Author Topic: Worst Efficiency Yet  (Read 800 times)

Offline Herminator

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 218
    • View Profile
Worst Efficiency Yet
« on: February 17, 2014, 09:56:48 AM »
So yesterday was an all time low for me.  I hit roughly 52% efficiency. I have been really tweaking my system and averaging 75% with exception to yesterday. 

I batch sparge with a screen.  I milled my grain by hand utilizing a barley crusher at my LHBS because that seemed to make a difference in previous batches.  I hit my strike and volumes right on the money. 

I just can't seem to understand why my eff. is so low on this one.  I probably would have been better off no-sparge on this batch....because from what I understand they even get better efficiency than I did yesterday. 

Any suggestions?  Obviously I know it is difficult to offer suggestions without knowing my process and equipment, but I really am having trouble wrapping my head around this low OG. 

Thanks. 
Hermen D.
Liquid Poets Society - Homebrew Club

Offline fmader

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1165
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 09:58:41 AM »
Post your malt bill, target gravity, actual gravity, and your volumes please.
Frank

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7466
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 10:01:12 AM »
So yesterday was an all time low for me.  I hit roughly 52% efficiency. I have been really tweaking my system and averaging 75% with exception to yesterday. 

I batch sparge with a screen.  I milled my grain by hand utilizing a barley crusher at my LHBS because that seemed to make a difference in previous batches.  I hit my strike and volumes right on the money. 

I just can't seem to understand why my eff. is so low on this one.  I probably would have been better off no-sparge on this batch....because from what I understand they even get better efficiency than I did yesterday. 

Any suggestions?  Obviously I know it is difficult to offer suggestions without knowing my process and equipment, but I really am having trouble wrapping my head around this low OG. 

Thanks.

Yeah we need to know more details about your process, equipment, and recipe.

But generally look at volumes first, then crush, then think about water chemistry.

When I'v had that kind of efficiency hit i'v also had dough balls so check your stirring
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline Herminator

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 218
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 10:05:38 AM »
Yeah I am thinking it was possibly lack of stirring...which is funny because I felt that I stirred longer than normal and more often than normal, but looking back I am not sure if I did.

Recipe was

12# Pale
1.5# Crystal 10
8oz Munich

I batch sparge utilizing a cooler and screen.  Hit my temps and volumes right on.  I guess I will chalk this one up to a learning opportunity.  I really was just dumbfounded that I came out so low. 

I guess I have been wanting to brew more session beers...I guess I just did one on accident.  ha.
Hermen D.
Liquid Poets Society - Homebrew Club

Online Steve in TX

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3044
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 10:32:50 AM »
Did the grains looked well cracked? Maybe somebody messed the the gap on the mill before you got to it.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13839
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2014, 10:34:05 AM »
I'd bet that the mill at the LHBS was readjusted since the last time you used it.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline fmader

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1165
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2014, 10:39:39 AM »
One thing that I question, and I could be way off on this because I don't use a screen. By screen, I'm assuming a false bottom in the cooler tun? How much dead space is there? I'm just wondering if your grains are being saturated enough during the mash. I like to use at least 1.5 qts/lb in my mash. If a gallon of my mash water isn't even in contact with my grains, that ratio will be lowered significantly. It would even more detrimental to bigger beers.

Again, I could be miles off on this observation, but seems as though it should be considered.
Frank

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6457
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 10:48:17 AM »
I'd bet that the mill at the LHBS was readjusted since the last time you used it.

+1, especially if volumes were correct.
Jon H.

Offline Herminator

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 218
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 10:53:55 AM »
The crush looked good....but next time I'm going to bring my gauge. 

The screen is a bazooka screen connected to a rectangle cooler (Denny's system influenced).  I am going to adjust my water ratio and stirring and go from there.  I am going to really dial in my volumes and time my stirring and see where that gets me. 

I am now wondering if it was a combination of stirring and strike volumes.  Thanks again for the suggestions.  I normally wouldn't post about a low OG but this one was so low it really had me thinking. 

Thanks again everyone. 
Hermen D.
Liquid Poets Society - Homebrew Club

Offline fmader

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1165
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2014, 10:58:01 AM »
The crush looked good....but next time I'm going to bring my gauge. 

The screen is a bazooka screen connected to a rectangle cooler (Denny's system influenced).  I am going to adjust my water ratio and stirring and go from there.  I am going to really dial in my volumes and time my stirring and see where that gets me. 

I am now wondering if it was a combination of stirring and strike volumes.  Thanks again for the suggestions.  I normally wouldn't post about a low OG but this one was so low it really had me thinking. 

Thanks again everyone.

Gotcha.... Ok, my theory is out  :P

I'm now on the crusher bandwagon.
Frank

Offline kramerog

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1118
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 11:12:30 AM »
Crush and doughballs are the number one suspects.  A possible suspect is pH, but pH can be ruled if you've made this same exact recipe before and hit your typical efficiency.  Another suspect could be that you are making a high gravity beer, which you don't normally do.
Brewers of South Suburbia
Brixie's Brewers
Oak Park Homebrewers

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13839
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 01:37:39 PM »
The crush looked good....but next time I'm going to bring my gauge. 

Concentrate on just learning what a good crush looks like.  Much easier!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline Herminator

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 218
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 04:02:38 PM »
The crush looked good....but next time I'm going to bring my gauge. 

Concentrate on just learning what a good crush looks like.  Much easier!

I thought the crush looked good and very comparable to my previous crushes where I hit my numbers.  But, for assurance,  and really study the crush and then take a measurement.  Thanks all. 
Hermen D.
Liquid Poets Society - Homebrew Club

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7653
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 07:39:06 AM »
Also, what was your grain to water ratio? A really thick mash can be problematic.

If your crush is a little coarser than normal try mashing for longer.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline fistfullofhops

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: Worst Efficiency Yet
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 08:28:01 PM »
Lately I've been crushing as tight as possible. I don't measure the gap, I just aim to pulverize the grain. I've found that as long as I take my time setting the grain bed during the start of the batch sparge I don't have any problems. And in the event that the sparge does get stuck I just stir the mash and re-vorlauf. I'm hitting low 80's efficiency.
steve