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bendavanza

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I brewed a AHB franziskaner clone today, here is the grain bill.
% Weight Weight (lbs) Grain Gravity Points Color
48.0 % 4.50 German Pilsener 12.0 1.4
48.0 % 4.50 German Wheat 12.3 1.6
1.3 % 0.13 German Acid Malt 0.3 0.1
2.7 % 0.25 Belgian Aromatic 0.5 1.3
9.38 25.1
This is probably my 10th AG batch and I've had anywhere between 55% on a really big beer and close to 70% on a normal batch.
Today I got 35%. The OG is 1.025.
I used 1/2lb rice hulls. I have a looped braid in a 10g round cooler. The mash was right at 151˚ for an hour. Iodine test looked good. I follow the Bobby M "NMODBS" (no mash out double batch sparge) method, using two 2.5g sparges at 190˚ my second sparge the grain temp was up to 176˚
The only variance I really did today was not starting the boil kettle as soon as I had some wort in it, which would increase my boil time to 1.5 hours rather than 1. So I had about a half gallon more brew in the carboy then usual, I'm normally shy of 5g, this time I'm maybe 5.2g. I know that affects my overall efficiency, but I was not expecting 35%.
I usually mash about 154˚, but I was following the recipe.
This is really disappointing as I don't want to drink 2% beer.
The only other fermentables I have here are 1lb pilsner DME and 3/4 cup dextrose. Should I boil this up in a minimum amount of water and add it to the carboy? I have already pitched the yeast, unfortunately.
This is a sad day for brewing. Did I mention it's raining like crazy here?
Could it be they short changed me (unintentionally) at AHB? I did not weigh the bag of grains.
-Ben
 

jacksonbrown

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Yikes. First thought would be to test your hydrometer, make sure it's calibrated properly and doesn't have a hole in it. It's possible they shorted you some, but not to the point where you wouldn't say, hey, this isn't 4.5 lb! My next thought would be that perhaps th grains weren't milled (I don't know if you order them pre-crushed or not). The small differences in numbers (5.2 gal, one hour boil) wouldn't bring your OG down that low in and of themselves. A lot more needs to be at play for a 1.025.
What I might consider doing is using this as an over sized starter (vol wise, not OG). Wait for it to ferment out and then re-brew.
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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The hydrometer was just used to measure some other FG's and they all seemed about right. The grain was milled at the store, and it looked right as well.
I would prefer to try and salvage this brew rather than make it a big expensive starter....
 

tonyf

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I guess it's possible that you had some dry dough balls in teh mash - but that doesn't seem too likely (they'd have to be pretty big)... beats me, wish I could help.

you could add some sugar, a little bit never hurt anyone. Otherwise I say brew a (very) small beer and enjoy it by the gallon.
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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Maybe I need a new hydrometer. My efficiency has always seemed to suck. Maybe the paper in the tube is slipping? I just read .990 in tap water at 76˚.
Time to at least try a new one for comparison.
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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ok so if my hydro reading is 10 points off (low), and I added 1lb DME plus 3/4 cup dextrose and 3/4 cup cane sugar, I should be up to around 1.045 for an estimated OG, right?
It is fermenting like crazy right now. I'll get a new hydrometer but It's a little too late to get an OG reading with the yeast working already.
 

pompeiisneaks

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bdavanza, yes I think in theory if your hydrometer is X pointys low, you can just add that to the OG you read... i.e. .990 at 74 woudl be even lower at 60 which is the usual calibration temps say .987 or something, subtract taht from .999 and see what you get, and add that to the OG and you should be in the ballpark. Also your OG, was that at 60 Deg? because 1.025 at 180 is WAY different. What temps did you take that reading at. FOr any temps not at 60F, you need to adjust the SG reading.
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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Pompeiisneaks,
The OG I read was 1.024 @ 72˚F, which adjusts to 1.025.
The .099 at 74 would make .992 so I guess that makes it .007 low.
right?
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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It was Austin Home Brew's crush. I plan on getting a barley crusher soon. I also want to find a way to keep my braid loop attached to the bottom of the cooler, or I will end up getting a false bottom.
 

Picobrew

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I have a braid loop too, and have problems with it coming up, but luckily I have been getting some decent efficiency (70-89). My Barley Crusher is in the mail, actually, because I am tired of the inconsistency with my corona mill. Let me know if you come up with something to stick the braid down....
 

HoppyHoppyJoyJoy

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I also want to find a way to keep my braid loop attached to the bottom of the cooler, or I will end up getting a false bottom.
I cut a notch in the aluminum thingy that came with my turkey fryer. It was more to keep my braids from collapsing than anything else, but it would solve your floating problem too:





 

HoppyHoppyJoyJoy

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This looks AWESOME. Where can I get an "aluminum thingy that came with my turkey fryer"?? I don't have a turkey fryer.
Make friends with someone who has a turkey fryer, and steal it when he's not looking?

You could also build something similar from sheet goods, but that would kinda take the adventure out of it.

To be honest, I still had one instance of collapse with this rig, after some rigorous stirring, so I later installed some SS springs inside the braids. The extra weight of the springs alone might be enough to prevent float, I'm not sure.
 

pompeiisneaks

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Pompeiisneaks,
The OG I read was 1.024 @ 72˚F, which adjusts to 1.025.
The .099 at 74 would make .992 so I guess that makes it .007 low.
right?
Yes that would mean that if you have 1.025, the real reading should be 1.032, or close anyway, I think that should help the efficiency a bit. Not sure how much though, its still a bit low for most beers. I'd agree w/ a lot of the people saying that the crush may be a problem. If not, then maybe the hydrometer reading is off badly. I.e. a test w/ Hydrometer at say 100degF might point to it being really off. that test should show up w. 1.006 on a correctly calibrated hydrometer, and subtract the .007 you're seeing off, that would mean you "should" read .999 at 100 F . Or if you can just take a temps and reading somewhere higher, and give me both I could tell you if it seems linear or not.

Edit: that test w/ temps was on water, sorry if I wasn't clear...
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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My braid loop has springs, and it floats when I am stirring well. I have also damaged the braid before. I think a FB will be the answer for me as I'm just tired of screwing with the braid. A barley crusher is on the wish list as well.
 

wilserbrewer

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Hoppyhoppyjoyjoy,

I love this photo!! Six hose clamps, brass fittings, and now the turkey lifter false bottom? Looks like a bucket of snakes. Are those "stainless" braids?? The way they are collapsed and laying in the tun they look as if they could be the polymer look-a-likes. 6 - 8 inches of a stainless braid should be all you need!! I have sparged finely crushed grains w/ wheat and other adjuncts and at worst I have had a slow sparge.

 

HughBrooks

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I have had similar problems and they were solved with a new thermometer. I mashed at what I thought was 152.... later found out my thermometer was off by more than 30 degrees! I only mashed at about 120-122... it was a belgian wit and fairly exspensive batch so I was very disapointed. Try calibrating your thermometer and see if that was a problem. hop it helps!
 

HoppyHoppyJoyJoy

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Hoppyhoppyjoyjoy,

I love this photo!! Six hose clamps, brass fittings, and now the turkey lifter false bottom? Looks like a bucket of snakes. Are those "stainless" braids?? The way they are collapsed and laying in the tun they look as if they could be the polymer look-a-likes. 6 - 8 inches of a stainless braid should be all you need!! I have sparged finely crushed grains w/ wheat and other adjuncts and at worst I have had a slow sparge.

1. Yay! You can count!

2. OMG! Brass fittings! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!

3. Yes, I'm so ashamed. I should have spent extra money on a REAL false bottom, instead of using something I already had. I don't know what I was thinking.

4. Yes, those are to honest to God SS braids. I wanted polymer, but they were all out.

5. I've never had a slow sparge, wanna borrow my mash tun?
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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Ok I'm going to go with the wheat crush for blame on this one. Last time I did a wheat we ran the grains through twice, this time the store did the crush. Also I may try the turkey pot thingy if I don't get a FB before the next batch.My thermo has been checked against a handful of other thermometers, both digital and dial, and is within a degree or two in the mash temp range, it also reads the same air temp as my household thermostats. Its a truetemp instant read stick. Thanks for all the help and suggestions.
 

HoppyHoppyJoyJoy

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I just don't get it...what am I missing?
Soap?

Sorry, but that's one nasty looking piece of kit. I know Thai hookers that wouldn't drink out of that, and they aren't all that picky.

Ok, here's the reasoning behind my "bucket of snakes", as it was so kindly described. Channeling. Wort wants to find the path of least resitance right? The more surface area I have, the less chance I have of channels forming, or at least, the less chance I have of just one channel forming. Does it work? Yes, I'm hitting mid 80's.

Is it over kill? Yes.

Do I care? No.

For the record, before I mash, I arrange the braids into a quasi peace sign to ensure karmic balance. As a Eugenian, you should appreciate this, (unless you live in Springfield, and just pretend to be from Eugene).
 

wilserbrewer

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Wort wants to find the path of least resitance right?
Absolutely! The path of least resistance is within the first several inches of the braid. In my experience, anything much over six inches is just additional hardware that could cause the braid to flop over and kink.

Guys batch sparge w/ 120 quart coolers w/ a braid the size of a small cigar.

Often times guys report problems w/ a braid set-up and the failure is attributed to them over-engineering the set-up.


If your tun is working well...great...for me i like to keep it simple...I am the stupid one...KISS

Oh, I'm from Jersey, another thing i don't understand, trying to balance the mash tun on something sounds kind of dangerous to me. Be careful, don't want to spill all that hot grist.:mug:
 

HoppyHoppyJoyJoy

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Guys batch sparge w/ 120 quart coolers w/ a braid the size of a small cigar.
I saw an episode of MacGyver once, where he used a digital watch and some hairspray to download porn from a parking meter. All I could think was, "Wow, I wouldn't try that".

The way I see it, if the first six inches get clogged up, I've got 12 more in reserve.

That's the cool thing about homebrewing, there are literally hundreds of ways to achieve the same results. :mug:

You should see the mouse trap I built...
 

wilserbrewer

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The way I see it, if the first six inches get clogged up, I've got 12 more in reserve.

Yea Hoppy, I hear ya, If it works well, stick w/ it.:)

W/ regards to others that have problems w/ a braid, my guess is that they start out w/ a longer braid, and then stir the mash as if expecting some sort of climax, and kink the braid all to hell, perhaps right at the outflow, thereby rendering the full length useless. Next thing you know, they are reconfiguring everything like a NASA research scientist.

Sometimes less is more, more or less??:mug:

Oh, and in the future, might be best not to mention you know Thai hookers, having a filthy mash tun is one thing, but the friends a person chooses actually reveals a lot about a person.:mug::mug:
 
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bendavanza

bendavanza

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wow Thai hookers.... where has this thread gone?
uhh here's my braid, it's fairly simple but I don't get much more then 65% out of it, yet. There is s spring inside to keep it from collapsing. I made a new mash paddle out of copper fittings, I hope it will help with the stirring.

 

HoppyHoppyJoyJoy

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wow Thai hookers.... where has this thread gone?
Sorry, it's just something I use as a reference point (it's like the metric system, with nicer shoes).

That braid looks fine to me, I wouldn't think it would cause you problems, hopefully your new stir stick will sort things out.
 

Denny

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Soap?

Sorry, but that's one nasty looking piece of kit. I know Thai hookers that wouldn't drink out of that, and they aren't all that picky.

Ok, here's the reasoning behind my "bucket of snakes", as it was so kindly described. Channeling. Wort wants to find the path of least resitance right? The more surface area I have, the less chance I have of channels forming, or at least, the less chance I have of just one channel forming. Does it work? Yes, I'm hitting mid 80's.

Is it over kill? Yes.

Do I care? No.

For the record, before I mash, I arrange the braids into a quasi peace sign to ensure karmic balance. As a Eugenian, you should appreciate this, (unless you live in Springfield, and just pretend to be from Eugene).
Hey, I wash it out every 5 years whether it needs it or not!

I assume from your setup that you batch sparge. If that's the case, channeling is not an issue.

I live in neither Eugene nor Springfield.....I'm out in the coast range.
 

pompeiisneaks

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The method you use w/ braid either works or doesn't period, and doesn't effect efficiency. Either the wort can exit the tun, or it can't... stuck sparge, or no. That's about it. The efficiency losses you've already discussed should cover it. Things like missing temps, not getting good crush, etc are the most common problems that can help. I've finally dialed in my crush and get 80-84 in the last few... so its' just a matter of dialing in everything. Take notes, of anything you t hink went wrong, and fix it next time. I was having a hell of a time w/ my temps too, so I went to a herms, since I'm lazy and have money, I let a computer make sure I don't miss the temps now :)
 
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