Efficiency

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Steve SPF, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    I would really appreciate some input on this:

    My latest recipe using the numbers here gave me an OG of 1.049 and FG of 1.008. I've actually hit 1.046 and it looks like 1.011 so instead of 5.38% ABV I'm going to get more like 4.59%.

    I felt like I had been really careful with my temps and mash thickness so my initial water volume was spot on although my mash temp came down to 64 and should have been 67.

    My efficiency is down at 65% and I'm really not sure how I can improve that.
     
  2. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
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    In order to perform any sort of efficiency analysis, we need more info.

    Complete recipe, how you brewed it, and all gravity and volume measurements.

    Then you can calculate the conversion efficiency, mash (kettle) efficiency, and brewhouse efficiency to see where the efficiency loss was.
     
  3. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    #3 Steve SPF, Oct 5, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2019
    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/embed/886475

    That's the link to the recipe, not sure how to post it here.

    Mash temp started at 67 and dropped to 62 (not 64) in the hour. Strike temp was 72 as intended.

    I wanted 75 litres into the fermenter which I did get, overall volumes were pretty good I think.
     
  4. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
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    Did you leave any volume in the kettle? Mashtun volume losses? Did you measure the gravity and gravity of runoff after the mash, as this is necessary to calculate conversion efficiency.

    Without a conversion calculation, all you can do is guess.
     
  5. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Also, was your grind any coarser than usual? Larger particles prevent access to some of the starches.

    On the plus side, I have found the US-05 yeast often ferments out two or three points past target.
     
  6. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    No difference in grain, I buy it crushed and it comes from the same supplier. I like the fruit notes from the US05, didn't consider that there would be any difference in the numbers
     
  7. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Ah, ok. So almost zero left in the kettle. There's always some in the mash I find but I felt that I hit the total target water volume of 164lt, that gave me 86lt into the kettle which is close to what I was looking for. And close to my limits as well.

    I didn't measure pre-boil gravity no.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    First thing, unless a few more ounces of malt is a problem, don't obsess over it. Homebrewing is not an optimization problem, it's about making good beer at home. Your beer. I get a range of efficiency depending on how much malt I use, which malts I use, mash process and temperatures, pH, the list goes on. I celebrate a good beer. Thought experiment: If you get 90% efficiency and make a crappy beer, have you succeeded?
     
  9. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I would be inclined to think that the low efficiency is due to your crush. If you are buying your grain pre crushed, you have no idea if your supplier changed the gap on their mill or even if they used a different mill altogether. A change of a few thousandths of an inch in gap setting won't really be noticable visually, but can be seen in your efficiency. This would be a good argument in favour of investing in a mill of your own.
     
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  10. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Well, that's one way of looking at it isn't it? The beers are all good to be fair, I just feel that I'm doing something wrong if the recipe says it will be X and I get Y.
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    No, too many variables to make that statement. If you're making good beer, don't worry about it too much. If you're making good beer, you're doing it right. I've had a number of homebrewers serve me turpentine and brag about how they hit all their numbers.
     
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  12. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Right, so an adjustment in thinking more than anything at this stage? I can do that, I will just bump the grain bill up a bit if I really want to hit an ABV. I'm more about interesting flavours than strength anyway.
     
  13. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Steve, I agree with Nosy on this one. At 5% you are in Session IPA territory. There are other challenges with hops and water treatment that I would be more concerned with. Do the same beer next time (ok to change hops and salts) and see how it compares. Your recipe estimates an OG of 1.046 and 5% ABV. Unless I’m missing something, aside from efficiency, it looks like attenuation came out a little high at 1.011 instead of 1.008.
    Things to consider, as suggested, crush and consistent mash temp and I would add fermentation control (oxygenation, temp, yeast nutrient, etc.). Overall it looks like a good beer. Enjoy!
     
  14. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I'd do something to reliably hit and maintain your mash temperatures. Until you can do that, at least have some boiling water handy in case you come in low. Getting down into the lower 60s certainly isn't doing your efficiency any good. At 62 to 64C conversion is a much slower process and requires a longer rest.
    If low efficiency is an ongoing problem it's likely that a less than optimum crush is contributing to it as well. Home brew shops are more likely to crush on the coarse side.
     
  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Efficiency... the real pursuit is, no matter what your efficiency is, to know what it is, plan for it, and hit it consistently. Predictable results are what you should be pursuing.
     
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  16. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    I agree 100%, but efficiency should be within reason. When there are obvious problems standing the way, they should be addressed.
     
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  17. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, and crush seems like the culprit.
     
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  18. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for input, lots of food for thought.
     

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