Quantcast

What is "Normal" efficiency?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

sdbrew1024

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
77
Reaction score
0
I have stabilized at 68% Brewhouse efficiency (according to BeerSmith) for several batches now. My "Efficiency into boiler" has been a constant 84%.

1. Are these "normal" efficiencies? I have read tons of posts on this forum about efficiency and many people talk of efficiencies in the high 70's or 80's.

2. What is causing the large drop in efficiency between the 2 numbers? I am leaving 1-2 quarts of gunk at the bottom of my brew kettle, is this a problem?

I'm not complaining about my efficiency, it's stable so I can plan for it, however I'm wondering why I can't get it to go up anymore no matter what I do!
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,066
Reaction score
3,928
Location
Whitehouse Station
I'd call 75% normal. I'm sure one of us can help you increase your numbers a bit but you'd have to describe your current process in detail so we'd know where to start.
 

ericm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
210
Reaction score
0
I think when many people talk about efficiency they're really talking about mash efficiency (more-or-less efficiency into boiler); not brewhouse efficiency. 84% is pretty good for that.
 

Whisler85

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2008
Messages
191
Reaction score
1
Location
Lake Bluff, Illinois
a lot of all-grain recipes plan for 65 to 75 percent efficiency

also, it depends on the OG you want- a big ass beer with a 24 pound grain bill isnt going to be as efficient as a smaller one
 
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
7,733
Reaction score
74
Location
Nanaimo, BC
75% is probably average. Though a number of us are in the 85% range. Mainly it's the ability to crush finer without a stuck mash that brings you into the mid to high 80's.

Basically we are talking efficiency based on the OG (post boil) we get form the amount of grain we use.
 

SpanishCastleAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
4,339
Reaction score
42
Location
Central Florida
What is causing the large drop in efficiency between the 2 numbers? I am leaving 1-2 quarts of gunk at the bottom of my brew kettle, is this a problem?
To specifically answer this question; yes this will lower your efficiency. But I can't say if it accounts for all the difference. When you measure your volume pre-boil you're measuring the trub as part of that volume. When you measure your volume in the fermenter you don't measure it (or anything else you left behind...such as wort absorbed by hops). Less volume at the same gravity means less efficiency.

Also, make sure to account for volume differences at different temps. 7 gal at 170 F is not 7 gal...it's less. Often this alone is the reason for some of the pre-boil/post-boil difference (because we usually measure the pre-boil wort at lauter temp but measure the fermenter volume at room temp).
 

usurpers26

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
176
Reaction score
12
Location
Connecticut
Dont worry about "normal" - your efficiency into the boiler is great.

Brewhouse efficiency is *vastly overrated* on a homebrew scale.

Shoot for consistency (which it appears you have) so you can desing accurate recipes.

The last thing I ever think (and I hope most everyone) when drinking a beer is "hmm, I wonder how efficient their process was" ;)

I have stabilized at 68% Brewhouse efficiency (according to BeerSmith) for several batches now. My "Efficiency into boiler" has been a constant 84%.

1. Are these "normal" efficiencies? I have read tons of posts on this forum about efficiency and many people talk of efficiencies in the high 70's or 80's.

2. What is causing the large drop in efficiency between the 2 numbers? I am leaving 1-2 quarts of gunk at the bottom of my brew kettle, is this a problem?

I'm not complaining about my efficiency, it's stable so I can plan for it, however I'm wondering why I can't get it to go up anymore no matter what I do!
 

The Pol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
11,390
Reaction score
116
84% is excellent...

Normal Id agree is about 75%...

Mash efficiency plays a role... I increased mine by mashing thinner 1.75-2.0qy/lb, I also use 5.2 buffer from Five Star. There is a good summary of this procedure at http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/03/22/mashing-thick-or-thin/ as well

Lauter efficiency plays a role too... a slow hot fly sparge works well, or the split batch sparge, rinsing the sugars out is very important obviously.

Grain crush plays a large role too... there is an article on this at http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/03/28/best-grind-setting-for-grains/ complete with pics. Many LHBS crushes are pretty coarse... I have seen some that resemble a .060" gap on my BC... that is just criminal! .038" works extremely well. Crush can take you from 65% to 80% alone!
 

SpanishCastleAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
4,339
Reaction score
42
Location
Central Florida
Brewhouse efficiency is *vastly overrated* on a homebrew scale.

Shoot for consistency (which it appears you have) so you can desing accurate recipes.
I almost hate to open Pandora's box but how can you devise accurate recipes unless you know your brewhouse efficiency...or some way to relate conversion efficiency to brewhouse efficiency (which means you're really using brewhouse efficiency anyway...otherwise there would be no need to be able to relate the two)?
 

usurpers26

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2009
Messages
176
Reaction score
12
Location
Connecticut
No no no, all I mean is try to shoot for consistency in your numbers. Whether it's 60%, 70% or 80% - accurate recipes derive themselves from consistent numbers not just high numbers.

My "vastly overrated" statment is nothing more than my humble opinion that well, too many folks worry more about BHE than how their beer tastes.

Obviously BHE plays a role in the process, I never meant it should be ignored.
:mug:

I almost hate to open Pandora's box but how can you devise accurate recipes unless you know your brewhouse efficiency...or some way to relate conversion efficiency to brewhouse efficiency (which means you're really using brewhouse efficiency anyway...otherwise there would be no need to be able to relate the two)?
 

big supper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
424
Reaction score
2
Location
Montreal
I am almost always around 70%. Presently, I am not looking at improving efficiency. Maybe one day, but right now I am happy being consistent.
 

The Pol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
11,390
Reaction score
116
Mine used to be all over the place, each store milled its grains differently... Id go from 65% to 75% depending on the crush. NOW I mill my own, so I know what I am getting.
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
12,265
Reaction score
730
I gotta agree with the consistency thing. I've been a bit hit and miss on mine. I'm brewing right now on a new setup HERMS ghetto, and fly sparging for the first time. I'm trying to get that consisteny by taking more of my own half-assedness out of the equation. ;) I Just hit 85% into the boiler, which is great for me.......But I'll be doing another batch straight after. If I don't hit the same efficiency, then the improvement with the first batch will be pretty meaningless to me.
 

SpanishCastleAle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
4,339
Reaction score
42
Location
Central Florida
No no no, all I mean is try to shoot for consistency in your numbers. Whether it's 60%, 70% or 80% - accurate recipes derive themselves from consistent numbers not just high numbers.

My "vastly overrated" statment is nothing more than my humble opinion that well, too many folks worry more about BHE than how their beer tastes.

Obviously BHE plays a role in the process, I never meant it should be ignored.
I agree...consistency (and 'predictability') are the important thing. I too only worry about BHE wrt to the consistency and the taste. Going too high on BHE can hurt beer quality imo. But that ceiling for 'good' efficiency is different depending on equipment/process/etc. so we all have to just 'dial it in'.:)
 
Top