Brewhouse Efficiency

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hopmadness

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As I contemplate my FIRST all grain recipe (will be brewing once my new brew pot arrives) and familiarize my self with Beesmith....I wonder what brewhouse effeciency is at least safe to assume that I can achieve?? Looking back at some of my partial mashes and entering the results into Beersmith, my average for efficiency is at about 40%. Wow, that's low, especially considering for the recipe of the nut brown (Fat Squirrel Clone) that I want to do I'm figuring 60% efficiency. Any advice on previous experience? If I use the same recipe but only hit 40%....my ABV will be about 3.5.....which is totally unacceptable. I was going to simply do a single infusion mash with no mash out.
 

Gumbys_Brew

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i'm not sure to what my effeciency was when i brewed extract due to not knowing what it was until i switched to AG and found this site. anyways my first AG came to if i remember correctly 73% not too bad. i'm now hitting 75%- 76% pretty consistant. hope that it will bump up to 80% when i get my herms up and running whenever that may be.

EDIT: effeciency really depends on how well you maitain the temps that are crucial in an AG mash. aswell as sparging
 
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I think you'll get at least 62-65% your first try if you hit your temps close.

70-75% is reasonable for your first try. After your first try you'll figure out some ways to improve.

If you haven't already, check out Bobby_M's All-Grain Primer (linked in his signature). It really helped me out as a new AG brewer

p.s. I hit 62% my first time and am now consistenly 75-77% which is good enough for me.
 

ChemE

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How will your grain be crushed? Also what kind of water and pH control are you planning on using? Finally, will you be decocting or just doing a single infusion? All these things play fairly heavily into efficiency and if we know what your planning/able to do the first time out we may be able to get in the right ballpark.

Also, one mistake people often make and then find quite some time later is careful calibration of everything but most importantly thermometers and volumes. I do a two-point calibration of my thermometers every month to make sure I brew the beer I intend to brew and thermometers being off can easily rob you of efficiency when it comes time to mash out.

I got 86% efficiency my first time out but that was using my own Barley Crusher, custom water carefully constructed from RO/DI and salts, a double decoction (more sparge water plus better gelatinization of starches), and a dough-in. I was planning with all that to hit 75%.
 
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hopmadness

hopmadness

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I was going to use a single infusion mash....with an option to add some water to keep the temp up to 155 if needed later in the mash. The recipe is Pilsner 2 row, Munich, Crystal, Victory, flaked Barley (that I'm going to toast), and chocolate malt. I'm open to other mash options if it will make a difference in efficiency, but may be slightly limited by the fact that I want a water/grist ratio as close to 1.5 as I can (probably will be about 1.3) and that the recipe will have about 13 pounds of grain. That means about 4.2 gallons for mashing, which leaves only 1.8 gallons to use in the mash (if I add mash steps) and to sparge with...otherwise I'll be over my starting target boil volume of 6 gallons. As for water...not sure what to do....I use Ice Mountain Spring water because my water at home is chlorinated (city water). Not sure what the pH in the mash will be. Open to all suggestions....would love to get my efficiency to 75%+ on the first all grain. Thanks.
 

Bobby_M

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13 lbs of grain will absorb about 1.75 gallons so your first runnings will be about 2.25 gallons. That leaves 3.75 gallons to sparge to collect 6 gallons. Make sure your sparge water is at least 180F.
 

brown_dog_us

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I'm figuring 60% efficiency. Any advice on previous experience? If I use the same recipe but only hit 40%...QUOTE]

I would think 60% should be easy to hit and getting only 40% is pretty hard to do. I'd shoot for 70% efficiency and have 1 or 2 pounds of extract ready to bump the gravity up if you need to. If you assume 70% you will use less grain and therefore less mash water and it will leave you plenty of sparge water to rinse most of the sugars out.

I think having enough 185 degree sparge water is one of the keys to getting a good efficiency when you start AG. The other keys are crush and holding 150-158 degrees for one hour during the mash. If you nail those three you will easily pass 70%.
 

zanemoseley

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I got 71% from 8lb of grain on my last stove top PM which was in a non-insulated kettle and only used a mash out (no sparge) so I'd say 70% is about right. I'd just use a calculator to make sure you get your temps at least close if not dead on.
 

usurpers26

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i think he is talking about brewhouse (overall) efficiency and you are talking about efficiency into the boiler (mash/extraction).

If not, then well, I just need to stop reading these efficiency threads :)

I'm figuring 60% efficiency. Any advice on previous experience? If I use the same recipe but only hit 40%...QUOTE]

I would think 60% should be easy to hit and getting only 40% is pretty hard to do. I'd shoot for 70% efficiency and have 1 or 2 pounds of extract ready to bump the gravity up if you need to. If you assume 70% you will use less grain and therefore less mash water and it will leave you plenty of sparge water to rinse most of the sugars out.

I think having enough 185 degree sparge water is one of the keys to getting a good efficiency when you start AG. The other keys are crush and holding 150-158 degrees for one hour during the mash. If you nail those three you will easily pass 70%.
 

brown_dog_us

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i think he is talking about brewhouse (overall) efficiency and you are talking about efficiency into the boiler (mash/extraction).

If not, then well, I just need to stop reading these efficiency threads :)
Yeah. I'm assuming he won't lose too much to the MLT or kettle. I still think 70% is a good starting point for his brewhouse efficiency with a little extract on hand just in case.

btw, I think I need to stop using the term efficiency by itself. It's either extract efficiency or brewhouse efficiency from here out. :)
 
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