Author Topic: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good  (Read 3707 times)

Offline gogreen437

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Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 10, 2012, 09:01:46 AM »
So, I recently did Jamil Zainasheff's hazelnut chocolate porter, using maris otter as the base malt.  I batch sparged in a 70 qt coleman cooler and collected 6.5 gallons and collected 5 gallons after it was all said and done for the fermenter.  The gravity reading was well above what the recipe stated.  When I calculated the efficiency after, it was almost 82%.  Is that too high?  I've heard that too high of an efficiency can be a bad thing, as you may be extracting things from your mash that are undesirable. 

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 09:06:55 AM »
82 is just dandy. The real trick is whether or not you can repeat it and if you picked up anything "off". Odds are that you're fine. I start looking askance at numbers above 85%
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Offline brewmichigan

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 09:07:41 AM »
The real key is repeating it. 82 would be bad if the next time you made the recipe you got 52.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 09:08:51 AM »
The real key is repeating it.

jinx! you owe me a beer.
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Offline gogreen437

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 09:11:00 AM »
Thanks for the responses!

Offline brewmichigan

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 09:34:23 AM »
The real key is repeating it.

jinx! you owe me a beer.

Fine, come and get it  ;D
Mike --- Flint, Michigan

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 10:41:28 AM »
Your efficiency appears fine.  I'm typically at 78% to 82% for my system.  I find that efficiency falls off when I have a significant percentage of wheat in the grist.  I still don't really understand why.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 04:40:01 PM »
82 is just dandy. The real trick is whether or not you can repeat it and if you picked up anything "off". Odds are that you're fine. I start looking askance at numbers above 85%

+1.  When efficiency approaches 90%, that's when the beer starts getting thin and watery in my experience.  82% is just fine, and in fact is pretty much my goal -- high enough, but not too high.
Dave

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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 03:24:07 PM »
Your efficiency appears fine.  I'm typically at 78% to 82% for my system.  I find that efficiency falls off when I have a significant percentage of wheat in the grist.  I still don't really understand why.


Protein rest with the wheat?  That should help it along. 

I average 80-85%.  Really like this range.

Dave
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Offline denny

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 03:49:18 PM »
Well, this is crazy....I just got a German pils in the fermenter. 12 lb. Best pils, 1 lb. Best Munich, target OG 1.042.  I got 10.5 gal. out of the mash at 1.044.  Promash tells me that's 99% efficiency.  I got 8.5 gal. of 1.051 in the fermenter.  Promash tells me 99% again.  When I do it by hand I get about 87%, much more believable.  I double checked all weights and measurements.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 04:03:39 PM »
Denny, my data shows that for low gravity beers, efficiency approaches 100% if you are crushing enough, which clearly, you are.  I figure that gravity points plus efficiency points are almost constant for any brewer.  Example: My average homebrew has a gravity of about 1.059, and my average efficiency is currently about 84%, plus or minus.  So my constant is 59 + 84 = 143.  Then I can use that to back-calculate what efficiency to expect for a 1.042 beer.  The result is 143 - 42 = 101%!  And in reality, this is damn close to being correct.  In reality I would likely get around 96% or something like that.  So I'm not at all surprised by your 99%, knowing that you and I both routinely get efficiencies in the low 90s if we want to.

Now if your beer turns out thin, watery, and lifeless, this would help prove my other theory that high efficiency is not such a good thing.  I currently purposely would open my grain mill to shoot for an efficiency in the 80s because this requires more grain to be used to hit the same gravity, which results in more flavors from "grainy stuff" in the final beer.  More experiments are needed to confirm.  If this isn't the coolest experiment that's never been run yet, then I don't know what is.
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Offline nyakavt

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2012, 10:32:09 AM »
Well, this is crazy....I just got a German pils in the fermenter. 12 lb. Best pils, 1 lb. Best Munich, target OG 1.042.  I got 10.5 gal. out of the mash at 1.044.  Promash tells me that's 99% efficiency.  I got 8.5 gal. of 1.051 in the fermenter.  Promash tells me 99% again.  When I do it by hand I get about 87%, much more believable.  I double checked all weights and measurements.

Maybe promash doesn't have the right malt analysis values, or is not handling the measured water volume properly?  IIRC Best Munich/Pils have a moisture corrected extract yield of 80% by weight, so at 100% efficiency you would have .8*13lbs=10.4 lbs (4.72 kg) of extract in the kettle.  You measured 1.044 (11 Brix) in 10.5*3.78 = 39.7L.  The mass of the mash is given by SG*Vol = 1.044*39.7 = 41.4 kg.  11% by weight is sugar, so .11*41.4=4.56 kg.  Therefore the efficiency is 4.56/4.72 = 96.5%. 

I don't have my spreadsheet handy, but this seems within the realm of possibilty on a 1.044 beer, maybe just a touch high.  Of course if the volume is off by a quart or if it is corrected to room temp, the effeciency would drop 3-4%.  I'm guessing you were in the low 90's on this batch.

Offline gymrat

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 08:12:43 AM »
Your efficiency appears fine.  I'm typically at 78% to 82% for my system.  I find that efficiency falls off when I have a significant percentage of wheat in the grist.  I still don't really understand why.


My experience is the opposite. Mine goes through the roof when I have wheat in the grist. I have been trying to figure that one out.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 12:55:13 PM »
I got 10.5 gal. out of the mash at 1.044. ... I got 8.5 gal. of 1.051 in the fermenter.

If nothing else, you have a measurement error somewhere. Unless you left 0.6 gal in the kettle. 10.5*44 = 462 point-gal, 8.5*51 = 434 point-gal.

At any rate, it looks like your efficiency is in the low- to mid-90s, which isn't unrealistic with such a small grist.
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Re: Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2012, 02:25:27 PM »
Unless you left 0.6 gal in the kettle.

That's just about right.
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