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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Saving a low efficiency batch
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:20 PM   #1
jeffdill
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Default Saving a low efficiency batch

I brewed an imperial IPA yesterday, this was the grain bill for a 5.5 gallon batch:

14 lb 2 row
0.75 lb Vienna
0.5 lb Crystal 40L
0.5 lb Carapils/Dextrine
0.5 lb corn sugar

Target OG = 1.079

I'm using this setup:



I ended up getting an OG of 1.056 for 5.25 gallons, which is 47.6% efficiency. I tossed in the other 0.5 lb corn sugar I had to raise the OG to 1.062.

Not sure what the source of the low efficiency is...my thermometer temp was jumping all over the place, I'm worried I mashed and/or sparged at too high a temp. I've only done two other AG batches (target OG's of 1.065 and 1.042), but they were 68% and 70% efficient - not bad. Not exactly sure why this one was so much worse.

In any case, two questions:

1. Will this be drinkable? Can I boil some DME and add it to bring the gravity up to the target, or am I better off just letting it sit as is?
2. Is there a better setup than the braided SS cord that I could use? It has the drain in the middle of the cooler, not on the edge. It looks like the cord has been damaged in spots from stirring as well.

My process, for the record...might have screwed it up, it's been a while since I've done an AG batch:
-Heat 5 gallons water to ~180 degrees, add to cooler, close lid for ~5 minutes.
-Add the grain. Stir will continuously until I hit target temp of 151 (took like 10 minutes...also not sure temp was super accurate). Close lid. Let sit for 70 minutes.
-Vorlauf and drain into kettle. I collected 2.75 gallons.
-Add 2 gallons 175 degree water to grain. Stir, vorlauf and drain. Add another 2 gallons. Stir, vorlauf and drain. Total pre-boil volume: 6.5 gallons

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Old 12-02-2012, 09:37 PM   #2
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180 sounds pretty hot for your strike temp. My equipment is generally around 45 degrees and I don't mash in nearly that hot. I recommend checking/calibrating your thermometer. I don't have any experience with the stainless steel braid, but it shouldn't affect your efficiency much- if it drains fine and without chunks of grain then I assume it is working just fine.

I wouldn't worry too much about the beer- just let it ferment. Probably will be delicious, if perhaps a little bitter (but hey, it's an IPA, just tell folks that was the plan.) What was your hop schedule/planned IBUs?

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Old 12-02-2012, 10:11 PM   #3
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180 is too hot but it's good you stirred down to 151, 175 is too hot, max should be 170

Definitely evaluate the accuracy of your thermometer. A few degrees can make a huge difference in how fermentable your wort is.

Higher mash Temps result in higher FGs, lower means more fermentable wort

If you sparge to hot with a high PH you can extract tannins. PH should be in the low 5s

Evaluate your crush, a poor crush will result in low conversion and poor efficiency. All grains should be cracked and there should be some flour.

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:27 AM   #4
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I don't think crush is the issue...I always crush at the LHBS, so the other batches would have had the same efficiency problems. I'm sure the crush could be improved but it isn't dreadful.

Hop schedule:

2.00oz Simcoe (60 min)
0.75oz Simcoe (30 min)
1.00oz Citra (10 min)
1.50oz Amarillo (10 min)
1.00oz Simcoe (0 min)
1.00oz Citra (0 min)
1.00oz Amarillo (0 min)
1.00oz Simcoe (Dry hop 10 days)
1.00oz Citra (Dry hop 10 days)
1.00oz Amarillo (Dry hop 10 days)
0.50oz Simcoe (Dry hop 5 days)
0.50oz Amarillo (Dry hop 5 days)

Estimated IBU's = 113.1

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Old 12-03-2012, 02:42 AM   #5
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Do you know what the gap setting is at your LHBS? Do you know how frequently they reset the gap? Do you know how much grain they mill a day? Don't assume, you may get a decent crush one day and a crappy one on another day.

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:01 AM   #6
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Your beer won't be what you'd planned, but I'd still be very interested in drinking a 1.056 OG IPA with that profile. I would consider toning down the dry-hopping at this point, but that is mostly because I am a cheapskate and that is a lot of hops for a perhaps-overly-hopped-already beer. As far as your crush goes...I really doubt the LHBS varies enough to cause the extreme efficiency difference you experienced, but I could be wrong. If you've been doing AG for a while, you can pretty much SEE when the crush is markedly off.

What yeast are you using, anyways?

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:43 AM   #7
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WLP001 on this one, used a starter

If I had low efficiency like this would the beer taste sweet, or do the sugars not even make it into the wort? Would this taste pretty much the same as if I had planned a 1.056 OG beer and actually hit the efficiency?

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Do you know what the gap setting is at your LHBS? Do you know how frequently they reset the gap? Do you know how much grain they mill a day? Don't assume, you may get a decent crush one day and a crappy one on another day.
I don't think they ever adjust it...not sure what the gap is. Maybe I could double crush it next time...
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffdill View Post
WLP001 on this one, used a starter

If I had low efficiency like this would the beer taste sweet, or do the sugars not even make it into the wort? Would this taste pretty much the same as if I had planned a 1.056 OG beer and actually hit the efficiency?



I don't think they ever adjust it...not sure what the gap is. Maybe I could double crush it next time...
Yes on the double crush or better yet, put a mill on your Christmas list. That way you have complete control over the crush and you will always be consistent in that regard.

To the first question, the sugars never made it to the wort and that is why the efficiency is down
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:43 AM   #9
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It's been fermenting at 60 degrees for 3 days now. The hydro is reading 1.014 and it's pretty much stopped bubbling. Initial tasting is a little bready, but I guess you can't expect it to taste great so green!

The fermenter smells like a hob bomb went off. Love it

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Old 12-05-2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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For future batches it would be good to have some DME on hand. You can take pre-boil readings an see if you are way off. If you are you can calculate how much DME you need to get up to your target.

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