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Old 10-07-2012, 11:48 PM   #1
plaplant
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Default Not Hitting OG

So I am new to all grain brewing and I am not getting the brew house efficiency.

With this last batch I got an efficiency of 61.55% using this calculator http://www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency/

Grain Bill:
marris otter 9 lb
rauchmalt 3 lb
crystal 60 .75 lb
crystal 40 .75 lb
chocolate malt .75 lb
roasted barley .50 lb

I mashed for 1 hour with 154 degree F water and then sparged with 4.5 gallon of 170 Degree F. I am using a converted cooler with a metal plumbing hose.

Any advice for getting my efficiency up to around 70%. If my brew system just has a lower efficiency how do I adjust recipes that have an efficiency of 70 - 75%?



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Old 10-08-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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I would have done two 2.25 gallon sparges, but you should still be able to do better than that. I get in the low 80's with doing it the old fashioned way in a cooler and in the low 70's doing the BiaB full volume mash process. The best way to get efficiency up is to make sure that you have a good crush. Home brew stores have notoriously wide mill gaps which result in a poor crush. I usually run my grains through the mill two times to get better separation from the husks.

15 pounds of grain does make for a pretty big beer in a 5 gallon batch. The bigger the beer, the lower the efficiency; additional sparging and more boiling would have gotten more of the sugar out of the grains. I get about 1.050 OG (1.040 pre-boil) using about 10 lbs of grain at 80%. You would be pushing 1.075 with 15 lbs doing some head guessing. I say better crush and double batch sparge.



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Old 10-08-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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You can just add about 10% extra of each malt in the grain bill as a quick fix.

+1 to that last poster's recommendation to run your grains through twice as well.

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Old 10-08-2012, 10:58 PM   #4
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Are you trying to improve mash efficiency or total brew house efficiency, there is a difference.

+1 to getting a better crush and improving your mash efficiency!

To answer the rest we need more info including volumes. Your recipe has a lot of less fermentable grains and your mash temp was a little high unless you were shooting for a sweeter full body beer.

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:28 AM   #5
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I was trying to get a bit sweeter beer. I am calculating brew house efficiency with the brewers friend calculator http://www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency/.

For the last batch I got 61.55% Brew house efficiency. I know there is a difference between mash efficiency and totally brew house efficiency but I am a little confused what the difference is. It actually looks like it can be a controversial subject.

Thanks!

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:40 AM   #6
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I brewed today and yielded terrible brewhouse efficiency (55% using the brewersfriend calculator as well). I typically get around 70%. I did my first wheat recipe which I have read about stuck sparges so I used rice hulls in the grain bill. Didn't have any problems with flow (i fly sparge) so not sure what my issue was this time. I never mash out which after reading several threads is probably something I will next time.

Grain Bill:
4 lbs 2-row
4 lbs red wheat
.5 lb rice hulls
.5 lb honey malt
.5 lb carared

Estimated gravity at 75% would have been 1.048 but mine was 1.035. Was it the wheat? Any other thoughts?

Sorry I can't help with your original question as I am not familiar with your type of setup. I use a three tier system with stainless HLT and MLT (w/ false bottom).

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plaplant
I know there is a difference between mash efficiency and totally brew house efficiency but I am a little confused what the difference is.
Mash/lauter efficiency measures the percentage of available sugars that actually made it to the boil kettle. If your mash efficiency is lower than expected, you want to look at aspects of your mashing process to figure out what's causing the low efficiency.

Brewhouse efficiency takes into account all possible losses that don't make it to the fermenter. So, not only low mash yield (i.e., poor mash efficiency), but also losses attributable to boil off, during transfer, etc. Therefore, brewhouse efficiency is measure of the entire system, and mash efficiency is a part of that.

By tracking the efficiencies separately, it may be easier to zero in on the parts of the process that are giving you trouble.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:59 AM   #8
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There are 100's of threads about efficiency on HBT. It's all in the crush! Want it a bit sweeter beer - raise the mash temp. Search a little bit - the answers are all there - 100 times over!

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Old 10-09-2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chanson16 View Post
I brewed today and yielded terrible brewhouse efficiency (55% using the brewersfriend calculator as well). I typically get around 70%. I did my first wheat recipe which I have read about stuck sparges so I used rice hulls in the grain bill. Didn't have any problems with flow (i fly sparge) so not sure what my issue was this time. I never mash out which after reading several threads is probably something I will next time.

Grain Bill:
4 lbs 2-row
4 lbs red wheat
.5 lb rice hulls
.5 lb honey malt
.5 lb carared

Estimated gravity at 75% would have been 1.048 but mine was 1.035. Was it the wheat? Any other thoughts?

Sorry I can't help with your original question as I am not familiar with your type of setup. I use a three tier system with stainless HLT and MLT (w/ false bottom).
It most likely was the wheat. Getting good efficiency is about getting the water to the center of the grain particles for conversion and getting the sugars back out. The bigger the particles, the harder this becomes but if your particles become too fine they no longer will form the filter bed that you need and you have a hard time draining the tun.

Wheat has no husk on the kernels so its a good idea to add rice hulls to your mash to help make the filter bed. Wheat kernels also are a bit smaller and harder so crushing them fine enough is more difficult. If you have your own crusher you can set the gap narrower for wheat and if you want to take the time for it you can "condition" your wheat by adding moisture which will soften the kernels so they crush easier.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:10 AM   #10
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Keep in mind there are at least 4 definitions for efficiency:
Mash
Lauter
Kettle
Brewhouse

I think most people talk in terms of lauter and kettle. Where did you get the volume number? Was it how much wound up in the fermentor? That would be brewhouse efficiency, which is always the lowest.

It could just be a dead space issue in your mash tun and kettle, and nothing to do with conversion efficiency. Next time, take a pre-boil sample, and note your pre-boil volume as best you can, and plug those numbers in. That is your lauter efficiency.



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