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It seems most recipes out there assume 75 - 80% efficiency*. Seems sensible for homebrewer. but I consistently get 95%. I should feel lucky, but this means that I either:

  • have too much alcohol for the "amount of taste" I get, or
  • have everything too diluted to get proper percentage of alcohol.

I don't know for sure why I'm getting this high extraction. Using way too much water is a thing of the past, but efficiency did not fall down. As suggested here I sparge pretty fast now - but this is limited by my setup, and I even let someone else crush my grain using his crusher. Didn't change a thing. So I give up.

How can I adjust recipes to offset for this?

Especially for red, brown and dark beers, what to do to get as close to styles as possible with these three:

  • alcohol content
  • color
  • roasted, coffee, chocolate tastes

I can balance general maltiness with hops pretty OK, and my maltiness seems to go up with extract all right, so only the above ones are real problem now.


* In a sense used by Brewtarget, that is % of theoretical maximum yield malt can give, not % of malt weight alone.

  • Do you calculate your efficiency by hand or are you looking at a %eff derived from software. You're using brewtarget? I'm just curious. – brewchez Mar 28 '16 at 13:29
  • @brewchez BrewTarget. I look for efficiency that will give me my real life end volume and gravity. – Mołot Mar 28 '16 at 13:41
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If your brewhouse consitantly achieves 95% just use that setting in your recipe/brew software and it will cascade to the grains allowing you to reduce their wieghts to hit a target OG. This will mainly result in a reduction in the base malt, while keeping most specialty grains close to original weights.

Or you can estimate by hand, if a recipe is calculated for 70% effeciency but you get 95% you can roughly reduce your base malts by 35% to achiev the target gravity. Concider steeping the full recipe weight of specialty grains, this will extract color and flavor but little sugars.

Mash efficiency is a calculation only for sugar conversion and extraction from the grains. Higher mash effeciency doesn't effect flavor or color extraction.

Please let us know what it is your doing to get 95%, as I've only seen that on commercial systems.

  • I don't have problem with og itself. I have problem with balancing it with color (this can be fixed in BrewTarget) and roastiness etc (and this can't). For efficiency, I have my theories, I'll try to post them as separate q&a – Mołot Jan 25 '16 at 7:02
  • @Mołot brew software will account for specialty grain effects. A manual adjustment may be to just lower your base malts and then steep the whole weight of your specalty grains. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 25 '16 at 8:01
  • software can't account for taste, except ibu :( – Mołot Jan 25 '16 at 8:02
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    @Mołot it doesn't need to. Color extraction is parallel to flavor in most cases, and can be adjusted. Mash efficiency has little to do with flavor, it's a calculation on sugars. Color and flavor can't be quantified by the effeciency formula anyways. – Evil Zymurgist Jan 25 '16 at 8:13
  • Edit this into yur answer and you'll have my accept – Mołot Jan 25 '16 at 8:23
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Why dont you do a 15' out. I mean after you add the fining agent at 15' pull a sample... cool it down... and measure the gravity. if its too high add some water to your kettle to adjust the gravity into your target. once you add the water boil for a few minutes then chill.

I am also very curious on how you get 95%??? that has got to be one interesting setup. what was your last grain bill and what was your OG? What is your target amount and what is collected in your fermenter?

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