# Efficiency changes to color/specialty grains

I’ve made some changes to my system and have seen an increase in mash efficiency from 73% to 88%, duplicated on last two brews.

So far my experimentation with the higher efficiency has been on a tripel and pils, without any significant specialty grains.

So my question is how does increased mash eff change the percent or raw amount of speciailty grains with respect to color and flavor contribution? This may seem like a stupid question, because my assumption was that there would be no change to the grain by percentage, regardless of efficiency… But when I enter new eff. into recipe calculators (both at Beer Smith and at Brewer’s Friend) I see an increase in gravity but no change in color.

This leads me to wonder if specialty grain contribution to flavor and color might not be dependant upon efficiency to the same degree that the gravity is.

The specialty grains could be reduced by the same percentage as the base grains. This will keep the color and flavor in the original recipe.

If you use Brunwater it does the work for you. Just input the original recipe at your old efficiency then click the Scale Recipe button, plug in your new efficiency number and click OK.

It depends on where the efficiency gains come from.

If the efficiency gain comes from better starch conversion, then you are adding more sugar to a solution with the same amount of color. If you improve you lauter efficiency, then you are rinsing more of the wort from the grain, but the ratio of color to sugar is constant.

When my gravity went from the ~70% to ~85%, some recipes came out paler and I had to adjust. I really only noticed it in recipes that used a couple ounces of roasted malt for color and now only called for 80% as much. I just had to move that back up to the amount I used before the efficiency increase to get the expected color.

[quote=“Slothrob”]It depends on where the efficiency gains come from.

If the efficiency gain comes from better starch conversion, then you are adding more sugar to a solution with the same amount of color. If you improve you lauter efficiency, then you are rinsing more of the wort from the grain, but the ratio of color to sugar is constant.

When my gravity went from the ~70% to ~85%, some recipes came out paler and I had to adjust. I really only noticed it in recipes that used a couple ounces of roasted malt for color and now only called for 80% as much. I just had to move that back up to the amount I used before the efficiency increase to get the expected color.[/quote]
Good point. Another nice feature in Brunwater is the ability to keep color and bitterness at the level of the original recipe when scaling for efficiency.