I am about 3 batches into my transfer from extract to AG. The beer has tasted good, but my efficiency is not good. Right now I’m lucky to get 60%. I’m batch sparging and crushing my own grains with the Barley Crusher. I have a few things I need to look at as far as where the problem is (water quality, crush, etc), but I want to start at the beginning and that’s with taking my gravity readings. If I’m doing that wrong, then nothing else matters, or so I think.
Right now I use the refractometer our host sells. Brix/Specific Gravity Refractometer w/ATC. I take a gravity reading after the first run, then after the second run and then after combining both runnings in the boil pot. I then take a reading after the wort has cooled, before I aerate and pitch yeast. This is the reading I’m using to come up with my efficiency (using Beersmith).
Here come the questions…
-When I pull a sample of the cooled wort with the little dropper they give you, I’m pulling off the top. Does the wort settle out somewhat, which could cause me to be pulling a lower gravity portion of the wort?
-When I dump the cooled wort into my fermenting bucket, I pass it through a strainer. Would this mix it up better and give me a better sample?
-Does it sound like there is anything I could do differently in my procedure?
I want to make sure I’m sampling correctly before I start making other changes.
Any help would be appreciated.