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Old 06-13-2009, 09:38 PM   #1
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Default Low efficiency all-grain, any advice??

I did my first all-grain this morning but was a little bummed about my efficiency. I am making an IPA and started with:

13 lbs 2-row
0..75 amber malt
7.5 gallon pot with 10 gallon Igloo similiar setup as depicted here - http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...version-23008/

First mash: ~16.75 quarts of water with strike temp ~ 170
Mash settled in at about 154 degrees for 60 minutes (stirred once at 30 minutes)
I got about 2.5 gallons of wort in my first round drain

Sparged with 16.25 quarts at about 174
settled at about 165 degrees for 10 minutes
i got about 4 gallons of wort in second drain

boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops accordingly along with irish moss.

used wort chiller and took temp down to about 78, added yeast. Already movement in airlock 5 hours later.

According to Beersmith, Brewhouse efficiency @ 75% should have put me at 1.073.

I ended up with a OG of 1.052 or ~54% efficiency.

Granted, this was my first try but was hoping for a little better.

Any advice to get higher efficiency next time? The grains I used were about 3 weeks old but not sure that has anything to do with it.

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Old 06-13-2009, 09:44 PM   #2
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More often than not, it's the crush of your grain. Depending how how finely they are crushed will affect your efficiency more than anything else. Did you buy them pre-crushed, or crush them yourself?

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Old 06-13-2009, 09:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonbrown View Post
More often than not, it's the crush of your grain. Depending how how finely they are crushed will affect your efficiency more than anything else. Did you buy them pre-crushed, or crush them yourself?
My LHBS crushed them for me. However, the guy didn't really act like he knew what he was doing so there could be something to that.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:55 PM   #4
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Yeah, HBS crushes are generally a bit lame. You can try running them twice, or do what lots of us have done and get a barley crusher. They rule! My guess is that running them through twice will prob, at best, bring your efficiency up to 60%-65%.

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Old 06-13-2009, 11:22 PM   #5
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I switched to all grain a few batches ago and was getting bummed about a 50-60% efficiency as well - until I posted here and someone pointed out that my low numbers were brewhouse efficiency, not efficiency into boiler.

When people talk about efficiency, they are talking about into the boiler - how well you extract the fermentables from the grain. Brewhouse efficiency measures loss to trub, loss in the kettle, etc.

As long as your "into boiler" numbers are in the 70's, then you're probably doing fine.

The other thing I learned was to stir like crazy (each time you add water) and also double check your measurements - slightly inaccurate volume measurements can play havoc with your efficiency calculations.

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Old 06-13-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
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When I first went AG my efficiency was in the 50's. But as I started getting the process down it kept going up I consistently get 80% now. It took me almost 20 brews but I was learning something every time.

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Old 06-13-2009, 11:43 PM   #7
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Better crush.
Stir after sparge addition?
Hotter sparge ~180.
Split the sparge into two equal amounts.

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Old 06-14-2009, 12:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Better crush.
Stir after sparge addition?
Hotter sparge ~180.
Split the sparge into two equal amounts.

This.


I had terrible efficiency the first few times I went AG. I looked at Bobby_M's techniques and they rocketed up into the high 80s. Thanks for that btw.

After moving to an all-indoor-all-grain setup(small apt in queens), I got well into the mid 90%s into the kettle. I had a really wide pot to fit over both burners and the boil-off was ridiculous so I would collect 10 gallons of runnings and boil 90 minutes. It was like getting blood from a stone. Delicious, delicious blood.
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Old 06-14-2009, 03:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Better crush.
Stir after sparge addition?
Hotter sparge ~180.
Split the sparge into two equal amounts.
Each of these should improve your efficiency.
The other thing that may be worth trying is lighter gravity beers for the first few brews as batch sparging large grain bills will always result in lower efficiency. You can increase the grain bill once you have had a little practice.

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Old 06-14-2009, 04:07 AM   #10
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Two sparges are better than one. You're trying to rinse all of those sweet sticky sugars off of the grains.

I usually heat my sparge water a little hotter than yours. (Usually about 185 F.) I tend to leave the sparge water in for about ten minutes before I begin to vorlof.

Also, make sure that you stir very well to break up all of the dough balls when you dough in. The enzymes can't do their job if you don't get them all good and wet.

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