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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: hiphophead on May 23, 2011, 10:22:27 PM

Title: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: hiphophead on May 23, 2011, 10:22:27 PM
If im getting full conversion of my grains according to iodine test then how come my software is off when i say 85% efficany.  its always higher then what i end up with.  im resurculating through out the whole mash at 152F with a digital controler and heating element setup.  then raise up to mash out to 168F. run off everything. sparge. resirc for another 10 min or so and run off again.  i could ttry another sparge method but i was curious why i wasnt getting the efficancy. thanks everyone.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: bonjour on May 23, 2011, 11:24:04 PM
100% of the extracted sugars are converted.  Perform an iodine test on the grain, it will fail.

Brewhouse efficiency is something different from the starch conversion in your wort..  This that impact efficiency include crush, mash time, sparge time, speed of sparge, time for sparge, mash type, collected volume to name a few.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 01:51:15 AM
Try increasing your mash time and be sure your crush is done well. These are the 2 things that I really worked on and eventually my efficiency was in the lower 90's, for some beers.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: thomasbarnes on May 24, 2011, 07:53:25 AM
Try increasing your mash time and be sure your crush is done well. These are the 2 things that I really worked on and eventually my efficiency was in the lower 90's, for some beers.

Wow! That's better than most commercial breweries get.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: dmtaylor on May 24, 2011, 11:16:51 AM
It's mostly about the crush, but there's a tradeoff between grinding into flour versus being able to run it off.  Every system is a little different, but why not push the limit and see what your system can do.

Boil time and batch size also make a difference.  It's easier to get higher efficiency with smaller batches because percentagewise, you can collect more runnings out of a smaller amount of grain, so you're basically "wasting" less of the malt sugars.  The more wort you collect (and boil off) out of the lesser amount of grain, the higher your efficiency will be.  I see this on my 3-gallon batches when I can easily hit 90% efficiency on my system.  Basically, when I'm done sparging, there's not a whole lot of sugar left in the grains anymore because I still need to sparge to get enough wort in the kettle for ~4.5 gallons, then boil off a whopping ~25% of that over the course of an hour.  If I do a longer boil, efficiency goes up even more because I need to sparge even more to get my preboil volume.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: oscarvan on May 24, 2011, 12:28:29 PM
Uh oh..... here we go again....(http://freesmileyface.net/smiley/food/eating-popcorn-04.gif)
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: weithman5 on May 24, 2011, 12:43:14 PM
there are a lot of places you can lose sugar and it is really brewery dependant.  I measure my overall efficiency by the theoretical output i should get from the grain and how much sugar i have left when i transer it to the fermenter.  then i focus on where it gets lost.  most notably the mash process and dead space in the tun, kettle.

Fred.   good to have another ex-submariner on the board.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: bonjour on May 24, 2011, 01:52:36 PM
Fred.   good to have another ex-submariner on the board.
40 for Freedom
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: bluesman on May 24, 2011, 02:13:32 PM
Brewhouse efficiency is something different from the starch conversion in your wort..  This that impact efficiency include crush, mash time, sparge time, speed of sparge, time for sparge, mash type, collected volume to name a few.

Good point Fred.

The conversion of the mash is the percentage of available starches that was converted to sugar. Typically 80% of the starches have potential to convert under ideal circumstances.

brewhouse efficiency %  = 100% * lautered extract weight (lb) / potential extract in grist (lb)

Here's a great presentation of mash efficiency by Kai Troester.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4797/A_Closer_Look_at_Efficiency-Kai_Troester.pdf
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 02:38:28 PM
I only worry about what goes into the kettle and establish my efficiency based on the volume and gravity before I  boil. Any other losses are somewhat out of my control.

When I said I get "some" beers in the lower 90's I meant 91-92% and only with lighter beers. With heavier beers I drop into the mid to upper 80's.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: Slowbrew on May 24, 2011, 03:55:09 PM
This is anecdotal but I get a little bump in efficiency if I stir the mash half way through.  It's not huge but it does seem to make a difference on my system.

Paul
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 04:19:10 PM
This is anecdotal but I get a little bump in efficiency if I stir the mash half way through.  It's not huge but it does seem to make a difference on my system.

Paul

I believe that. Has to be a reason why the big breweries stir throughout the mash.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: denny on May 24, 2011, 06:46:40 PM
I believe that. Has to be a reason why the big breweries stir throughout the mash.

Because they're not homebrewers and their systems are different?  I haven't found any benefits to stirring half way through.  That's not to say that it doesn't work for others.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 06:53:57 PM
I believe that. Has to be a reason why the big breweries stir throughout the mash.

Because they're not homebrewers and their systems are different?  I haven't found any benefits to stirring half way through.  That's not to say that it doesn't work for others.

While their systems are obviously different from ours, stirring is stirring and you don't include extensive mechanics in a system unless there is a pay back of some kind. I've thought many times about including a stirrer in my system, but I just can't figure out how to do it neatly and inexpensively.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: euge on May 24, 2011, 06:55:34 PM
There's a number of variables that affect "efficiency" negatively and one of them is mash thickness or depth and the water to grist ratio. That is primary factor in my brewery. Others are the crush and how long the mash is conducted. Have a coarse grist? Mash for longer. Sparge with some extra water and boil it off. Then there's pH to consider...

People report very high numbers but I don't think everyone should shoot for this as the expected "standard". My understanding is the 75% is quite acceptable and trying for more than this can be a distraction amongst all the other variables that make up a brewday and a batch of beer.

I've adopted the "damn the efficiency" line of thinking and subscribe to Kirin Ichiban's "ruthless inefficiency" philosophy. Now that may be in the 80 percentile for all I know. Regardless, I'm not going to fret over a couple of dollars worth of grain as long as I hit my expected extraction and each brewday is consistent. These days I calculate for 65% brewhouse efficiency for my typical no-sparge batch.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: Slowbrew on May 24, 2011, 09:25:21 PM
I believe that. Has to be a reason why the big breweries stir throughout the mash.

Because they're not homebrewers and their systems are different?  I haven't found any benefits to stirring half way through.  That's not to say that it doesn't work for others.

I haven't done any formal testing so I'm definitely not saying its a wonder cure.  I've just seen my OG end a little higher when I do than when I don't stir.  A coupe .001s here or there so not a whole lot of difference.  I happened to have done the same 2 beers on two different brew days with the only difference being stirring.  Same bags of grain and .002 to .003 higher OG.  One of those things that made me go "Hmmmm?".

Paul
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: denny on May 24, 2011, 09:46:15 PM
While their systems are obviously different from ours, stirring is stirring and you don't include extensive mechanics in a system unless there is a pay back of some kind. I've thought many times about including a stirrer in my system, but I just can't figure out how to do it neatly and inexpensively.

Obviously there are benefits for them, and for others.  But I've tried stirring the mash half way through a number of times and all it does for me is lose heat from the mash.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: a10t2 on May 24, 2011, 10:28:47 PM
I just can't believe that m is leading in the poll.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: stlaleman on May 24, 2011, 10:37:20 PM
I just can't believe that m is leading in the poll.
Can't believe it either, then again I have no idea what the letters mean!
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: tschmidlin on May 24, 2011, 11:05:52 PM
I'm voting n, because I assume it means no pants.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: bluesman on May 25, 2011, 01:37:32 AM
Maybe the OP can enlighten us as to the meaning of the letters in the poll.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: oscarvan on May 25, 2011, 02:36:57 AM
SInce there was no "Q" I didn't vote.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: timberati on May 25, 2011, 03:21:57 AM
I voted N because that's one of my initials.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: bonjour on May 25, 2011, 03:42:08 AM
on topic guys
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: hubie on May 26, 2011, 11:02:33 PM
While their systems are obviously different from ours, stirring is stirring and you don't include extensive mechanics in a system unless there is a pay back of some kind. I've thought many times about including a stirrer in my system, but I just can't figure out how to do it neatly and inexpensively.

Obviously there are benefits for them, and for others.  But I've tried stirring the mash half way through a number of times and all it does for me is lose heat from the mash.

I thought the mash was stirred in a direct fired tun for temperature uniformity and to keep the grains from scorching on the bottom.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: denny on May 26, 2011, 11:04:24 PM
I thought the mash was stirred in a direct fired tun for temperature uniformity and to keep the grains from scorching on the bottom.

In that situation, you're correct.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: ccarlson on May 26, 2011, 11:25:07 PM
I thought the mash was stirred in a direct fired tun for temperature uniformity and to keep the grains from scorching on the bottom.

In that situation, you're correct.

That could very well be the main reason, but they also get consistent efficiencies well into the 90's.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: tubercle on May 27, 2011, 01:56:13 AM
Uh oh..... here we go again....(http://freesmileyface.net/smiley/food/eating-popcorn-04.gif)



 You trying to start something? >:(

 Measure your efficency before the boil. It has nothing to do with after the boil.
If it did I could put a drop in a 55 gallon of water and get 0.00000001 effeicancy or boil it down to a soild and get 99.9999%.

What you extract out of the grain, AKA Grain Effiency, has nothing to do with the boil.

Its all about converting the goody.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: ccarlson on May 27, 2011, 03:41:13 AM
Quote
If it did I could put a drop in a 55 gallon of water and get 0.00000001 effeicancy or boil it down to a soild and get 99.9999%.

Well said. +1
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: tschmidlin on May 27, 2011, 04:34:26 AM
Measure your efficency before the boil. It has nothing to do with after the boil.
I know what you're trying to say tubercle, but this is misleading.  You can measure your efficiency in the kettle before or after the boil, it doesn't matter.  The efficiency will not change.  You can measure it in the fermenter and it will be lower than in the kettle because of losses, but that's just a different kind of efficiency.

Efficiency is just the sugar content of the volume.  If you collect more and boil it down you will have a higher gravity, thus a higher efficiency.  But the boil didn't (and can't) change the efficiency.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: dmtaylor on May 27, 2011, 11:42:32 AM
Measure your efficency before the boil. It has nothing to do with after the boil.
I know what you're trying to say tubercle, but this is misleading.  You can measure your efficiency in the kettle before or after the boil, it doesn't matter.  The efficiency will not change.  You can measure it in the fermenter and it will be lower than in the kettle because of losses, but that's just a different kind of efficiency.

Efficiency is just the sugar content of the volume.  If you collect more and boil it down you will have a higher gravity, thus a higher efficiency.  But the boil didn't (and can't) change the efficiency.

+1.  It's a matter of science.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: weithman5 on May 27, 2011, 01:04:45 PM
i just voted n to put it in the lead.  they were all tied, couldn't have that ;D

i tend to measure efficiency using what goes in to the fermenter as my final volume.  that way i have an overall measure of cost in my grain to finished product.  not that i actually have ever figured what it costs me to brew, just seems like what i should eval as process control.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: bluesman on May 27, 2011, 01:44:38 PM
Measure your efficency before the boil. It has nothing to do with after the boil.
I know what you're trying to say tubercle, but this is misleading.  You can measure your efficiency in the kettle before or after the boil, it doesn't matter.  The efficiency will not change.  You can measure it in the fermenter and it will be lower than in the kettle because of losses, but that's just a different kind of efficiency.

Efficiency is just the sugar content of the volume.  If you collect more and boil it down you will have a higher gravity, thus a higher efficiency.  But the boil didn't (and can't) change the efficiency.

Agreed.

Sugar doesn't evaporate in the kettle during the boil. The amount of sugar in solution lautered into the boil kettle will be the same amount in the kettle at the end of the boil thus not altering the brewhouse efficiency, eventhough the gravity steadily increases during the boil.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: euge on May 27, 2011, 11:32:12 PM
I always measure after it's reached pitching temps and is in the fermenters. I have a better idea of the actual volume. Seems accurate enough to me. I do it this way because measuring wort before the boil can be problematic due to the temps and wort expansion. I've had more errors pre boil as opposed to post.
Title: Re: All Grain Efficancy
Post by: Hokerer on May 27, 2011, 11:41:19 PM
I always measure after it's reached pitching temps and is in the fermenters. I have a better idea of the actual volume. Seems accurate enough to me. I do it this way because measuring wort before the boil can be problematic due to the temps and wort expansion. I've had more errors pre boil as opposed to post.

Same here.  I do all my volume measurements at room temp.  Just feels more like comparing apples to apples.