Author Topic: equipment profile questions for a new all grain system  (Read 4168 times)

Offline coyotedale

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equipment profile questions for a new all grain system
« on: August 10, 2015, 09:02:37 AM »
I’m sure this has been asked before, so please indulge me if you will. I’ve been extract brewing for the past 5 years now, and at the beginning of this year I started researching and assembling an all grain system. The system will continue to be a work in progress, evolving into an electric system, but for now, I’ll be using a pair of propane burners for the HLT and boil kettle.

I just installed my software and watched the equipment profile tutorial. This is where I have a few questions, as I’ve not yet brewed my first batch yet with my system. Wort loss and Brewhouse efficiency are two areas I have no data on, as I’ve not made a batch yet to establish a baseline. What I’ve done in the last week is run a hot/wet test just to see how well the HLT comes up to temp with a given volume, and also checked to see how well/long it takes to bring the boil kettle up to a decent boil. I also ran a boil for 60 min to see how much boil off I will get, and how much will be left after it cools. I can put in an educated guess with the values on the boil kettle, but when it comes to the actual brewhouse efficiency, should I just pick a number, or is there a recommended starting point I should use?  For the HLT and BK I am using 25 gal stainless units, and want to start by making a batch with a final volume of 10 gal to bottle/keg. I’m also intending to fill two carboys each with 5.5 gal to allow some left behind so as to have a fairly clean brew going into the kegs.

A second question is regarding the mash tun weight. Currently I’m going to use a Rubbermaid 10 gallon cooler, so is there a known value for this that I should use?

Offline brewfun

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Re: equipment profile questions for a new all grain system
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2015, 10:40:32 AM »
I’m sure this has been asked before, so please indulge me if you will.

The topic comes up.  ;)  There is a pretty good post on setting up equipment profiles here:
http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.php/topic,8579.0.html

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Wort loss and Brewhouse efficiency are two areas I have no data on, as I’ve not made a batch yet to establish a baseline. What I’ve done in the last week is run a hot/wet test just to see how well the HLT comes up to temp with a given volume, and also checked to see how well/long it takes to bring the boil kettle up to a decent boil....

That's a water batch. Very cool to start with that because it helps set a lot of standards. You could get any lost wort numbers from transferring between vessels and fermenters. Just fill them enough to start a transfer and measure where it stops.

Brewhouse Efficiency is a concept that can take some time to fully utilize. Brewhouse Efficiency is the percentage of all sugars that make it to the fermenter. In other words, it deducts for all losses along the way. Most brewers use only mash efficiency, which is how much sugar from the grain makes it to the kettle.

Your question about getting 2 5.5 gallon fermenters out of each batch is a perfect illustration of why Brewhouse Efficiency is a better measure for the brewer to write recipes from.

Mash Efficiency: The sum of conversion efficiency and sparge efficiency into the kettle.

If you say you get 80% mash efficiency, you're saying of the total potential sugar available, you'll extract that much into the kettle. Pretty simple and straightforward, but it guarantees neither the expected gravity nor the volume in the fermenter the recipe calls for. This is because losses after the kettle accumulate to either lessen the volume to keep gravity, or to dilute gravity to attain volume.

The obvious fix is to account for the losses. Brewhouse efficiency expresses the losses as a percentage of Mash Efficiency.

Brewhouse Efficiency: The percentage of total sugar that makes it into the fermenter.

If you say you'll get 80% Brewhouse Rfficiency, you're saying; of the total sugar available, even with losses, that's how much gets to the fermenter. That means that if you add losses to trub, you still have 80% going to the fermenter and will maintain the same gravity.

Therefore, the ONLY place you can gain that sugar is with increased Mash Efficiency. Or, you have to reduce Brewhouse Efficiency by just about the percentage of volume loss.

There will usually be a variation in efficiency based on several factors, like grain weight, quality of crush and even particular types of malt. At the end of each brewing session, you can store the information in the brewing log and see the resulting measured Brewhouse Efficiency in the Fermentation tab. Over time, you can create an average equipment profile, or several more detailed profiles. I have a basic profile, then one for high gravity and another for high hopping rates.

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A second question is regarding the mash tun weight. Currently I’m going to use a Rubbermaid 10 gallon cooler, so is there a known value for this that I should use?

The easiest thing is to just weigh it without the lid, on the bathroom scale.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline coyotedale

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Re: equipment profile questions for a new all grain system
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2015, 01:54:14 PM »
thanks for the info. As for a value in the brewhouse efficiency, I need to put something in that field, but knowing the actual figure is to be determined, is there a safe guess to go with just to populate this section?

As far as my losses, I have a ballpark number on boil off, I know how much is lost in the hoses during transfer (very nominal at most), when draining my mash tun I know how much remains (which might equal what is soaked in the grains), and then when draining the boil kettle, I know how much is left behind that the dip tube just cannot pick up (half gallon). So with that, I have a ball park on what I need my initial boil volume should be to give me 11 gallons to split between my two carboys.

So I'm sure I've got some realistic values to input, rather then being an arbitrary guess. The only value I need to guess on (to my knowledge) is the brewhouse efficiency. Any suggestion would be great, and then after that first brew I know I'll be on my way to editing with more representative numbers.


Offline brewfun

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Re: equipment profile questions for a new all grain system
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2015, 05:01:49 PM »
<snip>I know how much is lost in the hoses during transfer (very nominal at most), <snip> and then when draining the boil kettle, I know how much is left behind that the dip tube just cannot pick up (half gallon). So with that, I have a ball park on what I need my initial boil volume should be to give me 11 gallons to split between my two carboys.

How much is "nominal" for the hoses? For illustration, I'll go with eight ounces. Added to the half gallon left in the kettle and your target volume, you recover just over 95% of the wort.

Most recipes assume 75% mash efficiency. So, you'll get 75% of the potential sugar into the kettle. We now skip to post boil volume, which is your yield plus your losses.

The volume loss you laid out represents 5% of the total needed to yield 11 gallons. So, your Brewhouse Efficiency is 95% of your mash efficiency or 75*0.95 = 71.25%. Now, you'll see your mash tab shows mash efficiency at about 75% and your OG should accommodate the additional volume for losses.

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As far as my losses, I have a ballpark number on boil off, <zip> when draining my mash tun I know how much remains (which might equal what is soaked in the grains).

I snipped out the Mash tun and boiloff parts because they cloud the issue. Brewhouse Efficiency is accounting for loss after the mash. Similarly, boiloff is accounted for separately in the equipment profile, as is thermal expansion. These are not included in Brewhouse Efficiency.

One side note, the grain absorption isn't the same as water lot to the mash tun. Again, BeerSmith calculates the two separately. Absorption is a global adjustment found in the Options menu, while lauter dead space (unrecoverable wort) is part of the equipment profile.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline coyotedale

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Re: equipment profile questions for a new all grain system
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 07:31:04 AM »
Awesome info. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain this. I like to think this helps narrow down my initial effort for the first batch. I'll for sure pop back on this topic after the first batch goes into the fermenter and share the results.