Yet another AG convert

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pokey

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hey all - I joined the masses today with my first AG batch. Just got an American Ale "kit" from morebeer since I don't have a grain mill yet or a decent LHBS that actually stocks grain (sad but true).

So the overall mash process went MUCH smoother than I ever expected it too. Not only the first time AG, but also the first batch with my new keggle -- I think that I am seriously considering investing in a HopStopper for it though - way more hot break than I ever had with extract (which whirlpooling did nothing for), and also sucked getting the last 2 gallons out of the keg.

Can anyone do a quick calculation of efficiency for me - 9 lbs of 2 row and 1 lb. of Caramel malt, and it yielded about 4.5 gals with gravity of 1.054. Just curious too how folks calculate this - do you need brewing software to do it?

Definitely have some tweaking to do next time on volumes and temps, but am very happy that I have gone down this path. :ban:
 

Dude

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Sounds great!

Now that you are AG'ing, Investing in some software is a great idea. It will help you learn and be able to plan more than you can imagine.

Congrats!
 

MrSaLTy

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I totally agree about using some sorta software..... I use promash and I studied and played with the number a ton before I even did my first AG brew. It really helped me nail down the volumes of water I needed in each step to get the proper amount to the fermentor. It helps with the temps you need too even though I was a bit off I should be better next time. Plus it gives me some time to fool around with brewing stuff when I'm not actually brewing. :D
 
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pokey

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RichBrewer said:
ProMash shows about 64% but I bet you did better than that. Did you measure how much wort that did not make it into the fermenter?
About a half gallon at most, but I didn't really measure. Also - hops (pellets in bags) must have had some remaining in them.
 

Ivan Lendl

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pokey said:
Can anyone do a quick calculation of efficiency for me - 9 lbs of 2 row and 1 lb. of Caramel malt, and it yielded about 4.5 gals with gravity of 1.054.
9x35+1x24/4.5=75 (1.075 would be 100 percent)

you got 1.054 so just divide the actual (54) by the theoretical (75) and you get .72 or 72 percent


72 percent is right about where you want to be, some people get as high as 85, or as low as 60, but 70-75 is probably average.
 
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pokey

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Bjorn Borg said:
9x35+1x24/4.5=75 (1.075 would be 100 percent)
Bjorn, where did you get the 35, 24, and 4.5 from? And are there different constants for other ingredients?

Any idea why this is different than the result above from ProMash (I definitely like your number better!!)
 

Lil' Sparky

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pokey said:
Bjorn, where did you get the 35, 24, and 4.5 from? And are there different constants for other ingredients?

Any idea why this is different than the result above from ProMash (I definitely like your number better!!)
Here's a short list from John Palmer's website: http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12-4-1.html

I recommend reading the whole section. He does a pretty good job of explaining things. Actually, the whole website is pretty good reading!

As Bjorn said, you hit right in the middle of where you want to be. You should feel good about that for your first try.

Cheers!
 

Lil' Sparky

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Actually, looking at the website I just posted, the max ppg for 2-row is 37 and crystal is 34.

So you take 9 pounds of two row x 37 = 333
plus 1 pound of crystal x 34 = 34
Total max ppg = 367
Divide this number by your volume = 367/4.5 = 81.5 (this would be your gravity if you had 100% efficiency)

So, to determine your efficiency, divide your OG by the max = 54/81.5 = 66%

That's closer to what promash gave. I'm assuming it's because it has closer numbers for the max ppg for the grains.

Sorry for the confusion, but I hope that helps.

Cheers!
 

Baron von BeeGee

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Congratulations and welcome to the fold.

Regarding efficiency, I recommend one of two paths:
a) learn the calculations and do them by hand or in a spreadsheet. It's actually good to learn the calculations even if you go with b):
b) Use some SW like Promash, Beersmith, or Beer Reciprocator to calculate your efficiency.

The most important thing is to choose a method and go with it because different methods will give slightly varying results. What you want is to know your efficiency with respect to your past and future batches, not with respect to other peoples' batches (to an extent...). When you have a consistent method of measuring your efficiency you can begin to tweak your process for improvements, as well as have an idea of how to modify recipes to achieve the OG you're expecting.

I'll also add that I believe the best time to measure efficiency is in the kettle pre-boil. Most people can take an accurate volume reading in their kettle, and the only loss you have to deal with is the deadspace in the MLT (on most systems, anyways). Now this only gives you your lautering efficiency (not overall system efficiency, i.e., from grains to bottle/keg), but that's what most of us are discussing in homebrew circles.
 

Baron von BeeGee

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Lil' Sparky said:
So what's a good target for lautering efficiency? I assume it's lower than after you boil.
There's no difference in lautering efficiency assuming you take into account things like evaporation (by taking another volume reading) and hop absorption. That's why I find it easier beforehand to take a reading. Look at it this way...the sugars (and other stuff) that are in the kettle before you start boiling are still there afterwards, and that's what you're really trying to measure: how well you got them out of the MLT.

I think a good target for efficiency when one is just starting out is ~65%. Anything above that is gravy. With experience and procedural improvements most people achieve at least a 75% rate, if not 80%, for barley based grists. Wheat grists sometimes result in a 5-10% drop, but not for everyone.
 
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