Strong consumer demand for new and interesting beers has created an opportunity for craft brewers, driving tremendous growth in the crowded craft market. Craft beer revolves around one main goal: creating the tastiest beer. Craft brewers invest a significant amount of time in selecting the best ingredients available and optimizing their breweries to create the best flavors. However, this pursuit of excellence comes at the expense of time, cost, and efficiency. In this article, ACE Craft will explore the causes of inefficiencies in beer brewing and provide strategies to prevent them.
Determining Brewery Efficiency
To begin, let’s define mash efficiency, which measures how much potential fermentable material is converted into wort by considering specific gravity and target volume. There are several key calculations:
- Brewhouse efficiency = actual grain extract / potential grain extract
- Actual grain extract = wort volume in liters * specific gravity in sg * Plato / 100
- Potential grain extract = weight of grist in kilograms * fine grind extract %
How to Improve Beer Brewing Efficiency
The three main processes affecting beer brewing efficiency are milling, mashing, and filtration. Additionally, the quality of ingredients used plays a crucial role.
Premium MaltUsing high-quality malt can significantly improve efficiency. The size of the barley grains is carefully selected to ensure better milling and achieve a better ratio between the inner flour and outer shell. The difference between ground and ground extracts also affects efficiency. High-friability malts are easier to grind. However, brewers should be cautious with enzymatic energy and protein levels, as they can impact beer flavor and consistency.
MillingWhen using premium malt, it is important to pay attention to the milling process. Proper milling should result in minimal flour production while effectively separating the inner flour from the kernel’s outer shell. Grinding too fine can lead to excessive flour and a broken husk, creating a compact filter bed that is difficult to manage. Coarser grinding strikes a balance between conversion efficiency and filtration.
Mash PlanThe length of rest periods and the temperature during mashing play a crucial role in conversion efficiency. Longer rest periods and higher temperatures promote faster conversions. The specific mash rest temperature depends on the mash schedule, rest time, target decay, and malt capacity. Different temperatures will not affect efficiency but can influence the final beer’s flavor.
InjectionAllowing enough time for the water to extract all the sugar from the grain bed is essential. The jet time can range from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. The temperature should be at least as high as the last mashing step. After sparging or mashing, manual sparging should be performed within 20 minutes. Dripping wort should be transferred to the boiling pot four times, at five-minute intervals. It is important to adjust the spray water’s pH to 6.4.
Add SugarIf the desired gravity is not achieved, adding some sugar is an option. While this may be considered cheating in some circumstances, it is part of the tradition for Belgian beers.
Drainage OptionsAfter brewing, there may still be hot wort remaining in the hop tank, which can be added to the fermenter. However, it is important not to add yeast immediately to avoid killing the cells due to the heat. The “Leave Sediment” option allows for approximately 3L of wort to remain in the tank during drainage. If you wish to minimize sediment in the tank, the Drain-All option can be utilized.
Filtration EfficiencyFiltration aims to extract as much extract as possible from the malt meal. The efficiency and speed of filtration largely depend on the sieve plate. Using a larger housing volume will increase the filtration rate. Also, maintaining a loose grain bed by minimizing agitation during mashing and avoiding excessive grinding helps maintain filtration efficiency. Gradually increasing the filtration rate can prevent channeling.
Embrace Craft Beer with ACE Craft
The above explanations provide insights from ACE engineers on how to improve brewing efficiency. If you’re planning to open a craft brewery and brew delicious beer, you can rely on ACE Craft for a comprehensive turnkey beer solution. We offer complete beer brewing equipment systems ranging from 50L to 5000L and provide professional customization services and related beer equipment solutions. ACE Craft looks forward to collaborating with you!
If you’re interested in a turnkey solution for your brewery equipment, whether it’s opening a new brewery or expanding an existing one, feel free to contact us directly. Our engineers will design and manufacture brewery equipment tailored to your brewing process. We also provide complete turnkey solutions and customized options for brewery expansion projects.