Greetings and thanks for your patience on this one,

I did my first all grain batch recently (a Saison recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles”) and got an OG of 1.60 using a 10 gallon Igloo cooler with a 10" false bottom and did batch sparging – thanks to Denny’s “pragmatic” perspective on sparging. I actually got a higher mash efficiency than I’d predicted (I had hoped for 65%), so I left out the one pound of sugar the recipe called for since I had reached the recipe’s OG without it. (Due to the high proportion of Pilsner malt, I did a 90 minute mash and boil).

Based on calculations of the recipe, a 100% efficient mash would have given 479 gravity points and with an OG of 1.060 in 5.5 gallons, I got 330. Assuming a quart of wort left behind in the mash tun (what the supply store told me), I got 345 total gravity points in 5.75 gallons, so the mash efficiency would therefore be 345/479, or 72%, correct? The brewhouse efficiency would then be 330/479, or 69%, if I’m doing the calculations correctly.

When I plug in 69% brewhouse efficiency (BeerSmith calls it total efficiency), I get an estimated mash efficiency of 78.4%, but that doesn’t jibe with my calculation of 72%.

So, my questions are;

- Why is there a disparity in mash efficiency?
- Is there any way to plug in mash efficiency to BeerSmith rather than having to use total efficiency (I wonder why BeerSmith does it that way – it seems counterintuitive to me)?
- Am I making some fundamental mistake that results in the mash efficiency disparity above?

Overall, the experience of doing an all grain batch was a LOT of fun and I’m glad to leave my partial mash approach behind. However, I’m very aware that I have much more to learn and any insights you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I think I’ve got the bases covered after mashing – I do starter cultures, full volume boils, treat the water with Camden tablets, chill the wort within 15 minutes, oxygenate, and control fermentation temperature with a fermwrap and digital heat controller.

Thanks to the NB Mpls store staff who answered my endless questions prior to brewing this batch!