Efficiency is a huge variable and can even change from recipe to recipe.
It has a lot to do with your process and your ingredients but a few things you can do to help with efficiency include;
- Crush your grain slightly finer
- Make sure your mash pH is between 5.2-5.6
- Ensure you have enough base malt in your recipe to fully convert any specialty grain
- Make sure you mash in thoroughly, all grain should be soaked and there should be no dry clumps. Every 20 minutes, turn off the recirculation and stir the grainbed
- Make sure you sparge slowly, allow the water to drain fully when you first pull the grain basket up and then start your sparge, never allowing the water to build up too much on top of the perforated plate.
- Your sparge water should be at 75°C (167°F)
- Include a mash out – the effect on efficiency of a mash out is low but can help you get a few extra points.
It's a combination of these things that will help improve your efficiency so just trial different things until you find your maximum efficiency.
If it is quite low, see further information here - Your efficiency could be low for a number of reasons.
Gravity is measured in the amount of fermentable sugar present in the wort, these are made available through choosing your grain bill, milling and mashing.
- Make sure that your crush is correct - a medium crush is recommended, you also need to make sure that the grains you are using have the correct diastatic capacity for what you are wanting to make.
- Make sure you are recirculating the whole time during the mash and that you are using the correct mash temp. The sparging process should last at least 20 minutes. Anything less will result in a lower OG since the grains will not be fully rinsed, and you will risk leaving fermentable sugars in the spent grain. Also, make sure the sparge water is 75°C (167°F). Sparging at this temperature will ensure that the residual sugars in the mash are collected efficiently since the sugar will dissolve into the sparge water more easily.
- We recommend to push the top plate to gently rest on the grain bed, do not press too hard as this will compact your grain bed and impair proper flow. Use a jug to pour the sparge water over the top plate, make sure to at all times have a 2 cm water level above the plate - doing this will maintain grain bed integrity whilst adding enough pressure to rinse out to sugars.