Author Topic: Conversion Efficiency  (Read 578 times)

Offline Eric19312

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Conversion Efficiency
« on: November 12, 2019, 07:37:47 AM »
Mash efficiency is presented in BS as a blended conversion efficiency and lauter efficiency.  Many brewers watch gravity in the mash tun before starting lauter/sparge.  Beersmith seems almost designed to support this use but not quite there. 

I would set the conversion mash target at 100% in settings and present under "mash efficiency" estimated (based on 100% conversion) and measured pre sparge mash gravity.  Then total mash + lauter efficiency would show up under volume and gravity in boiler.

This would help brewers diagnose low mash efficiency.  We see questions from brewers with low mash efficiency all the time on homebrewtalk and everyone piles on with their favorite fix...problem is they rarely even know if their issue is conversion or lautering.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 09:21:49 AM »
That's a pretty advanced technique and valid in pro brewing. The challenge is relating it all to several other factors, as well.

I actually Kai's first wort chart to measure conversion. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/File:First_wort_gravity.gif

I vourloff until I'm at or very near the gravity outlined, then sparge. It will vary a little based on malts used and pH.

In my experience, there is a lot of variation based on mash tun geometry and wort velocity through the grain bed. The very common keggle shape represents a mash bed that's taller than it is wide, which means the flow is faster along the kettle wall than the center. The sugar extraction tends to resemble a bullet shape. These designs are where batch sparging has a huge impact on improving extraction over fly sparge.

The next issue is wort velocity (which is different than flow rate) through the grain bed. The pressure differential between the mash and under the false bottom, plus the weight of the water column create wide variations in extraction. Again, a mash geometry issue, not strictly an efficiency issue. 

I'd like to see a first wort prediction in BeerSmith, but it's not mission critical to me. I think it would net out as just one more thing for new brewers to worry about that becomes a distinction without a difference.

You and I are probably together on the ideal of maximizing mash efficiency. Over the years, I've given up on preaching about it because outside of pro brewing, the economics of ingredients is mostly irrelevant.
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Offline Oginme

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 09:41:52 AM »
I agree with what Brewfun has said.  I use Kai's spreadsheet to calculate conversion efficiency every so often just to check my system and it would be nice to have BeerSmith do those calculations for me.  It is certainly a nice feature to have but in reality I would bet that 99% of the BeerSmith users would scratch their heads over it. 
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Offline Eric19312

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 11:10:18 AM »
Yes I am also using Kai's table for the number and doing an extrapolation if I don't land right on a cell value.  Thats annoying when BS could do it quite easily. 

Also, Kai's site confuses many with the different definition of brewhouse efficiency Kai quotes as compared to what BS and Brewer's Friend use.  Kai states Brew House Efficiency = Conversion Efficiency x Lauter Efficiency.  Both BS and BF incorporate mash, lauter and kettle losses into definition of brewhouse efficiency.  I'm not sure which is technically right but believe the BS method is more useful and happy to see it that way.

BS does however confusingly provide cells for Post Mash Gravity and Pre-Boil Gravity.  What is difference?  Really why is it like that and how are you supposed to use those cells?  I think one of these cells could quite easiliy be turned into pre-sparge gravity pretty easily.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 12:29:38 PM »


BS does however confusingly provide cells for Post Mash Gravity and Pre-Boil Gravity.  What is difference?  Really why is it like that and how are you supposed to use those cells?  I think one of these cells could quite easiliy be turned into pre-sparge gravity pretty easily.

Actually, the post mash vs. pre-boil gravity readings are quite reasonable when you have a number of brewers who add sugars, extracts, or other fermentables after the mash and before or at the very beginning of the boil. 
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Offline Eric19312

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2019, 01:00:23 PM »


BS does however confusingly provide cells for Post Mash Gravity and Pre-Boil Gravity.  What is difference?  Really why is it like that and how are you supposed to use those cells?  I think one of these cells could quite easiliy be turned into pre-sparge gravity pretty easily.

Actually, the post mash vs. pre-boil gravity readings are quite reasonable when you have a number of brewers who add sugars, extracts, or other fermentables after the mash and before or at the very beginning of the boil.

OK I can see that.  Perhaps for brewers that take a post mash gravity reading and then add extract in the kettle to correct to target.  It's a long time since I used extract those cells always seem (are actually) duplicative to me.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 01:22:54 PM »
I use it on a regular basis for english recipes where I am adding sugar to the boil or some pre-prohibition recipes with molasses.  It is not as uncommon as you might think.
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Offline Eric19312

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2019, 01:29:22 PM »
I add sugar to recipes all the time too.  IPAs and Belgians mostly.  But when I do it is almost always at the end of the boil to improve hop utilization and/or to preserve any flavor I was hoping the sugar would bring to the beer (thinking of belgian candi or honey here).  So in these cases pre boil gravity is still exactly the same as post mash gravity.

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Conversion Efficiency
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2019, 03:05:54 PM »


BS does however confusingly provide cells for Post Mash Gravity and Pre-Boil Gravity.  What is difference?  Really why is it like that and how are you supposed to use those cells?  I think one of these cells could quite easiliy be turned into pre-sparge gravity pretty easily.

Actually, the post mash vs. pre-boil gravity readings are quite reasonable when you have a number of brewers who add sugars, extracts, or other fermentables after the mash and before or at the very beginning of the boil.

OK I can see that.  Perhaps for brewers that take a post mash gravity reading and then add extract in the kettle to correct to target.  It's a long time since I used extract those cells always seem (are actually) duplicative to me.

I make English recipes from Ron Pattinson on a regular basis that utilize invert sugars so I use the post mash/pre boil measurements quite often.
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