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Target Mash Efficiency and Brewhouse Efficiencies

Hi all. So I have done a few all grain recipes on my all grain single tier that I built. I have learned a ton and my product is getting much better with each brew session. My question is, What is your target mash efficiency and what is your target brewhouse efficiency? I’ve been reading where people are boasting 80 and 90% efficiencies and I wonder if they are talking brewhouse or mash. At this point, I can’t imagine a brewhouse efficiency as high as those figures so i was thinking they have to be talking about mash efficiency. Please let me know. Cheers.

My brewhouse can hit 90+% without much trouble. I have no idea what my exact mash efficiency is except that it is apparently around the 90s.

Consistency trumps all. If I can predict and execute results, I have science on my side. I am always in the low 80’s, and at the scale I brew at, I’m happy. Because I can predict the results consistently.

I only ever consider mash efficiency then design my recipe to hit a target volume. I never actually calculate brewhouse efficiency because I have no idea how to make it a useful number and it is going to bounce around depending on variables that have nothing to do with the mash, like how much hops go into the recipe and how much beer I’m able to siphon out of a fermenter. However, my mash efficiency is always the same (give or take a percent or two) for a given range of OGs.

Kai Troester’s Batch Sparge Simulator spreadsheet
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Batch_Sparge_and_Party_Gyle_Simulator
is a great tool for predicting what you can expect from your system and for determining where losses occur due to poor conversion of lautering, allowing you to target those areas if you choose to optimize your efficiency. When I first analyzed my system, I found that my conversion was rather poor. I didn’t like the idea of having unconverted starch around and I was getting cloudy beer, so I learned how to get complete conversion on my system. That just happened to increase my efficiency.

Kai’s spreadsheet will demonstrate that what efficiency you can expect depends on your sparge technique, your target gravity, your tun design and how successful you are at getting the grain to convert.

[quote=“Slothrob”]I only ever consider mash efficiency then design my recipe to hit a target volume. I never actually calculate brewhouse efficiency because I have no idea how to make it a useful number and it is going to bounce around depending on variables that have nothing to do with the mash, like how much hops go into the recipe and how much beer I’m able to siphon out of a fermenter. However, my mash efficiency is always the same (give or take a percent or two) for a given range of OGs.

Kai Troester’s Batch Sparge Simulator spreadsheet
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Batch_Sparge_and_Party_Gyle_Simulator
is a great tool for predicting what you can expect from your system and for determining where losses occur due to poor conversion of lautering, allowing you to target those areas if you choose to optimize your efficiency. When I first analyzed my system, I found that my conversion was rather poor. I didn’t like the idea of having unconverted starch around and I was getting cloudy beer, so I learned how to get complete conversion on my system. That just happened to increase my efficiency.

Kai’s spreadsheet will demonstrate that what efficiency you can expect depends on your sparge technique, your target gravity, your tun design and how successful you are at getting the grain to convert.[/quote]
Thanks for posting that link Slothrob! Great info. I’ve been struggling with how efficiency effects the final product. It’s one of the things that has be bouncing back and forth between BIAB and my cheap n’ easy MT.

I get ridiculously high efficiency with my BIAB beers and that’s not boasting just what it is. I’m happy with the beer I make from both but I want consistent, predictable results. Part of that is I need to have more accurate/consistent water/wort measurements. Right now I use a plastic pitcher to measure water and a marked spoon and marks on the carboy for wort measurement.

To the OP: your target should be what you can reproduce consistently as someone mentioned above. Lots of people make great beers with efficiencies in the 70s. Agree that mash efficiency is the area to focus on.

I agree it is about what you can do consistently, but i’m not at that point. I’m still trying to figure out the nuances of my system as well as learning how to all grain brew. My most recent batch had a mash efficiency of 77%; however, my brewhouse efficiency was a mere 61%. I am very happy with this though as it represents a vast improvement over my first batch which suffered from multiple disasters. I have been reviewing my system and I think i know where my adjustments are as my last batch achieved boil volume but left batch sparge runnings in the mash tun. I also failed to account for the fact that while i have 5.25 gallons in the carboy, that i still had about a 1/4 gallon sitting in my cfc, pump lines, and in the trub at the bottom of my boil kettle. I think that correcting these issues will help with my efficiency. FWIW, i think brewhouse efficiency is much more important for people using brew sculptures with cfc chillers as opposed to more simple methods as BIAB.

Also, FWIW, i totally love doing all grain and i love my brew sculpture despite the somewhat unnecessary complexity that it adds.

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