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Old 01-02-2013, 07:04 PM   #1
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Default Efficiency or should I say Inefficiency...

I am smacking my head a against a wall here.
I am constantly getting between 50 and 60% efficiency according to Beersmith and an online efficiency calculator.
I recently did an ohio steve recipe

10lb american 2 row
1lb crystal 40
1lb cara pils
12oz wheat malt

60 minute mash at 152

I have a 10Gal Igloo cooler converted to a mash tun with a boil screen.

I have consistently missed my OG and I am getting frustrated.

I will step you through my process, Please critique and let me know where I can improve.

I always rinse my mash tun to make sure it is relatively clean. Then I dump some boiling water in there to heat it up a little bit.

I heat my strike water, in the case of the last recipe I heat 4.25 gallons to 162F.

I dump the water that was in the mash tun and add the strike water. I use an instant thermometer to read the temp. It reads 160ish. I dump my room temp grains in and give it a good stir to make sure there are no clumps.
( My first thought is maybe I need to stir more vigorously, since I only stir to make sure nothing is sticking together)
I take the temp again and I am reading between 151 and 152F. I put the lid on the cooler and start the timer for 60min. About every 15 min, I come back give it a quick stir and take temp. I am within 1 degree for the entire hour.
At the end of 60min I vorlauf about a gallon or two until it runs clear. After I see no more grain, I collect the first runnings.
My 4.75 gallons of sparge water is now at 170F and I batch sparge adding the 170 degree water to my mash tun. I give it another quick stir and let it sit about 10 minutes and vorlauf one more time. Once clear I collect what I need for my pre boil volume about 6 gallons.
I boil for 60 minutes adding my hops as per recipe. I chill using a wort chiller. Once at about 65F I take my gravity reading and I am at 1.040!?!?!
I expected 1.065-1.070!

I know this is a long post, but I really would like some help with this. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I don't want to just add more base grain to compensate. I really would like to know what I am doing wrong.

Thanks in advance to all your help!

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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How does your crush look?

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:12 PM   #3
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I have had this issue with the crush from my LHBS and from Midwest supply. I am no expert on grain but it looked ok.... again I am no expert. I am planning on doing another cheapish beer to try and troubleshoot and I am going to ask my LHBS to double crush the grain.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
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What is a boil screen? Do you mean a bazooka style mesh tube?

Are you crushing your own grains? If not, are you always getting them from the same source? If so, I would consider sourcing crushed grain from another vendor to see if that has any effect.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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You beat me to it with your answer.

If you're stirring the mash every fifteen minutes, I can't imagine it's not getting incorporated.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:15 PM   #6
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Yeah I am using the bazooka tube screen thing and I did try and source from LHBS and from Mid West supply with the same result.

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:18 PM   #7
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Obvious item, but needs to be asked, have you calibrated your hydrometer/refractometer?

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:23 PM   #8
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ok.... not to sound retarded but, do you mean by just checking if it read 1.000 in water?

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaylakejr View Post
ok.... not to sound retarded but, do you mean by just checking if it read 1.000 in water?
Yes, 1.000 in 60 degree water, or whatever the sheet that comes with it says. If your water is relatively soft you can just do it in tap water and be close enough. Otherwise, use distilled water.

It's probably fine, but they can go off. 15 points is a lot though.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:32 PM   #10
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I'll double check at home and get back to you.

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