Efficiency with extract

Discussion in 'Recipe Editor' started by 7 Slot Brewing, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. 7 Slot Brewing

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    So after putting a few batches in here, and a couple brew sessions later, I have not hit my recipe OG on any of them. After reading and reading I found that it is because my efficiency had defaulted to 70%. In looking at equipment settings the efficiency is under the all grain section, and will not allow me to put 25% which puts my OG spot on to my actual measurements.

    I realize I can change it on each recipe, but that is slightly cumbersome, so hoping there is a way around this, or maybe a feature request?
     
  2. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    We just changed the setting so it now accepts a range from 1-100. It used to be 35-100, but the larger range makes more sense. Thank you for reporting this!

    As for extract batches, the efficiency only applies to steeping grains.

    You might also want to compare the ppg values in the recipe and what you are getting at the home brew store. Sometimes they vary just enough to make an impact.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    this brings up a question to me, never understood this, how do we really know the efficiency of a brew? I can put what ever I want in the drop down to please my recipe settings but thats not accurate because this can change drastically on each brew because of a bad mash, how fine the grain is ground or short or long boil, the only way to tell is to match up with everything on the site :lol: I guess I answered my own question... but is there a true way to do this that we know ahead what our efficiency should be without guessing?
     
  4. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    If you are speaking in terms of extract recipes, you could change the recipe to Partial Mash or even All Grain, and then 'Brew' it. From there add log entries like Mash Complete, Brew Day Complete, etc... The Batch Performance section will then report values regarding efficiency. It requires you to take very accurate gravity and volume readings the entire way.

    The tool differentiates between mashed grains vs extracts for the purposes of the calculations.

    To make it even more accurate - target 'to the kettle' as batch size, instead of 'to the fermentor', so your kettle losses and hops absorption are fully accounted for. Normally this is a fairly minor detail, but I bring it up if you are interested in maximum accuracy and recipe portability.

    By using the Brew feature and the Brew Logs, I know exactly where my efficiency losses are. Recently I reset the gap on my mill, it had drifted wide, and noticed an efficiency improvement. This was after I ruled out mash pH, temperature calibration, grain ppg, and length of mash. Usually it is the simplest thing!
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes my point on the mill but i am guessing by what your saying is you really don't know your efficiency until you brew e few times and match the website so when you use another recipe the efficiency isn't necessarily correct labeled on that recipe
     
  6. 7 Slot Brewing

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    Thanks Larry for making the change. I agree efficiency will change with each batch, but you should be able to get close, right?
     
  7. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Yes you do need to brew a few times to dial in efficiency and water volume settings. Efficiency should be consistent on a brew rig among recipes that have the same size grain bill and amount of hops. The more grain for a given batch size, the more relative grain absorption, hence lower efficiency. Same thing is true for hoppy beers where the hops are not squeezed out and the batch is set to 'to the fermentor' mode.

    I batch sparge, and I generally get about 74% kettle efficiency for a 5.5 gallon batch of middle of the road 5% ABV beer. I can get up to 80% for a 3.2% ABV beer, but closer to 67% for an Imperial IPA. My mash tun has some dead space in it that is probably hurting me a little. When I do 11 gallon batches, efficiency goes up a little because the impact of the dead space is halved. I have thought about upgrading to fly sparging and might do it next year if I have time.

    When you take someone else's recipe, yes you need to pay close attention to efficiency and scale it to your system. Usually this involving changing the amount of base grain very slightly. The recipe editor has a scale by efficiency feature. Recipe Tools -> Scale.
     
  8. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Yes, over time you will know what to expect. As I said above, I know what my efficiency will be given my grain bill.

    It is all out the window though if your mill's gap is off, or the thermometer is incorrectly calibrated. :?

    Probably once in the last two years I had to add some DME to make up for lower than expected efficiency. Beer still turned out great.
     

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