Most home brewers love talking about their brewing efficiency. Most often this referring to the amount of extract they get out of the potential the grain they use offers. Most often this is a figure between 70-85%, however you can get 90’s and theoretically above 100% even, but that needs a mash press like the one Coopers use. To me this is an important measure of efficiency that impacts on my brewing but not a key driver, or even something that I really strive towards. I make assumptions on it to help formulate a recipe but that’s about it. I don’t care if its 70%, grain is cheap and its only homebrew (this isn’t an attitude that can flow through to going commercial mind you).
Taken from my good friends at Wikipedia – Efficiency in general describes the extent to which time, effort or cost is well used for the intended task or purpose. Time and effort are my key measures of efficiency. As previously blogged I have a 4 hr round trip to brew. This sucks kind off and removes the ability to brew on a whim. It also gives my beer one hell of a carbon foot print, or beer miles. So when I am there I am there to brew and get home. I still like a good brew day, its my Zen time after all, but I like to do it efficiently.
Yesterday I put out a 40l batch of pale ale and a 27l batch of a US amber in 4.5 hours from go to wo. From turning on the hot water to closing the door on the woolshed. That is a so far by most efficient brew day, my best measure of efficiency. And I think I’ll end up with a few kegs of decent beer for a cousins upcoming 21st b’day party. Win’s all round.
I am a well oiled machine (well I was yesterday).
I have my cheats, but only ones that wont hurt the beer, shortened mash and boil times, and a runoff speed that would make some home brewers say “but what about the efficiency!” as for my boil time! it needs to be 90 minutes! Bugger that I say, my time is money, work or leisure, my efficient use of time is my real measure. And I feel really good knocking out a couple of batches in the time I hear some people take for one batch. I do however have further to go, a mate is doing 20 minute mash and boil. I like it but I’m not there quite yet, well not with these recipes anyway.
Oh and it was a good brew day, however I realised that I stuffed up. I didn’t make a stout. I think there is probably some kind of rule that you should only brew stout on StPats day, poor planning on my behalf. Damn it I didn’t event have a stout (well any beer for that matter) yesterday. I need to brew some stout I think, perhaps that can be a 20/20 beer?
PS – having some good conversations RE purchasing a rather large fermenter and making some beer for real, at that stage all my previous comments RE efficiency will probably go out the window 🙂