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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Very Low Efficiency
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default Very Low Efficiency

Yesterday I attempted a partial mash for the first time, I ended up missing my OG by a mile (target 1.067, actual 1.053). My calculated efficiency was ~30%. My method was not traditional and I am sure was the cause but I dot get exactly why.

I started by bringing 1.25 quarts per lb of water to a few degrees above mash temp. I then placed 4.5lbs of grain in a bag into the water - temp was low so I added a small amount of water to get temp to 154. I wrapped the pot in towels and put it in a large cooler, between this and the over 100degree ambient temperature I only lost 4 degrees in an hour. At an hour i lifted the bag and held until there were only a few drips leaving the bag, only gave it a slight squeeze. The resulting wort was sweet to the taste. I then put the bag into my brew kettle with nearly my full boil volume in the low 160s dunking it repeatedly and letting it sit for 10 minutes.

I the removed bag, put wort from mash into kettle and started boil as usual. I did NOT take a gravity reading at this time, rather only at the end post boil and after DME add.

what did I do wrong here, in my mind it seemed like a great idea and I was estatic to see the mash temp hold and the resulting wort be sweet but upset at the final gravity.

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Old 07-07-2012, 06:34 PM   #2
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A few questions: Can you post your grain/extract bil? Did you do a full boil? Did you adjust your gravity reading for temp?

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Old 07-07-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinj View Post
A few questions: Can you post your grain/extract bil? Did you do a full boil? Did you adjust your gravity reading for temp?
2 lb - American 2-row
1 lb Munich Malt - 10L
.50 lb Carafoam
.50 lb Caramel Malt 60L
.50 lb Melanoidin Malt

Yes, I did a full boil consisting of the wort I collected from the mash plus the "sparge" water and then a bit more to get me to my planned pre boil volume (I somehow lost a very little, probably absorbed into the grain). The gravity reading was taken post cooling, my wort was at 68deg so no correction was made.

In hindsight I really should have taken a reading before the boil, while I am certain it would have been way low there too now I just have to assume that is the case.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:12 PM   #4
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Hmm. How much extract? Seems like your process was good. The reason I asked about the full boil is that it's pretty common to get incorrect readings when adding "top up" water to the fermenter to acheive your desired volume. Only other possible issue I can think of would be a poor crush on your grain. It would almost have to not be crushed at all to hurt efficiency that bad, though. You can always boil up some more extract and add it to your fermenter to get the gravity that you wanted.

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:41 PM   #5
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Even though it wash roomed as a full boil there is no comment as to whether the actual volumes were met or if top off was still required, this could still be an issue at hand. The crush can still be a concern as well. In addition, how much extract was used and what was the pre boil volume/post boil volume?

If top off water was used then the mix could be the culprit.

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
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If top off water was not used in a full boil what was your intended into fermenter volume? and what was your actual volume into fermenter?

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Old 07-07-2012, 08:32 PM   #7
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I started with 5lbs of DME, once I saw my gravity was so far off I boiled up another 1lb in a few quarts of water and added it to the fermenter.

Sorry, there was no top off water - my intended into fermenter volume was 5gal and I ended up with 5.25 into fermenter with .25 left in kettle. This was before adding the extra lb mentioned above.

The 2 row was crushed the day beffore at my lhbs and all of it was used. The rest of the grains were crushed by northern brewer at an unknown time, they were packaged 1 week before brewing for shipment to me but not sure when they were crushed.

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Old 07-07-2012, 08:56 PM   #8
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well you can account for some of the loss of efficiency to the extra 1/2 gal of volume above your intended 5 gals. The crush could account for some of the rest.

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Old 07-07-2012, 09:44 PM   #9
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The OG would be affected by the extra volume but not effenciency right? Assuming my OG stayed the same, and I increase the volume then my efficiency actually goes up does it not?

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Old 07-07-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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your recipe was calculated for 5 gal. you had an extra 1/2 gallon not accounted for in the recipe so the beer was diluted by an extra 1/2 gal. of water not boiled off.

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