Author Topic: too effecient?  (Read 1297 times)

Offline violaleebrews

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too effecient?
« on: May 27, 2011, 03:47:34 PM »
i heard from a guy who heard from another guy (who prolly heard it from someone else...) that 75% efficiency is what you should shoot for.  anything over that and you start extracting undesirables from the grains.  exactly what those undesirables are was not defined.  i figured that if anyone could verify this, it someone on this forum.  i normally get between 80-85% and i haven't tasted anything undesirable in my beers, but i might not know what to taste for.  any thoughts?

Offline ibru

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 03:50:51 PM »
I think the guy is full of it. I don't get 80% (70-75%), but I know a couple good brewers who consistantly do and have great beers.

Offline malzig

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2011, 05:10:51 PM »
That's a made up fact.  It might be true if you are getting poor conversion and pushing your efficiency by stringent sparging, but the mathematical efficiency of a completely converted mash, from an average gravity beer and sparged with the amount of water needed to allow normal evaporation during the boil, is in the mid 80% range.

Plenty of excellent brewers and breweries get well over 75% efficiency.

Offline Malticulous

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2011, 05:43:27 PM »
My understanding is that the big breweries get 2-3% off of the laboratory extract. It's possible that they filter out the extra tannin. I've got awards from brews over 90%. I haven't filtered.

I think it's about keeping the mash correct; pH and  total water ratio.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 05:46:56 PM by Malticulous »

Offline johnf

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2011, 07:43:29 PM »
75% is an arbitrary number but in general the first runnings are of higher quality than the second runnings and if you want to maximize quality you'll sparge less or not at all (I've got George Fix and Gordon Strong with me on this point in their books).

If you get near 100% conversion, many no sparge beers will have efficiency in the 65-75% range.

If you want an idea of what later runnings taste like, make a second runnings beer of a certain strength and make a first runnings beer of the same strength (will need to water the first runnings down). Process identically and compare.

Alternately go buy some modest gravity beers that are made with all or a large part of later runnings (say Anchor Small and Fuller's London Pride) and compare them to a modest gravity beer that is made with in the typical North American way (all of the runnings) such as Stone Levitation or whatever "session" ale is available in your neck of the woods.

Now a lot of people like Anchor Small Beer and Fuller's London Pride, I certainly do, but those are beers made by technically competent breweries that own pH meters and they are distinctly tannic (or grainy). When you make a given beer, you have to ask yourself how much of that do you want in it? For some beers the answer will be that enough to get 85% efficiency is fine. For some the answer will be: as little as possible.

Offline euge

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2011, 11:10:56 PM »
I did a no-sparge last week and hit 65.7% and 12.6 plato. Wasn't aiming for better either. The number 75% has been bandied about by experts like Jamil Z. and John Palmer as a decent number to shoot for in extraction. When I batch-sparge my BE is set at 75% and for an average strength beer this is no problem.

From personal experience and observation I know it is human nature to want to get the most out of everything. Can't say I've ever over-sparged a batch and have had efficiencies in the 80's. Mostly though, I think reports of efficiencies are kinda like fishing. Things grow larger with each telling. ;)

It's a great and popular subject that I've mulled over many times after brewing. Concluded that consistency and satisfaction with one's own results are what matters.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 06:34:00 AM »
High efficiency doesn't mean you're extracting undesirables, not at all.  It just means you're crushing your grains enough and getting the sugars out efficiently (go figure!).  Seriously, I've hit 90% efficiency, and the beer doesn't taste bad, not at all.
Dave

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Offline denny

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2011, 06:40:43 AM »
I average 85% and it's not uncommon for me to be in the low 90s.  I was talking to a friend who brews for Sierra Nevada and he told me they shoot for 95% and usually get 97-98%. 
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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ccarlson

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2011, 06:57:04 AM »
So what is it that gets these guys such good efficiency? Stirring, sparging, ???

Offline denny

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 06:59:29 AM »
So what is it that gets these guys such good efficiency? Stirring, sparging, ???

Juju
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Malticulous

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2011, 07:01:16 AM »
I've made a number of second runnings beers.Some were bad because I oversparged for them. Most were good but certainly lacked the depth of flavor that the no sparge beers had. They tasted more watery than their gravity suggests.

Anymore I try to limit my mash water to get 85% extraction.

The important thing is conversion. If you have a poor mash you could still be oversparging to get 75%.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 07:03:38 AM by Malticulous »

ccarlson

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2011, 07:02:20 AM »
Juju
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Juju (disambiguation).


An 1873 Victorian illustration of a "Ju-ju house" on the Gold Coast showing fetishised skulls and bones.


Juju charm protecting dugout canoe on riverbank, in Suriname.1954.
Juju or Ju-Ju is a word of either West African or French origin[1] used previously by Europeans to describe the traditional West African religion.[2]. The term Juju refers to the use of such objects and other things to perform a form of "witchcraft".[3]
"An object of any kind superstitiously venerated by West African native tribes, and used as a charm, amulet, or means of protection; a fetish. Also the supernatural or magical power attributed to such objects, or the system of observances connected therewith; also a ban or interdiction effected by means of such an object (corresponding to the Polynesian taboo)." [4]
The term juju, and the practices associated with it, travelled to the Americas from West Africa with the influx of slaves and still survives in some areas, particularly among the various groups of Maroons, who have tended to preserve their African traditions.

Offline johnf

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2011, 07:45:36 AM »
High efficiency doesn't mean you're extracting undesirables, not at all.  It just means you're crushing your grains enough and getting the sugars out efficiently (go figure!).  Seriously, I've hit 90% efficiency, and the beer doesn't taste bad, not at all.

Right, if you are converting fulling, the more you sparge the better your efficiency.

That's why if you want high efficiency, the best thing you can do is boil for a long time.

Offline malzig

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2011, 08:02:18 AM »
I did a no-sparge last week and hit 65.7% and 12.6 plato. Wasn't aiming for better either. The number 75% has been bandied about by experts like Jamil Z. and John Palmer as a decent number to shoot for in extraction. When I batch-sparge my BE is set at 75% and for an average strength beer this is no problem.
When I no-sparge, I get 70-75% efficiency.  If you work through the numbers you'll see that's what's expected after complete conversion.  I know it's popular to scoff at high efficiency numbers, but it's not imaginary, it's simple physics.  Kai has gone through a lot of trouble to show how these numbers are derived, so I won't try repeating it here.

If JZ and JP are getting 75% after sparging, it's due to the inefficiency of their conversion.  Without knowing their actual conversion efficiency, it's impossible to say how inefficient, but it's clear that they must be getting incomplete conversion if they only get 75% efficiency.  Unless their sparge systems are unusually inefficiently designed, which I doubt.  

An average gravity beer, using a standard batch sparge protocol, has aaround 85-90% theoretical lauter efficiency.  With 100% conversion and low dead volume in your tun, it's simple math that leads to the commonly seen efficiencies around 85%.  75% mash efficiency is, at best, 85% lauter efficiency of 88% conversion (0.85 x 88 = 75).  At worst, since those brewers are probably fly spargers, they might be getting even lower conversion and only hitting 75% by pushing their lauter efficiency.  If that's the case, it may be understandable why they would think that higher than 75% would be undesirable.  

However, it's too complicated an issue to give such a trite and arbitrary answer as "75%", and it's meaningless if you don't consider conversion efficiency.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: too effecient?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2011, 11:13:28 PM »
So what is it that gets these guys such good efficiency? Stirring, sparging, ???

I have to wonder that myself, especially since the malt spec sheets for many base malts only gives ~85% efficiency for a Congress mash!