I have been experiencing very low original gravity / efficiencies recently. I switched to a converted keg with a homemade false bottom (see pics attached) made of a splatter guard. The false bottom is basically a screen and effectively allows wort to filter througout the entire area, rather than a purchased screen that has holes or perforations in approx 50% or less of the surface area.
The low OG readings could potentially be coming from the nature of the false bottom (thoughts?) or may be coming from errant calculations. I have been using Beercalculus as a decent free tool to formulate recipes. I typically boil 7 gallons in order to be able to leave break material in the kettle and still end up with 5 to 5 1/2 gals for the primary. Is the batch size actually 7 gallons and not 5???
If I am not picking up enough sugar from the sparge process, is it possible to re-sparge with the wort (as in pass it through the grain bed twice)? Or should I try to slow the sparge process down significantly? The other option is to scrap the keg / false bottom and go back to the cooler method.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.