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Old 12-03-2013, 12:47 AM   #1
Hops4life
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Default Efficiency question

Yesterday I brewed my first "solo" All grain batch which was an ESB recipe I formulated based on other recipes I had found.

I had 13# of grains. 10# of base 2 row. 2# 20L and a pound of 10L. I have beer smith and using 72% efficiency it said I should have OG of 1.06. I ended up with 1.0534 which I was fine with.

When I plugged the actual reading into my recipe calculator later it is saying my efficiency was only about 55%. How can that be?? OG wasn't far off.... Am I missing something in this calculation or missing something obvious here?

I am not worried as fermentation was started this morning and going pretty vigorous at last check. I just want to know going forward if I need to change my process to get a higher efficiency or if I am missing something in the beer smith calculation.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:09 AM   #2
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That far off...almost has to be the crush or an error using the hydrometer.

It would take a significant error in weighing or a thermometer off by at least 15 degrees otherwise.

To check you math, change the efficiency in Beersmith to 55% with the same recipe and see what it gives you for volume.

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hops4life
Yesterday I brewed my first "solo" All grain batch which was an ESB recipe I formulated based on other recipes I had found. I had 13# of grains. 10# of base 2 row. 2# 20L and a pound of 10L. I have beer smith and using 72% efficiency it said I should have OG of 1.06. I ended up with 1.0534 which I was fine with. When I plugged the actual reading into my recipe calculator later it is saying my efficiency was only about 55%. How can that be?? OG wasn't far off.... Am I missing something in this calculation or missing something obvious here? I am not worried as fermentation was started this morning and going pretty vigorous at last check. I just want to know going forward if I need to change my process to get a higher efficiency or if I am missing something in the beer smith calculation. Thanks in advance.
Using my brew software at 72% I get 1.059 for an OG reading.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:17 AM   #4
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Wort volume is a key variable that you have not mentioned: pre-boil and ending volumes will have an impact on your efficiency calculation.

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Old 12-03-2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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I guess my question more simply stated is that if I'm only off .0056 on my OG is that really a 20% efficiency problem?

I'm wondering if part of it is due to mixing and not having a totally accurate reading. But I measured that after going from kettle to fermenter so it should have been well mixed or so I thought.

My only other thing that may have gone wrong was my mash temp. I think it may have been low. I heated the mash (4 gallons) to I THINK 158 but I may have lost a little more heat than I thought transferring to my mash cooler. Which I think could cause less extraction and lower the efficiency.

No matter what it will be beer as long as nothing gets infected...... Just trying to learn more.

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hops4life View Post
I guess my question more simply stated is that if I'm only off .0056 on my OG is that really a 20% efficiency problem?

I'm wondering if part of it is due to mixing and not having a totally accurate reading. But I measured that after going from kettle to fermenter so it should have been well mixed or so I thought.

My only other thing that may have gone wrong was my mash temp. I think it may have been low. I heated the mash (4 gallons) to I THINK 158 but I may have lost a little more heat than I thought transferring to my mash cooler. Which I think could cause less extraction and lower the efficiency.

No matter what it will be beer as long as nothing gets infected...... Just trying to learn more.
Lot of variables here. Was the "mash cooler" pre-heated? Was the mash 158 or the strike water? What temp was the mash after transfer (not sure what this means) and after a significant stir and about 4 minutes to stabilize?

Strike water for my system to hit 155F has to be about 165F AFTER it has been in the tun for about 5 minutes and stirred continuously. Even then, I keep 2 gal of boiling water on hand (22# grain bill give or take). I dough in, stir like mad, wait 5 minutes, stir like mad, check my temp.

This is when I actually follow my process...most of the time I heat my strike water to 175F and dough in as the cold mash tun is filling, pause once the mash is completely saturated, stir, check temp. If I am -10 degrees or less I add 175F water until I hit temp, stir, check temp, cap it and check in 30 minutes. Most of the time my volume and insulation allow me to leave it but I keep boiling water on hand or equipment for a decotion when I brewing below freezing (often).

Still, your beer will likely be tasty.
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Old 12-03-2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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Wort volume is a key variable that you have not mentioned: pre-boil and ending volumes will have an impact on your efficiency calculation.
When volumes are incorporated, the term is brewhouse efficiency. Mash efficiency or conversion efficiency is how well you extract the sugars from the grain.

OP, might you have mixed up or looked at your brewhouse efficiency number (which is usually in the 50-60% range) instead of your mash efficiency?
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