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Poor Efficiency

I’ve gotten to the point in my brewing where I feel like it’s a fairly predictable / repeatable process. But today I brewed this recipe
https://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/always-bet-on-black-3
and got significantly lower than predicted OG. I added 4g CaCl and 4g CaSO4 to help balance out the acidity of all the roasted and black malts. pH looked good. Mash temps held steady around 150F.
Any thoughts?

with that bill I came up with 1.066 OG(75% eff) what did you get. looks like a good bill may even brew it myself someday.

Yeah, I was predicting 1.066 as well; ended up at 1.055 :frowning:

Two things:

  1. Make sure you’re crushing hard enough. LHBSs are notorious for poor crushes. Double crush if necessary.
  2. Make sure you’re measuring your volumes very accurately. For example if you were supposed to end up with 5 gallons in your fermenter but you actually got 5.5 gallons, your original gravity will be 10% low (off by about 6 or 7 points).

I’ve found that it is quite easy to accidentally throw my thermometer out of whack (by accidentally rotating it) and thus throw off my mash temp by 10 degrees making for a poor conversion. Now I keep an extra pen size one around for a double check from time to time.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]Two things:

  1. Make sure you’re crushing hard enough. LHBSs are notorious for poor crushes. Double crush if necessary.[/quote]
    My crush is quite fine and I never change the roller settings and always have good efficiency.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]
2) Make sure you’re measuring your volumes very accurately. For example if you were supposed to end up with 5 gallons in your fermenter but you actually got 5.5 gallons, your original gravity will be 10% low (off by about 6 or 7 points).[/quote]
Yup, I understand the correlation between volume and gravity. I have a calibrated site gauge on my kettle.

I track my mash temps with a Thermoworks Therma-K. It’s all NIST calibrated and fancy so it should be as accurate as possible.

Whoa! I just pulled up the recipe… that’s an awful lot of specialty grains. Surely your mash pH was way too low. How did you measure it, and at what temperature? This beer may turn out on the tart side, in addition to missing the desired efficiency. The specialty malts brought your pH way down, and then you added more acidic salts on top of it. My guess is the mash pH was actually in the 4’s someplace – too low.

Ding ding ding…
you wanted to add Chalk (CaCO3) to raise the pH not gypsum and CaCl, which LOWER the pH.

Ding ding ding…
you wanted to add Chalk (CaCO3) to raise the pH not gypsum and CaCl, which LOWER the pH.[/quote]

I think you guys nailed it. I took my pH reading using a colorphast strip at about 80F. It looked a little low (between 5.0 and 5.2) but surely I must have misread it. Regardless, given all the acidic malts I should have been adding salts to raise the pH; not lower. Rookie mistake.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, not a rookie mistake… :cheers:

ya for sure, don’t feel bad. the first thing I did was look at the bill and the bell never went off in my head either. As for a quote of the day I vote for what dmtaylo2 said ." Surely your mash pH was way too low." good job dave.

Really appreciate the quick advice, guys. I can always count on this forum for solid brewing wisdom.

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