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-   -   Another efficiency thread - sorry! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/another-efficiency-thread-sorry-146243/)

erock2112 11-11-2009 02:00 AM

Another efficiency thread - sorry!
 
Hey guys. I just brewed a porter today and I tried several new things to improve my efficiency. I've been hovering around 65% for the past few batches. This time, I did a thinner mash (2qt/lb) for 75 min instead of 60 min. I also used Primo water (www.primowater.com) from the grocery store instead of my tap water.

The recipe, for 5.5 gal:

8 lb 8 oz 2-Row ---------- 76%
1 lb 2 oz Crystal 60L ----- 10%
1 lb 0 oz Victory --------- 9%
0 lb 6 oz Roasted Barley -- 3%
0 lb 4 oz Chocolate Malt -- 2%

Mash @ 153 for 75 min

Est. OG at 70% Eff: 1.053

2 oz Willamette @ 60 min

I've been doing a double batch sparge, but this time I used a single batch.

FW Volume: 4.1 gal
FW SG: 1.056
Second Running Vol: 3.2 gal
SR SG: 1.021

I boiled down and ended up with about 5 gallons of wort at 1.053. I can't complain too much, since I hit my OG, but my FW SG suggests that I could be doing a lot better, and I should have ended up with 5.5 gal of wort. I had hoped between mashing longer, using store-bought water, and mashing thinner, I'd get a big jump in conversion efficiency, but I was right where I've been, at about 77%. I'm pretty sure the grain crush was good, but this is what happened at the LHBS: They typically let you crush your own grains. I started to do so, when the crusher stopped turning. I went and got the guy, and he fixed it, but the rollers had moved apart, and not much was getting crushed. We went through a couple of different settings and milled all of the grain three times at progressively narrower gaps. It was the finest crush I've had yet, and I'd have a hard time believing that was the problem. I haven't checked the pH, but I hoped I would have fixed that issue through the use of store-bought water. I dough in by transferring the strike water from kettle to mash tun and then slowly pouring in grain while stirring. I stirred every fifteen minutes during the mash. Any ideas on what's keeping my conversion efficiency down?

The Pol 11-11-2009 02:05 AM

How do you know your conv. eff is low?

What is your current conv. eff?

What is your current lauter eff?

Is your conv. eff. 77%?? Or is that your brewhouse?

If you have a good crush, what is your mash pH?

Is your thermometer reliable?

If your FW was 1.056, and you mashed at 2qt/lb, I am showing conv. eff. of 89%

erock2112 11-11-2009 02:11 AM

Based on the FW gravity: mine was 1.056, vs 1.064 at 100% conversion

This puts my conversion efficiency at 77%. I haven't figured out the lauter efficiency, but in this case it (with the help of the extended boil) was enough to put me in the high 60's overall post-boil.

The Pol 11-11-2009 02:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by erock2112 (Post 1669147)
Based on the FW gravity: mine was 1.056, vs 1.064 at 100% conversion

This puts my conversion efficiency at 77%. I haven't figured out the lauter efficiency, but in this case it (with the help of the extended boil) was enough to put me in the high 60's overall post-boil.

56/64 is actually 88%

erock2112 11-11-2009 02:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Pol (Post 1669154)
56/64 is actually 88%

So it is. I was reading my numbers wrong. The FW SG was 1.050. So I was at 78%.

The Pol 11-11-2009 02:21 AM

If you have the crush, pH and temp. nailed down, you should be in the 90's.

So, somewhere in there... one or more of those things needs tweaking IMHO

Store bought water wont solve a pH issue necessarily.

erock2112 11-11-2009 02:34 AM

I'll pick up some 5.2. The store-bought water was expensive (first time purchase of the bottles => $30 for this batch in water alone). I'll see what 5.2 does to my tap water, and then maybe I'll try store-bought again.

Crush is inconsistent as I'm still having it done at the LHBS, but as long as I'm picky about it there I think it'll be fine. Crusher is on my wish list!

Wish I were more accurate with the temperatures... I have a cheap candy thermometer which tends to stop moving when it's within a few degrees of the actual temperature. I can be fairly sure that the temp was between 150 and 155F though. Decent thermometer is also on the wish list, but all I see is complaints about any given model.

Thanks for your feedback :mug:

The Pol 11-11-2009 02:42 AM

That is a lot for water. I can get a gallon of distilled for $.80

erock2112 11-11-2009 02:48 AM

Yeah, I may have to look into other options if I decide to permanently replace tap water. It's the bottle exchange thing at the front of the grocery store. The refill for a 5g bottle is $7, now that I've paid for the bottle, so it'd be cheaper next time, but around $15/batch is still steep.


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