Hey folks - here's the situation:
I brewed my 16th batch of homebrew today (I've been brewing for less than a year). Most of my batches have been small (1 or 2 gallon) all grain batches. I've found that my efficiency is generally about 69% in my mash.
Today I went to brew a base for a fruit beer (not sure if it's gonna be blueberry or raspberry yet - depends what looks good at the store next week), using a recipe that I found somewhere online (perhaps here?). The fermentables for a 2 gallon batch were:
2 lbs pilsner malt
2 lbs light wheat malt.
my LHBS had Weyermann's for both, and he milled them for me as usual. I stuck to my usual procedure: mashed for an hour at about 154-158 degrees, stirring after 30 minutes. Then I pour from my mash tun (a cooler) into a paint-strainer bag in my kettle. I sparged with about 2 1/2 gallons of 170 degree water. Now, I sparged a little more lax this time: I didn't take my paint-strainer-bag full of spent grain out and recirculate the sparge water over it - I just swished it around for a few minutes.
Anyway, fast forward: I did my boil, cooled my wort, and checked my OG: it came to about 1.029 - WAY below the 1.053 I was expecting from Hopville's stats:
now, one problem is that I actually had a bit too much wort - 2 1/2 gallons - so it was too diluted. But even if I change the batch size to 2 1/2 gallons on Hopville, this equates to less than 50% efficiency. WTF?
Is there something odd with the convertability of wheat malt? I read somewhere that people said it needed to be milled finer perhaps? With a 50/50 ratio (pilsner/wheat) it should work in theory, right?
So was the terrible efficiency result just a consequence of me being a sparge-tard? Or do you think something went wrong with my conversion?
I partially remedied the issue by adding a bottle of home made maple syrup (dissolved in water), to get my OG up to 1.040... That was ok with me, as I figured a lower ABV would be ok anyway, plus I may get a small sugar bump from the fruit which I'll add after primary...