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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Help with efficency
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:00 AM   #1
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Default Help with efficency

i know many things can affect this but i am using .31 gallons or 1.24 quarts for the grain to water ratio , i know that not enough water can make your efficiency go down, is this too little?


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Old 11-30-2009, 02:25 AM   #2
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Nope. You should get decent efficency from that ratio.


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Old 11-30-2009, 03:03 AM   #3
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Default What's the deal?

So what's the deal with efficiency and water to grain ratio? I was originally taught to use 1 quart of water to 1 pound of grain. Is this ratio wrong??
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:45 AM   #4
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I have seen people on here experiment with up to 2 qts/lb. I believe The Pol has had good results with that ratio. Others have seen their efficiencies drop. From what I've gathered, if you are getting good efficiency with a lower ratio, stick with it. Otherwise you can experiment with a thinner mash. Personally I use 1.5 and get somewhere in the high seventies if I mill the grain twice, low seventies if I mill once.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:29 AM   #5
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I have consistently achieved an 80% effeciency on my brewdays with a 1.25qt/lb ratio. I have read many threads about people having efficiency issues, and IMO a good crush and correct mash temperature along with proper pH should bring about a decent efficiency.

Assuming your crush is suitable and you hit your mash temp check your pH, if that isn't your issue try allowing your mash to rest for 75 minutes opposed to the standard 60 to see if it improves your conversion.

If you aren't crushing your own grain, that will be the most probable explanation for your less than ideal efficiency. Try milling your own grain, or borrowing a friends mill to see if the crush is a factor in your efficiency plight.

pH is always a factor, but will not affect efficiency in the way crush, temps and sparge technique will. However, try to make certain you are in the proper range to elimante pH as an issue.

Also a decent sparge technique can improve efficiency. Assuming you are batch sparging and "no sparge' brewing, try a single or double sparge. If you are fly sparging, well, I don't fly sparge so I can't really offer up any experience/advice on that. I'm assuming you are batch sparging.

IMHO, achieving a brewhouse efficiency in the upper 70's to lower 80's really shouldn't be that difficult to achieve with an appropritae crush, correct temperatures, and a suitable mash pH.

Good luck, and I am sure you will find our efficiency woes to be a thing of the past soon!
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:17 PM   #6
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I had some issues with my effeciency until my last brew. I looked at my grain. I didn't feel it was crushed great so I grabbed an empty beer bottle and put some grain in my 10 gallon kettle and went to crushing it. What an inprovement! I used 2 quarts of water per pound this time. I also let grain soak for 1.5 hours (due to having to pick up my daughter from school) I got a 8% increase in my effeciency. Now I am looking at buying a grain mill. Sears has a mill that will work really cheap!! You might want to look at it. Also how fast are your draining? Hope this helps you out.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...=Y&origin=prod
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joety View Post
I have seen people on here experiment with up to 2 qts/lb. I believe The Pol has had good results with that ratio. Others have seen their efficiencies drop. From what I've gathered, if you are getting good efficiency with a lower ratio, stick with it. Otherwise you can experiment with a thinner mash. Personally I use 1.5 and get somewhere in the high seventies if I mill the grain twice, low seventies if I mill once.
I have been promoting thinner mashes for a while now. The advantages that I see from mashing as thin as 2.5 qt/lb are:

- easier to stir
- more stable temperatures
- less sparging which may lead to better wort quality
- faster and potentially more complete conversion.

Once concern that many brewers raise is, that thin mashes create a more fermetable wort. In my experience that is not true and the literature that I read doesnít make that claim either. At least not unanimously. In fact, we just had that discussion on the AHA board (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=411.0)

My advice to brewers is to give thin mashes at least a try. 1.25 qt/lb is neither an optimal mash thickness nor a standard mash thickness. It seems that it has become a quasi-standard b/c brewers didnít really question it and, for some reason, have been afraid of thin mashes. On the other hand 2.0 qt/lb is not an optimal mash thickness either. The optimal mash thickness is what works best for you after you considered the pros and cons of mashing with different water/grist ratios.

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Old 11-30-2009, 07:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
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1.25 qt/lb is neither an optimal mash thickness nor a standard mash thickness. It seems that it has become a quasi-standard b/c brewers didnít really question it and, for some reason, have been afraid of thin mashes.
I don't recall what Palmer, Papazian, et al have said about optimal thickness, but it doesn't hurt that that is the standard default setting in Beersmith (and possibly other software I haven't used). I always have to switch mine to 1.5; haven't looked to see if I can change it globally.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitzengiggle View Post
I have consistently achieved an 80% effeciency on my brewdays with a 1.25qt/lb ratio. I have read many threads about people having efficiency issues, and IMO a good crush and correct mash temperature along with proper pH should bring about a decent efficiency.
When I bought my barley crusher my efficiency not only went up but became very consistent at 75% batch after batch mashing at either 1.25 or 1.33 qt/lb. Prior to that I was having my LHBS precrush my grains and i was averaging anywhere between 55-65% efficiency.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shimbii View Post
When I bought my barley crusher my efficiency not only went up but became very consistent at 75% batch after batch mashing at either 1.25 or 1.33 qt/lb. Prior to that I was having my LHBS precrush my grains and i was averaging anywhere between 55-65% efficiency.
I went ahead and purchased a BC before my first AG to eliminate any efficiency problems from the crush.

TheSanch here on HBT recently sent me a pic of the crush from our LHBS and there were whole grains of barley cracked in half with the endosperm still enveloped in the husk. He had a less than ideal efficiency from his last brew.

Next time he brews we're going to crush his grain with my BC and see how much of an improvement it makes with his efficiency.

I would agree, that crush, especially if you are having a LHBS do it for you, is probably the largest contributing factor, but I have much respect for the Kaiser so heeding his advice would also be beneficial to anyone having efficiency issues!


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