super low brewhouse efficiency

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Iliff Avenue Brewhouse, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/307796/great-expectations

    Any reasons why this would come in about 13% lower than I would expect as far as brewhouse efficiency. I have been averaging about 80% depending on the amount of grain and would expect about 83% for something like this. I only do 45 minute mashes but have not had any issues up to this point. Dingemann's pils, weyermann pale wheat, flaked wheat. I used DME and sugar to get my OG up to what I would expect.

    Just looking for thoughts.
     
  2. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    I’m confused...Why does your Pre-boil gravity and OG both say 1.047?
     
  3. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    ...Because your pre boil and post boil volumes are essentially the same.
     
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  4. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    83% brewhouse is crazy high for all grain unless you have Ozarks setup. I get around 68-72% for my setup.
     
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  5. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t updated the recipe Since I brewed it. Preboil gravity was 1.038.
    ignore that. I use beersmith. My preboil was 6.38 gallons and post boil was 5.70
     
  6. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    #6 Iliff Avenue Brewhouse, Jul 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    good to hear. I averaged about 70% until I purchased a grain mill. Since then I get 75-87 depending on the gravity of the beer. I’ve heard of batch spargers getting into the 90s regularly.
     
  7. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I get efficiency into the 80s fairly often with recipes like this. I usually set my estimated efficiency at about 78% just in case it doesn't go quite that high. That keeps me close to my recipe numbers whether it goes a few points higher or lower than that.
     
  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I'm set at 83% in my profile I'll hit that or above any beer under 6%.

    I know @HighVoltageMan! Has a pretty high overall brew house efficiency.

    I'll put this out there.
    There is no reason Biab should be any lower than standard All grain systems BH remember our advantage is finer crush.
    If your a Biab brewer I encourage you to test your crush size I see no taste interference from it just better extraction...
     
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  10. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I'm coming to realize these sort of things are really hard to troubleshoot through a forum. There so many variables that come into play on brew house efficiency, let alone brewing. Things to watch out for:
    • Grain crush, get it as fine as you can without a stuck sparge
    • Get you pH in range 5.2-5.4 for light beers, 5-3-5.5 for darker beers
    • Under collecting can cause low efficiency, use enough sparge water, some general rules are to stop collecting when run-off is 1.010-1.012. I don't worry too much about that, I collect until I have a predetermined amount of wort in the boil. Batch sparging really doesn't improve efficiency, at times it may hurt it.
    • Dough balls, inconsistent temperatures throughout the grain bed, strike water too hot causing some denaturing of the enzymes, especially beta enzymes (they start to denature at @150F)
    • Avoid using low diastatic malts and adjuncts together. If your going to convert another starch along with your malt, try using a North American malt, they tend to have diastatic power of 130-150.
    • Stuck mash or sparge. It can create channels for the sparge liquor to pass through the grain without picking up the sugars. Usually the brewer will stir up the grains to get the flow going again and the channels are created. If you suspect this, add some rice hulls to improve the flow in the entire grain bed.
    Lastly, don't sweat it. There are bigger problems to deal with, these sort of problems seem to get solved over time from a lot brewing. Experience is very important. Even the most experienced brewer runs into this from time to time.
     
  11. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I too am in the 83-85% brewhouse efficiency range. I think having my own mill and stirring the mash several times, and a few handfuls of rice hulls have made the biggest difference as far as getting consistent numbers. I'd be just as happy if it was lower and consistent...as long as I know about what I'm shooting for.
    If this is a one off, I wouldn't sweat it much. Could be old grain, a bad crush, a bad reading somewhere along the way etc. As @HighVoltageMan! pointed out there are so many variables. I typically get my 2-row from the same malt house. I have noticed that if I get 2-row from another supplier, my crush isn't the same, so something as simple as that can change things up.
    One offs happen. I'd say if you're typically consistent I wouldn't be to concerned. It's always nice to try and pin point where things went wrong, but sometimes it just isn't immediately obvious.
     
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  12. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all. The only thing I can come up with is not stirring well enough or the grain crush considering the smaller size of wheat. It looked good at a quick glance but didn’t analyze it.

    Hit my temps, pH, and volumes close enough to where that shouldn’t be an issue.
     
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  13. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    System size has something to do with it - your overall losses are similar to my five-gallon setup in size but in proportion to the finished product, lower. Another reason not to worry much about efficiency. If you're doing a one-gallon brew, a loss of an ounce is approximately 1% of your yield (1/128). On a ten-gallon setup, you're likely not to be able to measure it. Consistency is the goal. My little five gallon setup gets me about 72% efficiency and that's good enough. I'd spend more time and money chasing that 3% to get me to the default 75% than I could ever make up in saved grain. Good beer, not efficiency, is the goal, efficiency is for the pros.
     
  15. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    I hear that. Back when I was regularly getting lower efficiency I didn’t worry too much. When it’s 13% lower than I would normally experience I question it.
     
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  16. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    Got it. I figured something was screwy.

    Looks like the A-Team already got you squared away. I will only add that I have found that a thinner mash (I BIAB) was the second biggest improvement I made to increase mash efficiency, only finding the right crush helped me more. Not that you need help with your efficiency as this was probably just one of those days.

    And +1 to the stirring thing.
     
  17. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    #17 Iliff Avenue Brewhouse, Jul 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    I did stir a lot less than usual. Was bedtime for kids so I got the mash going and came back to it later. I’m going with that or crush of the wheat malt.
     
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  18. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I definitely have to change the gap on wheat or it basically rolls right through the gap.
     
  19. Iliff Avenue Brewhouse

    Iliff Avenue Brewhouse Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what you reduce the gap to? I have mine set pretty tight now but I’m guessing that was the problem.
     
  20. Herm_brews

    Herm_brews Well-Known Member

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    I’m all about stirring. During a 60 minute BIAB mash, I stir a lot; at the beginning, I am stirring to wet, and make sure all dough balls are broken; at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes I thoroughly stir, check temperature and collect refractometer samples. It helps that I’m dealing with very small batches in a 3 gallon brew pot.
     
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