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Target Gravity

I am an all grain brewer. Started from extract. Brewing 9 years.
I seem to be 10 points off target gravity from a given recipe.
I have added an extra pound of base grain sometimes 2.
I mash in at 152 degrees and only lose 4 degrees.
I have done loose mash and tight mash and seem to get same result.
My beer is still good but I wonder what if anything I am doing wrong.
My extract brews seem to be right on target.
Have my own grain mill. Mash tun is a 5 gal igloo.
Grain fresh from my homebrew store.
Do I use PH papers or Tincture of iodine ?
I dont know enough about PH electronics to make a purchase or what to help this.
Any help appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

What eff are you estimating?

sorry don’t understand reply

You need to calculate your own efficiency. Then you can see how your system compares to the system the recipe was formulated with and make changes to the recipe to match your own efficiency.

Hi Denny.
I have talked to local brew store about eff. I also understand that same store does not brew but supplies this community.
All i have read includes PH . But local store claims electronic PH meters don’t work.(think he has been burned) his suggestion is higher mash temp. Again all my
reading suggests I am well within mash temps. And temp loss is minimal.
All my reading points me to tincture of iodine.
I take gravity of mash and it is well within all guidelines .
Look I have come from all extract to full grain. I have my own grain mill which makes me look at grain crush all the way to mash temp and or sparge temp.
Can you give me a suggestion to check eff?
My problem is consistent no matter grain no matter mash temp no matter sparge.
I do not want to add DME to make it “right”
Thanks for your time.

Denny ,
please feel free to post or email me direct.
I am on long island.

I have been the teacher for kids in my local union.
Got 3 prolific brewers.
But can’t figure out my own problem.
And all the books suggest the same. :ad 1 pound of grain.
I don’t think that is my answer.
Thanks in advance for your time.

Next time try mashing with RO water that contains a teaspoon of calcium chloride. If its a darker beer, add a tsp of calcium carbonate (chalk).

The iodine test is useless, it only tells you if the finely ground starch is gone not whether the bigger chunks are converted.

To check your temp get a second thermometer, a cheap little dial job is fine for checking.

Stir your mash every 15min, you should be able to see it going from opaque to more clear and brown.

Maybe try a decoction mash, that improves efficiency. I get a 5% bump when I do one. YOu should be able to get 75% with single infusion though.

Set your mill to get a good crush with plenty of flour.
Thats about all I can think of in the way of advice for someone who is getting crappy efficiency.

Hi Keith,

Sounds like we’re in the same field…I’m a professional audio engineer.

Efficiency in a nutshell…Theoretically, you should get about 36 gravity points from a lb. of grain in a gal. of water if you have 100% efficiency an d are able to extract all the sugar from it. But that never happens! So, if you got 27 gravity units in that situation, you would have extracted 75% of the sugar and have 75% efficiency. Every recipe you read is based on the efficiency of the system of the person of who formulated the recipe. Often time the recipe will list the efficiency that was used to create it. Once you know the efficiency of your own system, you know if you need to scale a recipe up or down so that you can accurately recreate it. It’s a key concept to brewing other recipes and keeping your own brewing consistent. This probably explains it better than I can… . Read through it, then get back to us with more questions.

As to pH, yeah, it can be a factor, but it’s not the first thing you should be looking at. And electronic pH meters are great!

You mention your union…I’m in IATSE Local 675 and proud of it!

Hi Denny ,
Local 340 IATSE Long Island.
Will take your answer and give you a response as soon a as I have an answer.
I am really set up for infusion mash.
I have read mostly all the real books for brewing I know I am following procedure correctly.
I just cannot figure out where I am losing eff.
Thanks again. Email at will. Keith

Hi Denny,
Getting Palmers book today.
Thanks for your time will keep you posted.

[quote=“audio1”]Hi Denny,
Getting Palmers book today.
Thanks for your time will keep you posted.

Good to hear, Keith! Keep in touch.

Thanks to Denny and Lennie,
Sounds like a Simpsons episode !
My problem while it may grist .
I narrowed to temp.
Digital long probe from local HBS ($34) 157
Analog long probe from same store ($14)146
Digital short probe from housewares store ($9.95) 142
10 year old floating analog 150.
This is one I trust.
Time for new thermometer !!
Suggestions ?

Thanks to all who posted or viewd

I have what I think is a very similar issue and would love some advice or suggestions on correcting the issue (if it really is an issue).

My OG is always low and low by a good bit. But my FG is also always a good bit lower than the target which usually means my ABV is usually pretty close to what it should be. I’m not sure if this is a brew house issue or a measuring issue.

As an example I just kegged a batch of Denny’s Wry Smile Rye IPA. The target OG was 1.070. I had an OG of 1.056. FG target was 1.020. Mine finished at 1.002.

My set-up is all-grain, igloo cooler mash tun.

Thanks in advance.

Sounds like you both may have thermometer issues. I use bimetal dial thermometers that can be calibrated. I bought an NIST certified lab thermometer that I use only to calibrate my brewing thermometers. I calibrate them at about 150F, not boiling and freezing. I’ve seen thermometers that are on at boiling and/or freezing and way off at mash temps.

This makes it sound like your Hydrometer is off, too. It would be quite exceptional for that beer to finish anywhere near 1.002, even if your mash temperature was way low.

Kai Troester’s site give the most effective explanation of Troubleshooting Efficiency problems
. Pay particular attention to the section on Conversion Efficiency.

Kai also has a very in-depth explanation of what efficiency is and the factors that affect it

Thanks. I too think my issues are a combination of hydrometer, low mash temp, and too much water. I’m still dialing things in as I’m only on my 7th or 8th all grain batch.

On a positive note, the taste does not seem to be overly affected by missing my marks.

[quote="Swag"I too think my issues are a combination of hydrometer, low mash temp, and too much water. [/quote]
You can check your hydrometer in some water. It should read 1.000. If it reads low, you can add that to your FG to correct it.

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