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Do You Scale Spec Malts Based On Efficiency?

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Nick JD

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You have missed the point. a 25% weight addition of certain grains, done in line with your base malt efficiency recalculations, would potentially make a heck of difference.
I was being figuratively obtuse, in that anyone getting 65% efficiency when the recipe calls for 80% has bigger problems than recipe formulation - addressing the suckful efficiency might better serve their beer than converting all recipes to allow for bad technique and throwing away 50-100kg of grain per year.
 

mika

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I've learnt to scale just the base malts, but then I'm one of those woeful brewers with bad technique only achieving 60% :rolleyes: So even a recipe formulated at 70% is going to be alot different for my system.
Over time I've learnt the amount of specialty malts that can exist in a batch before, regardless of mash temp the beer will come out under attenuated, sweet and just a mess. There's also the previously mentioned colour difference that can occur from just scaling complete recipes.
YMMV of course, in that if you're scaling from 75% to 70%, the neglible change in specialty grain weights is probably not worth worrying about.
 

Silo Ted

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I was being figuratively obtuse
Fancy language skills don't really speak to the masses. I missed it.


, in that anyone getting 65% efficiency when the recipe calls for 80% has bigger problems than recipe formulation - addressing the suckful efficiency might better serve their beer than converting all recipes to allow for bad technique and throwing away 50-100kg of grain per year.
65% is OK if you are happy with it. Just don't add the extra specs !!
 

MarkBastard

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I was being figuratively obtuse, in that anyone getting 65% efficiency when the recipe calls for 80% has bigger problems than recipe formulation - addressing the suckful efficiency might better serve their beer than converting all recipes to allow for bad technique and throwing away 50-100kg of grain per year.
What's wrong with 65% into fermenter efficiency though? Or is this an e-penis thing?
 

MHB

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Wind back the clock first what efficiency are we talking about?

If you're getting good "mash efficiency" (< 85% and I'd be worried) and poor brewhouse yield, then scale all the malt together then figure out where your losses are.
If you're getting such poor conversion that you simply aren't making the sugar well frankly you have much bigger problems than the colour of your beer, its crap ingredients, poor brewery design or really bad brewing practices.
Far more important that find out why (more likely the last two than the first one).

MHB



OH Feck I just agreed with Nick JD, how does that old song go "think I'll go and eat worms"

m
 

Silo Ted

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What's wrong with 65% into fermenter efficiency though? Or is this an e-penis thing?
His point seems to be that if you brewed twice a week, every week, for a year, you would be blowing four bags.

Its still only an extra $2 or so per brew, so no big deal.
 

speedie

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so donate it to the poor
just get extracted
yeild or not
 

Thirsty Boy

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what makes people think that specialty grains are "already converted" ?? Crystal/Caramel malts are to a certain extent, perhaps even mostly - but none of the others are.

IMO - with modern malts being as hot as they are, most times the major difference in total mash/lauter efficiency for home brewers is related primarily to their sparge and its efficiency or lack thereof, rather than conversion efficiency. And therefore, you should alter the whole grain bill not just the specialty malt.

of course you should check which it is though, its pretty easy to check the gravity of the wort in your mash tun and find out how well your conversion efficiency is doing. I suggest you have a read of this section from the Braukaiser website which covers Understanding Efficiency.

to give a picture here, you can look at this table (ruthlessly lifted from the above website) and it will show you (approximately) what the gravity of the wort in your mash tun would be if you got 100% conversion efficiency.



if your gravity is better than 85% of the "perfect" gravity... you are going well enough so that when you scale a recipe for efficiency, then far and away the main thing you need to care about is lauter efficiency, so you scale everything. if your conversion efficiency is less than 85% of the perfect figure... then you have bigger problems than recipe scaling. Fix up your brewing practices - then worry about efficiency scaling, and you can just scale the whole grist because then you'll know its about the lautering efficiency.
 

mika

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what makes people think that specialty grains are "already converted" ?? Crystal/Caramel malts are to a certain extent, perhaps even mostly - but none of the others are.
Crystal/Caramel malts are the only kind of specialty worth worrying about. Munich, Vienna, whatever, can be used as base malts, so not very special in my book.
Rinsing in warm water is effectively all that's needed to get sugars from crystal malt, so conversion efficiency doesn't mean a lot.

then far and away the main thing you need to care about is lauter efficiency, so you scale everything
Then again, if I go from an otherwise light coloured recipe using 50g of Carafa 3 at 70% to 60g of Carafa 3 at 60%, that's an extra SRM point. And that's without taking into account any scaling of amber malt, munich malt or whatever else might be in the recipe. Now just because I have poor lautering efficiency does that mean I'm going to extract less colour ? My experience thus far would say not.
 

Ross

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Then again, if I go from an otherwise light coloured recipe using 50g of Carafa 3 at 70% to 60g of Carafa 3 at 60%, that's an extra SRM point. And that's without taking into account any scaling of amber malt, munich malt or whatever else might be in the recipe. Now just because I have poor lautering efficiency does that mean I'm going to extract less colour ? My experience thus far would say not.

My experience is quite the opposite. Poor lautering efficiency does mean less colour extraction. With my Sabco (Rims) unit I've started doing full volume mashing as it suits my process best. My efficiency has dropped a good 10 to 15%, & if I don't scale up the spec malts the colour is way off the mark. Think about it....if you dilute something 50% you'll halve the colour, it wont stay the same.

Unless you have very poor conversion of your spec malts, which is very unlikely, scale everything uniformly.

As a side note, the current version of Beersmith does not alter the expected colour from your brew when you adjust the efficiency. I found this a real pain when designing new recipes with a system giving low efficiency as all my brews were way under colour. I brought this up with the designer but he couldn't seem to grasp this very basic concept, very dissappointed when this could be a very simple fix.

Cheers Ross
 

Thirsty Boy

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Crystal/Caramel malts are the only kind of specialty worth worrying about. Munich, Vienna, whatever, can be used as base malts, so not very special in my book.
Rinsing in warm water is effectively all that's needed to get sugars from crystal malt, so conversion efficiency doesn't mean a lot.



Then again, if I go from an otherwise light coloured recipe using 50g of Carafa 3 at 70% to 60g of Carafa 3 at 60%, that's an extra SRM point. And that's without taking into account any scaling of amber malt, munich malt or whatever else might be in the recipe. Now just because I have poor lautering efficiency does that mean I'm going to extract less colour ? My experience thus far would say not.
Yes, poor lautering efficiency means you will have less colour extraction - you are extracting less, and the colour compounds are part of your extract. Otherwise, your last runnings would have no colour and no flavour. If I am extracting only 50% of whats in the grain bill... then I am extrcting only 50% of the colour and flavour too - the software assumes you get it all, no matte what your efficiency. I have done several experiments that indicate that if anything - the opposite is true and that your colour (and by extension flavour) compounds are in fact extracted very slightly more slowly than your sugar. So for instance a brewer getting 60% efficiency would be getting ever so slightly less than 6 sevenths of the colour that a brewer with 70% efficiency would be getting.

The problem - is that much brewing software doesn't take that into account - it should.
 

MarkBastard

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So the answer is really that you should scale spec malts and that will cover you no matter why the reason your efficiency is low?

Because loss to trub / dead space etc is obvious and if extraction is roughly the same that leaves no other variables to worry about.

Good to see.
 

jphowman

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I'm generally a lurker here since there are generally much more experienced brewers saying much smarter things than me on any thread I read, but I could offer some thoughts here.

The amount of crystal malt etc in a grist is intended to empart a flavor based on the concentration of flavor compunds in the finished brew. If I wanted to brew the same beer at a lower alc% I would probably leave the amount of spec grains the same, otherwise I would be watering down the tasty bits. The only problem would be if the crystal flavor became too prominent above the base malt leading to a perceived imbalance. I think this would take quite a drop in base grain to achieve looking at the grist of some english milds, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Franks and Beens
 

Acasta

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What are good efficiencies for a standard mash?
 

Ross

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So the answer is really that you should scale spec malts and that will cover you no matter why the reason your efficiency is low?

Because loss to trub / dead space etc is obvious and if extraction is roughly the same that leaves no other variables to worry about.

Good to see.
In a word, yes.

cheers Ross
 

Thirsty Boy

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What are good efficiencies for a standard mash?
It's my opinion, that while Spending too much effort chasing "high" efficiency is a bit silly, there is a point at which your efficiency being too low - indicates that you are doing something wrong that might show up as a brewing quality issue later down the track. Well designed systems that do what they are supposed to do, and well performed brewing - Give good efficiencies. Bad efficiencies mean something is not right.

So, talking about efficiency measured in the kettle, for a brew with an intended OG of about 1.050... I think that a properly designed system of the following types "should" be getting or exceeding roughly the following efficiencies... A bit down is of course no issue, but very much less and I think you are seeing an indication of a system design or a technique issue.

Standard (full volume no sparge) BIAB - 70-75%
Batch Sparge with just one run-off (ie, no sparge) - 70-75%
Batch Sparge with 2 equal run-offs - 75+%
Continuous Sparge (fly/flood) - 80+%

To be brutally honest - if you are getting a whole heap less than that. You're doing something wrong or you have built a lousy system. Newer brewers of course being excepted... I don't know why, but experience seems to magically add a bunch of efficiency points too.

And of course, as long as you aren't so low that it indicates a problem, then consistency is the more important thing. Still, why looking to improve your process and your efficiency seems to be considered somehow immoral by some people has me buggered. Consistent is good... Surely consistently high is even better?
 

Guest Lurker

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Standard (full volume no sparge) BIAB - 70-75%
Batch Sparge with just one run-off (ie, no sparge) - 70-75%
Batch Sparge with 2 equal run-offs - 75+%
Continuous Sparge (fly/flood) - 80+%
After doing a couple of hundred brews with single or double batch sparge, and a heap more fly sparging, and tweaking various things along the way, I reckon those quoted numbers are right on the money. If you arent doing that or better, look at the process.
 

Acasta

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Consistent ones
To be brutally honest - if you are getting a whole heap less than that. You're doing something wrong or you have built a lousy system. Newer brewers of course being excepted... I don't know why, but experience seems to magically add a bunch of efficiency points too.
I have to agree with thirsty, while im not chasing perfect efficiency to frame and put on the wall, i want a good setup and to be doing things right. With the last batch i did managed to get 80% mash eff, however i lost alot of wort to trub which means i loose alot of potential beer. Sure i could just build 6L of trub into recipes but fixing the problem is better then adapting to it.
I understand, pennywise, that heaps of people are chasing high efficiency where it should be about a consistent efficiency that you can get every time, but im seeing my losses as a problem to be overcome.
 
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