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Old 10-06-2013, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default 93% efficiency?

I just did my first 10 gallon batch last night It's a milk stout clone recipe.

I had problems with my barley crusher, so finally I got it, sorta, working. But I had done a graff the other day where my efficiency was ~ 47% because the gap was too big.

For this milk stout, I got the barley crushed working at a larger than desired gap, so I ran it through twice. It was pretty well crushed by then.

I added the grain to the mash and had a ton of dough balls. I also got my first stuck sparge, but it was easily fixed. I mashed for 75 minutes and I did a fly sparge @ 170f

As I collected the runnings, I let it drain super super slow.

I ran my numbers using homebrewing.com and it says:

Brewhouse Efficiency Calculator
Points/Pound/Gallon (PPG): 32.34
Efficiency: 93.15%

Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.064
Total Fermentable Amt: 22.76 lb
Pre-Boil Wort Amt: 11.5 gal
Fermentable 1: 14lb Two Row
Fermentable 2: 2lb Crystal 60
Fermentable 3: 1.50lb Munich
Fermentable 4: 1.50lb Roasted Barley
Fermentable 5: 1.50lb Chocolate
Fermentable 6: 1.25lb Flaked barley
Fermentable 7: 1.00lb Flaked oats


Is it really possible to get that High of an efficiency, or is something wrong?

If it's important, I have a 10 gallon mash tun with false bottom my mash temp was at 151f


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Old 10-06-2013, 03:57 PM   #2
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An efficiency that high is not desirable. I'd attribute it to crushing the grains too fine.


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Old 10-06-2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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I'll ask the obligatory questions about ruling out a measurement error. Is your hydrometer calibrated, did you cool the sample before measuring (given that correction factors often don't work well at high temps), stir the wort thoroughly before taking your sample, accurately measure your pre-boil volume?
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chickypad View Post
I'll ask the obligatory questions about ruling out a measurement error. Is your hydrometer calibrated, did you cool the sample before measuring (given that correction factors often don't work well at high temps), stir the wort thoroughly before taking your sample, accurately measure your pre-boil volume?
Refractometer readings ... Numbers were taken several times and "corrected" and it's auto calibrating for high temps, so I can take readings during the boil. I live in Portland Oregon, and we have awesome water. So I generally add my water straight to the kettle then boil it for a while. I always use that water to calibrate my refractometer to 0 before I start the mash.

And yes, the wort was fully stirred. No question about that.

I read high efficiency is one of those widely debated issues. Some say bad, some say its fine.

I'm not aiming to be that high. I felt the grain was too course during the first crush. I adjusted it to the proper thickness for the second crush but felt it was too fine after that second crush. I even added rice hulls to the mash because I was a bit concerned of a stuck mashed. I did get one, but it was a simple fix and didn't give any more issues after.

I'm probably selling this barley crusher to get something else. I read a lot of people have the issue I had with it not pulling the grain down.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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With an ultra fine, coarse flour level grind like I use for BIAB, I get 83%. I don't think you are really getting 93%, especially considering your dough balls - much more likely you overestimated volume.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Trail View Post
With an ultra fine, coarse flour level grind like I use for BIAB, I get 83%. I don't think you are really getting 93%, especially considering your dough balls - much more likely you overestimated volume.
I have a 20 gallon blichmann boilermaker. The pot was level and the sight gauge is what I was reading off of. It was right at 11.5 gallons.

Why because of the dough balls?

My buddy poured slow while I stirred. There was a lot of powder and the balls formed on the top of the water. I managed to crush them and dissolve them pretty well. I feel we did a good job of mixing the mash.

Idk... all I know is during the boil my gravity was way high. I ended up with 11 gallons at 1.077 (before the lactose addition) after adding more wort at 1.019 from the last of the fly sparge runnings.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #7
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Because dough balls decrease efficiency. 93% efficiency would be unlikely even if everything went right... which it sounds like it didn't.

If your volumes were correct, it's likely you used more grain than you thought. Or that you temp corrected your hydrometer meter reading wrong.

Bottom line is, if you actually got 93 efficiency on the batch there's something up with your water PH (and probably not in a good way.)
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail View Post
Because dough balls decrease efficiency. 93% efficiency would be unlikely even if everything went right... which it sounds like it didn't.

If your volumes were correct, it's likely you used more grain than you thought. Or that you temp corrected your hydrometer meter reading wrong.

Bottom line is, if you actually got 93 efficiency on the batch there's something up with your water PH (and probably not in a good way.)
The dough balls formed and got broken up, as I said before he added it slow while I stirred. They formed on top and got mixed well. I just meant I saw more than I've seen before. That's because there was a lot more flour in the grain.

I did more research on it. People get 95% efficiency with no problems. I did read about the extractions of tannin possibly being an issue due to PH, but my wort tasted fantastic. And it's one of those debate topics where some say they do high eff and have never had issues while others say its bad.

I'm not dumb. I know I used the proper weight. I know I calibrated my refractometer. I have good equipment.

I'm pretty sure now that with fly sparging, doing a 75 minute mash and having of too fine a crush is why it's so high.

I believe the numbers now that I read more about it. I just have to wait and see if I have off flavors because of it, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be ok since the wort was amazing. But I'll be aiming more for 75-80%
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:31 PM   #9
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I'm usually in the 85-90% range for efficiency so I wouldn't worry about that. I'd really like to hear why high efficiency is bad. Sounds a bit like a pervasive myth.
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:42 PM   #10
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You absolutely can get 93% efficiency. I once got 104%! That is my record.


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