Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Low efficiency

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 06-03-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
iambeer
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wash, DC
Posts: 1,236
Liked 157 Times on 121 Posts
Likes Given: 128

Default Low efficiency

A few days ago I made my second all grain beer for a 3 gallon carboy. I am getting better at getting the right about of water together in advance so that the carboy has the proper level of post-boiled wort. Great.

But now I'm noticing what appears to be typical newbie efficiency problems. I have a 5 gallon cylindrical cooler, not converted in any way, with a nylon bag that fits over the interior.

I mount the bag in, I pour the water in, then I put the grain in, stirring it. Then I check the temp, and immediately lower about 5-10 degrees fahrenheit to 155-ish degrees with room temp water. I leave it for an hour, then drain the contents. Then I add 1/2 gallon water which was probably around 150 to 170 degrees, let it sit (or I stir) for about 20 seconds, and drain. I do this with all the water I have, which in total with the mash water amounts to about 3.5 to 4 gallons.

Then I boil it down down for an hour. A gentle open lid boil on my electric stove.

This recipe has about 30% dark wheat grain in it, the rest being 2 row barley. When I stirred the wort, I noticed that there was a separation.. ie, significant amounts of darker wort and lighter floating lighter near the top mixing together.

My expected OG was 1.045 - 1.060. After I cooled the wort and carboy'd it, I pulled wort from the top and measured it. It was 1.044 (temp adjustment applied).

I need to improve efficiency. But where to start?

__________________
iambeer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2012, 04:05 PM   #2
NordeastBrewer77
NBA Playa
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 7 reviews
 
NordeastBrewer77's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 7,933
Liked 1075 Times on 783 Posts
Likes Given: 3977

Default

I'd start with the crush of the grains. Poorly crushed or cracked grain will yield less fermentables. Ask your LHBS to give you a fine crack for BIAB, or see if you can crack them yourself, and make sure they're cracked properly. FWIW, when I got a grain mill for xmas last year, I saw my BIAB eff. go from less than 70% to 75%+, sometimes near 80%.

__________________
The Polk Street Brewery

Brewin' 'n' Que'n - YouTube Shenanigans

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
NordeastBrewer77 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
jigidyjim
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 695
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by iambeer View Post
My expected OG was 1.045 - 1.060. After I cooled the wort and carboy'd it, I pulled wort from the top and measured it. It was 1.044 (temp adjustment applied).
1.045 - 1.060 is a huge range... and you almost hit your range with a 1.044. So I'd say you either were not precise enough in your range, or you did just fine!

I BIAB, so it's not exactly the same, but the things that I've found are:

* Grain crush: I get different efficiencies depending on where I buy my grain from (I don't have a mill so I have the store crush them). Figure out which stores do it right, or buy a mill.
* I've had low efficiencies... due to measuring mistakes on my part. Adding an extra 1/2 gallon of water here or there makes a big difference!
* Stirring the mash. My first couple of times I didn't stir at all during the mash. I got better results stirring every 20 min or so.

Good luck!
__________________
jigidyjim is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
duboman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,040
Liked 460 Times on 427 Posts
Likes Given: 207

Default

I agree with all of the above starting with the crush but you also said you had some layering and you pulled your sample from the top which would be the lighter wort so that too could be the issue as you did not mix thoroughly and then sample

__________________
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010
duboman is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #5
NordeastBrewer77
NBA Playa
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 7 reviews
 
NordeastBrewer77's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 7,933
Liked 1075 Times on 783 Posts
Likes Given: 3977

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
I agree with all of the above starting with the crush but you also said you had some layering and you pulled your sample from the top which would be the lighter wort so that too could be the issue as you did not mix thoroughly and then sample
Yeah, that too. I always give my mash a few good stirs throughout the rest to make sure it's not stratifying. It also lets me see how much, if any temp I'm losing.
I highly recommend buying a mill if you're brewing AG or PM, that way you can control the crush you get. Even the mills in the grain room at Midwest don't give me an ideal crush for BIAB, the HBS down the street gives a crush that's only good for steeping. Today I hit ~78% eff. w/ an AG BIAB, dunk sparged.
__________________
The Polk Street Brewery

Brewin' 'n' Que'n - YouTube Shenanigans

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoitsmatt View Post
it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
NordeastBrewer77 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
Draken
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Matthews, NC
Posts: 415
Liked 18 Times on 16 Posts

Default

I went from 62% efficiency to 75%+ by asking my LHBS to run the grain through the mill twice. Still tastes great without a hint of tannin bite.

__________________
Draken is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-03-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
Kaz
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Amish Country, PA
Posts: 1,054
Liked 21 Times on 20 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

+1 to crush...I do BIAB and use my own Monster mill to crush with the gap set at .040. I run my grain through twice and do a mash out step (168F for 15 minutes) I've hit darn near 90% efficiency but usually run around 80-85%. I would ask the LHBS to mill twice and then work in a mash out step and see where you end up.

__________________

Draft 1: Lightly smoked Weizen
Draft 2: Belgian Wit
Draft 3: Rauchbier

Primary 1: German Scwarzbier
Primary 2:

On Deck: Belgian Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Stout

Kaz is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-04-2012, 01:59 PM   #8
iambeer
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wash, DC
Posts: 1,236
Liked 157 Times on 121 Posts
Likes Given: 128

Default

Thanks for the responses. Lots of people advocating using a mill! I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet, but maybe I'll try asking my supplier to run the grain twice after I try everything else.

@jigidyjim.. Some good advice on my method to make a higher yield. I'll try stirring more often.

One thing I was considering was to run the sparge water through the grain twice or more. I read somewhere that as long as the sparge water comes out above 1.005, that it should be useable. My sparge was definitely above that after I used up all the water. Do you think running the sparge water through the grain two or three times is okay?

Also I read that the sparge water temperature is debatable. I'm not sure what the debate entails. But it seems no one is concerned about the temp of the water I used.

__________________
iambeer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mash Efficiency vs Brewhouse Efficiency exe Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 22 12-22-2011 06:09 PM
Mash efficiency vs Post boil efficiency RootDownBrewing Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 1 08-21-2011 12:33 PM
efficiency 400d Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 12-15-2009 01:22 PM
10% efficiency??? Ksosh Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 16 08-11-2009 03:57 AM
Efficiency sboro33 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 12-14-2007 03:05 AM