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Old 11-20-2012, 11:43 AM   #1
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Default Beefing up the grain bill to account for efficiency problems

So, I have a few upcoming batches that I simply can't afford to miss my OG mark. One, an imperial stout, and a Belgian Dubbel and a Hefeweizen.

Generally, if I'm trying to brew an all grain beer with an expected OG of 1.042-1.052, I'll usually come in around 1.030.

So I want to beef things up. Here are the 3 beers I'm brewing this week:

Belgian Dubbel: 9 Lbs of Domestic 2-row, 8 oz. Caramel 40, 8 oz. Carapils, 1 Lb of candi sugar, styrian golding hops, Hallertau aroma hops, Expected OG 1.049-1.053

hefeweizen: 5 lbs. Domestic 2-Row, 4 lbs. Wheat, 8 oz. Carapils, 2 lbs. Clover honey, 2 oz. of hops. Expected OG: 1.054-1.058

Imperial Stout: 18 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley, 12 oz. Chocolate Malt, 4 oz. Caramel 120°L, 12 oz. Roasted Barley, 4 oz. of hops, Expected OG: 1.082-1.086


Basically, I'd like to increase the grain bill to account for my efficiency loss. I imagine that I'm somewhere in the 70th percentile range. Does that mean add 30% of everything I listed above to account for this?

====

For the stout, I'd actually like to "go bigger" But If I just buy a bunch of 2-row, the other malts will not be as prominent so I need to increase everything evenly by percentages, right?

Thanks for the help. i'm going to hit the LHBS today and add a bunch of grain so I can do a better job hitting my mark on these.

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Old 11-20-2012, 12:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjackson
So, I have a few upcoming batches that I simply can't afford to miss my OG mark. One, an imperial stout, and a Belgian Dubbel and a Hefeweizen.

Generally, if I'm trying to brew an all grain beer with an expected OG of 1.042-1.052, I'll usually come in around 1.030.

So I want to beef things up. Here are the 3 beers I'm brewing this week:

Belgian Dubbel: 9 Lbs of Domestic 2-row, 8 oz. Caramel 40, 8 oz. Carapils, 1 Lb of candi sugar, styrian golding hops, Hallertau aroma hops, Expected OG 1.049-1.053

hefeweizen: 5 lbs. Domestic 2-Row, 4 lbs. Wheat, 8 oz. Carapils, 2 lbs. Clover honey, 2 oz. of hops. Expected OG: 1.054-1.058

Imperial Stout: 18 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley, 12 oz. Chocolate Malt, 4 oz. Caramel 120°L, 12 oz. Roasted Barley, 4 oz. of hops, Expected OG: 1.082-1.086

Basically, I'd like to increase the grain bill to account for my efficiency loss. I imagine that I'm somewhere in the 70th percentile range. Does that mean add 30% of everything I listed above to account for this?

====

For the stout, I'd actually like to "go bigger" But If I just buy a bunch of 2-row, the other malts will not be as prominent so I need to increase everything evenly by percentages, right?

Thanks for the help. i'm going to hit the LHBS today and add a bunch of grain so I can do a better job hitting my mark on these.
If you increase 30% that would give you 100% efficiency. Which for
Belgian dubbel would give you around 1.070
To hit that with your current efficiency you'd need
12Lb5oz. Of 2 row, 11oz caramel 40, 11oz carapils, 1Lb6oz of candi sugar.

For hefeweizen.
6lb 10oz. 2row, 5lb5oz. Wheat, 10.6oz. Carapils, 2lb11oz honey

For imperial stout
21lb13oz 2row, 14.5oz chocolate, 4.8oz caramel 120, 14.5oz roasted barley.

Not sure what adjustment to hops you'd need though but this grain bill is giving you what you would have if at 100%efficiency on the original recipe.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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If you increase 30% that would give you 100% efficiency. Which for
Belgian dubbel would give you around 1.070
To hit that with your current efficiency you'd need
12Lb5oz. Of 2 row, 11oz caramel 40, 11oz carapils, 1Lb6oz of candi sugar.

For hefeweizen.
6lb 10oz. 2row, 5lb5oz. Wheat, 10.6oz. Carapils, 2lb11oz honey

For imperial stout
21lb13oz 2row, 14.5oz chocolate, 4.8oz caramel 120, 14.5oz roasted barley.

Not sure what adjustment to hops you'd need though but this grain bill is giving you what you would have if at 100%efficiency on the original recipe.
Yeah, so I have to figure out how to change the hop additions. Your math certainly helps me out. I may not be able to get it all at the local store but it should help me get to my OG just a slight bit closer.

I missed my belgian wit by a bit the other day and I don't want to repeat this.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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Time to start using brewing software where you can adjust efficiency.

Here's a free one that you can play with.
qBrew

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:13 PM   #5
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Time to start using brewing software where you can adjust efficiency.

Here's a free one that you can play with.
qBrew


I have Beer Alchemy. It's not straight forward on this sort of stuff. I spent some time trying to figure it out.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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In BeerSmith I set the effeciency to what I anticipate getting for the recipe gravity and then adjust the ingredients proportionally until hitting that gravity.

It's similar to what you have to do with hops to get to the recipe bitterness with the % AA hops that you have.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:38 PM   #7
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In BeerSmith I set the effeciency to what I anticipate getting for the recipe gravity and then adjust the ingredients proportionally until hitting that gravity.

It's similar to what you have to do with hops to get to the recipe bitterness with the % AA hops that you have.
Maybe I should switch to Beersmith?

I feel like this stuff is way too difficult in my current software.

How do you know what your brewhouse efficiency is? I'm only on my 3rd all-grain batch so have no idea what my efficiency is it floats a bit from being .025 to .005 off from what I expect it to be.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:47 PM   #8
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Unfortunatly, because there are so many variables, it's mostly a trial and error thing, but once you know what your system and method produces, it should be pretty consistant. From there you only have to adjust up or down to account for the gravity. On my system I'll get about 80% for a beer under 1.050, 75% for beers in the 1.070 range and down to 65% for really big beers.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:49 PM   #9
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If you are brewing recipes that are calculated for the 70-75% range that is pretty typical so it seems you are getting something in the mid 60's?

Why don't you try something simple like milling your grain better or having your LHBS mill it twice. This alone will boost your efficiency into the 70's easily.

Also, if your brewing process is off then there is no guarantee that just upping the grain bill will make up for the deficiencies you are experiencing. Are you taking a pre-boil reading to evaluate your mash/lauter efficiency or just finding that your desired OG is not getting met? This would help in figuring out what part of your process is failing you. In other words, if your pre-boil is good then you are losing efficiency in your boil off and volume measurements accounting for the losses as well. If your pre-boil is off, then you are losing precious wort and extraction in the mash and that could be temp, volume, crush, etc.

IMO, it pays to evaluate these items first so you know what direction to go in and where you need improvement. Just increasing the grain bill doesn't really solve any underlying issues in the process, it's just like chasing your own tail

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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Also, how are you preparing your grain? Most people like to condition the grain before they mill it and all you need is about 3 or 4 oz of water in a spray bottle and spray the grain, mix it, spray, mix, until its not so dry. That way most of the husks stay in tact and just the grain gets broken. Also, what's your grain mill set at? Most use feeler guages to set it between .032 and the factory setting of .039. Of course if you buy it already crushed then you're at the mercy of your home brew store.

Another thing to think about is what kind of water to grain ratio are you using? I would go with at least 1.5 qt/lb of grain (forgive me if i'm stating the obvious but just want to be thorough) I typically shoot for 1.60 or 1.75 qt/lb and more if I'm going to be doing decoctions.

Lastly, what's your PH after about 15 to 20 minutes in the mash? Anywhere between 5.2 and 5.5 is the sweet spot.

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