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Old 08-13-2007, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default Efficiency too high?

OK, I know it sounds crazy, but I can't seem to get it right. I've brewed 3 AG batches so far and they all had an OG higher than expected... anywhere from 8 to 11 points high. I got the grain for my first batch with a predicted efficiency of 75% and the OG was high. I chalked that up to inexperience and did the same for the second batch... still too high. So for the 3rd batch, I bumped up my efficiency to 80% in Promash and the OG was still too high (11 points!). By the 3rd batch, I thought I had everything right. My mash temps and times were dead-on, my sparge was nearly perfect, and my preboil volumes were exactly what Promash calculated. So, what could be causing this? My system is a 3-tier, 3-keg, 3 burner system. I fly-sparge. My well water has a low pH (like 5.5 or less). Any ideas? What is considered maximum efficiency? Should I just bump up my efficiency in Promash to 85%? Many thanks.

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Old 08-13-2007, 01:32 AM   #2
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Old 08-13-2007, 01:55 AM   #3
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine
OK, I know it sounds crazy, but I can't seem to get it right. I've brewed 3 AG batches so far and they all had an OG higher than expected... anywhere from 8 to 11 points high. I got the grain for my first batch with a predicted efficiency of 75% and the OG was high. I chalked that up to inexperience and did the same for the second batch... still too high. So for the 3rd batch, I bumped up my efficiency to 80% in Promash and the OG was still too high (11 points!). By the 3rd batch, I thought I had everything right. My mash temps and times were dead-on, my sparge was nearly perfect, and my preboil volumes were exactly what Promash calculated. So, what could be causing this? My system is a 3-tier, 3-keg, 3 burner system. I fly-sparge. My well water has a low pH (like 5.5 or less). Any ideas? What is considered maximum efficiency? Should I just bump up my efficiency in Promash to 85%? Many thanks.
If your well water has a pH of 5.5 or less, I'd move to somewhere where drinking water doesn't rot your teeth enamel. However, I have Promash set to 85% efficiency when I fly sparge (and I adjust it to 80% if I batch sparge.)
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Old 08-13-2007, 11:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf
If your well water has a pH of 5.5 or less, I'd move to somewhere where drinking water doesn't rot your teeth enamel. However, I have Promash set to 85% efficiency when I fly sparge (and I adjust it to 80% if I batch sparge.)
Oh c'mon. Beer has a pH of around 4.1 and I drink lots of that! Who needs teeth, anyway? Although, if I keep getting these high OG's, I'll need them to chew my beer! I'll try the 85% in Promash next time and see what happens. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:50 PM   #6
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The only time you need to start worrying about your efficiency being too high is if you are over sparging and your Ph rises enough to start extracting lots of tannins. Otherwise just do as you are and adjust your recipe's efficiency to match what you are seeing.

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Old 08-13-2007, 03:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dantodd
The only time you need to start worrying about your efficiency being too high is if you are over sparging and your Ph rises enough to start extracting lots of tannins. Otherwise just do as you are and adjust your recipe's efficiency to match what you are seeing.
My fly-sparge takes about 30 minutes, maybe a little more on a 12 gallon batch. Is that about right? I don't think I've had a problem with tannins, but I'm not sure what they taste like. Based on tea drinking, I would think they would taste a little puckering, if that's a word. Come to think of it, my 2nd batch (a Bitter w/ mostly Marris Otter) has a little puckering quality to it, but it's only been in the bottle a week and I'm hoping it mellows out. That's a good point, though. Being that my well water has such a low pH, I wouldn't think it would get too high. But I have access to borrowing a good pH meter... I'll try to borrow it next time I brew to get a better idea what's going on. Thanks.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:40 PM   #8
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What is your actual efficiency? I fly sparge (mine takes me about an hour) and I get 87-91% on a regular basis. I crush my own grain (scary fine) and haven't detected any tannins. I adjust all of my recipes to 87% and come within a point of my gravities.

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Old 08-13-2007, 04:14 PM   #9
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You could just take your pre-boil gravity, adjust for the increased volume, then figure on a higher post-boil volume (more beer!!) and adjust your hop schedule accordingly. There's nothing wrong with high efficiency...and certainly nothing wrong with more beer.

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Old 08-13-2007, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf
If your well water has a pH of 5.5 or less, I'd move to somewhere where drinking water doesn't rot your teeth enamel. However, I have Promash set to 85% efficiency when I fly sparge (and I adjust it to 80% if I batch sparge.)
Coke has a pH of about 2.
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