Brewshouse efficiency

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Teufelhunde

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Did my second all grain batch in the Brewzilla this morning. First batch, I was only .01 off on all my numbers for an efficiency of 72.74 when brewfather estimates 75 for the Brewzilla. Today, waaaaaay low like .09 for an efficiency of 65.6.

As far as I remember, my processes were the same. Where do I begin to troubleshoot to find the issue? If I have to pay a couple bucks more for grain to do a batch, it's not the end of the world, but I WOULD like to be able to hit close to the numbers so that the beer is what the recipe says it is.

TIA for any input

Lon
 

Sammy86

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the beer is what the recipe says it is.

Recipes are guidelines in brewing...you need to adjust recipes to your system in order to achieve the numbers desired.

For example, if you look at a recipe that has 80% efficiency and your system only gets you 72 then you need to adjust the recipe to hit your numbers. A few ounces/pound here or there is still going to make the same beer.
 

day_trippr

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Well...I believe the OP had comparable recipes using similar processes - with significantly different results...

Cheers!
 
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Teufelhunde

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Well...I believe the OP had comparable recipes using similar processes - with significantly different results...

Cheers!
Precisely. I have two brews done with a about 7.5% spread between the two. I really don't need to push for maximum, what I want is consistent, so I can adjust recipes accordingly....

And they were comparable recipes, both used Maris Otter as the base malt, one with a couple adds and one a SMASH.

All I can think of to do is to brew a couple more batches and make sure that I have some DME on hand in case I come in low again. Maybe by adding more batches to the mix I can come up with a reasonable average number to use.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Did my second all grain batch in the Brewzilla this morning. First batch, I was only .01 off on all my numbers for an efficiency of 72.74 when brewfather estimates 75 for the Brewzilla. Today, waaaaaay low like .09 for an efficiency of 65.6.

How are you measuring your volume and gravity? Keep in mind that accurate efficiency calculations require accurate gravity AND volume measurements. If your volume is off, you might be low or high on gravity and still be at the same efficiency.

My advice would be to take accurate volume and gravity measurements pre-boil, post-boil and into the fermenter. This will help you determine if the lower numbers were driven by the mash (the likely cause) or with downstream losses. Any place you leave behind sweet wort, you are lowering your efficiency. With a hoppy beer, you can lose a good amount of wort to absorption.
 
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Teufelhunde

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How are you measuring your volume and gravity? Keep in mind that accurate efficiency calculations require accurate gravity AND volume measurements. If your volume is off, you might be low or high on gravity and still be at the same efficiency.

My advice would be to take accurate volume and gravity measurements pre-boil, post-boil and into the fermenter. This will help you determine if the lower numbers were driven by the mash (the likely cause) or with downstream losses. Any place you leave behind sweet wort, you are lowering your efficiency. With a hoppy beer, you can lose a good amount of wort to absorption.
Volumes measured by the markings on the Brewzilla and Fermentors (both have been checked and found accurate) for gravity readings, with a refractometer prior to boil, post boil with a hydrometer.
 

jambop

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Sparging probably, I really believe sparging makes all the difference to what is achieved post boil. Again just my thoughts but even though you think you have sparged exactly the same I think the liquor finds its way through the grains differently from batch to batch and you can get better wash one day than you did the last... this can tie in with the crush as well I suppose ?

Of course if you do not sparge ignore that suggestion 😄
 
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DuncB

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More hops is more loss.
Hoppy beers are less efficient.
High gravity beers less efficient at brewhouse.
Check your mash efficiency for both beers.
 

pvtpublic

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More hops is more loss.
Hoppy beers are less efficient.
High gravity beers less efficient at brewhouse.
Check your mash efficiency for both beers.
What does hops have anything to do with mash efficiency?
 
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Teufelhunde

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The title is BREWHOUSE not mash efficiency!
And that got me to looking at the definition for each (remember, I am new at all grain). I used the Brewer's friend Brewhouse efficiency calculator, which, if I understand the difference correctly, is actually a MASH efficiency calculator, regardless of what they call it.
 

CascadesBrewer

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And that got me to looking at the definition for each (remember, I am new at all grain). I used the Brewer's friend Brewhouse efficiency calculator, which, if I understand the difference correctly, is actually a MASH efficiency calculator, regardless of what they call it.
There is some debate about which "efficiency" is the most important and inconsistencies in what labels are applied. If you are making similar beers (barley base, moderate gravity, low level of hops, etc.) and following the same process, it probably does not matter much which one you target. I find that recipes with a lot of flaked grains mess up my grain absorption and lower my mash efficiency and recipes with a lot of hops will lower my overall/brewhouse efficiency due to absorbing wort.

From a simplistic view, there are 3 main drivers of efficiency:
  • Conversion: Did you effectively convert starches in the grains into sugars? (time, temp, crush, pH, etc.)
  • Extraction: Did you effectively extract the sugars from the grain? (sparge, grain/water ratio, etc.)
  • Losses: Did you avoid leaving behind sweet wort? (in dead spaces, hoses, pumps, kettle, hops, etc.)
It is more important to understand what drives your efficiency and have consistent efficiency than to have high efficiency. Mashing for 3 hours and aggressively squeezing might get a few more points of efficiency, with more time and effort. Taking a 6 oz sample for a gravity reading or leaving behind trub in the kettle will lower your efficiency, but that might be acceptable loss.

Your batches are not too far off from a 70% efficiency. If that is overall efficiency, then it is not too bad. If that is the mash efficiency, then there are probably a few opportunities for improvement. If you are recirculating, you want to dial in a crush that will avoid a stuck mash. If you are not recirculating, then you could likely go with a finer grain crush. Make sure you allow the grain basket to drain well (or maybe try to squeeze wort out of the grain). Keep an eye on any wort left behind and decide if you can get that wort into your fermenter. An out of whack mash pH can also impact the conversion. (Any chance one of these was a dark beer and one was a light colored beer?)

Also, Are you sparging? Did you sparge with the same amount for both batches? I generally do full volume mash BIAB, but find that sparging with a few gallons of water will usually boost my efficiency around 5%.
 

BeerAndTele

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I used the Brewer's friend Brewhouse efficiency calculator, which, if I understand the difference correctly, is actually a MASH efficiency calculator, regardless of what they call it.

The name of the BF Calculator is "Brewhouse Efficiency Calculator", but there is a drop-down on which you select which efficiency you're looking for. Depending on your selection, the description of the "Wort Volume" input field changes.

If you select "Pre Boil", then the description reads, "How much wort went into the kettle". This would be your mash efficiency.

Or if you select "Brew House", then the description reads "How much wort went into the fermenter."

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kevin58

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Does your software allow you to create a custom equipment profile? If so, have you done it? Without an accurate profile to start with any estimates you get from the software will can be all over the map.
 

jambop

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Just as a follow up to my earlier post.
I never normally check my efficiencies I just go by my gravity's if they are on the money I am usually happy . I just did the mash and brewhouse efficiencies for my last brew using Grainfather and mash was 80% while brewhouse was 77% . I think I could improve my mash eff quite a bit with better sparging but the brewhouse will always be a bit less due to loses due to hop and trub wort absorption .
 
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Teufelhunde

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The name of the BF Calculator is "Brewhouse Efficiency Calculator", but there is a drop-down on which you select which efficiency you're looking for. Depending on your selection, the description of the "Wort Volume" input field changes.

If you select "Pre Boil", then the description reads, "How much wort went into the kettle". This would be your mash efficiency.

Or if you select "Brew House", then the description reads "How much wort went into the fermenter."

View attachment 774154
Thanks for that. I hadn't seen the dropdown.....
 
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Teufelhunde

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Does your software allow you to create a custom equipment profile? If so, have you done it? Without an accurate profile to start with any estimates you get from the software will can be all over the map.
Yes, I use Brewfather, and my profile is set to my equipment
 
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