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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > My first all-grain. What the heck is "efficiency"??
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:16 PM   #1
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Default My first all-grain. What the heck is "efficiency"??

So I tried my first all-grain today. A one gallon batch. 1.8 lbs of grain in a mesh bag and...

Target Original Gravity: 1.057 (which includes 1/4 cup honey and 2 oz belgian candy)
My Original Gravity: 1.034
Calculated Original Gravity at 100% efficiency according to calculator 1.071.

Calculator says: My efficiency was 45.1
Recipe says: Its efficiency was 70%

Is this bad? What should I have done to make it better? And how can I tell during mashing how I am doing?

===
FWIW grains were 1.35 lb U.S 2-row pale, .1 lb crystal 10, .1 lb crystal 20, .1 lb american victory, .15 torrified wheat. Plus 1/4 cup (2 oz) honey, 2 oz belgian candi.

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:26 PM   #2
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Kai explains things much better than I could:

Understanding efficiency

also there is this and lots of other helpful articles on the site

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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What I'm really asking is how badly did I **** up? And how could I have avoided ****ing up so badly. This is going to be #### beer and I'm just spending too much time and money for #### beer.

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:01 PM   #4
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Well, you're going to have a much lower gravity beer, and it may be out of balance because of it. It's still going to be beer. As to how you could have avoided it we can't tell you without lots more info, so we need to do some troubleshooting. Many folks go through this when they start all grain. I tried to link you to some resources to start helping you figure it out. Did you take a look at those?

If they are too long, try this. If you spell out more of your process folks can help, like how do you mill, what was your mash process, temps, etc. Do you trust your measurements - temp corrected, calibrated, etc.

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:23 PM   #5
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Okay. Sparging too quickly was probably my fault. Is there any way to test the gravity while you are mashing?

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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Not really. The way that I do it, and most other home brewers, is to just wait until you drain to the kettle to get your final efficiency. Also Batch Sparging is a big help for us new AG brewers, it's a LOT harder to screw up a batch sparge than a fly sparge

A safe bet for the future though, is to set your efficiency to 75%.

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Old 04-20-2013, 10:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woozy View Post
Is there any way to test the gravity while you are mashing?
Yes, you're talking about checking your conversion efficiency. You can take a gravity of the mash liquid after completing your mash. There is a table about halfway down kai's troubleshooting guide (second link in my first post) that tells you what the gravity of the first wort would be for a given mash thickness if you had 100% conversion.

First be sure to recirculate and check that you're not having any measurement errors as is described in the article.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:38 PM   #8
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You can, you get a refractometer and take a few readings during mashing and calculate the gravity points.

e.g. if your first mash wort collected is 1.050 and you get 3 gallons, and you sparge once and it's 1.025 and 3 gallons, you have
(50 X 3) + (25 X 3) = 225 gravity points
total volume is 6 gallons, so divide 225/6 = 37.5 gravity points

so 1.0375 is your OG.

If you wanted the OG to be 1.050 you would have to just take your first runnings as any sparging will dilute the wort.

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:09 PM   #9
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If you wanted the OG to be 1.050 you would have to just take your first runnings as any sparging will dilute the wort.
But my first runnings are only half the volume I want?????

So basically my question is how the heck do I get the most of my sugars out and why the heck did I fail so miserably at it?
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woozy View Post
But my first runnings are only half the volume I want?????

So basically my question is how the heck do I get the most of my sugars out and why the heck did I fail so miserably at it?
Can you tell us what you did? Like "I used 4 quarts of water at 159 degrees in the poorly crushed grain, which was loose in a bag"? In order to help we really need every detail, even though it seems tedious. If you have the crushed grain tight in a bag, for example, the mash will be inefficient.

We need how much liquid, the temperatures, how you did everything, how the crushed looked, etc- no detail is too small!

We'll get to the bottom of this, so try to not sweat it too much right now!
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