An Efficiency Question

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discokid2k

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Hello HBT- I have an efficiency question because I am consistently missing my OG. By my calculations from this link, I am coming in at about 76% brewhouse efficiency for today and using the calculation from beersmith, I am consistent on my brew house efficiency. http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/10/26/brewhouse-efficiency-for-all-grain-beer-brewing/
Question: should I continue to be worried about my extraction efficiency vs. my overall brewhouse efficiency? Am I doing the calculations wrong? Missing a crucial point somewhere? My brews have steadily gotten better and I have learned a lot but I cannot for some reason get this one issue figured out.
But before I begin, yes I have read the stickies on efficiency, read through a lot of threads, studied Palmer's book, etc, and have monitored the numerous parameters through several batches, always ending with the same reult of me missing my OG by a large margin. The only aspect of Flyguy's sticky on batch sparging I have not tried is buying my own mill, mainly due to the space and the wife. I have too much beer junk according to her, preposterous, I know :drunk: I have begun requesting that my brew shops crush my grain twice and I order from AHS, which is staffed by some great people so I think they have been cordial enough to crush my grain twice.
Tonights brew day was a Dortmunder style lager with details listed below and if I left out a detail that may help, just let me know. I didn't drink, took great notes so I have all the specifics...hopefully.
11.25lbs total grist
10.75lbs Pale malt
4 oz carapils
4 oz Crystal 20L
Batch size 5.25 gal
60 min boil
Expected OG 1.055
Actual OG 1.042 (read a 1.036, corrected for temp .0026 and hydrometer correction .004-my hydrometer reads .096 in water at 60*)
1.036+.0026+.004=1.042

Brew365 stated that I needed 3.5 gal mash water and 5.6 gal sparge water. I heated my mash water to 172 and hit 160* and after adding 1qt of water+stirring a lot, I hit 153* which was pretty darn close. I heated only 5 gal of sparge water since I added the 1qt and added the full volume, 5 gal to the tun after my 60 min and positive conversion test (adding the full volume was a new step to try an increase the viscosity, I usually mash out, and then sparge). I hit 165*, not the 170* I wanted but still close. I held the 165* for 10 minutes before draining the tun.
Note* I used 5 gal instead of the 5.6gal because of the efficiency issue. I figured I was pulling too much instead so I tried to compensate for this ahead of time.
I measured my runnings, in a 2 gal bucket. I collected 6 gal and an extra 1/2 gal to rouse my yeast starter after a quick boil. Boil went as planned, ended up with 5.25 gal on the dot. I measured my trub loss and that came in at 1/2 gal.
After all was said and done, my calculation is efficiency=actual points/expected points
42/55= .763= 76%
Any thoughts or advice is appreciated!
 
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76% is not all that bad as far as efficient goes. Your process looks sound the only thing I'd say is try grinding your grains a little tighter and that will probably put you where you want to be. Personally as log as its consistent I'd be happy with 76% most recipes are gauged off 75% efficiency anyway. Besides as long as you know what your efficiency is if you want your beer stronger just increase your malts slightly to compensate for the "lower" efficiency and if your worried about too much volume left from sparging you can always just boil it longer to reduce the volume to where you want it to be. It won't effect your efficiency. Once the sugars are in the pot their in the pot weather it's 5 or 20 gallons. Dilute 5 gallons to 20 boil it down to 5 again still same amount of sugars available.
 
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discokid2k

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76% is not all that bad as far as efficient goes. Your process looks sound the only thing I'd say is try grinding your grains a little tighter and that will probably put you where you want to be. Personally as log as its consistent I'd be happy with 76% most recipes are gauged off 75% efficiency anyway. Besides as long as you know what your efficiency is if you want your beer stronger just increase your malts slightly to compensate for the "lower" efficiency and if your worried about too much volume left from sparging you can always just boil it longer to reduce the volume to where you want it to be. It won't effect your efficiency. Once the sugars are in the pot their in the pot weather it's 5 or 20 gallons. Dilute 5 gallons to 20 boil it down to 5 again still same amount of sugars available.
So I shouldnt worry so much about extraction vs. my overall brewhouse efficiency is what you are saying. I have found that brew365 mash sparge calculator overshoots my water slightly but overall I have been consistent from batch to batch. Measure my water, measure my runnings, measure left overs from tun, measure trub, etc.

I have wanted a mill for awhile but the kitchenaid mill attachment to fit our kitchenaid mixer is $140 or so and the wife will not allow any more beer extravagence...:mad:I have a birthday coming up so maybe the corona mill will be on the list? I am going to order a new hydrometer since my one measures at .096 at 60*. Our water here is high in bicarbonate so that may be a possible explanation. But as mentioned, the only efficiency aspect I have not tried is a mill. The main reason I ask was pointed out by yourself, higher OG beers. I want to do an IPA soon but I have stayed away from the higher OG until I get this issue nailed down. Thanks for the input!
 

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