Author Topic: Still trying to dial in my equipment for temps ...  (Read 4040 times)

Offline SkyFlyer

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Still trying to dial in my equipment for temps ...
« on: February 16, 2009, 08:19:25 AM »
I posted this in the AG section, but no responses yet, so I will put it here also.
Sorry for the clutter, but I really could use a little help in what to do next.
I am posting this a my work, so I don't have access to the .bsm.
You could look at the post (and .bsm) in the AG section under the same subject name.
I'm just looking for what I need to tweak in BeerSmith to get me dialed in.
Thanks in advance ...

Hope all are having a great weekend, and hopefully making beer!
I am brewing, but I am still having issues with my temps.
It will take some time to dial it all in, I'm sure.  But we'll keep at it and it will happen!
Appreciate any help in this matter.
In particular, if you are using a Coleman 40qt cooler.
Tell me of your experience and what settings you finally got at, if you don't mind.

I am brewing a Kolsch today.  I have attached my .bsm if anyone wants to look at it.
Grain bill for a 5 gallon batch:
7 lbs. Pilsner (2 Row, German)
1 lb. Wheat Malt
0.75 Munich Malt - 10L
0.25 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L

Mash profile calls for:
11.97qt @ 172.8*
Hold mash at 152* for 60 min
Mash Out 5.4qt @ 208.3*
Hold mash at 168* for 10 min
Drain Mash Tun
Batch Sparge 3.65 gal @ 168*
Collect 6.41 gal of wort.

Here is what happened.
After strike water, the mash temp was 158*.  A little higher than 152*. 
So, I added 1qt cold water.  Temp is now 155*.
Left the lid open a bit.
Temp is now 153*
Only dropped to 151-152* in 60 minutes.  That is good.
Added the Mash Out water (5.4qt @ 208*).
Temp was 160-161*.  Should be 168*.
So, I used the BeerSmith tools and calculated what I would need to add.
Tool said I needed to add 2.1 qt to get to 168*
Only got to 163*.
Note, I think I was supposed to add 212* water.  My 2.1qt was probably around 204*, not 212*.
Might that have been the mistake and the difference?
Next time, I'll make sure it is 212*
Anyway, I decided to leave it at 163*.
Then did the vorlauf and lauter.
Collected 4 gals.
Then added the sparge water (deducted the 3.1qt that I had added previously in the mash).
Drained.  I collected a total of 6.75 gals.
Just over my projected 6.41.  Not too bad.

So ...
Any thoughts on what I should maybe try to do next?
I have the cooler setting in equipment on Aluminum (0.215) for this batch (Preston's suggestion).
I had it set to the plastic (0.300) before and was way off too.
This time was not much better.  Only got up to 162* or so on my last batch.
I just can't seem to get up to 168*
Maybe someone could explain the Specific Heat index a little to me.
I'm thinking this is the critical part of the whole equation.  What is it?
Do I want to make that number go up or down to help dial my equipment in?
So, other than not having 212* for my Mash Out adjustment, I followed my recipe pretty close.
Any suggestions on what to do for my next batch.
That Irish Red Ale that I had while making this batch makes it all worth while!!
Thanks, Bob

Offline BeerSmith

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Re: Still trying to dial in my equipment for temps ...
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2009, 09:57:47 AM »
  The specific heat is the number of calories of energy it takes to raise a gram of material (in this case your mash tun) by one degree C.  Unfortunately most mash tuns don't come with a label that lists their specific heat, so getting the exact number is a bit of trial and error.  The materials listed (plastic, aluminum, etc) are book values for various materials.

   If you measured everything accurately and overshot your temperature I would recommend adjusting the specific heat down a bit next time, as that will result in less energy added to compensate for your equipment.  If you do miss your temperature, the adjust mash tool is very useful for figuring out how much cold or hot water to add to adjust it back to where you want it, until you can get things dialed in.

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Re: Still trying to dial in my equipment for temps ...
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2009, 10:30:34 AM »
Beersmith also gives you the option to have the program adjust for equipment temperature.  I looks to me like your grain/mash tun were cooler than were programmed in.  I would recommend checking the temperature of your equipment and verify that Beersmith is using that to dial in your temperatures.

Offline SkyFlyer

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Re: Still trying to dial in my equipment for temps ...
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2009, 12:04:58 PM »
I apologize for putting my post in two areas.
I'll not do it again!
I'll drop this post and continue to monitor my post in the AG section of the forum.
I knew this was probably a BeerSmith/Equipement issue with my settings, so, I dropped it here.
Thanks for your comments ...
Sorry ...
Thanks, Bob