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Mash Inefficiency

Son and I had terrible efficiency in the first of two batches (DNERIPA) brewed earlier this week with the second (NB Brut DryPA) batch dead on. The DNERIPA was supposed to end up about 1.100 per BeerSmith but ended up about 1.080.

We’ve had problems in the past and corrected them with tweaks to our process and have run 75-80% efficiency since. We’ve never adjust water chemistry (on a great well). Milled the grain ourselves and it looked fine. Volumes looked good. Checked temp at mash-in and at the end and we lost 3< degrees. I’ve thought about the day and am at a loss. I’ll probably cue this exact recipe up again and see what happens.

What do you look for in hindsight when it comes to efficiency problems? Do you ever have one-off “bad runs”?

The R is for Rye? Was there a lot? Did you use rice hulls? I had a brew a few batches ago that wasn’t as good as it could have been efficiency sake because I was lazy and skipped my sparge in my BIAB setup.

1# each of Flaked Rye, Flaked Wheat, and Rice Hulls. I accidentally milled the Flaked Rye but not the rice hulls or flaked oats. We mashed for 60 minutes then recirced and stirred it for 10 minutes before running off into the kettle. We added sparge and recirced that for 10 minutes while stirring before running off too.

Are you sure about the volume? Are you using the same brand of malt? Is your scales and testing equipment accurate? Atmospheric pressure,weather ? That’s a big difference though. Big beers everything is exaggerated and efficiently often goes down from what I’ve read. Actually I think Brad Smith just wrote about that in his newsletter

Positive on volumes, not so much on malt. Sourced the 2 row from 2 different LHBSs. I’ve been playing with the recipe in BS and when I take all the adjuncts out the efficiency lines up. I can adjust the 2 row and do the same thing. I didn’t weigh the wheat and 8# of the 2 row personally so that’s one potential. I’ll look for Brad’s newsletter.

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Could it be if you use a refracometer. Not calibrated correct

Big brews I have to adjust my efficiency down wards… Old malt… the same thing…
I’ve come to a conclusion… As we mash with smaller amount, the isn’t as much pressure on the grain… As we up the weight, there becomes more head pressure… Does it mean there becomes too much expected of the hot liquor? I suspect so… I can’t explain my reasoning, not being a rocket scientist, but you still have the same volume of hot liquor… That becomes the vehicle for all the reactions occurring during the mash… Too much going on, well, the hot liquor just can’t transport that much activity…
I haven’t tried it yet, but I wonder about doing an overnight mash with a big grain bill… Sneezles61

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Makes sense. As liquid gets saturated efficiency goes down. I’d adjust down from higher gravity and find your sweet spot and build your recipes accordingly

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If that’s the case then a thinner mash- 2 qts./#? Is dilution the solution?

Didn’t believe it so measured with two refractometers and a hydrometer. Unfortunately they all agreed.

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Worth experimenting

Since I brew in a basket, I use my full amount right from the git-go… I still seem to suffer some efficiency… So, I will go back to an over night mash… heck, even just a longer mash may help. I like Brew Cats idea best… Sneezles61

@sneezles61 is correct. Since you are using more grain compared to water (using the same amount) you can’t extract all the sugars.

You can either plan for a lower efficiency and calculate more malt addition or add extract to the BK to reach the desired SG.

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I learned something new so I may go home… Thanks all!!

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Me on the first all grain brew. Was having issue. Did solve it with dme during brew. After thinking lots on how to solve this. Because me have to ship everything in by boat. And think its a waste of dme. What i use for my starters. I create a recipy. Do my mash calculation. And add 1 lbs base malt. More than what the recipy tells me. Seems to work.

Noodled on this a bit and was thinking either a looser mash or split the grist and do concurrent mashes, generate more wort and longer boil. Probably cheaper in the long run to just add DME.

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Or scale your recipe on your big beers to say 70%

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What I would do when I first started was to take a preboil reading then I would know if I needed to add DME

I did and I did but I didn’t. :dizzy_face: I’ll definitely have a plan next time for sure!

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You know you can add it to the fermenter if it bothers you.

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