Author Topic: Total Efficiency Greyed Out  (Read 12353 times)

Offline Stewart194

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Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« on: January 11, 2013, 12:43:05 PM »
I am still new at this and have done 5 extract brews so far, the last two after purchasing Beersmith 2.  I now use a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer and I started doing full boils.  The problem is that I can't hit the correct Original Gravity anymore since moving to full boils.  I've slowly started adding more and more Light Dry Malt Extract and am getting closer each time, but is this the correct way to go about this?

I'm still really unfamiliar with Beersmith, but I am hoping it can help me correct this.  I've recently learned that 80% efficiency is really good, and that somewhere around 72% seems to be around average.  If 72% is actually close to average, I must currently be around 65% I would guess.  (Although I don't understand this stuff yet or why it's happening)  My first IPA on my new system was supposed to have an OG of 1.072 according to Beersmith, but it ended up being 1.062.  My second batch which was an Irish Red was supposed to be 1.057 and ended up being 1.052.  Much closer but still off.

The Total Efficiency field in Beersmith says 72%.  I was hoping I could lower that number and maybe it would help / automatically tweak my recipes so that I could hit my numbers, but that field is greyed out.  Should it be greyed out?  If there is a way to make it not greyed out so that I can put a lower number in there?  If so would that help me or is that not the way it works?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!

Offline Stewart194

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 07:49:07 AM »
So I played around with Beersmith a little last night and found the "Scale Recipe" option.  This let me change the total efficiency from the default setting of 72% to 65%....but it didn't actually do anything or change anything in the recipe as far as I can tell.

Is it supposed to?  Sorry if this is a stupid question!  I'm just new to brewing and Beersmith and don't know what I'm doing yet.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 08:11:53 AM »
I was hoping someone who brews extract would chime in. I haven't had a chance to sit down and check this out on beersmith, yet. And, I haven't brewed extract in a long time.

Efficiency doesn't have much meaning in extract brewing. I'm guessing that's why it is grayed out. Try editingyour eequipment profile and changing the efficiency there. Set it to 100%.  Also while you are there change your loss to trub and chiller to 0. Finally, increase your batch size by your trub loss.

Then, open your recipe and re-select your equipment profile.

I answered this question just a few days ago for someone else. If you search my name you'll find that post which included a longer explanation on how this works. I'd find ut for you, but I'm on my phone. To much work. :-)
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Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
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Offline merfizle

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 08:18:41 AM »
Tom, you're exactly right.  Open up your equipment profile in our recipe and then change your brewhouse eff.

Mark
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Offline Stewart194

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 08:09:38 AM »
Thanks guys!  I will definitely check this out.

Offline Stewart194

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2013, 11:56:07 AM »
OK, so I've had a few days to play around with this.  I changed the efficiency to 100% in my equipment profile and set the loss to trub and chiller to 0.  I then went back into my recipes and re-selected that equipment, and the number in the efficiency box did change.  It did not change anything in my actual recipes though, nor did it change the SG, IBU's, Color, etc.  Should it have changed any of those things?

Also, I plugged in a few more extract recipes that I found online from reliable sources, like Jamil's Oatmeal Stout.  I heard this recipe on one of his podcasts one time, so I went back and listened to it just to make sure the recipe was correct and it was.  When I plug that into Beersmith, the SG says that it will be 1.043, but the actual recipe says that it should be 1.055.  If I add 1.6 pounds Light DME the SG goes up to 1.055. 

This is exactly what has been happening to me on the other recipes I've entered.  When I add 1.5 pounds of Light DME then it is spot on or really close.  I checked out the "Muddy Pig Oatmeal Stout" extract recipe that came with Beersmith, and it lists 2 pounds of Amber DME in addition to 6 pounds of LME.  Is adding 1.5 to 2 pounds of DME to achieve your numbers normal and just a part of extract brewing?  If so I don't mind doing this, I'm just curious if this is normal or not.  If it doesn't affect the flavor of the beer, I don't have a problem doing this.

I'm guessing that Beersmith was created for All Grain brewing primarily, and that extract brewing techniques and procedures maybe just don't mesh well with it possibly?  Or maybe I'm just missing a setting or something simple!!

Just for fun I plugged in an All Grain Oatmeal Stout recipe from a well known brewer and all of the numbers matched perfectly.

Thanks again!

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 08:13:59 PM »
Hmm. I'll have to play with it and see what I get.
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
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Offline philm63

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2013, 05:17:11 AM »
Not being sure how exactly the calculators work in BeerSmith, I DO know that when I bought it, it was for my second brew - an extract kit - and I entered the recipe from the kit and selected the "Type" box in the recipe field as "Extract" which does grey out the pre-boil volume and efficiency boxes. Knowing I was going full-boil on this brew, I reformulated the hop additions and added a pound of DME and still missed my target by 4 points so your experimentation is not far off the mark.

One thing I did to dial-in my batches which used extract was to change the Type from Extract to Partial Mash, and this brought the pre-boil volume and efficiency fields into play. It was from that point I was really able to manipulate my recipes and start hitting targets. Also at that point I was able to dial-in my efficiency and really learn my equipment.

This setting also brought Mash particulars into play, but we'll reserve that topic for another day. Suffice it to say; if you use steeping grains for color and flavor, you could use the Mash set-up to dial that in but for basic extract recipes with steeping grains, that isn't necessary.

Instead, steep as you normally would in whatever volume of water the recipe calls for. I used about one gallon per pound of grain at 160 F for 30 minutes, (don't let it get over 170 F), pulled the bag out and let it drain, discarded the bag and then topped up the water to my target volume, added the extract and started the boil.

Experiment with different settings to see what changes they make, and be sure to set-up your equipment profile as Partial Mash so you can start learning your equipment and taking advantage of efficiencies, and most importantly; have fun with it.


« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 05:19:45 AM by philm63 »
On Tap: Oatmeal Stout, IPA
Fermenting: Air
On Deck: Kolsch

Offline Stewart194

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2013, 01:40:55 PM »
Thanks for the reply!  The other thing I noticed is that Beersmith lets you download some recipes from Northern Brewer directly into the program without having to enter them manually.  I did this, and one of the kits is the Dead Ringer IPA which I've brewed before.  If you pull up the recipe sheet on the NB website, it is identical to the one in Beersmith.  No extra DME added.  The numbers are slightly off but not by much.  The NB recipe says the OG should be 1.064, and their recipe in Beersmith says the OG should be 1.067.  Close enough for me and I realize now we're splitting hairs on this one.  But at the same time I guarantee you if I did this recipe on my system doing a full boil, it would be way lower than it should be, possibly lower than 1.057.

I also realize that this recipe calls for doing a partial boil and topping off with water to reach the 5 gallon mark.  When I followed the recipe exactly with my first 3 brews and did partial boils the numbers were spot on.  So whatever it is it has to do with doing full boils.

Now one thing that you mentioned might be my problem.  I am steeping my grains at 160 for 30 minutes, BUT I'm doing this in 6.25 gallons of water.  Could this be the problem?  If I start with 6.25 gallons in my turkey fryer kettle using my propane burner outside, I'm left with a perfect 5 gallons of wort after 60 minutes.  Should I be steeping in the less water, then top off, and then start my boil??

Either way I'm definitely having fun!  Thanks again!

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 11:59:42 AM »
Ok, I'm not seeing what you guys are describing. 

I created a simple extract recipe using 5.5 gallon batch size, 0 trub loss, and 100% eff (I also tried 75% with no difference).  I added 5 lbs 8 ounces of DME which has a potential of 44 pppg. 

That should give you an OG of: 44 pppg * 5.5 lbs / 5.5 gallons = 1.044.  In BS2 I get Est OG = 1.044.

Here is where the "trub loss" bug will come in.  If you have a non-zero trub loss (say 0.5 gallons), then your actual kettle volume would be 6 gallons (5.5 gallons for the batch, plus 0.5 gallons of trub loss).  As noted, BS2 does not include the trub loss in the kettle SG calculation.  It assumes (wrongly) that the trub loss only contains water not wort. 

That will result in an ACTUAL SG of 1.040 (44 * 5.5 lbs / 6 gallons = 1.040).  By setting the trub loss to 0, and adding  that 1/2 gallon to the batch size (bumping from 5.5 to 6.0), BS2 will then calculate the SG correctly. 

The BS2 formula for Kettle OG is: "total points from extract" / batch size.  BS2 assumes that you do not get ANY sugars from steeping grains. 

If online recipes are coming in lower when entered into BS2, perhaps the BS2 DME extract potential is different than what the recipes are assuming.  I know a lot of rough estimates assume that DME has a potential of 46 pppg, not 44.  This difference would cause BS2 to read LOW by comparison with the original recipe.  In the example above that would be by 2 pts (1.046 vs. 1.044).  The difference would scale linearly as the OG increased (at 1.057, BS2 would predict 1.054). 

Can you post an example recipe?  Include the recipe OG, and the BS2 OG for comparison.   



R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
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Offline Stewart194

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 07:52:30 AM »
Thanks for the reply Tom.  When I enter Northern Brewer's Irish Red kit into Beersmith it has the correct OG of 1.044.  In fact, if you just enter the 6 pounds of LME it calls for and nothing else, the gravity is already correct.  Adding the specialty grains / steeping grains to the recipe doesn't make much difference, but this makes sense as they are just adding color and flavor and aren't actually fermentable.

When I enter Jamil's Oatmeal Stout recipe which calls for 6 pounds 12.8 oz of LME the gravity is 1.043 when it should be 1.055.  Now, on this recipe he said you should have 6 gallons after the boil, so I entered 6 gallons for the batch size and 7.25 gallons Est Pre Boil Volume.  I think he does this to account for 1/2 a gallon of hop and grain trub not going into the primary, and then 1/2 a gallon of yeast cake not going into the keg or bottles, which would leave you with 5 gallons of actual beer. 

The funny thing is, if I leave the recipe alone and just change the batch size from 6 gallons to 5 gallons, the OG goes up to 1.052 which is really close to where it should be.  Also, when I leave it at 6 gallons, but change the option from Extract to Partial Mash it goes to 1.054.  I know all of his regular recipes are for All Grain, but he does give the amount and kind of LME to use for Extract Brewers....but maybe Jamil is assuming that everyone is doing a Partial Mash??

I think the reality is that everyone's equipment and methods are different, and it just takes a while to be able to hit the correct numbers which just comes from experience.  I was hoping that I could change the settings in Beersmith to accommodate for this...somehow tweak the settings to adjust my recipes now that I know that I'm consistently off the mark by 7 points or so.  I think I will do what Philm63 suggested and change the setting to partial mash, then play around with it and see what I come up with.  And I could just try to do a partial mash on my next batch also.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 08:41:19 AM »
Yes, jamil always formulated his recipes to 6 gallons post boil, foreexactly the rationale you. List.

Lme is about 81% of dme,  or about 37 pppg. Putting 6.8 lbs of lme in 6 gallons of water will give you an sg of about 1.043.  Jamil must be assuming you are getting sugars from the grains.  Jamil knows more than I do...But, I'm not sure how valid that is for anything other than crystal malts.

As far as differences go, it's true to some extent, but only by a point or 3. Not by the errors we have been discussing.  Outside of the trub loss bug in bs2, beersmith can do an excellent job of predicting gravity, ibu, and abv.  The equipment and process differences are describable in bs2, so the program can take them into account. 


R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2013, 06:42:38 PM »
I've just gone through several of jamil's recipes from brewing classic styles.  He is definitely assuming that the steeping grains contribute sugar. For example:

Irish red ale
-------------

Og: 1.054

8.1 lbs lme = 300 pts
6 oz crystal 40 =15 pts
6 oz crystal 120 = 15 pts
6 oz roasted barley = 0 pts

300 pts in 6 gallons is 1.049 (5 pts low)
Add in the crystal malts, comes to 330 pts in 6 gallons = 1.055 sg




R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

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Offline Stewart194

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 03:15:14 PM »
Hey Tom -
Thanks again for your feedback on this!  I REALLY appreciate it!  A friend of mine and I brewed an Oatmeal Stout this morning.  We added 1 pound of Dark DME in addition to the 6 pounds of Dark LME it called for, to compensate for my system / experiences.  The recipe, without the 1 pound of DME, said that the OG should be 1.050 to 1.054.  The batch this morning was 1.046 with the added DME, and I made sure that I aerated it for a solid 5 minutes of vigorous shaking before taking the gravity reading.  I just ordered a paint stick style stirrer thing that attaches to a drill from Midwest Brewing Supplies but it isn't here yet, but it definitely should have been aerated enough for a gravity reading I would think.  I'm sure that if I had added an addition half pound of DME I would have hit the proper numbers.  I also made sure that my hydrometer was calibrated correctly.  It was damn close when I first got it, maybe 1 point off...and checking it again with room temp water it is still the same.

Beersmith said that the OG with the added DME should be 1.054.  I think I should just plan on adding 2 pounds of DME for every extract beer I brew with my current setup, which I'm fine with.  I will play with the partial mash stuff again also and see what I come up with.

SO....it's official, after 3 batches of extract recipes, doing a full boil on my system, regardless of the Beersmith calculations or the original recipes, my current system needs the additional DME or LME to reach the proper gravity.  Why?  I still have no idea.  But I'm not worried about it.  I will try my first partial mash method in a few weeks and see what happens!

Thanks again to everyone who responded!   


Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Total Efficiency Greyed Out
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 10:01:30 PM »
I'm guessing you method of measuring volume is off. By about 20% or so. As yougo ffurther in brewing these things matter much more than they do now.  Get a calibrated gallon jug with graduations, and calibrate your equipment. 
R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes