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Old 12-15-2008, 02:02 AM   #1
Pelikan
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Default Determining Brewhouse Efficiency?

So I just sprung on a mill, and am moving to partial mash/all grain brewing. I'm wondering, how does one calculate efficiency? Is this more or less as simple as taking SG readings of the wort pre-boil and comparing it to what your software says it should be at a given efficiency?

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Old 12-15-2008, 02:25 AM   #2
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try this TastyBrew.com | Calculators | Gravity Calculator

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Old 12-15-2008, 02:35 AM   #3
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In case you want to calculate it by hand: Troubleshooting Brewhouse Efficiency - German Brewing Techniques

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Old 12-16-2008, 10:49 AM   #4
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Any ideas on how to rapidly cool a sample for a gravity reading? I need to know my efficiency between the time I take the sample and about 50 minutes later, as that's when I'll have to add additional extract (if additional extract is required, but with the Crankandstein mill, my efficiency might be so high that additions aren't needed). I was thinking of maybe picking up a small flask in about the volume of my hydrometer cylinder, and doing a mini ice-bath cool. It's about the best solution I can come up with...

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Old 12-16-2008, 10:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelikan View Post
Any ideas on how to rapidly cool a sample for a gravity reading? I need to know my efficiency between the time I take the sample and about 50 minutes later, as that's when I'll have to add additional extract (if additional extract is required, but with the Crankandstein mill, my efficiency might be so high that additions aren't needed). I was thinking of maybe picking up a small flask in about the volume of my hydrometer cylinder, and doing a mini ice-bath cool. It's about the best solution I can come up with...
That's it, exactly. My brewing software also has an adjustment factor for temperature, so you needn't nail it right on the nose.

Alternatively (and how I measure everything pre-ferment), a refractometer is an invaluable tool. You needn't draw 100ml of wort, cool it, etc.- a refractometer uses a mere drop of wort for an instant reading.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Alternatively (and how I measure everything pre-ferment), a refractometer is an invaluable tool. You needn't draw 100ml of wort, cool it, etc.- a refractometer uses a mere drop of wort for an instant reading.
I have read that they only give initial gravity readings is this true? I would prefer a refractometer since they require less wort but can I get readings post yeast pitching with it?
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:34 AM   #7
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I have read that they only give initial gravity readings is this true? I would prefer a refractometer since they require less wort but can I get readings post yeast pitching with it?
It's true, the refractometer is far less useful once the yeast is pitched and the ferment is underway. Some will argue that you can use various online calculators to translate a post fermentation Brix reading into SG, but I can't speak to the accuracy of those methods. The refractometer is my instrument of choice in the brewhouse; in the fermentation 'room', the hydrometer is king.

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Old 12-16-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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It's true, the refractometer is far less useful once the yeast is pitched and the ferment is underway.

No, it's not! You just need to adjust for alcohol content. I never use the hydrometer unless I forgot to take pre-ferment readings and I want to know ABV after fermentation.

Thats one of the best things about the refractometer, you can use it in conjunction with a hydrometer to get actual ABV without knowing OG.

It's really simple. I just set up a spreadsheet with the calculations, plus promash will do the calculations too.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:53 PM   #9
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Let's see... Refractometer $150.00 v/s Hydrometer and a glass of Ice water $10.00 bucks. Sounds like I could brew quite a lot of beer for the extra $140.00.

But then, I'm a cheap bastard. Just ask my wife.

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Old 12-16-2008, 01:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kornbread View Post
Let's see... Refractometer $150.00 v/s Hydrometer and a glass of Ice water $10.00 bucks. Sounds like I could brew quite a lot of beer for the extra $140.00.

But then, I'm a cheap bastard. Just ask my wife.
Not an honest cost comparison, my friend! An ATC 0-32 Brix refractometer will set you back $35 delivered on Ebay:

Brix Refractometer ATC 0-32% Fruit Wine + 50 Pipettes - eBay (item 380089144986 end time Jan-09-09 17:29:22 PST)

This is the precise model from the precise seller that I have.
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