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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Getting higher brew house efficiency
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:38 AM   #1
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Default Getting higher brew house efficiency

I been AG brewing for quite a bit and i can never get 70+ BHE..I use a 10 gallon igloo cooler with a make shift SS braid filter..My average BHE is usually 45-60% which is too low..I do not want to have to double up malts,hops to achieve my desired OG..What some tricks of the trade to help boost my BHE..My system is pretty standard..It must be poor milling cause i have not invested in a mill yet always get my grist pre crushed..Could that be the one variables that is wrecking my BHE?

My system: 10 gallon igloo cooler SS braid filter and ball valve

Dead space: 1/2 gallon

mash tun weight: 9lbs

mash tun specific heat: not 100% I think 0.30

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:00 AM   #2
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A good, and consistent, crush is definitely one of the major factors for achieving better efficiency.

Sparging methods can have quite an influence on the outcome too, I believe.

Get hold of a cheap Corona mill and give it a shot to see if that gets you a jump in efficiency. I've only done BIAB AG, so can get away with a really fine crush, and I'm hitting 83 - 85% quite consistently.

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:06 AM   #3
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I posted this to another member but its the same exact question.

Efficiency can be increased by making sure you do a few things correctly each and every time. Here's what I would consider important points to increasing your gravity:

1.) A good crush on your grain. Typically you want to crack your grain to the point where your husks are mostly intact but not shredded. You can get better efficiency by crushing the hell out of it but you will certainly run the risk of a stuck sparge. You can add rice hulls to the mash to counter this so really the crack is up to you. I'd say go with a crack where the hulls stay mostly intact, but if you like taking risks, crack the hell out of it and add rice hulls. Don't say you we're not warned though.

2.) A good mash always break down to temperature and time. A good rule of thumb (although it can always be broken) is higher mashes for a lower time and lower mashes for longer times. The key thing about the mash temps are to do a mash out. No matter what, raise the mash temp to 168 -170 (no higher than 170) and hold for about 10 minutes. This stops the mashing process and also makes sure the sugars are all "loose" from the grain and can freely be drained. If you don't have a setup where you can raise your mash temps use one of the online sparge calculators to find out how much boiling water to add to the mash to raise your temp to the desired goal. One tip for you here, if you add boiling water have some cold water on hand to drop the temps if you overshoot that 170 degree mark. You don't want the mash over 170 or you run the risk of releasing tannins and a harshness from the grain. I heard recently that this is not as big of a risk if your PH is correct but I never break this rule.

3.) Sparge slow. I don't like to wait when I sparge but it is really important to sparge slowly to get the best extraction out of the grain. Some guys can take an hour to sparge, take as long as you need just don't go fast. Slow moving water will wash the grain more efficiently. Go slow and watch that efficiency rise.

If you can stick to these three items, your gravity will rise. One item I personally always do as well is to balance your ph to around 5.3 (above 5, lower than 5.5). If you can't tell, I've had this issue as well. Do what ever you can to follow these rules and you will have no problems.

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:11 AM   #4
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crush has the biggest affect,second is sparging.I routinely got 80% or better when using a cooler and batch sparging.(I'm talking extraction efficiency)

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:17 AM   #5
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If you want to get your best efficiency, you have to know where your problems are. Accurate measurements of gravity and volumes are vital to figuring out where you can improve.

This article by HBT member Kaiser really helped me dial in my efficiency. I am consistently getting 80% now. His other articles on mashing are great too. So is his work on stirred yeast starters.

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...use_Efficiency

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:27 AM   #6
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Batch sparge as slow as you can. I found my efficiency went up when my sparge was at a trickle.

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:27 AM   #7
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Thanks yall..def gotta get a mill and see how much higher milling myself will get me and keep tweaking til i get dialed in to 80+%..yeah i also gotta be aware of my sparging..i batch sparge but i might be using too much water now that i think of it..thanks for the pointers

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkosaurus View Post
Batch sparge as slow as you can. I found my efficiency went up when my sparge was at a trickle.
you mean fly sparge?..From what i know batch sparging is just dumping hot water in the MT after first run off to rinse grains and recirculation again until runnings are clear
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:38 AM   #9
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I had minor issues with batch sparging until I started stirring the mash really well after first runnings. I brewed last night and hit 83%.

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Old 03-20-2013, 09:22 PM   #10
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^^ besides crush i think stirring is one of the most important.. make sure you can really get down in there and mix a little longer than you think you should

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