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Confused new user

Jims New Brew

Feb 21, 2011
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Fenton, MO
I am new to the brewing hobby. I have been riding a Harley for years and have found that forums like this can be a wonderful place for the beginner to learn and for the experienced to share their knowledge. With the motorcycling hobby I have pretty much moved from the role of one with questions to one with answers. I now find myself back in the questions role.

I have so far only brewed 2 batches of beer both using a Mr. Beer. That system has been retired and I am gearing up for the second phase of my brewing career. Phase 2 will be as follows:

I have a 5 gallon pot. I will be brewing 2.5 or 2.75 gallon batches. (I want to brew a lot of different beers 1 case at a time) I plan to use extract and some specialty grains that I will steep in a bag, (about 1 or 1.25 quarts of water per # of grain) rinse or sparge the bag with a like volume and temperature of water and then add the tea to my extract wort. I will then top off the brew pot to achieve the boil volume projected by the software. (something a bit over 3 gallons) With the 5 gallon pot and the reduced batch size, I plan to do full boils just like the big boys except on a smaller scale.

I bought the Beersmith software with two purposes in mind. I would like to start playing with my own recipes once I get some experience and since I am going to brew smaller than normal batches, I plan to use the scaling feature to adjust interesting recipes to my size.

I have been playing with the software and reading the on line manual in order to get familiar with it before brewing and have a developed a couple of questions.

The first question is regarding setting up the software. My understanding is that the process I plan to use (described above) is called extract with steeped specialty grains. If that is correct, then I assume that I should set the software type of brew to extract. If so, does the software adjust for the contribution of the steeped grains or do I somehow need to make adjustments?

The second question is regarding the software’s prediction of OG and FG. I have entered several recipes that I got from some books using the extract method and then scaled them to my setup and every time the OG matches very closley to the recipe but the FG predicted by the software comes out much higher. Something like the recipe says 1.007 and the program predicts 1.017. Am I doing something wrong or is this just the software?

Sorry for the long post but in my other forum experience you need to know some background before you can provide an informed answer.



 While it's been a long time since I have done any extract brews (except for the occasional adding of LME to my wort (AllGrain) to get the OG up..... I used to do exactly as you describe abobe .. but for 5 gal.

Anyway, question 1 - I believe that you should choose "PARTIAL MASH" instead of "Extract".  But as stated , it has been quite a while.

Second question- I don't understand it either, I have seen the same anomolie ( at least with the FG) but I just live with it. I do find, however, that BS's calculations seem to be nearly dead on with the actual beer that I am brewing.

I can't help but wonder if the new version of BeerSmith we are all waiting for might adress this issue. It may be a "attenuation" issue, or something like that. But for now, I would say brew, and then compare your actual numbers to BeerSmith's and sii if it isn't real close. There are lots of little variables that can pop up during brewing, so I just trust the calcs and have never been dissappointed.  The beer is ALWAYS good!

Welcome to a GREAT hobby!
Thanks for the quick reply.
I am a retired Mechanical Engineer and I cary all of the anal/techy baggage that comes with that.  Among the equipment on order and or being purchased is a good refractometer. I will be doing the measurements as I brew and anticipate that you are correct that there are just too many variables to the predictions and the beer will prove to be fine.

If I need to use the Partial Mash settings, do I need to pick a single mash profile or do I just create a single step? I am not sure of the mashing part since I never read much about it assuming I was an extract brewer.


I'd recommend Partial Mash as the Type. 

If you post a recipe, we can look for Equipment Settings issues.  With small batches, that is a typical culprit.

Export a recipe .bsm file and post here using Additional Options.