Homebrewers Association  AHA Forum
General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: briand on January 17, 2011, 11:02:32 PM

What is the best way to check brew efficiency? Is there a calculation system that makes it simple. Thanks.

Welcome Brian!
You'll get plenty of responses regarding efficiency...so get out your best reading eyes!
Efficiency can be measured at different points in the brewing process, and can get very detailed, so it may help those who will post with answers if you tell us what you're looking to use the information for.
Many folks are happy to determine what starting gravity and volume of wort they got from a given amount of grain...so that they might use that information to craft future recipes. Is that your aim or do you have something else in mind?
John W.

Hi kerneldustjacket,
Thanks very much for you reply. I was thinking of brew house efficiency. Such as 70% of brew house efficiency. I recently purchased Beersmith software and part of determining the grain bill for a recipe is adding in expected brew house efficiency %. I think I've read someplace that there is a calculation to determine this figure from previous brews. Also, (probably more pride than anything else) this calculation let's a brewer know how efficient they were at extracting fermentable sugars from their grain bill. I'm just looking for the lazy brewers way of reaching this calculation. Seems there are calculators to calculate almost anything these days!

Every malt will have a maximum yield noted on the Malt Analysis Sheet as % Extract, Fine Grind,
As is. The Brewhouse Efficiency is the percent of the maximum yield that you actually extract.
So if the maximum yield of a particular grain is 37 pointspergallon and you generate 8 gallons
of preboil wort from 8 pounds of grain your gravity reading at 100% efficiency would be 1.037. So if your actual gravity
reading was 1.028 your brewhouse efficiency is 75%.
28/37 = 0.75 or 75%.
Palmer chapter 18 goes into this in great detail and it's what I referenced to help write this
response. It's a good read.

Possible points: 36 x pounds grain
Actual points: sg x final volume
Actual / possible = efficiency
36 ppppg is an average of base malts and specialty grains, its not exact but close enough.

What is the best way to check brew efficiency? Is there a calculation system that makes it simple. Thanks.
(http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a87/Vertical1/ranting2.gif) beancounters.....make Beer Not numbers

What is the best way to check brew efficiency? Is there a calculation system that makes it simple. Thanks.
http://tastybrew.com/calculators/gravity.html (http://tastybrew.com/calculators/gravity.html)
(http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a87/Vertical1/ranting2.gif) beancounters.....make Beer Not numbers
I agree LOL but if it helps someone understand it better then why not. I got bored with it. 8)

Hi kerneldustjacket,
Thanks very much for you reply. I was thinking of brew house efficiency. Such as 70% of brew house efficiency. I recently purchased Beersmith software and part of determining the grain bill for a recipe is adding in expected brew house efficiency %. I think I've read someplace that there is a calculation to determine this figure from previous brews. Also, (probably more pride than anything else) this calculation let's a brewer know how efficient they were at extracting fermentable sugars from their grain bill. I'm just looking for the lazy brewers way of reaching this calculation. Seems there are calculators to calculate almost anything these days!
I don't have Beersmith so I don't know exactly how they define certain terms.
But from what I understand there are several types of efficiency measured in brewing.
conversion efficiency: where you measure the gravity of the wort after conversion, but before sparging
mash efficiency: using the volume and gravity after the mash and sparge
brew house efficiency: which takes into account all the volume losses till the beer is actually packaged.
Mash efficiency is the one that I think most homebrewers are concerned about because it directly affects recipe formulation.
I suppose brewhouse efficieny is also important but I think most homebrewers just brew a slightly larger batch so they can be sure to get the finished amount of beer into the keg/bottles. I never actually tried to get a number for this.

Yep, mashhouse is what happens from the mash to the kettle, brewhouse includes all your losses due to transfer. Most people talk mashhouse since it is more or less universal and generally repeatable.
Brewhouse could change on any given brewing day. Say one day you make a brew using very little leaf hops so not much liquid is absorbed, vs a heavily hopped brew where more liquid just cannot be obtained.