Author Topic: Low Efficiency....like really low  (Read 2369 times)

Offline hd3

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Low Efficiency....like really low
« on: October 05, 2013, 01:36:13 PM »
I was brewing up a dark cascadian ale today. Measured my SG and it was much lower than what I was going for. My water amount was spot on. Pre boil and post boil collection was good.

My targeted OG was suppose to be 1.075 and I measured 1.056. Way low!

I calculated that it was roughly 55% efficiency.

I guess I just don't know how I would be so low. I batch sparge. Rather frustrated but I will just roll with it.

Any suggestions? Only thing I can think of is bad crush at the LHBS.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 02:10:46 PM by hd3 »
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Offline denny

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 01:39:08 PM »
Only thing I can think of is bad crush at ten LHBS.

That would be my first guess.
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Offline hd3

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 02:13:25 PM »
Thats what I thought too.  Never heard any fellow club members complain about the crush from the LHBS...but who knows.  might just have to see about getting a mill.  I just can't believe that I was that far off. 
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 02:31:43 PM »
If there's nothing else obvious my first thought is that the reading was bad. Hydrometer/refractometer calibration checked recently? Sample temp was right? Did you try pulling a second sample just to double check?
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Offline hd3

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 03:03:14 PM »
Calibrated the hydrometer....and was spot on.  Left the sample at room temp roughly 60ish.  and it it rose to roughly 1.058...but still rather low.  I wish I could figure it out.  I guess next time just have to really take some good notes. 

Thanks all of the suggestions and feedback. 
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 03:18:55 PM »
All good advice.  Also, did you hit your volumes pretty accurately ?  If your post boil volume was higher than intended, you would end up with a lower gravity.
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Offline hd3

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 03:52:29 PM »
Hit my volumes rather spot on.  no idea what else it could be. 
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Offline duboman

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 04:36:45 PM »
I'd say crush too. Also did you stir the mash? Did you stir like hell for vorleuf? Makes a difference as well as when you sparge.
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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 05:05:13 PM »
FWIW I mash in a pot with a bazooka screen and I batch sparge.After the second running is drained I use a smaller lid from a different pot inside my mash tun to press the grains. I can usually get an additional 1/2 gallon of extra wort per 10# of grain. Boosts the OG 2 or 3 points quick and easy.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 07:39:49 PM »
One more idea - is your mash thermometer calibrated? If you missed your mash temp by enough that could be an explanation.
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Offline hd3

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 08:03:52 PM »
All really great suggestions. Thanks everyone. I will try more stirring, pressing if off on volume and calibrating my thermometer.  I'm brewing in 2 weeks so I will report back. Just need to get a mill or hit up one of my friends.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2013, 08:34:50 PM »
FWIW, when I started AG brewing I worked on all the variables individually to get my process as efficient and consistent as possible ( calibration, volumes, measurements, pH ,etc.) and could not get above ~ 68% efficiency at best. It was frustrating because I knew my process was sound. The only thing left was my crush.  So I had my LHBS double crush my next batch and my efficiency went to right ~ 80% with otherwise the same process.  I've gotten my grain double crushed ever since.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2013, 08:41:03 PM »
FWIW, when I started AG brewing I worked on all the variables individually to get my process as efficient and consistent as possible ( calibration, volumes, measurements, pH ,etc.) and could not get above ~ 68% efficiency at best. It was frustrating because I knew my process was sound. The only thing left was my crush.  So I had my LHBS double crush my next batch and my efficiency went to right ~ 80% with otherwise the same process.  I've gotten my grain double crushed ever since.

+1 - My efficiencies were all over the place when I first went AG until I got my own mill. That was largely because I'd get my grain from all over the place - multiple online shops and a couple of LHBS's. The crush was different everywhere and my efficiencies ranged from the upper 60's to the mid 80's. Once I started milling my own grain my efficiency was rock solid in the low 80's from then on.
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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 12:16:56 AM »
Do you brew a lot of dark beers? What was the mash pH?
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Offline hd3

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Re: Low Efficiency....like really low
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2013, 09:41:15 AM »
Looks like a mill might be the next investment....and probably a smart investment.  I asked about having the LHBS double crush and they were hesitant to do so because they indicated it clogs/gets stuck in their mill, so I didn't push the idea.  I usually run it through their electric/belt driven mill, but they do have manual mills.  I will see if I can adjust that mill and use that.  Just carve some milling time out of my weekly visits. 

I don't make a lot of dark beers and didn't measure the ph.  I need to include that in my process but just haven't made that move yet. 

Thanks again. 
Hermen D.
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