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Old 06-19-2008, 02:47 AM   #1
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Default First AG - Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde - disappointing efficiency

Well, I just finished my first AG. I ended up with 63% efficiency, which is pretty disappointing I must say. The recipe is supposed to have an OG of 1.040 and mine came in at 1.036.

I hit all my temperatures... I was running 74% going into the boil, but somehow I lost a ton of gravity between the mash and pitching stage.

So what kind of damage can I expect from this?

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Old 06-19-2008, 02:54 AM   #2
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The volumes and everything were perfect. Beersmith's calculations were dead on with respect to temperatures. I just don't see how I missed the OG by that much.

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Old 06-19-2008, 02:56 AM   #3
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You came in at 1.036 instread of 1.040? RDWHAHB. It's fine. Crush is the #1 reason for mediocre efficiency, pH probably #2. Do a few more batches, get the hang of it, maybe get some pH 5.2 buffer, and relax. Consistency in the # is the most important thing.

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Old 06-19-2008, 03:26 AM   #4
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Yeah the first couple of tries can be dissapointing as it was in my case. Are you sure you measured the gavity right because as you likely know you should not lose points after boiling. At what temps did you take your gravity readings?

I guess you could add some brown sugar to the femrenter to boost the gravity a bit and dry it out some more if that is important.

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Old 06-19-2008, 05:00 AM   #5
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The hydrometer sample tasted delicious. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. I really thought I'd get at least 70% with my current setup though. I got another sample and it was 1.036-1.037. Somewhere in there. So, 63-65%.

I guess it could be worse.

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Old 06-19-2008, 06:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brew Dude View Post
The hydrometer sample tasted delicious. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. I really thought I'd get at least 70% with my current setup though. I got another sample and it was 1.036-1.037. Somewhere in there. So, 63-65%.

I guess it could be worse.
Like The Bird said RDWHAHB. Hell 50% would be worse.... RIGHT???
next time get some 5.2 buffer and double crush your grain. I am an advocate of fly sparging as well, But I think I am the minority on that one here.
Congrates on yout first AG on the books
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:46 PM   #7
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Around 65% actually is about par for the course when it comes to first time AG batches, so you are off to a fine start. I remember mine was somewhere right in there. The next time, when I did not think I did anything different, I hit 75% and have bee in the 75-80% range ever since. Once you get a little more comfortable with the process, you may find that you improve just for that reason. Then, you can start working on crush, pH, different sparge techniques, and all that other fun stuff.


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Old 06-19-2008, 03:58 PM   #8
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I have fermentation activity already. It must have just started because the krausen layer is thin on top and I'm getting 1-2 bubbles per every 5 seconds.

I think I'm going to have to cover the fermenter with a wet towel because the temp is around 78. I should get that lower, especially considering how hot it is going to be within the next couple of weeks.

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Old 06-19-2008, 04:29 PM   #9
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Four things to consider for next time:
- Sparge water may not have been hot enough or you may need a mashout (don't know if you did one). This was a problem with my first AG. The temp was in the low 150s at start of runoff and in the 140s at the end which is low. I sparge with 180 water now and the temp stays safely in the 160s without sweating over it.
- Crush the snot out of the grain.
- Use 5.2 stabilizer or add some calcium if your water is hard. I have never measured my mash pH I just use a tablespoon of 5.2 and open a beer instead of fussing.
- Be sure to drink plenty of beer during the mash.

If you do all of those things your efficiency should be consistent which is more important than being high. An extra half pound of grain is no big deal if you know you can count on hitting your OG each time. RDWHAHB.

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Old 06-19-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew Dude View Post
The hydrometer sample tasted delicious. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out. I really thought I'd get at least 70% with my current setup though. I got another sample and it was 1.036-1.037. Somewhere in there. So, 63-65%.

I guess it could be worse.
It's really really hard to tell between 1.035 and 1.040 in the finished beer. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. My first AG batch I was off by >10 points and it was still the best beer I had done up to that point. It was a hefe that came out at 1.038 instead of 1.052, but the FG was close to what it would have been so it lacks some alcohol but certainly not body.
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