Efficiency.Numbers? - Home Brew Forums

 Home Brew Forums > Efficiency.Numbers?

04-23-2013, 11:28 AM   #1
PackerfaninSanDiego
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How do you figure out efficiency? Does it mean hitting the OG per recipe?

Yes I am a dummy
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04-23-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
ArcaneXor

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The easiest way is to use brewing software. But hitting your efficiency generally means that you reach both the intended original gravity and batch size of a recipe. So if a recipe assuming 75% efficiency states the OG should have been 12 plato and the volume 5.25 gallons, and your numbers match, your efficiency was 75%.

The more complex answer is that each malt has a theoretical extract potential (i.e. a maximum amount of sugar you can extract from it on a pounds per gallon basis). The biggest factor in determining your efficiency is basically what percentage of that theoretical maximum you can achieve on your system. There are other factors that enter the equation as well (mash efficiency is different from brewhouse efficiency, for instance), but this is the general idea.

04-23-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
CastleHollow

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Yes, efficiency is basically determining how close you came to extracting all of the available sugars from a batch of grain, at various points in the brewing process (conversion efficiency, brewhouse, etc.) There are a few calculators out there that use formulas measuring grain weight, gravity, and amount of wort. Those are the three basic variables for determining efficiency.

04-26-2013, 01:26 AM   #4
PackerfaninSanDiego
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here is what I learned today. Expected gravity from most grains is around 1.037 from 1 pound of grain in 1 gallon of water.
100% efficiency = 1.062
90% = 1.055
80% = 1.049
70% = 1.043

How does this all sound so far?
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04-26-2013, 01:49 AM   #5
Malticulous

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If I mashed 8 lbs of 38 ppg pilsner malt and runnoff 7 gallons 100% would be 38 ppg x 8 lbs / 7 gallons = 1.043. I'd get about 1.037 (85%) and boil down down to 5.25 gallons. It would be 37 points x 7 gallons / 5.25 galllons = 1.049 for the OG.

04-26-2013, 01:58 AM   #6
woozy
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Scratch everything below. I don't know what I'm talking about.

Newbie question: Should we *want* high efficiency?

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Dumb comment:
Bear in mind that extracting full sugar potential is not expected to be possible or even desirable.

A recipe will call for so much grain and such an o.g. Well, if you plug that into a brewing calculator you'll see that that might be only 75% efficiency and that's ... well, that, and not 100% efficiency, is that "goal".

Example: I'm making an American Pale Ale this weekend. 7.5 lbs of 2-row and 1/2 a lb. of Crystal 60. The recipe says the 0.G. will be 1.045. The recipe doesn't mention anything about efficiency because it doesn't want to worry my pretty little head. I plug the values into this calculator and I see that if I achieve the desired O.G. I must have been 76% efficient. Should I be worried that my efficiency wasn't higher? No.

(100% efficiency, BTW, would mean an 0.G. of 1.059. Also if my efficiency were higher I could use less grain.)

04-26-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
ArcaneXor

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Quote:
 Originally Posted by woozy Scratch everything below. I don't know what I'm talking about. Newbie question: Should we *want* high efficiency?
To an extent. If your efficiency is very low, you are not getting good conversion and will have to pay a little more for ingredients. Worse, you might end up with starches in the finished beer if incomplete conversion if the reason for the low efficiency. This renders the beer less stable and makes it cloudy (which can be easily fixed by addition of an amylase enzyme to the fermentor, but it's best to avoid it in the first place).

Too high an efficiency can also have drawbacks in terms of flavor profile if you don't watch the pH of the sparge like a hawk. Tends towards grainy and ultimately, if the pH rises too high, astringent.

Anywhere between 70-85% is probably pretty safe territory.

04-26-2013, 01:04 PM   #8
Malticulous

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There are professional brewing systems that can exceed laboratory extract by a few percent.

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