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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > efficiency question
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:25 AM   #11
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Yeah the mash efficiency was 78, which is better than beersmith was estimating. So somewhere in my process after the mash my overall efficiency went down.


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Old 03-07-2014, 07:53 AM   #12
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Yeah the mash efficiency was 78, which is better than beersmith was estimating. So somewhere in my process after the mash my overall efficiency went down.


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I assume you're calculating your mash efficiency by pre-boil gravity, so you're saying that your pre-boil gravity was higher than anticipated, but your OG was lower than anticipated. If you have a certain amount of sugar in a certain amount of water and start boiling, the concentration of the sugar will increase predictably. If the numbers come out wrong, it seems there are only a few possibilities:

1 - You left more wort in the kettle (trub or loss to chiller or miscalculated boil-off or ???) than Beersmith calculated, meaning the sugars were spread among more water than Beersmith expected.

2 - One or both of your gravity readings was wrong - maybe a temperature issue, maybe an issue with poorly-mixed wort (although that's more often an extract issue), maybe some other reason.

3 - You forgot to make a late fermentible addition. Perhaps you forgot to add a pound of extract, doing a sweet stout and forgot the lactose at ten minutes, doing an IPA and forgot the half pound of dextrose you wrote into the recipe, etc.

If it's not one of these, I'm stumped.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:03 AM   #13
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I think it's #1.
I need to boil off more, but if I do I'm going to have less volume, so I need to figure out how to get beersmith to account for that. that part is confusing me so far.

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Old 03-07-2014, 08:23 AM   #14
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I think it's #1.
I need to boil off more, but if I do I'm going to have less volume, so I need to figure out how to get beersmith to account for that. that part is confusing me so far.
Have you set up and dialed in your Beersmith equipment profile? It has variables for trub and chiller loss, boil-off rate, and many other useful tools for getting what you expect out of your brews. I'm still new (8 batches under my belt) and only recently discovered just how much customization one needs to do in order to really get that profile dialed in - I'm used to planning a 5.5 gallon recipe and ending up with 4.5 gallons in the fermenter - but now that I know a bit more about equipment profile customization, I'm hoping to get things dialed in better for future brews.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:27 AM   #15
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Yea I've messed with those settings over and over again, I've been getting closer, but not quite good enough yet.

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Old 03-07-2014, 12:20 PM   #16
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You've definitely got some numbers off somewhere in your software. If you actually had a 78% mash efficiency and were expecting to get 2.5 gallons of 1.067 OG wort, then that means that you extracted 167.5 total gravity points from the mash. Doing the math backwards, that puts 100% extraction efficiency at ~ 214. Instead, you ended up with 2.5 gallons of 1.062 gravity wort, which is 155 total gravity points. 155/214 = 72% So you're not losing as much as you thought you were. A kettle dead space of 0.2 gallons (a little less than a quart) would easily explain your overall drop in efficiency. In short, your efficiency as of this moment is 72%. It will drop a little bit more due to trub and minor volume loss to the fermentor. There's still a little room to improve your efficiency, but you're not doing bad at all. I wouldn't fret. Might want to tweak the software though.

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Old 03-07-2014, 09:47 PM   #17
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wow thanks! I need to figure out how to do that math like that.

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Old 03-07-2014, 10:00 PM   #18
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+1 to BBL. I highly recommend taking the time to learn and understand gravity points for any homebrewer. Easy way to figure efficiency yourself and to make fermentable adjustments on the fly if you undershoot your og


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Old 03-07-2014, 10:48 PM   #19
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wow thanks! I need to figure out how to do that math like that.
It's not too hard. It's very helpful to know how to do all the math yourself before you start relying on software. Makes it a lot easier to troubleshoot, avoid simple mistakes and to make the necessary adjustments to the software. What I did was just look at the efficiency that you reported.

Efficiency is the amount of sugar you extracted from the mash compared to the maximum yield. The base malt I use, for example, has a maximum yield of 38 points per lb. So, If I mash 5 lbs of only that grain I would have a maximum yield of 38*5 =190 gravity points. Let's say I do a mash and I end up with 2.5 gallons of 1.057 gravity wort. In this case, I have 57 gravity points per gallon or wort. To figure out how many total gravity points I extracted from the mash, I would multiply 57 times the total number of gallons. 57 * 2.5 = 142.5 total gravity points. My max yield was 190, so to figure out my efficiency I divide what I actually got by what I could have gotten. 142.5 / 190 = 75% So the mash efficiency was 75% in this example. To keep going and track later losses in efficiency, just measure how many gallons made it to the fermentor and your OG. Do the same math to figure out how many total gravity points you have at that time and divide it by your max yield again. Say I ended up with 2.5 gallons in the fermentor with an OG of 1.055. 55*2.5 = 137.5 - 137.5 / 190 = 72% So the overall efficiency post boil was 72%.
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:13 PM   #20
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That is extremely helpful, thanks!
I'm going to go back and check my previous recipes to see how I've improved over time.

So it sounds to me that it's safe to say that overall efficiency is always going to be less than mash efficiency. so I don't feel too bad about my last brew, it just sucks that I didn't get the hop utilization that I planned for.

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