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Another effeciency thread :(

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dummkauf

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I searched but couldn't find the answer, and I think I know the answer, but I'll ask anyway.

Getting ready to do my first AG brew either this weekend or next, and I think I have everything figured out except for how to guesstimate my effeciency to adjust the recipe.

I understand that efficiency is calculated based on the expected fermentables compared to what I actually get out of my mash(got beersmith to do the calcs). However, that assumes that I've done at least 1 mash already, and herein lies my problem. Do I just assume a poor efficiency rate for the first AG and adjust the recipe accordingly. Or is there a common efficiency to use for the first batch until I get a few batches under my belt and have my actual efficiency dialed in.

I'm thinking I'm just gonna have to guess for the first batch and take what I get, but if there are any other suggestions I'd love to hear them :mug:
 

Beerbuck

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You can do it at 75 % which is usualy the rate we have. I dont think you will shoot alot lower this :) And if its higher just apreciate it :)
 

japhroaig

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This upcoming brew will be your baseline. Can't know your baseline till you've done it, so I would guesstimate 65-70%. Just measure, measure, measure. You could hit 80%, you could hit 50%. Won't know what it'll be till the moment of truth.

Oh, and there is no common efficiency. That's like asking is there a common amount of plaque on a persons teeth--it completely depends. Anyway, take pictures and report back! :D
 

JuanMoore

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I see a lot of threads here about getting 65-70% on a first AG attempt, so I'd shoot somehwere in there. I'd also prefer my beer to end up a little bigger than planned as opposed to ending up watery, but that's just me.
 

DrawTap88

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I disagree with assuming the 65-70% efficiency. That is what I did on my first AG batch and I now have undrinkable watery beer because I actually got about 53% efficiency.

My suggestion is to assume you're only going to get 50-55% efficiency out of your mash. That way, if you do get 65-75% you have a bigger beer, and if you only get 50-55% you at least have a drinkable beer.
 

DrawTap88

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anything below 60% you really need to look at your method of brewing and how accurate your mash temp was:)
That I don't disagree with, but it's something that the OP might not know (which batch sparge method works best) or be something that will be learned during (mash temp). It's all about knowing your system, and you/me/OP really won't know until we get our hands dirty and do it.
 

Walker

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anything below 60% you really need to look at your method of brewing and how accurate your mash temp was:)
Mash temp isn't going to have anything to do with your efficiency. How well you get the lautering done is what matters.

edit: I understand your dilemma here, OP. I had the same question when I did my first AG. I decided to estimate it at 70%. If I got lower, then I would have a hoppier lower alcohol beer. If I got higher than 70%, then I would have a maltier beer higher alcohol beer. I just tried to make a recipe that would work out well as long as I was in the 65% to 75% range.
 
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dummkauf

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Thanks for the input. Anyone have any suggestions for recipes for this first round?

I was originally planning on another batch of Yoopers 60 min DFH clone as I've brewed that a couple times with extract now, or would that be a good brew for testing with?

thanks again for all the advice!!
 

Walker

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Thanks for the input. Anyone have any suggestions for recipes for this first round?

I was originally planning on another batch of Yoopers 60 min DFH clone as I've brewed that a couple times with extract now, or would that be a good brew for testing with?

thanks again for all the advice!!
My personal opinion is to stay away from anything that is supposed to be a highly hopped and bitter beer when done correctly. If you end up getting low efficiency on a recipe like that, that thing could end up too hoppy and unpleasant.

I went with a pretty basic pale ale recipe the first time around so that I wouldn't end up with something way out of balance on the bittering:gravity ratio.

Of course, you can always check the gravity of the wort before you start boiling and see what efficiency you ended up with and then adjust the hops in the recipe to bring it back into balance if necessary.
 

Shooter

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You'll just have to see what happens. I had problems with grain getting under my false bottom on my first AG. I had a BADLY stuck sparge because of that and had to clear the entire tun and basically kind of start over. I was going off a recipe in BCS and was way above their estimated numbers, which I think assume 70% efficiency. On my second batch I modified my process slightly and things went much more smoothly. I ended up hitting 70% exactly. Good luck and have fun!
 

HughBrooks

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it is hard to guess what your efficiency will be the first time around. What type of set up are you using for a mash tun? Do you have a false bottom or a manifold? Are you going to fly sparge or batch sparge? I think an easy first ag beer to make would be some sort of brown ale.
 

humann_brewing

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it's your first AG, don't expect the moon, just shoot for 75% and hope for the best. Also don't pick your favorite beer to try on your first attempt. You probably don't want to be disappointed if it doesn't turn out like you want.

A beer that has a OG of 1.050 and you brew it with a OG of 1.060 is going to taste a lot different, not to mention other factors.
 
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dummkauf

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it is hard to guess what your efficiency will be the first time around. What type of set up are you using for a mash tun? Do you have a false bottom or a manifold? Are you going to fly sparge or batch sparge? I think an easy first ag beer to make would be some sort of brown ale.
No false bottoms here. I've got the square cooler with braided stainless steel tubing in the bottom and I will be batch sparging, or double batch sparging if I can figure out what that is and the advantage over normal sparging(that was posted above and I haven't heard of it before).
 

Randar

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I disagree with assuming the 65-70% efficiency. That is what I did on my first AG batch and I now have undrinkable watery beer because I actually got about 53% efficiency.

My suggestion is to assume you're only going to get 50-55% efficiency out of your mash. That way, if you do get 65-75% you have a bigger beer, and if you only get 50-55% you at least have a drinkable beer.
And I got 79% my first batch... if I had shot for 55%, I would have had oodles of waste...

That being said, I think it depends on what the guy's first AG batch setup and batch is...

So, what's the plan? Are you going to condition the malt and crush yourself? Are you going to batch or fly sparge? What is your MT setup? What kind of beer are you brewing for this first batch? (OG targets and style)

EDIT: Guess I should have finished reading. Shoot for 70-75% and go from there.
 

DrawTap88

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I wouldn't call it waste. I would call it a bigger beer. Obviously it will be different than what the brewer was shooting for, but it will still be drinkable. Better to have something drinkable than something to water the plants.
 

Randar

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I wouldn't call it waste. I would call it a bigger beer. Obviously it will be different than what the brewer was shooting for, but it will still be drinkable. Better to have something drinkable than something to water the plants.
Well, you could have boiled off to reach target boil starting gravity. Would have been a smaller batch, but there is a reason you either boil off or top off to reach target gravity and leave enough flexibility in your system to handle slight fluxuations.
 

DKershner

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I got 57% on my first batch, and it turns out it was because my LHBS had their gap set insanely far apart. Shoot for 70% and do something that is supposed to be balanced like an APA. If you end up low, you have an IPA! If you end up high, you have a mirror pond!
 
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dummkauf

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I got 57% on my first batch, and it turns out it was because my LHBS had their gap set insanely far apart. Shoot for 70% and do something that is supposed to be balanced like an APA. If you end up low, you have an IPA! If you end up high, you have a mirror pond!
Oh, that reminds me too, what should that gap be set at? My LHBS has a dial to set it but I'm not sure what it should be set at. I usually haven't worried about it much as in the past the only thing I was using grain for was steeping before adding extract.
 

DKershner

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Oh, that reminds me too, what should that gap be set at? My LHBS has a dial to set it but I'm not sure what it should be set at. I usually haven't worried about it much as in the past the only thing I was using grain for was steeping before adding extract.
If you are steeping, you don't need to crush at all...

Anyway, just ask the LHBS to set it for you. Mine was a fluke, most of the time it will be fine.
 

v2comp

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yeah, you always want your crystal malts crushed!, you dont have to mash it, you can just steep it with a grain bag if you want. crystal malts have already beer converted, so theres nothing to really mash. I do because I want to filter the grain husks like everything else in the mash tun.
shoot for around 70-75% efficiency as well.
if you dont already have one, a brewing program like Beertools pro, pro mash, beer smith, or several others will make life much easier for you.
 

Bheher

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When I started all grain, I assumed 75% then I would take a pre-boil speific gravity and add some DME (usually just 1lb or so) to get up to 75%. I think doing this is easier then adjusting the hops to match your efficiency.
 
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dummkauf

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Also, just to make sure I am reading this right.

I put the grains in the cooler, add 165F water, which should drop down somewhere around 154, stir real good, and let it sit for 60 min. I then drain, doing a couple run offs that go back into the cooler until it runs clear. I then add 168F water to sparge the grains, stir, and follow the similar run off routine until they run clear.

Then from there it's brewing as usual, only I'm just adding hops to the boil and no extract :D

Thinking Sunday will be brew day so I just want to make sure I've got all my ducks in a row here.
 

rockytoptim

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Everything looks good except if you want to get your mash up to 168 you need to add a certain amount of boiling water before you sparge. This is called mashing out and is used to stop the conversion process. Many people don't mash out since If you immediately put the wort in the BK and heat the wort it will stop the conversion. I have done it both ways with mash out and no mash out and I haven't noticed that either process gives me better beer. If you need calculator for how much and how hot the water needs to be to mash out check out this site http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
use the rest calculator for seeing how much boiling water to get mash to 168.
 
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dummkauf

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Everything looks good except if you want to get your mash up to 168 you need to add a certain amount of boiling water before you sparge. This is called mashing out and is used to stop the conversion process. Many people don't mash out since If you immediately put the wort in the BK and heat the wort it will stop the conversion. I have done it both ways with mash out and no mash out and I haven't noticed that either process gives me better beer. If you need calculator for how much and how hot the water needs to be to mash out check out this site http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml
use the rest calculator for seeing how much boiling water to get mash to 168.
Now I'm confused??? I thought the conversion process stopped when I drained the wort off the grain bed and into my BK. Are you saying that even the wort in the BK is still converting until I start boiling?

I was under the impression that the mash did the conversion, and then I drained the wort off, and I just added the sparge water to rinse any residual sugars off the grains that were missed the first time around and that all the conversion happens in the cooler.

Am I misreading what you are saying? Or am I just way off base on how this all works?
 

Reelale

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Now I'm confused??? I thought the conversion process stopped when I drained the wort off the grain bed and into my BK. Are you saying that even the wort in the BK is still converting until I start boiling?

I was under the impression that the mash did the conversion, and then I drained the wort off, and I just added the sparge water to rinse any residual sugars off the grains that were missed the first time around and that all the conversion happens in the cooler.

Am I misreading what you are saying? Or am I just way off base on how this all works?
The mash remains at a temperature conducive to conversion. Adding hot water to bring the mash up to 168 degrees, stops the conversion process. As previously mentioned, it's not a necessary step with highly modified malts that we can get now.
 

rockytoptim

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Now I'm confused??? I thought the conversion process stopped when I drained the wort off the grain bed and into my BK. Are you saying that even the wort in the BK is still converting until I start boiling?

I was under the impression that the mash did the conversion, and then I drained the wort off, and I just added the sparge water to rinse any residual sugars off the grains that were missed the first time around and that all the conversion happens in the cooler.

Am I misreading what you are saying? Or am I just way off base on how this all works?
I didn't mean to confuse you, I just wasn't sure if you were planning to mashout or not. You can do it either way. Personally I never mashed out until I got my HERMS system. It was more complicated for me to have a small pot of boiling water and then another pot with 168 deg sparge water. Either way you want to do it will make good beer. You can do a search for mash out here on the forums. If you look at post 13 on the following post will explain mash out. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/batch-spargers-mashout-yea-nay-43069/ Again alot of people don't mashout its kind of what works for you. Either way RDWHAHB.
 

krishamo32

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If you stared 65-70 % then you do the good job. Its a good start for me. I have no recipe dummkauf.
 

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