Improvements in efficiency

saisonI have been frustrated recently with some apparent reductions in my brewhouse efficiency. I’ve been striving to continually improve my processes, and it has seemingly been decreasing my efficiency. That’s a tough thing to realize for the beginning brewer.

Fortunately, this week I read a couple articles that brought to light some corrections to my process which helped this weekend, and I achieved a 20% improvement in efficiency.

The first lesson I learned was to make sure that you adjust your gravity reading for temperature. I had read, and been practicing, that you should stop sparging your mash after the gravity reaches 1.008. This number is much lower, closer to 1.000 if your sparge water is 170F. I had stopped my sparging early on a number of occasions, trying not to over-sparge my grains.

Lesson number two was to make sure that your mash isn’t too thick. I had been using a 1:1 ratio of  quarts of water to pounds of grain in my mash. I upped it to 1.4:1 this time, which has the added benefit of increased thermal stability due to an increase in overall mass.

This week’s recipe was a Saison that came together as a result of ingredients on-hand.

Actual OG: 1.070
Volume At Pitching: 6.25 US gals
Expected OG: 1.056 SG
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

UK Pale Ale Malt 11lb 0oz (84.6 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Munich Malt 1lb 0oz (7.7 %) In Mash/Steeped
German CaraMunich II 1lb 0oz (7.7 %) In Mash/Steeped

Tettnang (5.5 % alpha) 1.75 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 60 Min From End
Tettnang (5.5 % alpha) 1.75 oz Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off

Yeast: Fermentis T-58

Mash at 148 degF for 60 mins

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