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Old 08-04-2009, 04:31 AM   #1
GuitarBob
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Default Horrible efficiency, and I don't know why

4 days ago I brewed a brown ale and ended up with an OG of 1.034 when I was shooting for an OG of 1.046. I accidently mashed way too high, and assumed that must have been the problem, but tonight I just brewed a porter, and made sure I kept the mash temperture at 150F, and I still ended up with a low OG. I was shooting for 1.057 and ended up with 1.036.

I'm using deathbrewer's easy stove-top all-grain method. The last time I brewed using this method I had great efficiency, all between 75%- 80%. Now I'm getting 55% efficiency using the exact same method.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and it's driving me nuts. My LHBS might be milling the grains different, or I might have used a little less sparge water, I don't know.

Is it possible at all that my hydrometer could be messed up? It's such a simple device can't see how it could be screwed up, but who knows.

P.S. There were pieces of hops in my hydrometer sample, could that throw off my reading?



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Old 08-04-2009, 04:33 AM   #2
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You can proof the hydrometer by putting it in water, should read 1.000

Are you using the same grain/water ratio? How much different are your sparge water volumes?



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Old 08-04-2009, 04:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker36 View Post
You can proof the hydrometer by putting it in water, should read 1.000

Are you using the same grain/water ratio? How much different are your sparge water volumes?

I think I'm using the same grain/water ratio has last time about 1.25qt per lbs of grain. My sparge water volumes might be a little less. Maybe it's a combination of the two thats creating my poor efficiency.

I'm brew again in a couple days, and using tons of water to mash and sparge with, and see if that makes a difference.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:00 AM   #4
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Checking first-running gravity, later-running gravity, and total pre-boil gravity helped me improve my process so I could find out where I was f'ing up It also helps you figure out how to fix it mid-brew, if possible. From my experience, hops don't mess up hydrometer readings. Good luck next time!

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Old 08-04-2009, 06:57 AM   #5
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1. What is the volume of wort you pulled off in the last two brews? Is it the same amount as the first brew?

2. Is the amount of grain used in the last two brews higher than the first brew? What were all the grain bills?

Volumes can have a big effect of efficiency. For example 20lbs of grain can make 5 gals of a Barleywine, 10 gals of a Pale Ale or 15 gals of a Mild... It all depends on how much you sparge and what brew you were attempting to make. If you last two brews were a bit higher in gravity then, the culprit is volume....

If not; then it's the crush.... As always; "Crush 'til Your Scared"...

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Old 08-04-2009, 07:14 AM   #6
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I'd definitely look at mash and sparge water volume as the potential culprits as well as the crush. One other possibility. What kind of grain were you mashing when you had the good efficiencies?

Your brown and porter recipes probably used a lot of darker grains which can drive you PH really low if your water can not buffer the higher acid content of dark grains. If you have really soft water you could be mashing in a PH range that is hurting your efficiency.



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