Brewhouse Efficiency during mashing

I have been brewing mini-mash and extract for years. I’ve made the switch to the All Grain method now for over a year. Every time I mash it seems like I miss my OG mark. I am using Beer Smith software for calculations and have it set for 65% efficiency. My mash water temperature is usually very close to what is called for by 1-2 Deg. Im mashing in a 10 gallon Igloo cooler. When I mash out. Do You drain the wort first and then add sparge water and hold that for 10 minutes? Do you add the sparge water to the mash at a higher temperature and then hold that? I even tried a double sparge to get the most fermentable sugars out that I can. I just ordered some extract kits cause Im discouraged with All Grain right now and just want to drink some strong beer for once. Help…

Are you trying to do a kit and can’t get the gravity the recipe calls for? You could plug the recipe into your software with your efficiency an just order the ingredients separately. If your stuck on ordering kits just order some DME and add it to the recipe to bump up the gravity. Not sure why your getting low extraction, probably your water. No need to revert to extract to make strong beer

As your gravity goes up, your efficiency will go down.
What kind of gravity are you shooting for?

Also, I have a home brewing coworker who made a really thin beer; he checked his thermometer against his girlfriend’s candy thermometer only to find his was ~10 degrees off. Have you checked the accuracy of your thermometer?

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Ill second the thermometer…. Need to check them quite frequently. Sneezles61

I use Denny’s Cheap 'n Easy method for batch sparge. I drain the mash after a quick vorlauf and hit the burner once the hose is submerged in the wort in the kettle, then sparge with 185 degree water, stir it up and immediately start draining with another vorlauf to get started then full tilt into the kettle. Do you crush your own grains or buy the kits pre-crushed? Crush has a lot to do with efficiency numbers. I use Brewer’s Friend to check my pre-boil efficiency. If you are using a hydrometer, make sure you are adjusting for temperature.


I never thought of checking the thermometer. I have a dial thermometer in the HLT and I use a portable probe thermometer to check the mash tun after I start the mash. I order the grains pre crushed. (Might have to invest I a grain mill now). For this batch I bought 10 gallons of bottled water but I did not check the PH on it. I believe my mistake was not stirring the grains on the second sparge and possibly water temp. I’m glad I added 4 lbs. of molasses to the boil to boost gravity although it was part of my recipe. Thanks for the good information. I will be more diligent in my brewing. #learningcurve

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