Perfecting Your Brewhouse Efficiency in BeerSmith

by Brad Smith on April 28, 2020 · 0 comments

This week I take a look at how you can use BeerSmith brewing software to adjust the brewhouse efficiency for your individual equipment setup.

Understanding Brewhouse Efficiency

Brewhouse efficiency is simply a measure of how efficient your all grain brewing system is at converting pounds (or kilograms) of grains into Original Gravity (OG) points going into the fermenter. Each malt you mash in your system has a theoretical yield or potential, usually listed as the fine grain dry yield, which is derived under laboratory conditions.

Real world brewing systems don’t typically achieve the laboratory yield due to various losses, but they do achieve a percentage of the ideal number. That percentage, as measured by the OG going into the fermenter, is the overall brewhouse efficiency. Typically this is a number between 70-80% though some systems are outside that range.

As a side note the brewhouse efficiency is different from the mash efficiency. Mash efficiency only measures how efficient the mash process is and not the rest of the system.

Brewhouse Efficiency in BeerSmith

In BeerSmith, the brewhouse efficiency is set as part of your equipment profile and also appears near the name on the main recipe design screen as “BH Efficiency”. If you don’t know the efficiency of your system you can guess to begin with – starting with a number around 72% should get you close. You also want to make sure the rest of your equipment profile reflects the actual volumes and losses used in your system.

Next you need to brew your beer, recording the volumes and gravities as you go. If you open your recipe and go to the session tab, there are spaces to enter the measured values. The most important ones are measured volumes (pre-boil, batch size) and measured gravities (measured OG, measured pre-boil gravity).

If you have entered these measured values you can now compare them to the volumes you had from your equipment profile. If the volumes and gravities are accurate you can also compare your efficiencies under the Brewhouse Efficiency title on the Session tab. Here you will find out how close your measured efficiency was to the number you had estimated in the equipment profile.

Before you brew again, you can go in and adjust your brewhouse efficiency to match your measured. However, I would also urge you to check the measured volumes vs estimated. If your volumes are significantly off it will have a large effect on your efficiency, so you may need to adjust the volumes first and brew again before making a final adjustment to your brewhouse efficiency. Your goal is to brew a few batches and slowly adjust your equipment profile until both the volumes and efficiency numbers match up!

So that is a quick summary of how you can adjust your equipment profile and brewhouse efficiency to match your equipment in BeerSmith. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube) for more great tips on homebrewing.

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