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Old 11-21-2012, 12:06 AM   #21
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Congrats on the upgrade to Beersmith! It was a great purchase for me when I first started out all grain brewing a few years ago (I'm still on the first version of Beersmith). Take the time now to watch the videos on maximizing your use of Beersmith including how to build a correct equipment profile. Ensuring you have a correct equipment profile on file is critical to getting the most of out this program. I use it to build/check recipes, calculate mash/sparge temperatures and volumes, and lots of other misc. calculations.

I'm also struggling to get reach consistent efficiency. When I first started out, I didn't worry too much about it. I just assumed 70 - 75% efficiency and had some great results. The most improvement for my beer came with temperature control (chest freezer with controller). Now I'm trying to dial in my beers even further. Missing your gravity by a few points isn't going to be perceptible to most people but missing by a lot will. Just keep on trying and learning your equipment. Make sure you have a good thermometer that is calibrated!

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Old 11-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #22
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I agree with the temp control. I'm thinking about getting one of these but they're so friggin expensive:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GIZZWM/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&smid=A1V9ED0IJ5VVVY

The chest freezer and temp controller was probably the best investment I've made so far as it just makes things super easy when it comes to keeping temperatures in the right range. Another thing that I really enjoy is the oxygen tank and stone, I never have to worry about how I'm going to get enough oxygen into my bigger beers or lagers anymore.

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Old 11-21-2012, 01:33 PM   #23
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamjackson/page1/

Based on the pictures linked on your signature, it appears that you need to tighten up the mill. You don't really want any whole grains left after the crush.

I recommend that you get a good crush and base your next recipe on 70 percent efficiency. Then, take a pre-boil gravity reading and adjust your volumes and hop additions from there to get your target OG.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:43 PM   #24
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Agreed, there are a lot of whole-looking grains in those two pictures. In my own system I'm always scared that I've overpulverized my grains because I have quite a bit if finer particles and my gap is set to .035. But I do always condition my grain beforehand to help keep the husks rubbery so they don't break up as much.

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Old 11-21-2012, 01:56 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justhops View Post
http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamjackson/page1/

Based on the pictures linked on your signature, it appears that you need to tighten up the mill. You don't really want any whole grains left after the crush.

I recommend that you get a good crush and base your next recipe on 70 percent efficiency. Then, take a pre-boil gravity reading and adjust your volumes and hop additions from there to get your target OG.
I'm not grinding my own grain though. Midwest supplies is and I've asked for finer grains and they always arrive like this.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:59 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooper View Post
Agreed, there are a lot of whole-looking grains in those two pictures. In my own system I'm always scared that I've overpulverized my grains because I have quite a bit if finer particles and my gap is set to .035. But I do always condition my grain beforehand to help keep the husks rubbery so they don't break up as much.
2nd on the crush!! Mine is set at 035 as well and seems to be the magic number for efficiency and not having a stuck mash...at least in my system.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:06 PM   #27
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If you just need to boost your OG you add more base malt. Increasing all the grains will alter the taste. However, I don't even do that. After I finish mashing and before I boil, I use my refractometer to take an OG reading and then do a makeup calculation and add pilsen DME to get where I need to be.

Most brewing software allows you to poke in your expected effeciency. If you are reliably getting 65% instead of the default 75%, Poke in that and it will give you your exected OG. Then increase the base malt bill until your OG gets where you need to be.

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Old 11-21-2012, 02:19 PM   #28
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I'm not grinding my own grain though. Midwest supplies is and I've asked for finer grains and they always arrive like this.
I would try to speak with a manager at Midwest because that crush is not acceptable. If you have some that you haven't brewed with yet, take a rolling pin to them.

Another option would be to invest in a mill. I realize it's one more thing to stick money into, but the main reason I bought mine was because of the same problem you're having. I didn't have to invest much as mine would probably fit into the ugly junk thread, but I consistently get 85 percent efficiency with a fly sparge. Offset the cost of the mill with the increase in efficiency and the mill has paid for itself many times over.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:21 PM   #29
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I realize you want to fix your efficency problem either by getting a solid 65% or whatever so you know how to adjust recipies, but it might be good to have on hand some DME to mix in. This will alow you to adjust a terribly missed OG for that batch while you review plans for your next batch and what to change in that batch. I mean to have a target og of 1.045 and get a 1.030 is a 1/3rd miss (30/45) so basically 1/3 of the expected sugars didn't show up. I agree that if it was 1.043 and expected 1.045 then it is a wash, but at 1.030, having some DME on hand to bost the OG a little is handy while you dial in.
Again, I'm only looking at the 5 gallons of wort that are low OG going 'What do I do with this??' not the problem of 'how do I avoid a this?'

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Old 11-21-2012, 02:21 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjackson View Post
I'm not grinding my own grain though. Midwest supplies is and I've asked for finer grains and they always arrive like this.
Time to buy a mill, when you get the crush right you will actually be able to lower the grain bill and hit your gravity's, assuming you mash & sparge processes are good.
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