Efficiency - Where did I go “wrong”

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bornandraisedlv

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Just want to get some insight as to where I lost efficiency. I realize that it’s not a huge deal but would like to know any areas I could improve on.

I had pretty good mash efficiency with 86.1% but my final dropped to 59.79%.

Here was my build:

13.25 lb (6.01 kg) two-row pale malt
0.6 lb (272 g) crystal 45° L malt
0.6 lb (272 g) Carapils (dextrin) malt
0.75 lb (340 g) dextrose (corn) sugar
3.5 oz (99 g) Columbus* hops, 13.9% a.a. (90 min)
0.75 oz (21 g) Columbus* hops, 13.9% a.a. (45 min)
1.0 oz (28 g) Simcoe hops, 12.3% a.a. (30 min)
1.0 oz (28 g) Centennial hops, 8% a.a. (0 min)
2.5 oz (71 g) Simcoe hops, 12.3% a.a. (0 min)


Hit my mash in perfectly at 152° with 4 gallons of water, recirced through herms for 10 mins to step up to 170° and pulled my first runnings. Then fly sparged with 168° water to get to my 7.57 gallons of wart that I needed for a 90 min boil. Thought this volume was a little low but it’s what BeerSmith said to go with. Came in just over my estimated OG of 1.055 at 1.059.

Boiled for 90mins, not super vigorous it was a nice roll. Added my final hop addition at flameout, ran through the counter flow chiller and into the fermenter once I got 68°. Ended up only pulling 4.5 gallons of wort, which I thought was low. (Need to read up on boil off rate and how temperature might effect it?)

I let it sit there about 30 mins as we had another batch going that needed tending to. Took my fg reading and got 1.062.

I don’t feel like I really missed any of my numbers other than coming in short of my estimated volume that was supposed to go into the fermenter by .5 gal it so.

Any thoughts?
 

augiedoggy

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its hard to tell but it sounds like you skipped mash at 152 for the hour...? how long did you actually mash and at what temp? did you use the herms for the whole mash period?
 
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bornandraisedlv

bornandraisedlv

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its hard to tell but it sounds like you skipped mash at 152 for the hour...? how long did you actually mash and at what temp? did you use the herms for the whole mash period?
Mashed at 153 for an hour, didn’t recirc that hour. Just used the herms for 10 mins to get to 170° and then pulled first runnings.
 

augiedoggy

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Mashed at 153 for an hour, didn’t recirc that hour. Just used the herms for 10 mins to get to 170° and then pulled first runnings.
ok, without using the herms to maintain mash temp , are you sure your mash temp was 152 and even the whole hour? what do you use for a mashtun? may want to consider utilizing the herms for more than just mashout.. Theres a lot of benefits to recirculation.
 

Qhrumphf

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What was your post-boil volume? How much got left behind in the kettle? That's a fairly substantial hop load so I'm not surprised to see significant hop loss.

If you're separating out trub/kettle hops and keeping them from going into the fermenter, you're always gonna take a brewhouse efficiency hit on hoppy beers. And BeerSmit does not model it very well in my experience. Best just to know your system and plan for it yourself.
 
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bornandraisedlv

bornandraisedlv

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ok, without using the herms to maintain mash temp , are you sure your mash temp was 152 and even the whole hour? what do you use for a mashtun? may want to consider utilizing the herms for more than just mashout.. Theres a lot of benefits to recirculation.
Monitored temps with an inkbird held at 153° for the entire hour. Would have recirced through the herms the entire time but had another batch going at the same time and had to use the pumps to move hot wort. My mash tun is a 10gal megapot that’s wrapped in refletix. It holds temp really well.
 

thehaze

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Wasn't that a very thick mash at 4 gallons of water in which you mashed almost 7 Kg of grains? And assuming your grains absorbed some liquid, then you most likely sparged with more than 4 gallons or something. But then again, you ended up with less than 5 gallons, which is wierd as you should have ended with at least 5-5.2.

Are you sure your refractometer or hydrometer work OK? Are they calibrated?
 
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bornandraisedlv

bornandraisedlv

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What was your post-boil volume? How much got left behind in the kettle? That's a fairly substantial hop load so I'm not surprised to see significant hop loss.

If you're separating out trub/kettle hops and keeping them from going into the fermenter, you're always gonna take a brewhouse efficiency hit on hoppy beers. And BeerSmit does not model it very well in my experience. Best just to know your system and plan for it yourself.
I feel this is where I can improve. Post boil was 4.5 gal and prob left .75 gal in the kettle if that.

This is a new set up for me so still working out the kinks. And I knew that with this hop build would absorb a substantial amount of wort but didn’t really think it would effect the efficiency. I guess that’s probably where my drop is.

Wort tasted great so I’m sure it will be great when it’s ready!

Thanks for the feedback and info.
 
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bornandraisedlv

bornandraisedlv

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Wasn't that a very thick mash at 4 gallons of water in which you mashed almost 7 Kg of grains? And assuming your grains absorbed some liquid, then you most likely sparged with more than 4 gallons or something. But then again, you ended up with less than 5 gallons, which is wierd as you should have ended with at least 5-5.2.

Are you sure your refractometer or hydrometer work OK? Are they calibrated?
It wasn’t that thick actually, loose oatmeal as usual. I sparged until I had 7.5gal. I think the hop build absorbed more than BeerSmith calculates for. I was thinking it was short on wort for a 90 min boil and all of those hops. Next time i know.
 

thehaze

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To minimize the qty of wort left in the kettle, I recommend creating a whirlpool with either a paddle or a pump and leaving the wort to rest for 15-20 minutes. Come back to it and transfer to the fermenter. Whirlfloc/irish moss can also help.
 

augiedoggy

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IDK I use refletix on my conicals 2 layers of it actually and I dont see how it would be that effective in making a stainless kettle actually hold temps that whole hour. People have a hard enough time holding temps with an actual cooler and stainless it a great conductor of heat. Not saying it didnt happen but I would be skeptical if I where you. Still I think you may have found the answer to your problem with the hop loss.
 

mongoose33

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IDK I use refletix on my conicals 2 layers of it actually and I dont see how it would be that effective in making a stainless kettle actually hold temps that whole hour. People have a hard enough time holding temps with an actual cooler and stainless it a great conductor of heat. Not saying it didnt happen but I would be skeptical if I where you. Still I think you may have found the answer to your problem with the hop loss.
To extend, I have one layer of reflectix around my mash tun kettle. It...helps a little in terms of the RIMS system's ability to maintain temp, but reflectix is only about R-1 in insulating value, so it's not going work as an insulator for mash tun without a recirculating system.

We'd probably need 10-12 layers to get to the point where it started to be effective--and that doesn't account for heat losses through the bottom or lid of a kettle.
 
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bornandraisedlv

bornandraisedlv

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To extend, I have one layer of reflectix around my mash tun kettle. It...helps a little in terms of the RIMS system's ability to maintain temp, but reflectix is only about R-1 in insulating value, so it's not going work as an insulator for mash tun without a recirculating system.

We'd probably need 10-12 layers to get to the point where it started to be effective--and that doesn't account for heat losses through the bottom or lid of a kettle.
I will have to look into this a bit. I’ve been able to hold steady temps in my tun and have stirred during mash and moved prob to different locations looking for cool/hot spots.

I’m moving to a recirc mash anyways, but would still like to know that my mash temps are correct.
 
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