Author Topic: efficiency observation  (Read 1575 times)

Offline Joe T

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efficiency observation
« on: March 10, 2015, 06:26:19 PM »
I did a little efficiency experiment I wanted to share.
I brewed 11gallons of pilsner using 22# of Avangard pilsner malt: single infusion, batch sparge with mash out. My OG came in at 1.057.
I brewed again, wanting to lower my OG a bit and reduced the grain bill to 20#. I used the same mash schedule and water profile and volumes. The difference in pH was only .04. The second brew also clocked in at 1.057 plus an extra 2 liters of second runnings for a starter.
The only difference was I crushed malt for the second grain bill finer. I know this is nothing new and no doubt many have had similar experiences but I thought it was cool and wanted to share.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2015, 08:28:18 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

;)
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Offline Joe T

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 09:52:13 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

;)

I normally get around 72% efficiency and I'm content with that. This was my first time using Avangard malt and it seemed to give a better yield than I normally expect. The batch that resulted in better efficiency (81%) was double crushed, first coarse and then I closed the gap and crushed fine which leaves the husks more or less intact. I have an old Valley Mill which has indexed gap settings so I can change the gap in ~1 second.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2015, 10:05:54 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

;)

I normally get around 72% efficiency and I'm content with that. This was my first time using Avangard malt and it seemed to give a better yield than I normally expect. The batch that resulted in better efficiency (81%) was double crushed, first coarse and then I closed the gap and crushed fine which leaves the husks more or less intact. I have an old Valley Mill which has indexed gap settings so I can change the gap in ~1 second.

Another one - I get consistently better efficiency using Avangard pils.  My OG is .004-.005 higher using it.
Jon H.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 05:59:55 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

;)

I normally get around 72% efficiency and I'm content with that. This was my first time using Avangard malt and it seemed to give a better yield than I normally expect. The batch that resulted in better efficiency (81%) was double crushed, first coarse and then I closed the gap and crushed fine which leaves the husks more or less intact. I have an old Valley Mill which has indexed gap settings so I can change the gap in ~1 second.

Another one - I get consistently better efficiency using Avangard pils.  My OG is .004-.005 higher using it.

i normally avg about 85% efficiency. today with 92% avangard vienna and 8% carared, i hit 90%!
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2015, 06:07:36 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

;)

I normally get around 72% efficiency and I'm content with that. This was my first time using Avangard malt and it seemed to give a better yield than I normally expect. The batch that resulted in better efficiency (81%) was double crushed, first coarse and then I closed the gap and crushed fine which leaves the husks more or less intact. I have an old Valley Mill which has indexed gap settings so I can change the gap in ~1 second.

Another one - I get consistently better efficiency using Avangard pils.  My OG is .004-.005 higher using it.

i normally avg about 85% efficiency. today with 92% avangard vienna and 8% carared, i hit 90%!

Good malt with good extraction !
Jon H.

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2015, 06:27:32 PM »
I have an old Valley Mill which has indexed gap settings so I can change the gap in ~1 second.

That's an oldie, but goodie!  I remember the JSP Mill/Valley Mill wars.

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2015, 06:28:25 PM »
Another one - I get consistently better efficiency using Avangard pils.  My OG is .004-.005 higher using it.

Better efficiency? Or just higher potential extract? Continental malts tend to have bigger kernels than domestic varieties IME.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 06:59:57 PM by a10t2 »
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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 06:39:24 PM »
This thread highlights a reason why efficiency is a less than optimal metric, at least how home brewers use it.  A brew house should not automatically become more efficient when a higher yielding malt is used.   In reality, real efficiency more than likely remains the same.  What happens more often than not is that the maximum yield table has incorrect data for the malt being used, which is why I avoid using or relying on the metric.

Offline Joe T

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 06:48:28 PM »
Better efficiency? Or just higher potential extract? Continental malts tend to have bigger kernels than domestic varieties IME.
In this case, with all elements between the two batches being the same, including the malt for both batches coming from the same sack, and except one batch having 2# less grain and a much finer crush, I think it's safe to say it was better efficiency. Avangard seems to give a better yield than other German malts I've used but I don't have any solid data to back it up. This wasn't an intentional experiment per se, but I feel my process was scientific enough to consider my observation conclusive in this case.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2015, 06:49:03 PM »
                                   A brew house should not automatically become more efficient when a higher yielding malt is used.

Yeah, I didn't take the OG bump with these malts as better efficiency (wrong terminology on my part), because my system is very consistent, efficiency wise.  I had read accounts of the Avangard malts having higher potential extract and just took it as that. After using them 2 or 3 times with the same OG bump I just account for it now in recipe formulation.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2015, 06:50:36 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline Joe T

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2015, 06:52:18 PM »
I have an old Valley Mill which has indexed gap settings so I can change the gap in ~1 second.

That's an oldie, but goodie!  I remember the JSP Mill/Valley Mill wars.
That mill has served me well for a long time. Last year it began to stall repeatedly in mid crush and I almost replaced it, but I dismantled it and refurbished it and it's as good as new. Ready for another decade or two of service!

Offline a10t2

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2015, 06:59:06 PM »
This wasn't an intentional experiment per se, but I feel my process was scientific enough to consider my observation conclusive in this case.

I agree completely, and should have quoted someone else to make it clear I wasn't questioning your conclusion.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2015, 07:20:18 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

Hmm? Given my experience with really high efficiency for the past year, you may have something there, Dave. While my beer hasn't become thin, watery, or lifeless, I can't say that it tastes better than it used to.

While I agree that the degree of crush has an influence on efficiency, the other factor is duration of runoff and sparging. I'm just not sure that backing off on the gap and resulting crush is necessarily going to improve my results.

As a data point, my last several batches have used a revised sparging scheme where I reserve about 1 to 2 gallons of the sparging water volume and DON'T put that volume through the grain bed. That volume goes directly into the kettle. Now, I've been doing this to avoid oversparging and extracting tannins. But the other effect is that the beers have higher taste quality and the efficiency did go down a little bit.

I'll concede that high efficiency is not necessarily a good thing for beer quality. But I do want to hear more from other brewers on the effect of 'excessive' efficiency since I think that there is such a thing...now.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: efficiency observation
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2015, 07:31:11 PM »
FWIW, I hit a pretty steady 80% on average strength beers and haven't felt the need to try to go a lot higher, truthfully. I had read similar accounts to Dave's and didn't want to chance making beer I like less. I like my results.
Jon H.