Confused about efficiency.. please help

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Jahlovebrew, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Jahlovebrew

    Jahlovebrew New Member

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    Hey all, this is my first post. I have just reached the fermentation stage of my first brew (NW style IPA) and am confused about what to put in the efficiency section of my recipe.

    For the recipe I steeped 1 pound of grain for 30 minutes (at 160-170 degrees). I then added 7 pounds of malt extract and 1 pound of dry (both light).

    I noticed modifying this number made a difference in OG, ABV and bitterness. How am I supposed to figure out what percent to put in this section? Do I just modify until the OG section reading is the same as my actual OG reading when using hydrometer?

    Any help you could provide this "rookie" homebrewer would be appreciated.
     
  2. the_jetset

    the_jetset New Member

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    Hi Jahlovebrew,

    I don't think you need to worry too much about efficiency for extract brewing. Efficiency is more to do with All Grain brewing so you can see how much sugar you got out of the grains through mashing, milling and that kind of stuff.

    Just make sure you do the following steps:

    - Measure your OG with a hydrometer (This is when the post-boiled wort is cooled and before going into the fermenter)

    - Measure your FG with a hydrometer (When you are taking it out of the fermenter and before bottling)

    Then, with these two readings you can see how good of a job your yeast did at eating sugar and crapping alcohol + CO2!! :D
     
  3. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    We recommend starting with an efficiency value of 25% for first time extract brewers. Then you can adjust it from there. If your efficiency is higher, well... a bit more alcohol in the beer is not a huge problem for most home brewers ;)

    The recipe editor will show you how the efficiency impacts OG for that recipe. Try entering a value of 0, or a value of 100, and see how the estimated OG changes. That's one thing I love about the recipe editor, it is completely alive and lets you do mini experiments.
     
  4. Brewmaster Tom

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    I've been an extract brewer for many years and 30-35% seems to be pretty spot on for my brewdays...using that the most I am ever off is 0.001 which is essentially nothing.

    Best of luck and CHEERS!!
     
  5. the_jetset

    the_jetset New Member

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    Hey all! ... sorry about the mis-information in my post above!! :oops: I've never worked with steeping grains and only saw the part about the extracts!!

    But I didn't realize that steeping had such low efficiency! Good stuff to know for future experiments.
     
  6. Jahlovebrew

    Jahlovebrew New Member

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    Thank you all for the helpful info!

    Jetset, You mentioned I should take OG reading before adding to fermentor. I took the OG reading after adding the cooled down wort to the fermenter with added mixed in water (2.5 gallons wort + 2.5 gallons added water = 5 gal). Did I do this wrong then?
     
  7. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    For extract batches, it sounds like you did it right. You want to top off to the batch size, then take the sample, then pitch the yeast. Otherwise you'd be measuring your boil gravity, which isn't that useful.
     
  8. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    And don't forget to mix the added water well before taking a gravity reading. You need to oxygenate anyway, so swirl/ shake it up good to prevent any stratification which will throw off the measurement.
     
  9. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Dang, I forgot to aerate...! Thank you, could have been a disaster...
     
  10. the_jetset

    the_jetset New Member

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    Hi Jahlovebrew. You did it perfectly. I usually don't add extra water for the brews that I do, therefore, I take my measurement from the cooled wort just before I drop it into the fermenter. But your OG reading is the one you want to take that has the wort in the condition it will be in just before sealing the fermenter.
     
  11. Jahlovebrew

    Jahlovebrew New Member

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    Ok great... yeah I aerated the mix by shaking and stirring rapidly before taking my reading. Man I can't wait to try this brew! I am thinking about starting another batch of a different style but perhaps I should wait to see if my first batch was a success... :)

    Thanks again for the help and clarification!
     
  12. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Aren't you following your brew day sheet? :mrgreen: JK
     

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