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How to figure efficiency in a new system

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jjooeellmm

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i am confused?
I just set up a Mash tun that is a 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler with a stainless braid drain,
Everybody talks about efficiency, the Beersmith program has a default setting of 75%, how am i to determine if this is correct. What calculation do I need to perform after my first batch to determine what my actual efficiency is. I plan on doing a Sierra Nevada Porter that has a grain bill of:
10 pounds pale malt
8 ounces of Crystal malt
8 ounces of black malt
since I plan on doing a batch sparge, does the efficiency dictate the amount of grain i will need, i have heard that since doing the batch method i would have to increase the grain bill to reflect the lower efficency, is this correct. anyone have a simple explanation so i could grasp the concept

thanks
 

brewmasterpa

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efficiency is based off of the amount of conversion you attain. making sure youre temperatures are right, proper dough in, proper sparging, time spent resting are all contributing factors to conversion. it also depends on youre grain bill as well. you have to have a proper proportion of grain so that you have plenty of enzymes to convert. as long as your grain bill is right, and your technique is right, your efficiency should be atleast 75% with a 10-gallon rubbermaid. i have a 10 gallon rubbermaid with an ss false bottom and ive been consistently between 80 and 85 percent. now what i do to figure out efficiency is take a gravity reading, compare it to my target, then go back to the recipator, plug in a guesstimate efficiency and see how close my actuatl gravity is and then i know what my efficiency was. it works just fine.
 
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jjooeellmm

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thank you for the reply, but do i have to increase my grain bill from the original recipe?
 

brewmasterpa

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no, what i mean is your adjunct and other grain percentage compared to your base malts. your grain bill youre using looks good, so have a happy brew. i think as long as you stick to your technique and nail that, your efficiency should be fairly high. good luck.
 

pompeiisneaks

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I didn't see this clearly stated, but maybe I glossed over too fast. That 75% is an estimate. The only way to tweak this stuff is to do recipe's yourself, see what you really get, and then adjust. If you estimate 75% but really get 80% consistently, then you can move that number to where you're at, and see where that ends up. After you've run it through enough times you'll see what you consistently hit, and it will all make sense.
 

brewmasterpa

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+1 to pompeiisneaks for pointing that out. thats what i was trying to say earlier when i was making the point of my setup getting 80-85% consistently. i make all of my own recipes. the generic 75% number is for commercially produced recipes. its a base percentage. but you have to remember that it can go the other way as well. when you make wheat beer, you have a high adjunt to base malt ratio (60-40) and youll never attain 80%. more like 65% if youre lucky. usually when you have a proper ratio (70-30 or 80-20 or 100% with a smash), you can attain very high efficiency numbers.
 

usurpers26

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That default setting you are referring to in BeerSmith is *brewhouse* efficiency. What most people are giving you info on here is mash/extraction efficiency - this is listed in BeerSmith as "efficiency into boiler".

You can click on the details button next to the efficiency number and you will see a new dialog box, you can find the "efficiency into boiler" here.


i am confused?
I just set up a Mash tun that is a 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler with a stainless braid drain,
Everybody talks about efficiency, the Beersmith program has a default setting of 75%, how am i to determine if this is correct. What calculation do I need to perform after my first batch to determine what my actual efficiency is. I plan on doing a Sierra Nevada Porter that has a grain bill of:
10 pounds pale malt
8 ounces of Crystal malt
8 ounces of black malt
since I plan on doing a batch sparge, does the efficiency dictate the amount of grain i will need, i have heard that since doing the batch method i would have to increase the grain bill to reflect the lower efficency, is this correct. anyone have a simple explanation so i could grasp the concept

thanks
 
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jjooeellmm

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Thanks everyone, this weekend will be my first AG and i will see if this all comes together
 

bull8042

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Click on the button to the left that says "Brewhouse Efficiency". That will open a pop-up that allows you to "fill in your actual values" in the boxes that are not grayed out.
The percentage shown on the main page is a value you enter. It DOES control the values in the "Beer Profile" section and defaults to 75% initially. However, after your first brew, you fill in the actual values on the pop-up and let it calculate your "real" brewhouse efficiency. Then you plug that number into the box on the main page and you will be set.
Does all this freakin' rambling make sense? I am trying to type at work with too many other conversations going on around me....
 

BuzzCraft

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You're most likely going to end up fine, as others have said, but just in case your efficiency is lower than anticipated (due to poor crush, mash temp, etc) it's a good idea to have a backup plan. You'll be able to figure out right off the bat if you're going to hit your intended gravity and, if not, have some DME on hand to bring it up to where it should be. You've just got to know your pre-boil volume and its specific gravity.

Example: If your OG is supposed to be 1.059 (probably about that for SN Porter, but go with what your recipe says) and you're doing a 5 gallon batch, you're looking at a total of 295 gravity units (5X59). If you end up with a pre-boil volume of 6.5 gallons at 1.040, you're gonna be short, as this is only 260 gravity units (6.5X40). So you'd need to bump up your gravity by adding some DME to brew the beer you're targeting. How much do you add? In this scenario, you need 35 more units of gravity and DME provides about 45 units per lb...so you'd need a little more than 3/4 lb (35/45...0.78 lb to be exact).

Or you can not worry about your OG and efficiency at all...either way, it'll be beer you can drink! Good luck!
 
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