Author Topic: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software  (Read 16250 times)

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2019, 10:29:15 AM »
I have always taken gravity readings at the same temperature the hydrometer calibrated to. Or use a conversion chart to compensate.

Are you measuring after your total sparge is complete or only the first runnings? Do you use top off water? If so you should be taking your pre-boil readings after that is done and stirred in. Speaking of stirring are you stirring well before you take your pre-boil reading? You can get stratification layers which will give you gravity readings that are either too high or too low.
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Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2019, 10:36:57 AM »
All gravity readings should be taken at the calibration temperature of the hydrometer.  This should be found on the paper inside the hydrometer which has the scale.  I have seen a few really cheap hydrometers which do not have the calibration temperature and I would stay away from those.  Generally, the calibration is 60F/15.6C or 20C/68F.

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Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2019, 10:44:09 AM »
All gravity readings should be taken at the calibration temperature of the hydrometer.  This should be found on the paper inside the hydrometer which has the scale.  I have seen a few really cheap hydrometers which do not have the calibration temperature and I would stay away from those.  Generally, the calibration is 60F/15.6C or 20C/68F.

Ok, so my gravity is 1.033 @ 65?C and the hydrometer is calibrated at 20?C. So that means I am effectivly at 1.051.

The recipe says I should be at 1.041. So I am 1.010 too high, correct? Add some water then?

Edit: I added 0,5L and now am at 1.025 @ 59?C which is 1.040. At 20?C which is close to my target :)

Edit 2: Only thing I couldn't measure is the pre-boil volume because as you said the markings on the kettle are totally wrong.... hmm. How should I have done that in my case without a looking glas along the side?

Edit 3: Just hit my post boil target of 1.055 perfectly :) (1.040 @ 59?C)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 12:18:29 PM by anak85 »

Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2019, 12:53:17 PM »
First thing I do with any kettle or carboy is to place it on a scale and add water 1 liter at a time.  For the kettles, I use a piece of 1 inch aluminum stock with a measuring tape and track the height of the liquid level with every liter added until I get to the top.  Then I take an engraving tool and mark the liters numbering every even one as I go.  This gives me a specific measuring stick for each kettle I have.  For the carboys, I place a strip of masking tape on the side of the carboy and mark with a fine permanent marker each liter as it is filled. This gives me the volume markers I need for all the vessels I use.

Next, I recommend highly never, never, never taking a gravity reading at hot temperatures.  While you will get close some of the time, it is difficult to get an accurate temperature reading with hot wort in a measuring cylinder after adding a room temperature hydrometer.  Aside from the shock to the hydrometer, it has never worked well for me and the temperature correction is questionable at best.  I have a mason jar that I take out around 250 ml of wort and then place it in an ice bath.  It cools down to room temperature in about 5 to 7 minutes where it will remain stable as I take the gravity reading.

It looks like you did well with your efficiency, explaining the high gravity reading.  Since you added a half liter of water, you can make a copy of the recipe and change the water volumes there to reflect what you actually did.  You may have to extrapolate a bit for the pre-boil volume, but the gravity number you measured looks to be accurate and your boil off rate must be pretty close.  Using these numbers in the session tab, the program will recalculate your actual BHE which you can use to update your equipment profile for next time!

Good going!



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Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2019, 01:38:36 PM »
First thing I do with any kettle or carboy is to place it on a scale and add water 1 liter at a time.  For the kettles, I use a piece of 1 inch aluminum stock with a measuring tape and track the height of the liquid level with every liter added until I get to the top.  Then I take an engraving tool and mark the liters numbering every even one as I go.  This gives me a specific measuring stick for each kettle I have.  For the carboys, I place a strip of masking tape on the side of the carboy and mark with a fine permanent marker each liter as it is filled. This gives me the volume markers I need for all the vessels I use.

I marked my fermenters quite accurately so am happy with that.

I will see what I can do with the kettle. Some other guys suggested marking out my mash spoon and use it as a ruler. I will see what I can do.


Next, I recommend highly never, never, never taking a gravity reading at hot temperatures.  While you will get close some of the time, it is difficult to get an accurate temperature reading with hot wort in a measuring cylinder after adding a room temperature hydrometer.  Aside from the shock to the hydrometer, it has never worked well for me and the temperature correction is questionable at best.  I have a mason jar that I take out around 250 ml of wort and then place it in an ice bath.  It cools down to room temperature in about 5 to 7 minutes where it will remain stable as I take the gravity reading.

Interesting. Since I have a second brew day tomorrow I will try that :)

It looks like you did well with your efficiency, explaining the high gravity reading.  Since you added a half liter of water, you can make a copy of the recipe and change the water volumes there to reflect what you actually did.  You may have to extrapolate a bit for the pre-boil volume, but the gravity number you measured looks to be accurate and your boil off rate must be pretty close.  Using these numbers in the session tab, the program will recalculate your actual BHE which you can use to update your equipment profile for next time!

Good going!

Thanks. But I ended up with "only" 8 and 3/8 liters of wart in my fermenter, eventhough I added 0,5L after the mash. BeerSmith had predicted 9L so I lost 0,75L more than anticipated.

The trub left in the kettle is 0,65 L (I had 0,95L programmed in BeerSmith). So I should adjust that to 0,65L and then I need to add 0,75L and 0,3L to other losses somewhere.

Where would you add these other losses?

Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2019, 02:06:12 PM »
I would guess that the other losses come with grain absorption. 

The other thing to consider is your boil off rate and it may be worth setting up and doing a boil with just water measuring volume in and out to get a better handle on that figure.

Since you do not have reliable markings on your kettle, how did you measure the volume of water in?  That may be another source of discrepancy in versus out.

I've met/heard of several brewers who mark their spoons.  I have one spoon and several pots/kettles, so it was easier for me to make a series of custom dip sticks.
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Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2019, 04:33:49 PM »
I would guess that the other losses come with grain absorption. 

I assume so too. So where do I change that setting? When I open the equipment profile I don't see where to input losses due to the mash. It only mentions mash deadspace losses (I assume it means if I am mashing in a separate vessle). Or do I enter the losses here for that. It is set to 0kg.

I just changed the Brewhouse efficiency from 66% to 63%. Before it suggested using a total of 16 liters (I used 16,5l) and that went down to 16,7 liters just by changing the efficiency. That means it is trying to concentrate the liquid a bit more then?

Quote

The other thing to consider is your boil off rate and it may be worth setting up and doing a boil with just water measuring volume in and out to get a better handle on that figure.


I'll try that tomorrow.


Quote

Since you do not have reliable markings on your kettle, how did you measure the volume of water in?  That may be another source of discrepancy in versus out.

I measured by weight each liter at a time into a bucket (I marked two 17 liter buckets along the side now with permanent marker). Then I just filled the bucket to the desired marking and weighed if it was correct before pouring it in.

But I just spent the last our engraving markings into the kettle :) Starting at 5 liters to 30 liters I added one liter at a time and engraved by scratching with a sharp piece of metal. It actually looks fairly good as I first started with a straight center line.

Thank you so much for your suggestions and help!!! I would be a bit lost without it  ;)



Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2019, 04:47:24 PM »

I assume so too. So where do I change that setting? When I open the equipment profile I don't see where to input losses due to the mash. It only mentions mash deadspace losses (I assume it means if I am mashing in a separate vessel). Or do I enter the losses here for that. It is set to 0kg.

I just changed the Brewhouse efficiency from 66% to 63%. Before it suggested using a total of 16 liters (I used 16,5l) and that went down to 16,7 liters just by changing the efficiency. That means it is trying to concentrate the liquid a bit more then?

The setting for water absorption is a universal setting.  It can be found under 'options' > 'advanced'.  There are two figures.  The first is for standard mash tun configurations or basically any system where the water removal is solely by gravity.  The other is for BIAB mash profiles.  In order for this one to be active, the mash profile you use must be set for a full volume BIAB mash. 

Since you are mashing in the same vessel as you are boiling in, your setting for the deadspace in your equipment profile is correctly set.  Any volume losses which cannot be drained will end up at the end of the process as losses to trub and chiller.
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Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2019, 05:00:05 PM »

I assume so too. So where do I change that setting? When I open the equipment profile I don't see where to input losses due to the mash. It only mentions mash deadspace losses (I assume it means if I am mashing in a separate vessel). Or do I enter the losses here for that. It is set to 0kg.

I just changed the Brewhouse efficiency from 66% to 63%. Before it suggested using a total of 16 liters (I used 16,5l) and that went down to 16,7 liters just by changing the efficiency. That means it is trying to concentrate the liquid a bit more then?

The setting for water absorption is a universal setting.  It can be found under 'options' > 'advanced'.  There are two figures.  The first is for standard mash tun configurations or basically any system where the water removal is solely by gravity.  The other is for BIAB mash profiles.  In order for this one to be active, the mash profile you use must be set for a full volume BIAB mash. 

Since you are mashing in the same vessel as you are boiling in, your setting for the deadspace in your equipment profile is correctly set.  Any volume losses which cannot be drained will end up at the end of the process as losses to trub and chiller.

The grain absorption is set to 0,96 fl oz / oz grain.  And grain volume is set to 0,652 L / kg.

Not sure I want to touch these without knowing what I'm doing... hmm.

If I work out my evaporation rate I should be able to work out how much I lost today during the boil. Then I can work backwards how much was absorbed into the grain I suppose...

Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2019, 06:21:56 PM »
I would not touch the grain volume without some concrete information saying that it is incorrect.  The grain absorption I update every 10 or so brews, though at this point it is almost imperceptible in the volumes.  The default is listed on the side, so if you change it you can change it back pretty easily.   I would not recommend changing it without some data to support the change.  The calculation, once you get your volume measurements squared away is pretty easy:  (Volume into mash - Volume following grain removal)  / weight of grains.  I calculate mine at liters per kg of grain and then have to convert it for BeerSmith which is stuck on fluid ounces per ounce of grain.  Average this value over the next 4 to 5 brews and you can be sure that you have minimized any noise in the measurement.
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Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2019, 11:17:15 AM »
I would not touch the grain volume without some concrete information saying that it is incorrect.  The grain absorption I update every 10 or so brews, though at this point it is almost imperceptible in the volumes.  The default is listed on the side, so if you change it you can change it back pretty easily.   I would not recommend changing it without some data to support the change.  The calculation, once you get your volume measurements squared away is pretty easy:  (Volume into mash - Volume following grain removal)  / weight of grains.  I calculate mine at liters per kg of grain and then have to convert it for BeerSmith which is stuck on fluid ounces per ounce of grain.  Average this value over the next 4 to 5 brews and you can be sure that you have minimized any noise in the measurement.

Ok, will be careful with that.

I boiled water for 30 minutes and then chilled to room temperature. I lost 2 liters from 15 liters initially. So that is a 4 liter loss per hour. That seems very high! The preset in BeerSmith is assuming 2,65 liters per hour.

Then I proceeded with my brewday and had a loss of around 4,25 liters during a 60 minute boil + steep + whirlpool. So that is quite accurate then.

BUT, I totally missed my numbers somehow.

Targets:
Pre boil gravity: 1.048 (I hit 1.047 so still good here)
Pre boil volume: 15,1 liters ( I hit 15,75 liters)

Post boil gravity: 1.067 (I hit 1.051)
Post boil volume: 11,1 liters (I hit 11,5 / 11.6 roughly).

Can you assist me how to set up my equipment settings based on this?

Here some more information.
I mashed in with 13,5 liters and sparged with 5 liters. The mash was 60 minutes at 67?C.

I attached my settings and the recipe I followed (added 0,5L to the mash and reduced the sparge by 0,5l but followed the rest exactly)

Also, just calculated by Brewhouse efficiency to be 53% instead of 63% which I had yesterday :( Really struggling to understand why I ended with such a low gravity even though I had set the boil off almost correctly.

I hope it still ends up as a decent yet little light IPA :)

« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 11:43:26 AM by anak85 »

Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2019, 01:20:54 PM »
OK, so let's parse the data you collected.

You started with 13.5 liters in the initial infusion and sparged with 5 additional liters.  Your total mash volume is 18.5 liters.

From that you collected 15.75 liters of wort from the above water and 3.39 kg of grains.  The difference in volume in and out of your mashing step is 18.5 liters - 15.75 liters = 2.75 liters of water lost in the grain.  Having used 3.39 kg of grain, your grain absorption is 2.75 / 3.39 = 0.81 liters/kg.  This converts to 0.81 l/kg / 3.785 l/gal * 128 oz/gal / kg/1000 gms * 28.3 gms/oz gives us 0.694 fl oz per oz of grain which is your absorption rate.

Boil off is pretty straight forward: you started with 15.75 liters and ended up with 11.55 liters so you lost 4.2 liters per hour as you already calculated. 

Now let's see how reliable your numbers are.  If you took pretty good measurements, your gravity points pre-boil should be about equal to your gravity points post boil (within your ability to accurately measure).

So 15.75 liters at 1.047 gravity gives you 15.75 * 47 points = 740 gravity points

Post boil you ended up with 11.55 liters at 1.051 gravity, which gives you 589 gravity points.  Hmm, not very close at all.  Does your ending volume include wort which could not be drained from the vessel or is it the measurement before you drained the kettle? 

If you assume that your initial volume and gravity reading was correct, you should have ended with 740 gravity points / 11.55 liters or 64 points which gives a gravity reading of 1.064. 

Trying the reverse calculation (assuming that the ending measurements are correct) gives you 589 gravity points / 15.75 liters or 37 points which gives a gravity of 1.038.

These are basically the calculations you need to determine the boil off, grain absorption and the reliability of the data.  If you took the volume reading post boil after you drained the wort, add back in the volume which could not be drained and recalculate both the boil off and the gravity point balance.  If this volume is the actual post boil volume as measured in the vessel, then it suggests that one of your gravity readings is off.
 
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Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2019, 01:35:33 PM »
OK, so let's parse the data you collected.

You started with 13.5 liters in the initial infusion and sparged with 5 additional liters.  Your total mash volume is 18.5 liters.

From that you collected 15.75 liters of wort from the above water and 3.39 kg of grains.  The difference in volume in and out of your mashing step is 18.5 liters - 15.75 liters = 2.75 liters of water lost in the grain.  Having used 3.39 kg of grain, your grain absorption is 2.75 / 3.39 = 0.81 liters/kg.  This converts to 0.81 l/kg / 3.785 l/gal * 128 oz/gal / kg/1000 gms * 28.3 gms/oz gives us 0.694 fl oz per oz of grain which is your absorption rate.

Boil off is pretty straight forward: you started with 15.75 liters and ended up with 11.55 liters so you lost 4.2 liters per hour as you already calculated. 

Now let's see how reliable your numbers are.  If you took pretty good measurements, your gravity points pre-boil should be about equal to your gravity points post boil (within your ability to accurately measure).

So 15.75 liters at 1.047 gravity gives you 15.75 * 47 points = 740 gravity points

Post boil you ended up with 11.55 liters at 1.051 gravity, which gives you 589 gravity points.  Hmm, not very close at all.  Does your ending volume include wort which could not be drained from the vessel or is it the measurement before you drained the kettle? 

If you assume that your initial volume and gravity reading was correct, you should have ended with 740 gravity points / 11.55 liters or 64 points which gives a gravity reading of 1.064. 

Trying the reverse calculation (assuming that the ending measurements are correct) gives you 589 gravity points / 15.75 liters or 37 points which gives a gravity of 1.038.

These are basically the calculations you need to determine the boil off, grain absorption and the reliability of the data.  If you took the volume reading post boil after you drained the wort, add back in the volume which could not be drained and recalculate both the boil off and the gravity point balance.  If this volume is the actual post boil volume as measured in the vessel, then it suggests that one of your gravity readings is off.

Yes. All measurements are of the wart in the kettle. I have roughly 10.8L in the fermenter.

I will take one more gravity reading not then.  (already checked the post-boil reading twice but maybe something was wrong with the chilling I did).^

Edit: no change. Still 1.050 @ 23?C, so 1.051. Very odd. Did I simply read the pre boil gravity incorrectly... hmm.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 01:50:20 PM by anak85 »

Offline anak85

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2019, 08:08:57 AM »
So I took my assumptions from the Sunday IPA brew that I measured and used them to work backwards on my Saturday Pale Ale brew. They are pretty much spot on.

Volume in the fermenter is 8,75L.

+ 0,65L losses in the trub = 9,4L

+ 5 L boil off = 14,4L

+ 2 L loss in the mash (0,81L/kg) = 16,4L (My initial total volume was 16,5L)

So I guess my IPA measurements support my Pale Ale brew day results. The question is then why my Brewhouse Efficiency is around 63% for the Pale Ale and around 50% for the IPA.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2019, 09:01:45 AM »
The first thing I would recommend is to try batch sparging.  If the batch sparge brings your efficiency up by a good margin, then it would suggest that you have some channeling of the sparge water in your fly sparge so the water is bypassing much of the grains.

If the batch sparge does not help much, then it comes down to the standard factors which control mash efficiency:

1.  Crush
2.  Crush
3.  Crush
4.  Crush
5.  Crush
6.  Poor wetting of grains when doughing in causing dough balls which are protected from the water and enzymes.  Mix the heck out of the grains when doughing in.  I mean like 5 to 10 minutes of stirring!
7.  Mash pH is waaay out of the prime conversion zone of 5.2 to 5.6 pH (at room temperature).
8.  Work to minimize process losses (loss of volume + sugar = poor efficiency)
9.  Check your thermometer to make sure it is accurate
10. Check and calibrate your hydrometer and/or refractometer

Normally, most issues are solved with steps 1 through 6.  If your brewing water is very hard, it may be difficult for the pH to drop down to the ideal range for enzyme activity to convert the starches into sugars.  Hope this helps some.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 12:00:57 PM by Oginme »
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