Need Your Recommendations for BIAB IPA Recipes

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thomer

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I have been extract brewing for the past year and have just invested in some BIAB kit (Spyke 15g Kettle, Topsflow Pump and Auber Cube). So for my first few BIAB sessions I want to brew something that is a tried and tested BIAB IPA recipe (adapted for my kit). So if it goes wrong, I know its my method and not the recipe. I want to make a few of these before starting to convert All Grain recipes to BIAB. Your suggestions and/or comments would be much appreciated.
 
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thomer

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BIAB is all-grain. Any all-grain recipe is appropriate. The only difference is when they say 'lauter', you pull the bag in lieu of running the wort out of a valve.
Yes I know lol. But I also know that as efficiency is not so good, some people boil for 90 mins instead of 60 mins, double-crush grains, mashout at 170 etc. Before I start l wanted to just copy (as much as that is possible with different equipment) a tried and trusted BIAB recipe.
 

MaxStout

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Yes I know lol. But I also know that as efficiency is not so good, some people boil for 90 mins instead of 60 mins, double-crush grains, mashout at 170 etc. Before I start l wanted to just copy (as much as that is possible with different equipment) a tried and trusted BIAB recipe.
Not necessarily. For BIAB, efficiencies of 80% are not uncommon. It's mainly about ingredient selection, grain crush, mash temps. Not sure how a 90 min boil increases brewhouse efficiency, though it is often recommended to minimize DMS production for some kinds of malt (i.e., pilsner).

BIAB generally benefits from a finer crush than you'd use for traditional AG.
 

DBhomebrew

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Not sure how a 90 min boil increases brewhouse efficiency
Increasing boil length increases boil off, requiring more water to be passed through the grain to arrive at your intended post-boil volume. More water, especially if part of a sparge, will increase lauter efficiency. Lauter efficiency being one factor of brewhouse efficiency.

FWIW, on my usual 1.040 beers I typically find ~90% mash efficiency with a single dunk sparge. I crush fairly fine, I do not squeeze.
 

TestTickle

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You could always start with something simple like the Bell's Two Hearted Ale inspired clone recipe from Bell's General Store:

Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.065 SG
Estimated Color: 6.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 62 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 66.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Mash Temp: 150F

10 lbs 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lbs Maris Otter
8.0 oz Caramel 40
1.25 oz Centennial @45.0 min
1.25 oz Centennial @30.0 min
1.0 pkg Safale S-05 (I prefer Bell's house yeast, but this works fine)
3.50 oz Centennial - Dry Hop (3-5 days before bottling/kegging)

How much water you use depends entirely on batch size and your particular equipment. Start by figuring out your boil off rate if you already haven't and use Brew in a Bag (BIAB) Calculator ~ to get you started. Take good notes during brew day, noting your strike water volume, pre-boil volume and post boil volume (both hot and chilled) and volume into the fermenter. After a few batches, you'll be able to dial things in better.

There is a lot of free software out there (Brewer's Friend, Brewfather, etc) that you can use to make it easier to dial in your efficiency as well. Bell's recipe above seems to assume 66% efficiency, which might not be a bad place to start for your first all grain brew. It may actually end up higher than that, but it also could be slightly lower. Efficiency depends on several factors as mentioned in this thread already, but here are a few tips:
  • Stir the grain a few times during the mash - I stir every 10 minutes. The down side to this is that you will lose heat more rapidly, but if you have the capability to apply heat while you stir, you can easily get it back up to where you need it.
  • Double mill the grain - I personally don't, but this and/or milling finer seems to be popular among BIABers. Some people like their crush to be almost flour. I prefer more of a standard crush with some husks still mostly intact.
  • Mash Out - After the mash is done, heat the mash to around 168-170. There is a lot of debate on this step, but in my experience, at the very least, it lowers the viscosity of the mash to help it drain better. Some consider it a waste of time, but my view is that you will be heating the wort to boiling temp eventually anyway - this just gives you a head start before pulling the bag. I also have gained a slight increase in efficiency by doing this, but that could also be a result of the extra stirring while I heat the mash.
Once you get more comfortable with the process and get your numbers dialed in, start looking into water chemistry. At first it can be a bit intimidating, but it's really not. Mash pH has an impact on conversion and efficiency, as well as fermentation.

A lot of BIABers also squeeze the bag after they pull it and gain some efficiency there. I personally don't squeeze ever and average around 78-80% mash efficiency.

Some BIABers also hold back some of their water to use for sparging, which will increase efficiency. It kind of defeats the purpose of the simplicity of BIAB, which is a single vessel, full volume mash and boil. I do sparge with about half of my brews, but it's mainly due to volume limitations of my brew kettle.

I'm sure I have left out something, but I'm on my third mug of coffee and have to pee.
 
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thomer

thomer

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You could always start with something simple like the Bell's Two Hearted Ale inspired clone recipe from Bell's General Store:
Bells Two Hearted Ale it is. I see they have 4.25 gallons strike and 4.5 gallons sparge. I will combine that in the single vessel to approx 8.75 gallons, but will do some recalculations for my own system.

I will follow your advice on stirring, milled grains and mash out. I have a Topsflow pump and Loc-Line in the lid so that should make moving the grains around easier. I also invested in a Auber Cube with heater to make life a little easier. I will experiment with squeezing or not squeezing the bag and see if there is any notable difference.

I have been using city water for my extract brewing, but plan on using RO water unless you have any other suggestions. I live in Phoenix AZ and our city water here is not good.
 

TestTickle

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I have been using city water for my extract brewing, but plan on using RO water unless you have any other suggestions. I live in Phoenix AZ and our city water here is not good.
RO is a great plan. You can basically build your water profile from the ground up.
 

CascadesBrewer

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So for my first few BIAB sessions I want to brew something that is a tried and tested BIAB IPA recipe (adapted for my kit).
That is one of the biggest differences between extract brewing and all-grain. For all-grain brewing you pretty much always have to adapt a recipe from the author's system and process to your own process. With BIAB you can either use all the mash water up front ("full volume mash") or you can hold back a few gallons for a sparge. If you are brewing "5 gallon" batches (5.5 gallons into the fermenter is common) your 15 gallon kettle is plenty big for full volume mashing, but sparging will boost your efficiency (with the tradeoff being a little more effort).

My numbers: For a batch with around 12 lbs of grain, I will start off with around 7.8 gallons of mash water (measured cool). This would leave me with about 7 gallons of (hot) water pre-boil, which I boil down to 6 gallons post boil, giving me around 5.5 gallons (cool) into the fermenter and 5 gallons into a keg.
 
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thomer

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That is one of the biggest differences between extract brewing and all-grain. For all-grain brewing you pretty much always have to adapt a recipe from the author's system and process to your own process.
I think it was the way I phrased the question which wasn't helpful. I was referring more about technique than the actual recipe. ie, the recipe is the recipe so that's good. But if someone has had success with a recipe by mashing for 90 mins instead of 60, then mashing out and squeezing the bag to get good beer. Then I was going to copy that process for that recipe. Sorry I did not make myself clear. But we are all good now :)
 

TestTickle

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I think it was the way I phrased the question which wasn't helpful. I was referring more about technique than the actual recipe. ie, the recipe is the recipe so that's good. But if someone has had success with a recipe by mashing for 90 mins instead of 60, then mashing out and squeezing the bag to get good beer. Then I was going to copy that process for that recipe. Sorry I did not make myself clear. But we are all good now :)
For what it’s worth, I mash for 45 minutes, mash out, drain the bag and boil for 60 minutes for 90% of my brews.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I was referring more about technique than the actual recipe.
What is your system like? A search says a "Auber Cube" is an electric controller. Would you be heating and recirculating during the mash? I would look for examples of people brewing on a system similar to your setup.

There are a good number of people that say that a 60 minute mash is longer than is needed with today's grains. I have pretty much always mashed for 60 minutes, no matter what system/process I was using over the years. I occasionally might run a mash for 90 minutes if going for a low temp (say 148F) or maybe if there is a large amount of non-malted grains. I used to include a mashout step for about the first year I moved to BIAB, but I have cut that out of my process.

BIAB has a mostly unfounded reputation for being lower in efficiency than other all-grain brewing methods. I adjusted my mill to get a finer crush when I moved to BIAB, and my efficiency is very close to what I got when I used to fly sparge. If I add in a dunk sparge to my BIAB process, I get a good 5% better efficiency than I used to with fly sparging.
 

RM-MN

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What is your system like? A search says a "Auber Cube" is an electric controller. Would you be heating and recirculating during the mash? I would look for examples of people brewing on a system similar to your setup.

There are a good number of people that say that a 60 minute mash is longer than is needed with today's grains. I have pretty much always mashed for 60 minutes, no matter what system/process I was using over the years. I occasionally might run a mash for 90 minutes if going for a low temp (say 148F) or maybe if there is a large amount of non-malted grains. I used to include a mashout step for about the first year I moved to BIAB, but I have cut that out of my process.

BIAB has a mostly unfounded reputation for being lower in efficiency than other all-grain brewing methods. I adjusted my mill to get a finer crush when I moved to BIAB, and my efficiency is very close to what I got when I used to fly sparge. If I add in a dunk sparge to my BIAB process, I get a good 5% better efficiency than I used to with fly sparging.
The length of the mash is to ensure conversion AND to extract flavors. With a coarse crush you need longer mash for both. As the crush becomes finer, a shorter mash will do both. From experimenting I have found that with a very fine crush, it takes way longer to extract the flavor than to complete conversion. It really has little to do with the grain itself, more to do with the malting, much to do with the quality of the milling.
 
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thomer

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What is your system like? A search says a "Auber Cube" is an electric controller. Would you be heating and recirculating during the mash? I would look for examples of people brewing on a system similar to your setup.
I invested in this one. Premium Recirculating Electric (240v) BIAB Package (SPIKE brand kettle). I will look for examples of other using it. I checked out some of your videos last night. Thanks for sharing your information.

it takes way longer to extract the flavor than to complete conversion.
What is the science behind that? You would have thought it would have been easier to extract flavor from a finer mill.
 

TestTickle

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BIAB has a mostly unfounded reputation for being lower in efficiency than other all-grain brewing methods. I adjusted my mill to get a finer crush when I moved to BIAB, and my efficiency is very close to what I got when I used to fly sparge. If I add in a dunk sparge to my BIAB process, I get a good 5% better efficiency than I used to with fly sparging.
I think the reputation for being lower in efficiency is somewhat founded with all other parts of the process being equal. In my experience, it's the non-traditional BIAB steps that bring the numbers closer to traditional multi-vessel all grain brewing (fine crush, sparging, squeezing the bag, etc.). Any time I do a standard, full volume BIAB, I plan for a slightly lower efficiency. If I do the same recipe but sparge, I usually gain a few points. I mostly do 3 to 3.5 gallon batches now. Since acquiring some 3 gallon kegs, I converted some recipes from 3 to 3.5 gallons so that I could fill those kegs. With 3.5 gallons batches, the full volume mashes push the limit of my 5.5 gallon kettle so I hold back some of the water to sparge with. That is when I noticed the bump in efficiency over full volume mashes. Granted, I still uses a higher water to grain ratio when I sparge (maybe around 2.5 gts/lb average?), so that could play into it as well since the mash is still thinner than with traditional methods, but rinsing the grains I believe plays a slightly bigger part.

With that said, it's mostly meaningless to me anyway since the cost of any extra grain I need to reach my expected OG is minimal. I stated earlier that I average 78-80% efficiency, but I should clarify that it's closer to 75-77% when I do full volume BIAB (mash efficiency that is). But hey, I'll even take that! 😁
 

TestTickle

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thomer

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With 3.5 gallons batches, the full volume mashes push the limit of my 5.5 gallon kettle so I hold back some of the water to sparge with. That is when I noticed the bump in efficiency over full volume mashes.
As I have a recirc pump, I guess I could sparge with the existing wort using the pump through the grain bag (will be supported on a winch). But I guess that is probably not as good as 'rinsing' with clean water. I look forward to experimenting.
 

TestTickle

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As I have a recirc pump, I guess I could sparge with the existing wort using the pump through the grain bag (will be supported on a winch). But I guess that is probably not as good as 'rinsing' with clean water. I look forward to experimenting.
Yeah, you'll want to rinse with fresh water, otherwise some of the wort and sugars could just end up trapped back inside of the grain. I don't know how much of an impact it would have since I have never done it that way.

Experimenting is certainly the best way to determine what works best for you. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I will say that if you have enough kettle space and can get decent enough efficiency by doing a full volume BIAB mash, the simplicity and convenience is probably worth it. In fact, for your first all-grain batch, that's where I'd start.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Experimenting is certainly the best way to determine what works best for you. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I will say that if you have enough kettle space and can get decent enough efficiency by doing a full volume BIAB mash, the simplicity and convenience is probably worth it. In fact, for your first all-grain batch, that's where I'd start.
This! When I moved to BIAB I was sure I would get terrible efficiency. With a sparge my first two batches were a solid 1% ABV above my target with overall efficiency in the 80% to 85% range (vs the 75% I measured with fly sparging). I simplified my process to full volume mashing (no pumps or recirculation, minimal squeezing) and tune my 5-gallon batches around a 73% efficiency. An overall efficiency in the 70% to 75% range makes it a lot easier to use most published recipes and packaged kits, but a understanding what impacts your efficiency and being consistent is more important that high or low efficiency.
 

RM-MN

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The idea of sparging is to extract more sugars and get a higher volume of wort. To extract the sugars you need a liquid with lower amount of sugar. Using wort won't help as it has the same concentration of sugars as the grains you just drained it from. Use fresh water.
 

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Chiming in with a vote against mashing out. While squeezing the bag won’t give you tannins, mashing out can, if (or especially if) your pH runs high. And it’s easy for your pH to be too high, especially when you’re just starting all-grain with a new recipe. My first batch was a dumper, there was so much tannin astringency.
 

TestTickle

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Chiming in with a vote against mashing out. While squeezing the bag won’t give you tannins, mashing out can, if (or especially if) your pH runs high. And it’s easy for your pH to be too high, especially when you’re just starting all-grain with a new recipe. My first batch was a dumper, there was so much tannin astringency.
A high mash pH can lead to astringency as well. If your water is high in pH, that risk remains regardless.
 

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I have a DIY version of the BrewHardware setup and it works great. I do full volume (no sparge). I squeeze the bag.

I highly recommend getting some sort of software - I use BrewFather and love it but others work great too. Take time to set up the equipment profile. Pick a simple first brew (can't go wrong with Bell's 2H) and keep track on all measurements through the brew day. Make adjustments to equipment profile as needed.

... understanding what impacts your efficiency and being consistent is more important that high or low efficiency.
This!!

:mug:
 
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thomer

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A high mash pH can lead to astringency as well. If your water is high in pH, that risk remains regardless.
For my first few BIABs I was planning on using city water and using Lactic Acid to get the PH down to 5.2-5.6. Is this a good idea? I looked at RO but think I need to find my way slowly into that complex area.
highly recommend getting some sort of software - I use BrewFather and love it but others work great too. Take time to set up the equipment profile. Pick a simple first brew (can't go wrong with Bell's 2H) and keep track on all measurements through the brew day. Make adjustments to equipment profile as needed.
I have looked at several software options and will take another look at BrewFather. I am going to try to do all may calculation manually initially, so I can learn what the calculations are actually doing (masochistic I know). I am doing a dry run with the equipment on Saturday to make sure all is okay. Including boiling for an hour so I can see the boil off rate. Trying to make as many notes and measurements as I can.

Thanks for all the advice everyone.
 
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In general the ph of your starting water doesn't matter .. It's what adding grain does to it. Lighter grains keep it higher and darker grains lower it. You can predict your mash ph with a program like Mash Made Easy or Brun Water. Add up your grist in the spreadsheet and you will get a pretty accurate estimate of how much acid you really need.
Edit .. You do need to know your starting ph.
 
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In general the ph of your starting water doesn't matter .. It's what adding grain does to it. Lighter grains keep it higher and darker grains lower it. You can predict your mash ph with a program like Mash Made Easy or Brun Water. Add up your grist in the spreadsheet and you will get a pretty accurate estimate of how much acid you really need.
Edit .. You do need to know your starting ph.
My city water pH is between 7.5 and 8.4. I have some pH strips arriving today to be a little more accurate. As I am adding pretty much all Pale malts in the Bells clone mentioned, so I presume the pH will be pretty high (hence ordering the Lactic Acid). I will check that with the software you mentioned.
 

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It’s not true that if your water is good for drinking it’s also good for brewing. However, if your water doesn’t make scale in your appliances, leave residue on your dishes, or have off flavors, then after treating for chlorine it’s probably worth a try for your first brews, so you don’t have just one more thing to worry about. Or buy RO and use it as is; adding salts can come later. Or buy RO and use an online calculator, worrying only about CaSO4 and CaCl2 additions.

It’s likely enough that your city water department posts a water report online. You could post it in the Brew Science section and folks there will tell you a best plan of action.

The only meaningful pH measurement is 20 or so minutes into the mash, at which point it’ll tell you you’re probably going to be ok, or not. Information to use for the next batch. I’ve never had luck with pH strips, though.

But why not skip the mash out? It’s one more thing to worry about, it has potential downsides, and I’m not convinced the upsides are real, or if they are, worth it.
 

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My city water pH is between 7.5 and 8.4. I have some pH strips arriving today to be a little more accurate. As I am adding pretty much all Pale malts in the Bells clone mentioned, so I presume the pH will be pretty high (hence ordering the Lactic Acid). I will check that with the software you mentioned.
pH strips generally aren't very useful for wort. If they are good quality they could tell you your water pH, but that doesn't really matter in regards to mash pH; the alkalinity of your water and your grist are the big drivers of that.

You could use them to make sure that your sparge water pH isn't too high.

If you don't know what's in your city water you are flying blind. Treat for chlorine/chloramine with Campden / metabilsufite at least. Could be great, could be awful.

If you start with RO you could use the simple directions in the primer:
 

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It's pretty easy to go down to the store and buy some water that has a known analysis. Either in 5 gallon carboys or just 1 gallon jugs.

Usually you can go the website for that particular brand and pull up a pretty detailed report. Pay attention though, some use different sources in different regions and you need to look on the bottle to see where it came from to get proper analysis report.

The water profiles more closely fit what is important than city water. And no chlorine or chloramines to worry about. At least not the ones I've been getting.
 
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thomer

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I now have a list from my local homebrew shop suggested additives to RO depending on beer style. I will follow their advice as a starter and go from there. They also said definitely do not use Phoenix City Water for brewing.
 
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hotbeer

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Many use RO water. However that pretty much means you have to play chemist every time you brew and stockpile the needed chemicals. Assuming when you say RO you mean virgin RO that hasn't been sullied with any mineral additions after it became RO. o_O

If you enjoy that level of complexity then that is fine. However you can get bottled water that it's analysis is close enough and not have to add anything for many of your beers.

Some of the bottled waters are in fact RO water that has had minerals added back to make their signature taste for their product. Others use evaporated or distilled water and add minerals back. And there are also bottled waters that are bottled straight from the source, be it a natural spring or tap from a municipal supply.
 
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thomer

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I have this from my local brew shop, which I will follow for my first few brews using RO (ignore the multiple tables its actually just one). I have been told it may not make really 'great' beer, but will assure you making 'good' beer and a good starting point to tweak a little. I will of course investigate bottled water once I am more info John Palmers book.
 

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AlexKay

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I'm not so sure that this would be a good idea with all-grain since the majority of key nutrients would be missing or far too low.
It’s certainly not best practice, I agree, but it would do for the first few all grain batches while one gets one’s sea legs. I’ve done it with reasonable results.

The only thing I’d worry about nutrient-wise with low mineral content is calcium for the mash enzymes. Most of the rest of the nutrients in the wort are coming from the malt anyway.

But it looks like the OP has got something better figured out, so yes, scotch the pure-RO idea!
 

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I have this from my local brew shop, which I will follow for my first few brews using RO (ignore the multiple tables its actually just one). I have been told it may not make really 'great' beer, but will assure you making 'good' beer and a good starting point to tweak a little. I will of course investigate bottled water once I am more info John Palmers book.
If this is in your comfort zone, it looks like an excellent way to start. It might be an excellent way to finish, too; I don't know that any but the perfectionists would need to do anything more.
 
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thomer

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My advice would be to work in grams for your salt additions. You're probably going to want an accurate scale anyway, like this one, for example.
Yes indeed. I think all these measurements were likely originally produced in grams and then converted to TSP. So using the exact TSP size detailed would be inaccurate anyway.
 

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An overall efficiency in the 70% to 75% range makes it a lot easier to use most published recipes and packaged kits, but a understanding what impacts your efficiency and being consistent is more important that high or low efficiency.
This is true. My brewhouse efficiency seems to be eternally stuck in the 66-69% range - maybe it’s the crush from my LHBS or something in my process - but the good news is that it’s consistent … so with a couple extra ounces of base malt, I can generally land where I want to.
 

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