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What to Expect When You Are Extracting

Beer and Loafing NHC 2004 Las Vegas, NV

What is Extraction?

Simply: The amount of wort you get from the grain you mash and lauter, expressed as a number of some sort.

ex. 29 Points/pound/gallon

More completely: The amount of soluble extract (wort), that is extracted from the mash and lauter, usually expressed as a percentage of the total soluble extract that was obtained from a laboratory mash. i.e. extraction efficiency

Congress Mash

Named for the standardized process instituted by the European Brewing Congress (EBC) in 1975. A standard weight of finely ground malt is multi-infusion mashed over a period of nearly 2 hours. The mash is filtered thru a paper filter for a period of 1 hour and the specific gravity is measured. The % Extract, Fine Grind, As-Is is calculated from the ASBC Table for Extract Determination in Malt.

Extract: Fine Grind

The Congress mash uses finely ground malt to determine the % Extract, Fine Grind, As-Is

The fine grind allows the enzymes more access to the starches to assure full conversion. The % moisture is calculated by drying a portion of the malt in a forced air oven at 103-104C for 3 hours, and the % Extract Dry-Basis is determined.

% Extract, Fine Grind, Dry-Basis is the standard value for comparing all malts.

Extract: Coarse Grind

% Extract Coarse Grind is just what it says - a coarser grind than Fine Grind, but one that is probably finer than most homebrewers use. Coarse Grind is more representative of a typical mash and sparge could achieve. % Extract, CG, As-Is/Dry-Basis are usually only measured for primary malts, not for specialty malts.

Fine/Coarse Difference

F/C Difference is the percentage difference between the % Extract for Fine and Coarse Grinds. (As-Is or Dry Basis same difference) If the F/C difference is small (1%) then the malt is highly modified, i.e., the starches are readily convertible in the coarse ground state. A less modified malt would have a larger F/C.

Soluble/Total Nitrogen Ratio

Also known as the Kohlbach Index The ratio indicates the degree that the endosperm (carbohydrate/protein matrix) has been enzymatically unlocked (modified). To generalize*: an S/T ratio of

3036 is less-modified (Decoction)** 36-42 is well-modified (Single, Multi-Infusion) 4248 is highly-modified (Single Infusion)

*Opinions vary **Protein Rest-able

Malt Analysis Sheets

Hot Water Extract (HWE)

This is the British measure of potential extract, measured in LiterDegrees/Kilogram Single Infusion Mash vs. Congress Mash It is equivalent to Points/Pound/Gallon

i.e., GallonDegrees/Pound (PGP) Conversion factor is HWE = PPG x 8.345 300 HWE 36 PPG, 250 30 PPG, 230 27.5

Extract Efficiency and Typical Yield

A malt with 80% FGDB will contribute 80% of its weight as soluble extract. The other 20% is cellulose and insoluble proteins. Sucrose (table sugar) is the reference standard, and yields 100% of its weight as soluble extract, raising the gravity by 46 PPG (1.046) when dissolved to form 1 gallon of solution.

80% FGDB x 46 = 37 PPG If 4% moisture => 76.8% FGAI x 46 = 35 PPG If F/C = 2%, => 74.8% CGAI x 46 = 34 PPG

Calculating Your Efficiency

80% FGDB x 46 = 37 PPG If 4% moisture => 76.8% FGAI x 46 = 35 PPG If F/C = 2%, => 74.8% CGAI x 46 = 34 PPG

Efficiency is usually quoted with respect to %Extract FGDB. (ex. 37 PPG) If you get 7 gallons of 1.038 from 9.5 lbs grain after mashing & lautering (ex. 738/9.5=28 PPG), then 28/37 = 76% Efficiency

Lautering Efficiency

Brewing Efficiency is the difference between what you get, and what the laboratory gets. Efficiency can be described as two parts:

Mash Efficiency: How well you Converted Lautering Efficiency: How well you Separated

You may have had great conversion, but if you sparge with 5 gallons in 10 minutes thru a single pipe, your efficiency (and yield) will be low.

Continuous Sparging

Continuous or Fly Sparging is a newer method (last 300 years or so) than batch sparging. It relies on steady state, low velocity flow to achieve the maximum extract efficiency.


Works fairly well with a single pipe. Works better with a multi-pipe manifold. Works best with a false bottom.

Flow Diagrams

Steady Flow Comparison: Single Pipe vs. False Bottom

False Bottom vs. Ring Manifold in a 10 Gal. Cooler

Batch Sparging Lautering

This is an older method, where the mash is drained, re-infused, rested for a short time, and drained again. Very simple to do. Efficiency is usually good. 7080% Single Pipe works as good as a False Bottom!

Batch Sparge Tips

Plan to get half of your boiling volume from each runnings.

For 9 lbs of grain, yielding a 6 gallon boil of 1.041, you should try to get two 3 gallon batches of wort. Retained wort is about .5 quart/lb, so about 1 gallon will be retained, and your mash ratio will be a little less than 2 qts/lb. (see How To Brew for details)

Second runnings are typically >1.012, which is above <1.008 zone where pH rises rapidly.

No-Sparge Lautering

No-sparge brewing is probably either the oldest or the newest method Mash & Drain The result is a beer produced entirely from the first runnings.

Richer and smoother, due to less tannins and silicates being extracted from the husks. Uses 20-25% more grain than Continuous Uses 10-15% more grain than Batch Efficiency is not bad, 6070%

Single Pipe works as well as a False Bottom!

What Can You Expect?

You can now read a Malt Analysis Sheet.

% Extract, Fine Grind, Dry Basis, Wind from the Zoo, on Tuesday after feeding time You now understand what Modification is and what it means to your brewing method!
Complex, symmetric designs only matter when you are continuously sparging. You can batch sparge, and not worry about oversparging, with only a small loss in potential efficiency.

You now know how wort flows thru a grainbed.