees, rather than calculating the sparge temperature according to grain temperature. I did that my first time, and ended up with an overly warm mash. Much better to use a tool like BIABacus, Brewsmith 2 or the like to calculate your strike temp than just pull a number out of the air.

    Regarding using too much water, that's an awfully complex way of addressing that. lol Lots of much simpler way to measure the volume of the water going into your mash I'm sure. I can empathise with the boil problem big time though, had the same problem myself trying to use a stock pot and gas hob, happily sorted by upgrading to an ACE mash tun boiler system. I'm sure you'll get a much better boil with your new boiler. It won't do anything for your mash efficiency though, but if that is a problem with too much water you have a handle on that.

    Good luck. :thumb:
     
  13. Nov 28, 2017 #13

    Thumper

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    Do you stir consistently throughout the mash, @AdeDunn? I'm thinking of going in the BIAB direction.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2017 #14

    Thumper

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    "BIABacus"

    Brewinabagacus! :lol: I love that!
     
  15. Nov 28, 2017 #15

    AdeDunn

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    I started out stirring every 15 minutes, but dropped this to 30 mins as I found taking the lid of to stir was dropping my temps. As others told me, I needed to make sure I was lifting all of the grain off the bottom of the bag whilst stirring, getting it moving around in the water column (I believe this isn't the same for tun mashing, I could be wrong though) so as to get more surface area exposed to the liquor, and get more sugars into solution. Between the better stirring, getting my strike temperature right by calculating it rather than using a figure drawn out of the air, and reducing my mash pH, I got better efficiency than I could have hoped for. :thumb:

    That, and using the ACE mash tun boiler, which came with pretty much everything I needed for BIAB, made for a good brew day, much better than my first attempt where I used a 33 litre SS stock pot on a gas hob, with an eBay grain bag....:lol: I did however have to peg the bag handles as they were a bit too long making it hard to stop grain from escaping over the rim. The bag was plenty long enough, and the boiler was plenty deep enough, it was just hanging too low.

    I'd also suggesting getting a kH test kit and testing your tap water. I already knew my kH was high from my shrimp keeping hobby. It can really help to know ahead of time if your water is hard and might need adjusting.
     
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  16. Nov 28, 2017 #16

    _jon_

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    I have some PH Strips. Just tested... My water is PH 7. The kit says it's middle of the road, and pretty neutral.

    I have been using Campden tablets though, as I read that all water companies use chlorine.

    Do you think there is anything else I should do with the water?
     
  17. Nov 28, 2017 #17

    Gunge

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    It's the pH of the MASH you need to look out for.
     
  18. Nov 28, 2017 #18

    _jon_

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    Oh right. What range should the PH of the mash be in? Similar to that of the water?
     
  19. Nov 28, 2017 #19

    dad_of_jon

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    1 litre of water - 1kg. why not try weighing it?
     
  20. Nov 28, 2017 #20

    MyQul

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    No iirc it's 5.2-5.7. You need narrow range PH strips not the ones you get from ebay 20,0000000 for a quid. Those or a ph meter
     

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