Quantcast

How to fix horrible efficiency

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

joshuahardie

Beer, so much more than a breakfast drink
Joined
8/5/07
Messages
1,038
Reaction score
38
Doing BIAB my efficiency of late is embarassing.

Hovering around the low 60% range.
But yesterday took the cake.

Brewing a triple, cause of limited mash volume (about 7kg is my max)
I decided to brew with 4kg of Pils malt, and boost gravity, with 1.5kg LME and 1kg of Sugar.

With 70% efficiency i should be getting just about 1080.

Well my SG is 1062!!!! that is like 40% efficiency or similar.

My water to grain was about 5:1 I sparged with about 10l and half way through the boil took a few litres out of the kettle to mix the LME and sugar into, before adding it back to the kettle.

finished volume was about 23l with 20 going into the fermenter.

Ill take any advice as my triple might as well be a blonde.
 

yankinoz

Well-Known Member
Joined
16/2/12
Messages
607
Reaction score
189
What is your mash temp and mash pH? Who milled the grain and how? How do you know the mash pH? If you don't know it or are getting a wrong reading that's probably the problem. Even low 60s efficiency is way too low.
 

joshuahardie

Beer, so much more than a breakfast drink
Joined
8/5/07
Messages
1,038
Reaction score
38
Mash temp was 65 and I did a 90 minute mash, and by the end of the 90 mins the mash had dropped to 55 degrees.

I was out of 5.2 and so I didn't check or attempt to adjust the ph.

Grain was milled by the LHBS, and the crack seemed decent.

I might try and borrow another hydrometer to check, even though my hydrometer reads 1.000 in tap water
 

sp0rk

Mayor of Pooptown
Joined
14/2/11
Messages
4,202
Reaction score
1,060
Location
Muswellbrook
My technique for hitting around 75-80% efficiency is;
mill to more or less flour, 90 minute mash and stir like buggery multiple times during the mash
Mash out at 76-78°C for 10 minutes, then hang the bag above a bucket and squeeze it like it owes you money
I brew in a keggle and usually mash in with 33L of water that I filter slowly from the tap through a caravan water filter, then leave to evaporate off the chlorine over night, just covered with my BIAB bag so bugs don't crawl in
I was having pretty average efficiency (65ish%) for a while there while using a bag of JW Ale, but a newer batch has gone back to high 70's every time
 

bronson

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/2/13
Messages
88
Reaction score
82
yeah mate,
I was having similar issues about a year ago.
I bought a grain mill and haven't looked back.
Like spork said you can practically mill it to flour.
Ill do a 60min mash then mash out at 78c.
Then hang the bag and squeeze it til the wort has reached boil.

I recently hit 1.082 with all grain (no dme) using this method. 75-80% efficiency

Thinking about converting a mop bucket with the squeezer bit to take out the manual labour / sticky arms.
good luck
 

yankinoz

Well-Known Member
Joined
16/2/12
Messages
607
Reaction score
189
joshuahardie said:
Mash temp was 65 and I did a 90 minute mash, and by the end of the 90 mins the mash had dropped to 55 degrees.

I was out of 5.2 and so I didn't check or attempt to adjust the ph.

Grain was milled by the LHBS, and the crack seemed decent.

I might try and borrow another hydrometer to check, even though my hydrometer reads 1.000 in tap water
Sounds like pH is the problem. With all pils it's most likely the pH was too high, especially if your water has even moderate carbonate and low sulphate/chloride. Is the water hard?

5.2 would solve the problem. A 5.2 pH is on the low side and will tend to give you a very dry beer it it's combined with low mashing temperature such as 65 and an highly attenuative yeast; tjhat may be your aim in the above brew. A possible drawback is that bering a buffer it adds more minerals than a targeted adjustment would. If your water is already high in minerals the beer could end up tasting, well, minerally.

Rename your tripel a dubbel, get a water analysis and post it here. Most water departments are cooperative. NSW may even have a central web site for analyses.
 

ebyelyakov

Active Member
Joined
18/11/14
Messages
33
Reaction score
4
I reckon milling is a culprit here. I do my own mill and also vote for having it on a finer side. Filering when I'm lautering is not that hard at all.

I don't BIAB just full maching since it gives me much better wort clarify for the effort. If you were to do it in a tun I'd suggest review your sparging technique as well.
What was the grain to water ratio?
 

joshuahardie

Beer, so much more than a breakfast drink
Joined
8/5/07
Messages
1,038
Reaction score
38
I brewed a Rochefort 10 clone on Saturday.

I had enough grain / sugar / candi sugar to come away with a 1.100 beer at 70% efficiency.

Changes I made were the addition of 5.2 and a new BIAB bag with a more open structure.

Really hard beer to establish efficiency on with that sort of gravity, but anyway
I didn't change the crush, as it looked fine to me, kept the mash profile and sparge the same.
the new bag was really good at getting the liquor out, so much so that my normal sparge was too excessive.

in the end I got 25l at 1082
That was far more wort than I usually get.

If I had continued to boil to the 21l i normally aim for, I would of got 1098

So I think my fine bag is the culprit here, not the crush
 

Byran

Well-Known Member
Joined
20/12/09
Messages
411
Reaction score
45
Location
East Sydney
Mash efficiency or brewhouse efficiency? On beersmith I run at about 55 to 62% brewhouse efficiency with biab but the mash efficiency works out at around 75%. Higher diastatic malts will give better mash efficiency, put some pilsner malt in your next batch and see if it changes?

Edit ; when compared to just pale malt
 

Adr_0

Gear Bod
Joined
4/4/13
Messages
1,776
Reaction score
684
Josh, pH is probably a contribution (definitely something you need to think about) but I think that if your mash started at 65°C and was dropping maybe 3-4°C per 30min AND your pH was high, your conversion enzymes were probably acting slowly and with the temperature drop slowed right down... so your conversion efficiency (essentially your SG before doing any sparging, vs what it should theoretically be) would have been pretty low.

Even adding 10L of boiling water you would probably only get into the 60's, so your sparge/mash out would not have been too flash and you wouldn't have rinsed the sugars out... so your lauter efficiency would have been pretty bad.

If you then have a poor crush as well - for e.g. a small % of uncracked grains - your efficiency will go down by a couple of percent as well, as these uncracked grains just don't get any starch conversion done to them. a bigger drop in efficiency from a similar phenomenon is actually dough balls - make absolutely sure you break them all up. Floating balls of malt will not get converted.

A couple more things to do on top of the advice above:
- Insulate your BIAB pot, including sealing any air gaps (good fitting lid)
- Break up any dough balls
 

n87

Same as it ever was
Joined
1/5/14
Messages
1,824
Reaction score
438
Location
NSW
Well i dont mean to brag... but according to beersmith, i get ~85-95% mash efficiency.
Double batch BIAB (i think you ave seen my rig Josh)

full volume, ~67L in the pot
i pour the grain in when the water is around 45-55 and stir continuously until the temp hits~64C so the bag doesnt burn.
turn the burner off (usually comes up a couple of degrees) ~66C
wrap the pot with towels
come back ~30 mins later, stir, check the temp and adjust if required.
at ~60 mins, turn the burner on, stir until ~74C
wrap up with towels
10 mins later, turn the burner on, lift the bag and let it give you all the juice it can (including squeezing)
usually have ~60L in the pot
Boil
~55L left after the boil, ~50L into cubes.
Usually works out to be 80-85% brewhouse efficiency.

I get my grain crushed 'BIAB' by barleyman
 
Joined
20/9/13
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Hi guys, I've just upgraded to a rims system, got it to a useable stage, then did the first 3 60L batches last Sunday. According to brew mate, my efficiencies came out at 56%, 62%, and 64%! I'm guessing that a lot of my problems are coming from using a bag, (holding the grain) above my false bottom in the mt, and possibly recirculating the mash at too high flow rate? Does this sound right? As these were my first three batches in the new brewery I'm not too worried, there was always going to be teething issues...

Thanks,
Matt
 

fraser_john

Go Pies
Joined
17/1/06
Messages
2,477
Reaction score
374
Location
Victoria
country_brewer said:
Hi guys, I've just upgraded to a rims system, got it to a useable stage, then did the first 3 60L batches last Sunday. According to brew mate, my efficiencies came out at 56%, 62%, and 64%! I'm guessing that a lot of my problems are coming from using a bag, (holding the grain) above my false bottom in the mt, and possibly recirculating the mash at too high flow rate? Does this sound right? As these were my first three batches in the new brewery I'm not too worried, there was always going to be teething issues...

Thanks,
Matt
Yeah that will just circulate the word around the bag and not through the grain. If you have a false bottom, why use the bag at all?
 
Joined
20/9/13
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
The theory behind using the bag was to be able to rip it out and wack the next batch in straight away without washing out the tun
 

fraser_john

Go Pies
Joined
17/1/06
Messages
2,477
Reaction score
374
Location
Victoria
country_brewer said:
The theory behind using the bag was to be able to rip it out and wack the next batch in straight away without washing out the tun
Probably be ok if you let the bag sit on your false bottom and then recirculate into the top of the bag across the grain. Might have to be a slow flow rate as I can image the bag has reasonable fine weave.
 

Adr_0

Gear Bod
Joined
4/4/13
Messages
1,776
Reaction score
684
country_brewer said:
Hi guys, I've just upgraded to a rims system, got it to a useable stage, then did the first 3 60L batches last Sunday. According to brew mate, my efficiencies came out at 56%, 62%, and 64%! I'm guessing that a lot of my problems are coming from using a bag, (holding the grain) above my false bottom in the mt, and possibly recirculating the mash at too high flow rate? Does this sound right? As these were my first three batches in the new brewery I'm not too worried, there was always going to be teething issues...
Thanks,
Matt
Damn. How's long were your mashes? Love the idea of bag on top of false bottom to rip out after the mash - I do this myself and it works well.

In terms of efficiency, consider a few things:
- make sure anyway dough balls are well and trilby broken up
- make sure you mash out at 75-78°C. You should be able to easily don't this with your RIMS setup.
- your return line should recirculate over the top of the grain bed, and needs to rinse through all the grain
- consider stirring/raking through the top half of the bed a few times during the mash

You should be ale to get another 10% out of your brew days. Yes you can get a further 10% again but consistently sitting in the mid 70's should be your goal IMO.
 

sp0rk

Mayor of Pooptown
Joined
14/2/11
Messages
4,202
Reaction score
1,060
Location
Muswellbrook
Robbo2234 said:
then leave to evaporate off the chlorine over night,

I don't know where your located but generally town water has cloramine and not chlorine and it doesn't evaporate.
Coffs Harbour uses chlorine only as per the Coffs Harbour Council Water Lab
This will have no doubt changed now I have just moved to the Upper Hunter, I haven't started brewing yet so I'll have to look into that
 
Joined
20/9/13
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Thanks, dough balls are no issue, try using a drill mixer as you dough in, a new one, not one you've already used for mixing plaster or tiling adhesive, works a treat! I mash for 90 mins, dough in at 60 degrees, usually drops to around 55, hold at 55 for 30 mins, ramp to 65 for 30 mins. I then set my temp controller to 78, and it takes about 40 mins to ramp up to it from 65. How does everyone else ensure an even spread with the mash recirc on top of the grain bed?
Cheers
 

Latest posts

Top