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Old 10-21-2013, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default Best efficiency

Brewed today and had a discussion about efficiency with someone. He said you don't really want efficiency greater than 80% but I thought more was better. Thoughts?

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Old 10-21-2013, 04:56 AM   #2
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It helps me to remember that 100% efficiency would be grinding the malt to flour and doing a multiple hour mash. Not good for making good beer, but great for determing extract potential. Above a certain efficiency you may extract undesirable flavors, mostly tannins, but that will be impacted by the pH and the water to grist ratio. I am currently getting around 82% mash conversion efficiency, but that's with really good Pacific Northwest water and a mash tun with recirculation capability. I don't seem to be extracting tannins with this arrangement.

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Old 10-21-2013, 04:57 AM   #3
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Some people feel that with higher efficiency there are more unwanted flavors extracted, and that the wort from a more moderate efficiency set-up is higher quality.

Commercial brewers usually strive for really high efficiency because it translates to huge differences in cost. At the homebrew scale an extra pound of grain per batch usually isn't a big deal, so consistency is typically more important than high efficiency.

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Old 10-21-2013, 05:11 AM   #4
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I heard John Palmer talking about this. He said that he's tasted a lab condition mash with 100% extraction and it tasted terrible. Very high on tannins. Since that's not what we want our beer to taste like, we try to hit the balance between making the most of the grain we have and not extracting tannins from it - hence 75-85% efficiency.

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Old 10-21-2013, 07:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Culbetron
I heard John Palmer talking about this. He said that he's tasted a lab condition mash with 100% extraction and it tasted terrible. Very high on tannins. Since that's not what we want our beer to taste like, we try to hit the balance between making the most of the grain we have and not extracting tannins from it - hence 75-85% efficiency.
This is exactly what was quoted to me. I was thinking 90% was ideal but maybe the ideal number is lower than I thought. On Kal's Electric Brewery setup (we're putting a similar system together) I thought he said he's getting 90+% efficiency but maybe that's not necessarily a good thing then?
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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"Best" is a relative term when it comes to efficiency. The best efficiency is the one that gives you a good tasting beer with consistent results brew after brew. It will differ greatly from person to person, system to system depending upon the equipment set up and the grind of the grist as well as other things.

If you are getting good results and your efficiency is fairly consistent, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Kick back and pop open another home brew!

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Old 10-21-2013, 08:20 PM   #7
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With a non-recirculated, single infusion mash that was fly-sparged, I consistently obtained around 81% efficiency.

I got a pump and started recirculating my mash. My efficiency jumped to 91% with no astringency. IMO, as long as pH is controlled you shouldn't be extracting tannins from the husks.

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Old 10-25-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_striker
With a non-recirculated, single infusion mash that was fly-sparged, I consistently obtained around 81% efficiency. I got a pump and started recirculating my mash. My efficiency jumped to 91% with no astringency. IMO, as long as pH is controlled you shouldn't be extracting tannins from the husks.
How consistent is this claim? 10% from the investment of a pump or if I were to sit there and just vorlauf the whole time seems like a lot. Is this really the only variable you changed? Malt, water, mash tun, crush all the same? Sorry I don't mean to sound interrogating I am just amazed. I have used different mash tuns and different methods and always seem to get 71-73, with 73 bein my sweet spot for some reason usually.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
Some people feel that with higher efficiency there are more unwanted flavors extracted, and that the wort from a more moderate efficiency set-up is higher quality.

Commercial brewers usually strive for really high efficiency because it translates to huge differences in cost. At the homebrew scale an extra pound of grain per batch usually isn't a big deal, so consistency is typically more important than high efficiency.
This ^^^^^^^. I'm perfectly happy getting 76% so long as it remains consistent and predictable.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:49 PM   #10
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How do you determine efficiency? my total amount of fermentables where around 12.5lb and i got an OG of 1.090 at 6 gallons.... :S

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