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Old 01-26-2013, 10:49 PM   #1
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Default Consistently low efficiency - what's my problem?

Hey all -

Moved to all grain recently, and after two batches I'm getting really low efficiency (around 60% or less).

Setup:
10 gallon cooler system, false bottom for the mash tun, fly sparge w/ a rotating sparge arm.

Other notes:
I've used a PH balancer with both batches. My first batch, I was a few degrees off on my saccharification rest, but this most recent one I hit perfectly.

Grain is purchased pre-milled from Austin Homebrew Supply.

So - what am I doing wrong? I'm on track for another batch next weekend, and would like this one to be better. Thanks for the help!

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Old 01-26-2013, 11:24 PM   #2
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What's your batch size?

How many pounds of grain?

What's the mash water to grain ratio?

How many quarts of water for the sparge?

You could try mashing with 1.25 qts. per lb. of grain and sparging with 2 qts. per lb. of grain. This gives me 80% eff. every time

Better luck next time. Enjoy!

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Old 01-26-2013, 11:42 PM   #3
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Shoot for about 7 gallons in the pot before boil. Most recent recipe had 17lbs of grain, one before that had 12.5.

Most recent batch had 22.25 quarts for the mash. Sparged till I hit my boil volume (made sure I wasn't going under 1.010).

One before that used 16.62 quarts of water for the match. Again sparged till I hit my boil volume.

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Old 01-27-2013, 12:56 AM   #4
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99% of the time, poor crush is the culprit behind low efficiency.

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:55 AM   #5
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You're mash was pretty thin. Around 1.3 quarts per pound and I have the same set up as you. I shoot for around 1-1.1 quarts per pound. Thicker mash allows for better enzyme action. Also, unless you are hitting you're mash temp right on with a thinner mash, you may not be getting good enzyme action.

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:57 AM   #6
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I dunno....I usually use 1.65qt./lb. and average 85% . My efficiency actually went up a few points from a thinner mash.

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Old 01-27-2013, 03:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewmax25 View Post
You're mash was pretty thin. Around 1.3 quarts per pound and I have the same set up as you. I shoot for around 1-1.1 quarts per pound. Thicker mash allows for better enzyme action. Also, unless you are hitting you're mash temp right on with a thinner mash, you may not be getting good enzyme action.
I generally go by the water guidelines given by beersmith. Should I not be following those? Or am I missing a setting somewhere to adjust this?
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musikguru6 View Post
I generally go by the water guidelines given by beersmith. Should I not be following those? Or am I missing a setting somewhere to adjust this?
Beersmith is a tool to help you brew the way you want to brew. It is NOT instructions on how to brew. You get to decide that for yourself.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
Beersmith is a tool to help you brew the way you want to brew. It is NOT instructions on how to brew. You get to decide that for yourself.
So, do I need to adjust the amount of water that I'm using in my mash - ignore beersmith and calculate my own, or is it more likely to be an issue with the crush?
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:52 PM   #10
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I agree with Denny. Beersmith is only a tool. Your supplier has an excellent reputation and is probably providing a good crush. So many Homebrewers complaining about poor efficiency are using Beersmith before they develop a technique. (I'm NOT trying to badmouth Beersmith. It is a good tool.) I would work on your mashing and sparging practices to achieve your goals and then incorporate Beersmith.

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