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What Brew House Efficiency to strive for?

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Trying to get a handle on this...so please coach me along if I am off base.

I made a hoppy wheat beer with BIAB so I grind (I have a MM3 mill) pretty fine.  I adjusted my water salts and ph, test during the mash and have 5.29 ph.  All good, and I take a reading of 1.040 with this pre-boil volume by taking the volume now in my kettle, the grain bill and plug this in with 1.040 and got 85% pre-boil efficiency.

Then comes the boil and I am making a hoppy beer with several ounces of hops and a dual step whirlpool.  I have losses of course including boil off, hop trub losses and also I lost some in my chugger pump and hoses with slight spillage.  I was very exact with my measurements and gravity readings, but went from 85% mash efficiency all the way down to 77.5% brew house efficiency into fermenter.

I tried my best to be super careful, I ground finely and did all I know to do to control my efficiency.  Of course I was disappointed for my efficiency to drop from 85% all the way to 77.5% but is this typical or normal?  I am not hung up on numbers, but I am trying to dial in for consistency sakes and for a solid number to use in BeerSmith recipe builder.

Thanks!
 

jtoots

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I'm no expert on this topic, but what I know is that "brew house efficiency" takes into account all losses.  This, not to be confused with "mash efficiency" (aka what you call "pre-boil efficiency?  I think they'd be the same thing...), can be improved by reducing those losses you referred to (loss to trub, what's left in hoses, losses in fermenters, etc).  So I think you're on the right track, don't get hung up on a higher efficiency but focus on being consistent so that your predicted numbers come close to your actual numbers. 

For me, I just want to make sure that (1) my predicted gravity numbers are close to actual and (2) I have enough volume to fill a keg without trying to wring every last drop out of the process.  So I personally lean towards higher losses to trub etc. (ie a lower brew house efficiency) because I'd rather dump a half gallon than come up short.

Hope this casual 2 cents helps a bit.
 

BOB357

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What jtoots said. Efficiency is a minor concern on the home brewing level. On a professional level it's a big thing.
 

Oginme

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Let's put this into perspective.  Most recipes published are written for total efficiency of 65% to 70%.  Even with your post mash losses, you are still above the curve!  If there is somewhere to focus on to improve, it would be on cutting down on your losses post boil.
 

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I really wasn't sure what other folks got for efficiency, and wasn't sure if mine was acceptable or not.  Apparently I am doing better than I thought at first.  It just made me feel like something was going wrong at first.

Along with your replies, I also read Brad's BeerSmith post and he states my numbers are at least average if not a bit better than some.  I don't think I can do much about the boil off losses, but maybe a bit less spillage will make a difference.  If I lost a quart of wort in the pump and minor spillage, that small amount (.25 gallon) makes a pretty big difference in the numbers at the end.

Thanks to all for your support! 
 
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