Planning for Efficiency

Planning to brew Off the Topper All Grain kit this weekend. I plugged the recipe into my brewing software and it looks like I would need to hit 80% efficiency to get to 1.070 OG. This is my second attempt and my first attempt came out at 60% efficiency. I have some planned tweaks to improve that but should I run over to my LHBS and grab some extra grain or DME to have on hand just in case or just let it roll and see how it turns out?


Are you sure you considered the sugar that is added to the recipe as well? I don’t think any NB recipes are designed for 80% efficiency.

If you know you got about 60% efficiency the first time, then it stands to reason that you will get about 60% efficiency again. Go get some more grain or add sugar, or you will miss the mark. It’s extremely unlikely for anyone to get 80% efficiency with a 1.070 beer. My average efficiency has been as high as 90%… but that’s for about a 1.055 beer. With 1.070, I can only hit upper 70s unless I sparge like mad and boil for several hours. Not the best option IMHO. Just use more malt.

Go get some light DME or sugar and be ready.

I brewed this last week and had the same problem. Pre-boil gravity was a bit lower than expected. Added the extra DME I had available to the boil and my gravity before pitching was 1.071. Good enough for me.

Also, I read someone post here that adding DME to it may reduce its fermentability, so sugar added in the boil may be a better option. In this beer, you want to accentuate the hops and not the malt characteristics. I will have to see what happens. I didn’t know this, so just added the light DME I had available.

Oops, in adding the bazillion hops I totally forgot the Brun Leger! :oops: Thanks for the correction. That gets it to 75% efficiency needed for 1.070. I have made some tweaks to my system and am hoping/shooting for a goal of 70% on this batch. Should I nab some more soft candi sugar to be safe rather than DME?


Pick up some kind of sugar or malt extract. Average efficiency for a 1.070 beer is around 60-65% for most brewers.

I agree.

I did the same you did. I plugged everything into beersmith and used my normal eff of 70%. When I took a pre-boil gravity sample, I came out low. I used a calculator online to find out how much DME I needed to add, since I had plenty on hand. Added it to the boil, and after cooling I took a sample and was good. Flavor profile may be different due to my use of DME instead of sugar, but oh well. I say you try using table sugar and see how it turns out, maybe we can compare! :slight_smile:

Although crush is the primary variable, dialing in pH with BNW should give you a bump in efficiency. To me 60% is too low but pretty good out of the gate. While I think it is smart to plan ahead for lack of efficiency, I would continue to refine my process until I was hitting 70%. House IPA is 1.07ish and I hit 80% with a 30m mash, no mash out, and single batch sparge. Side benefit to dialing pH is that the beer will taste better…

As an update, brewed this on Saturday and plugged my numbers into my software and got 52% efficiency and started to panic about how I had possibly made it worse. After I got the boil going, I ran inside and plugged my numbers into the brewers friend site to confirm and realized that my software was taking into account the 1 lb of Brun leger which doesn’t go in till flame out. I hosed that up twice on the same recipe trying to figure things out. :lol: The good news is I got 74% efficiency which I am very happy with.

I tightened up the gap on my mill and mashed at 1.5 qts/lb. I nailed 151 for starting temp but dropped to 147 by the end of the hour mash. I checked on it a few times over the hour which I know I shouldn’t have done so hopefully I’ll be able to hold that temp a bit better next time. I did stir the mash before the initial vorlauf. I didn’t do a mashout on this batch so I’m not sure if I needed to do that or not. I also completely forgot to shut the valve before adding my sparge water and stirring it all in so once I realized it, I closed the valve up to a quarter and did a very small vorlauf because it was already mostly clear by that point, hopefully that won’t cause any issues with the finished beer. :oops: