Need Advice Calculating Efficiencies for My System

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

TeflonTom

Active Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
33
Reaction score
17
Hello everyone. I've been going back and recreating some of my first recipes and I'm starting to get upset with my inconsistencies. Most of my concern is focused on the efficiency of my system; not knowing the limits or full capabilities of my system are probably affecting my results. I'm brewing on a Ruby Street Fusion 15 240W/30Amp. It includes an HLT, mash tun, and boil kettle as well as 2 pumps and a plate chiller. The last 2 beers that I made just this week were vastly different with my results. Tuesday I brewed a Witbier and yesterday I brewed a hazy IPA. The Witbier was right on my OG target of 1.050 but the IPA was only 1.040 when I was targeting 1.070. It was really frustrating. Usually I only miss by a couple points and I've even had a couple that went a few points to 20 points over my target. I'll put the grain bill for each down below if that would help. Could you please help me with methods of calculating my systems limits so I can become a more consistent brewer, please?

Witbier:
5.5lbs Weyermann Barke German Pilsner
5.5lbs Unmalted Wheat
0.275lbs acidulated malt
0.275lbs flaked oats
6 gallon mash water 1.3 gallon sparge for boil
5 gallons in fermenter

Hazy IPA:
7.5lbs MaltWerks Pale Malt
5lbs Golden Promise
1lb flaked oats
1lb flaked wheat
0.5lbs carafoam
7 gallon mash water 1.5 gallon sparge for boil
5.3 gallons in fermenter
 

Attachments

  • 20220311_144530.jpg
    20220311_144530.jpg
    4.8 MB · Views: 0

Velnerj

Simul justus et potator
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
588
Reaction score
993
Location
Czech Republic
Usually a low OG is due to one of the following:
Poor grain crush - did you crush your grains yourself? What did it look like before it went into the mash tun?

Wrong mash temp. - what thermometer did you use to check mash temps? Is it properly calibrated?

Wrong gravity reading - what are you using to measure gravity? At what temp? Is your instrument calibrated?

Incorrect measurement of grain or water - are you sure you included all 15lbs of grain? Is it possible you left some out?

Poor quality ingredients - how old are the grains? Are they fresh? What is the litner degree for the pale malt?

There may be other issues but those are most common.
 

pvtpublic

Whale Oil Beef Hooked
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
221
Reaction score
82
I'm sure you're already aware of this, but it's important enough to mention; make sure your process is exactly the same everytime. Make sure your grist is ground the same and mashed evenly. Lautering and re-circ rate the same. All of your timing, same. Which nut you scratch first and with which hand. Check your gravity as you lauter will give you an idea too. I lauter more than I need into multiple pots and blend them to get my desired gravity, the extra gets pressure canned for starter wort. Whatever OG you want, multiply it by how many finished gallons you're shooing for, then divide by how many preboil gallons you're starting with. That will be the gravity that you should target.
For example, I shoot for 5.5lg in my fermenter, and I boil for 90min every batch. My boil off rate is 1gl per hour, so my preboil volume is 7gl. If I want to have an SG of 1.050, that would be 50x5.5=275 total gravity points. Divide that by 7gl would give me ~1.039. Ever since I started this step, I've had dead on results.
 
OP
OP
TeflonTom

TeflonTom

Active Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
33
Reaction score
17
I'm sure you're already aware of this, but it's important enough to mention; make sure your process is exactly the same everytime. Make sure your grist is ground the same and mashed evenly. Lautering and re-circ rate the same. All of your timing, same. Which nut you scratch first and with which hand. Check your gravity as you lauter will give you an idea too. I lauter more than I need into multiple pots and blend them to get my desired gravity, the extra gets pressure canned for starter wort. Whatever OG you want, multiply it by how many finished gallons you're shooing for, then divide by how many preboil gallons you're starting with. That will be the gravity that you should target.
For example, I shoot for 5.5lg in my fermenter, and I boil for 90min every batch. My boil off rate is 1gl per hour, so my preboil volume is 7gl. If I want to have an SG of 1.050, that would be 50x5.5=275 total gravity points. Divide that by 7gl would give me ~1.039. Ever since I started this step, I've had dead on results.
That sounds like something fun to try out next time. I have an irish red to brew coming up so I'll give it a shot this weekend.
Usually a low OG is due to one of the following:
Poor grain crush - did you crush your grains yourself? What did it look like before it went into the mash tun?

Wrong mash temp. - what thermometer did you use to check mash temps? Is it properly calibrated?

Wrong gravity reading - what are you using to measure gravity? At what temp? Is your instrument calibrated?

Incorrect measurement of grain or water - are you sure you included all 15lbs of grain? Is it possible you left some out?

Poor quality ingredients - how old are the grains? Are they fresh? What is the litner degree for the pale malt?

There may be other issues but those are most common.
-Grains are crushed by me in a standard 2-roller at 0.04mm. Looked about the same as it always does, no full husks or un-cracked grain.
-Gravity is read between both my hydrometer and my refractometer. I calibrate my refractometer every time that I use it and make sure the wort temp is within the standard error.
- I weigh out all my grains when adding to the mill and the total after everything is incorporated.
- The pale malt was the oldest at only a month, but I keep all grains in their bags inside air-tight containers. I can't find the exact Lintner Degree of the MaltWerks Pale Malt, but I'd guess that it's just standard 140.
 

DuncB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
2,409
Reaction score
1,397
Location
Paremata New Zealand
0.04 mm I'm guessing a typo?
That is " well fine" I reckon.
My maltzilla is set at 0.25mm.
No real mention of mash pH above and other salts, worth looking at.
Can you throw your numbers at us for mash efficiency and brewhouse efficiency for these malt bills?
Also is your PPG the same for both malt bills?
How long a mash are you doing? Do you mash out?
My brewhouse efficiency improved from around 72 percent with sloppy and insufficient data collection to 84 percent with technique and equipment changes. Mash efficiency I'm getting about 89% so have room for a bit more efficiency.
I do set my mill a little finer and mill separately wheat.
 
OP
OP
TeflonTom

TeflonTom

Active Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
33
Reaction score
17
0.04 mm I'm guessing a typo?
That is " well fine" I reckon.
My maltzilla is set at 0.25mm.
No real mention of mash pH above and other salts, worth looking at.
Can you throw your numbers at us for mash efficiency and brewhouse efficiency for these malt bills?
Also is your PPG the same for both malt bills?
How long a mash are you doing? Do you mash out?
My brewhouse efficiency improved from around 72 percent with sloppy and insufficient data collection to 84 percent with technique and equipment changes. Mash efficiency I'm getting about 89% so have room for a bit more efficiency.
I do set my mill a little finer and mill separately wheat.
Yes, that was a mistake. I meant to type cm but had mm on the mind. 0.4mm would be accurate. As far as salts go, I do not use any. I live in an extremely rural area and use water bypassed from my water softener and through an RV filter. I have not taken a water sample, but I do have the water table report of last year, however it does not state magnesium, chloride, or zinc ions. My mash pH usually falls into the normal 5.3-5.6. PPG is the same. Standard 60 minute mash with a mash out ramping to 170 for about 4 minutes until I switch it off to wait to sparge.
 
Top