Extremely Low Efficiency

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Beer_Pirate, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    My last two brews have left me scratching my head. The only thing I've changed is my water source. By the numbers, my last two brews were at 62% and 55% brewhouse efficiency. Would changing my water lead to this? I used to start with USP water and build from nothing. Currently using the city's water report as my base. Milled the last batch of grain myself and the crush was a little finer than usual, but I BIAB so that shouldn't be an issue.

    On a related note, the last beer was a belgian strong dark ale, and I'm contemplating bumping the sugar addition at high krausen from 1 pound to 3 pounds. Each pound is roughly (changes with addition) 5% of the bill. At 3 pounds it's 15.8% of the bill. Does anyone have experience using this much sugar in a belgian quad?
     
  2. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    I like to use a lot of Candi syrup in my Belgians, gets the attenuation up and finishes where they need to be.

    as for efficiency, if you suspect it's because of a change in your water, have your calculated mash pH? Perhaps you aren't getting a very good conversion from the mash. I'm just guessing, try mashing between 148-150, and try mashing longer, maybe 90 minutes to ensure more conversion.
     
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  3. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    A lot of people get lower efficiency the more grain they use. With a belgian strong im assuming you used a lot of grain.
     
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  4. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    This was a 90 minute mash and I threw about 5 oz of acid malt in there to lower the mash pH. City says the water is 7.3-7.6 pH, so I used the water calc on here (with the pH set to 7.45) to adjust to a 5.33 pH in the mash (theoretically). I need to get a meter to see for myself.

    Mash temp was 152 according to 2 separate thermometers.

    What's the most Candi syrup you ever used in a 5 gallon batch?
     
  5. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    About 16 lbs. But a drop that huge in efficiency (20+%)?
     
  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Second this if it's not an average ABV brew and up in the 8 plus I lower my efficiency too.
     
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  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    When I go from a 5% to a 10% beer with my rig I end up in the low to mid 60s batch sparging so I wouldn't be shocked. Maybe try a regular ABV batch with the water and see what you get.
     
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  8. oliver

    oliver Well-Known Member

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    city water pH doesn't matter because it has no buffering power and when it mingles with CO2 in the air that will drive the pH down somewhere closer to 5.75 or 6.00 or something close. The malt bill matters, as does the amount of acid malt. Darker malts can drive pH down too much, Calcium additions to your water also drive down pH. Use the advanced water calculator and enter your water amounts and grist, make sure you're hitting your numbers.
     
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  9. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Different set ups will have different results. How big is a normal brew for you? Also batch sparge vs fly. Fly sparge should have better efficiency in most cases. Sometimes the sugars just get hung up in all the grain mass and it's hard to get them out. Fly sparge helps with the constant flow to pull them out.
     
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  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    When did you add the syrup?
     
  11. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    This was BIAB. I guess I'll go back to a traditional mash and sparge for big beers from now on.

    I haven't yet. I'm adding the simple sugars after high krausen so the yeast don't stall out on me.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That you haven't added the syrups is why the efficiency is low. The calculator bases efficiency on all sugars, whether late addition or not. I've noticed the same thing as you - if I put the syrups "in" (using math to know what the gravity would be if I'd added the sugars), the efficiency becomes what I'd expect. If I leave them out, the efficiencies remain low. What you're looking at is an artifact of the calculator. I'd like to see a fix to it, maybe something like a "not mashed" or "fermentor addition" checkbox that will leave those sugars out of the efficiency calculations but for now, if you use sugars added to the fermentor, the calculator treats them as if they were omitted from the boil.
     
  13. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    I took the sugars out of the recipe for that reason, and added them back in after I had my numbers for the post-boil OG. I wish it were as simple a fix as this.
     
  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'd also wager the large grain bill had an impact but I can definitely see the sugars being a big influence too.
     
  15. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep that large grain mass makes it hard to extract all the sugars caught up in the grain bag by the sparge. I just checked my barleywine brew log and recorded 70% brewhouse on that brew down from 83% average. If I were to mash a big grist again it increase sparge amount like double.
    Hey another thing to do is batch sparge that big grain bill again and make a second running brew. I got a 2.5 % beer out of my second running that's getting your moneys worth
     
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  16. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Fermentor Addition. Spot on Noseybear! Could be used for late sugar additions or fruit additions, maple syrup,etc. We have always worked around the way the brew log and recipe builder handle this. Shouldn't be a complicated addition I wouldn't think. All the ingredients you could add are already listed as fermentables so would just be a move the math thing:confused:
     

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