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Old 07-26-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
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Default Efficiency value in BeerSmith

I have been having some issues with efficiency being too low and after reading a few posts in the AG forum I begin to wonder if I'm using BeerSmith incorrectly. What value should you put into BeerSmith for your brew house efficiency? Is it what you think you can do or is it where you'd like to be? It seems like each time I adjust the values down to be closer to what I get my results also go down. I'm wondering if I should just set it to something I'd like to hit like 70 or 75% and then keep working on my procedures to try and reach that goal.

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Old 07-26-2010, 03:46 PM   #2
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I had mine set at 75% but after not hitting my gravity I looked into why this was happening. I downloaded Kaiser's Efficiency Calculator to help me dial in my system. Turned out I was getting ~70% brewhouse efficiency.

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Old 07-26-2010, 04:04 PM   #3
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What I do is enter the pre-boil gravity and the OG and see what it tells me my efficiency is at. This value is regardless of what you've set your brewhouse efficiency at. Once I'm consistent at a value (say 80%) then I change my value for the brewhouse efficiency to match it. Now when I do recipe conversions it bases the grain amount on the brewhouse efficiency. This way I'm not using to much or to little grain. If I use to much grain based on incorrect efficiency then I end up with a higher than expected ABV. Not always a bad thing but can be if you're just brewing a sessions beer.
Hope this helps.

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Old 07-26-2010, 11:26 PM   #4
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I'm like Hoss, I think. I have my efficiency dialed in pretty well now, at a consistent 70%. I set the brewhouse efficiency at 70% and come close to hitting the targets usually.

If you're doing batch sparging, you might look at Bobby M's all grain primer, I basically follow his method and like i said, my efficiency is pretty consistent. Look up Bobby M as a user here and he has link in his signature.

One idea might be to set the efficiency at 70% and then have some DME available to add at the end of the boil, if you need it, while you work out your efficiency issues.

Skaal!

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Old 07-27-2010, 12:06 AM   #5
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When I first started brewing AG, I left the brewhouse efficiency at its default 75%, and dialed in my system. I did however enter all of the information I could such as exact MLT weight, dead space, loss to trub in the kettle, evaporation rate, etc...

It took me about 3 brewdays to calculate my BHE, and now I get a fairly consistent 79-80%, unless I make an error (ie. too much sparge water, boil longer than necessary, forget to add a sugar addition, or whatever).

Beersmith is relatively accurate, if your efficiency is set lower, you will be using more grain, if it set higher you will be using less grain, but there are so many variables in the process that can effect efficiency. If you are batch sparging, it is best to record SG's and volumes during your runnings, a pre-boil SG, as well as your OG. Working your calculations by hand and comapring them to Beersmith's calculations will help you determine what your BHE is.

Having said all of that, you need to have your process down consistently, if you make any changes those changes may impact your efficiency (for better or worse).

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:37 PM   #6
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So I know this is an old post but no reason to start a new one!

How about the flip side of the coin? Where I've entered 80% efficiency when I build my recipes, but I'm *WAY* overshooting my pre-boil gravity and by the time I'm done brewing Beersmith is telling I'm hitting 90-92% efficiency?

Any ideas? I think my equipment profile is ok. Seems those kinds of efficiencies aren't really possible though. Really screwing up my recipes!

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcaudill View Post
So I know this is an old post but no reason to start a new one!

How about the flip side of the coin? Where I've entered 80% efficiency when I build my recipes, but I'm *WAY* overshooting my pre-boil gravity and by the time I'm done brewing Beersmith is telling I'm hitting 90-92% efficiency?

Any ideas? I think my equipment profile is ok. Seems those kinds of efficiencies aren't really possible though. Really screwing up my recipes!
This is actually your mash efficiency, not brewhouse efficiency because you are calculating off the mash results, not the entire process and yes it is possible to get a 90% mash efficiency. I just brewed a recipe for the second time. I forgot to re-scale since my process had changed since the first time and my mash efficiency wound up being 104%! Now I have an American wheat at 7.2%ABV instead of my 5.5%-Doh!

If you are consistently getting that type of mash efficiency then you need to re-scale the recipe to reflect that and you will see the grain bill reduce in quantity so you can save some money on your ingredients.

Assuming the rest of the process goes better as well you can then adjust your brew house efficiency as well.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #8
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I just thought hitting those kinds of efficiencies were unheard of typically.

So just to be clear - BeerSmith asks for a "Total Efficiency" which is gross brewhouse efficiency from mashing to fermenter. That is where I've inputted 80%. Then when I miss my target, it tells me my "Measured Efficiency" is 92.3%. So these are both numbers which represent brewhouse efficiency and the total is what Beersmith uses for gravity and grain bill calculations. Mash efficiency is estimated as far as I can tell - and it estimated I'd hit 82.5% when I hit 96.3%.

Crazy.

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcaudill View Post
I just thought hitting those kinds of efficiencies were unheard of typically.

So just to be clear - BeerSmith asks for a "Total Efficiency" which is gross brewhouse efficiency from mashing to fermenter. That is where I've inputted 80%. Then when I miss my target, it tells me my "Measured Efficiency" is 92.3%. So these are both numbers which represent brewhouse efficiency and the total is what Beersmith uses for gravity and grain bill calculations. Mash efficiency is estimated as far as I can tell - and it estimated I'd hit 82.5% when I hit 96.3%.

Crazy.
Basically yes, So in short if your pre-boil gravity was higher or lower your efficiency of mash would be higher or lower. If at the end of the boil your OG is higher or lower the same occurs and Beersmith takes the total calculations into account to arrive at your brew house efficiency.

Both %'s do not need to be high or low either, As example you may get a great mash efficiency but if you do not get a good boil your OG can still be lower than expected or if you get a bad mash but then boil longer the reverse can occur. Crazy, yes! It may take several batches to dial everything in for consistency but at least you wound up better and not worse
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:16 PM   #10
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I dunno - actually I think I'd rather end up a bit shy! Just because instead of having a nice civil 5.5% festbier, I have the potential to either have a 6.5-7% or if it doesn't fully ferment to target it may be a tad sweet!

At least if you end up on the low side you can just boil longer!

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