Does Efficiency Really Matter?

Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:16 pm

I noticed in the Gallery that Jon posted his I.P.A. recipe. He used 26# of Britsh 2 row along with 4# of other malts.
The amount of grains in this bill calculate out at a 1.060.
That is a 57% efficiency!
At 75% efficiency SG would be 1.079.

My question is this....

Is 1.060 with 26# of 2 row(57% efficiency) the same taste, flavor, & body as 1.060 with 19# of 2 row (75% efficiency)?

I know there are many variables that make up efficiency. It just seems to me that a brewer would not really be getting the best of the goodies out at 57%. Any thoughts?

p.s. Jon this is not an attack on your brewing capabilites, you, or your methods at all. I was just concerned when I calculated your recipe. By the way jon at that efficency your IBU count was 118.9. I totally approve.

Carlo
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hopbumpingbrewer
 
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Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:56 am

I don't worry too much about efficiency. I usually get somewhere within 5% +/- 65%. I spend a lot more time striving to hit the target gravity for a given recipe, than trying to get an extra N% out of my grain. It's not quite no-sparge, but it leans in that direction. Pushing the effeciency too high puts you at greater risk for astringent off flavors from over-extracting.
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nahthanS
 
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Tue Nov 29, 2005 11:42 am

I think that you are right. I did some more research on the matter and found that to be true. I appreciate your response. It all helps.
Carlo
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hopbumpingbrewer
 
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Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:05 pm

Knowing your efficiency is good for only one thing; formulation development. It doesn't matter if you're at 55 or 75% as long as you know where you are and that it is relatively consistent. If you are varying by +/- 5% from batch to batch, then there's something in your process that isn't consistent. Once you know your system's efficiency, you can use that to calculate your grain bills.

There are reports that first runnings result in tastier wort/beer than with a full sparge. I suspect that some of that is rumor from the early days of brewing when the sparge gravity or pH wasn't watched very carefully. I would have to see definitive experiments to determine if there is a true difference or if it's a very large difference.

BTW, the easiest way to change your efficiency is through the crush of the malt. My LHBS is notorius for having a 55% efficiency crush. That prompted me to buy my own mill and now I get 75%.
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Danno
 
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Re: Does Efficiency Really Matter?

Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:51 pm

hopbumpingbrewer wrote:I know there are many variables that make up efficiency. It just seems to me that a brewer would not really be getting the best of the goodies out at 57%. Any thoughts?


There is probably very little flavor and stability difference between 80% and 50%. However, flavor and stability is said to improve as efficiency goes down. Less tannin extraction, etc.

It is really only the brewers interested in $$$ that might think the reverse is true.

Personally, I prefer not to try and get a high efficiency. I prefer to get a consistent efficiency that I can repeat every time. I target 70% as a good balance.
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jamilz
 
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Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:31 pm

I have heard that getting above 80% can be detrimental. However, I was getting confused hearing about guys like Dogfishhead Brewing that say that they are looking forward to getting 90% on their new equipment.

Perhaps you all can see my confusion.

I really appreciate the discussion, I rarely see brewhouse efficiency discussed except to figure out how to get it calculated.

Thanks everyone for your input.

Carlo
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hopbumpingbrewer
 
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Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:53 pm

I'd imagine that for a commercial brewer, efficiency truly is king. Lower efficiencies are wasted dollars for those guys, and a bit more pucker in the final product is probably worth the trade-off. For a home brewer, lower efficiency costs a buck or two in extra grain.
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jaydub
 
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Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:47 pm

I don't think 70-75 percent is much of a difference, maybe a couple of bucks of grains.

I would be concerned at 50 percent

Dogger
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