Author Topic: Methods of Calibrating Mash?  (Read 6720 times)

blurry6

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Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« on: August 06, 2006, 12:39:31 AM »
Hey guys!

I'm new to Beersmith and while I was attracted to the toolset, I'm getting frustrated as all get out >:(. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations, or an easy method of dialing in Beersmith's various mash/equipment/strike/Infusion settings in order for Beersmith to 'accurately' predict  strike & mash temps with my system,...other than trial and error during brewday - been there, done that, not pretty? I was tinkering about with the idea of doing some mash-in-temp-tests using small water quantites and independent of using any actual grain in order to dial in the accuracy , etc. I figure there's got to be an equasion somewhere that will numerically quantify 'my system' based on its ability (or lack thereof) to hold temp, drop temp, or some-such factor, that when measured over time will spit out a constant that will allow brewsmith to accurately predict how my system will behave and react accordingly.

I tried various methods or using Beersmith's recommendations for strike temp with small 2-qt volumes and no grain, but the calculations were WAY off from reality no matter how I dialed them. so I'm led to believe that this particular method is futile.

Ideally, I'd like to take an afternoon to boil, measure, adjust, etc. and dial in a tight profile for my system,...Anyone have any ideas on how this can be done? If so, PLEASE let me know and if it's good, it should be made a sticky here on the forum. Thanks!

Ryan

Shakey_Dog

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2006, 05:07:47 AM »
Ryan,

Once I put in all the information for my system correctly I had no problem with stike temps or anything else.

Make sure you have the right mash tun size, dead space......

Don

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2006, 08:29:18 AM »
Ryan,
  You might want to start here...this is a good place to start dialing in your settings:
     http://www.beersmith.com/equipment_setup.htm

Cheers!
Brad
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blurry6

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 06:01:25 AM »
Unfortunately, I've done that already. I was hoping that someone might have come up with a brilliant method of 'testing' the calculations of Beersmith without wasting a lot of time and ideally without harming any malted grains in the process :) I'm considering throwing $10.00 on some 6-row and doing several little 'micro-mash' tests: 2lb grain + 1gal H2O @ temp (1:2 ratio) to see if the calculations work out. Theoretically, this seems like it should work. What I don't know is if there is some hidden law of thermodynamics that doesn't allow me to translate these little tests into full-blown mashes i.e. they behave differently at larger volumes. Brad, do you think this will work? I figured 1gal of water is just enough H2O to fill the bottom of my tun & immerse my manifold, which 'should' be enough to at least test the calculations and dial in the numbers.

On the topic of dialing in the numbers, of all the parameters within Beersmith, where (which menu items, parameters, etc.) should I be concentrating my efforts in order to dial my system in? Is there a commonly overlooked parameter when dialing in your system, or more importantly, which parameters would you concentrate on adjusting? Thanks for the help! ;D

Ryan

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2006, 11:14:42 PM »
Ryan,
  The water losses and so on are usually pretty consistent from batch to batch - so for those (trub loss, boil off loss, etc) you should be able to just keep track of your next batch volumes carefully and do a very good job of getting close with those.

  The grain heating calculations are straightforward and based on thermodynamics and known specific heat of grain.  The only wild cards there are your grain starting temperature (pretty easy to measure) and make sure you measure your volumes and weights properly.

  The big unknown is always how much heat your mash tun will absorb (represented by the specific heat, weight and volume for your mash tun).  You can avoid this by preheating the mash tun (put hot water in it at the temperature of your target mash first to heat it before mashing).  However, usually you will want to get the proper equipment adjustments dialed in.   For this I personally think a full size batch is best since doing a very small batch in a very large mash tun won't give you an accurate thermal picture.  I recommend using the default values based on your mash tun material, volume and weight as a starting point (you can easily measure these).  Then keep some cold and hot water on hand if your mash infusion comes in a bit hot or cold.  By adjusting the mash tun specific heat up a bit if you come in low, or down a bit if you come in high.  Make sure you have the "Adjust temp for equipment" flag set in the recipe as well.

Cheers!
Brad
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blurry6

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2006, 12:18:16 AM »
 :'( Brad,...I don't get it. I understand all your recommendations in regard to having hot/cold water on hand (which I did) and using the default values (volume/weight) as a starting point, but your anwer is very vague in regard to the specifics of what I should adjust within Brewsmith to compensate for my system's particulars. I've measured, and double measured all of the various parameters within Brewsmith and I still have adjustments to make,...what should I be adjusting? That is my question. What would you adjust within Beersmith to make these compensations? Thanks.

Ryan.

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2006, 12:35:40 AM »
Ryan,
  As far as dialing in your system - I can only assume that your mash temperatures are off??  The number I would adjust if this was the case is the mash tun specific heat.  If your mash temperatures are consistently low, adjust the number up a bit.  If the mash temperatures are high, adjust them down a bit.

  If that does not help - then let me know where you think you need to dial things in?  Are you off on water calculations?  Mash temperature?  Water used in the mash profile?  Something else?

Thanks!
Brad
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blurry6

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Re: Methods of Calibrating Mash?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2006, 11:34:19 AM »
Thanks Brad,

It's the mash temps that are off. I'll play around with it a little. I'm consistently (2 batches so far) about minus 5-to-10F on my strike temps using the default 0.300 Cal/gram-deg-C, so I'll bump it up some and see how she flys. Thanks for you help :)

Ryan