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Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software

anak85

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Hi there!

I am just experimenting with the BeerSmith software and trying to brew half of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale this weekend. I entered the full recipe and then proceeded to halve the batch. But the IBUs and the Color are suddenly different. Any idea what is going wrong?

I halved the recipe manually btw. If I half it using the "Scale recipe" function the ingredients are not halved either. They get adjusted to some weird values that suddenly achieve the same IBUs and colouring.

The mash efficiencies and water quantities seem very strange between the two...





Any suggestions? I bought the ingredients for half a batch already.
 

Oginme

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Just halving the recipe manually when using the same equipment does not account for losses in your mash tun.  This is why when you used the scale recipe feature, the amounts were not the same as your manual halving of ingredients.  What the program does is increase the mash efficiency in the half batch to draw the same amount of sugars that you should get into the fermenter based upon the brew house efficiency specified in your equipment profile.  It does this regardless of the actual mash efficiency most likely being the same or close to that of your full batch.

When I do scale down a recipe, I start with constructing a new equipment profile to take into account the greater percentage loss due to dead space in the mash tun.  I will reduce the brew house efficiency based upon the difference in % loss.  For example, if I brew 20 liters with a BHE of 80% and a loss to dead space in my mash tun of 2 liters with a boil off of 4 liters, my loss in the mashing process is 2 liters / 24 liters = 8.3% loss.  The same system with 10 liters into the fermenter would be 2 liters of loss in the mash tun, 4 liters of boil off giving a loss in the mashing process of 2 liters / 14 liters = 14.3%.  This difference comes right off of the brew house efficiency in order to maintain the same mash efficiency which is where the sugar is drawn from.

For the IBU, the impact is on the other end of the process.  By using the same equipment profile, you will have the same end of process losses and the same calculation as above applies from post boil to fermenter.  With a greater percentage loss in the post boil volume, the IBU will be lost as well, which is exhibited by the lower IBU number.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
Just halving the recipe manually when using the same equipment does not account for losses in your mash tun.  This is why when you used the scale recipe feature, the amounts were not the same as your manual halving of ingredients.  What the program does is increase the mash efficiency in the half batch to draw the same amount of sugars that you should get into the fermenter based upon the brew house efficiency specified in your equipment profile.  It does this regardless of the actual mash efficiency most likely being the same or close to that of your full batch.

When I do scale down a recipe, I start with constructing a new equipment profile to take into account the greater percentage loss due to dead space in the mash tun.  I will reduce the brew house efficiency based upon the difference in % loss.  For example, if I brew 20 liters with a BHE of 80% and a loss to dead space in my mash tun of 2 liters with a boil off of 4 liters, my loss in the mashing process is 2 liters / 24 liters = 8.3% loss.  The same system with 10 liters into the fermenter would be 2 liters of loss in the mash tun, 4 liters of boil off giving a loss in the mashing process of 2 liters / 14 liters = 14.3%.  This difference comes right off of the brew house efficiency in order to maintain the same mash efficiency which is where the sugar is drawn from.

For the IBU, the impact is on the other end of the process.  By using the same equipment profile, you will have the same end of process losses and the same calculation as above applies from post boil to fermenter.  With a greater percentage loss in the post boil volume, the IBU will be lost as well, which is exhibited by the lower IBU number.

Thanks for the indepth answer.

So how do I go about setting my equipment profile correctly? I have a Klarstein Mundschenk 30L system (same as the Brew Monk) and want to brew 10L and 20L batches.

Regards!
Phillip
 

Oginme

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Since you are using the same equipment, I would not expect any change in the mash tun loss, so that remains consistent.  I would start by taking your current mash efficiency, change the fermenter volume, and start by adjusting the BHE by the difference in the losses.  i.e. in the first example for mash tun losses, you go from 8.3% loss to 14.3% loss.  If your BHE for a full batch is 75%, knock it down by 14.3 - 8.3 = 6% as a start and then you can modify it after you brew.  This should get you in the ballpark.

 

anak85

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Oginme said:
Since you are using the same equipment, I would not expect any change in the mash tun loss, so that remains consistent.  I would start by taking your current mash efficiency, change the fermenter volume, and start by adjusting the BHE by the difference in the losses.  i.e. in the first example for mash tun losses, you go from 8.3% loss to 14.3% loss.  If your BHE for a full batch is 75%, knock it down by 14.3 - 8.3 = 6% as a start and then you can modify it after you brew.  This should get you in the ballpark.

I think you lost me a little bit.

Well, since I have no idea what my mash tun loss is, I guess I should just simply record losses during my next brew in all stages and post them for support?
 

anak85

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But are there no profiles I can use as an approximation from similar style systems? I understand that it would be good to have precise information but just to prepare my recipes a little better it would be good to be able to import some examples for full size / half size batches.

Right now I am quite unsure what water quantities I should be using this weekend...
 

Oginme

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It looks similar to many one vessel system, such as the grainfather.  Most grainfather users that I have talked to have had to do slight changes to their profiles to match the results of their specific devices. 
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
It looks similar to many one vessel system, such as the grainfather.  Most grainfather users that I have talked to have had to do slight changes to their profiles to match the results of their specific devices.

I just found the button to import profiles. There is a Robobrew which is fairly similar. I will start with that.

What is meant with the full, medium and light bodies during the mash profiles? What is suggested for IPAs and Pale Ales?
 

Kevin58

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The temperature at which you mash is what determines a full, medium or light bodied beer.

Mashing at the low end of the conversion scale... around 148-152 F will produce a more conversion of complex starches to sugars giving you, in theory, more fermentation and a clean, lighter tasting beer.

In the middle at 153-156 F is of course where medium bodied beers result.

Mashing higher at 155-158 F will result in less starch conversion leaving a beer with more unfermentables and giving you a full bodied beer.
 

Kevin58

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PS. If you find an equipment profile that matches your system you should still do some volume measurements to tailor that profile to your way of brewing. This will give you far better results when using the software. Even if you don't find a profile in the software or in the add-ons section it's not hard to create your own profile. All it takes is filling with water, draining and measuring what is left behind. That's an over-simplified description but its not much harder than that.

Here is a video tutorial of a larger system but the concept is the same...
https://youtu.be/HwEbjOt8OR8

and one more for good measure...
https://youtu.be/QmW7pwQP5mQ

 

anak85

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Kevin58 said:
PS. If you find an equipment profile that matches your system you should still do some volume measurements to tailor that profile to your way of brewing. This will give you far better results when using the software. Even if you don't find a profile in the software or in the add-ons section it's not hard to create your own profile. All it takes is filling with water, draining and measuring what is left behind. That's an over-simplified description but its not much harder than that.

Here is a video tutorial of a larger system but the concept is the same...
https://youtu.be/HwEbjOt8OR8

and one more for good measure...
https://youtu.be/QmW7pwQP5mQ

Thanks!

I think I calculated the Brewhouse Efficiency for my full size batch.

I used Vinna Malt (1.035) 11 pounds and Crystal malt 10L (1.036) 1,1 pounds for a 6,07 gallon batch. So the Potential is 71,7.

My actual gravity was around 1.052 so the efficiency is 72,5%. Sounds roughly correct I assume. So you suggest using 66,5% efficency to start for the half batch?

 

Oginme

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I think that would be a fairly safe place to make your first half batch recipe.  With the higher water addition for the mashing due to the higher percentage of volume losses, you may see a bit of a bump in efficiency. That will or will not prove itself out in the long run with a couple of brews behind you.  As someone who does predominantly 10 liter batches, I can attest the an improvement in efficiency going from 20 liters down to 10 liters all full volume BIAB.  The nice thing is if you come in with higher gravity readings, you can always choose to let it ride or dilute down and end up with slightly greater than 10 liters at the end.  It is much harder to compensate the other direction (low gravity vs target).

 

anak85

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Oginme said:
I think that would be a fairly safe place to make your first half batch recipe.  With the higher water addition for the mashing due to the higher percentage of volume losses, you may see a bit of a bump in efficiency. That will or will not prove itself out in the long run with a couple of brews behind you.  As someone who does predominantly 10 liter batches, I can attest the an improvement in efficiency going from 20 liters down to 10 liters all full volume BIAB.  The nice thing is if you come in with higher gravity readings, you can always choose to let it ride or dilute down and end up with slightly greater than 10 liters at the end.  It is much harder to compensate the other direction (low gravity vs target).

Thanks a lot! I might even hold back 0,5-1L Water just to make sure I do not need to do any reducing of the volume after my boil.

Tomorrow is the big day followed by a second brew on Sunday :)
 

Oginme

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Good luck and keep good notes on volumes and gravity throughout the process.  One additional thing that has helped me is not to trust the pre-printed/etched volumes on kettles or containers.  They are not applied by actual measurement but by design and I've been off initially on volumes due to inaccuracies in actual volume versus kettle markings.
 

anak85

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Hi there!

I just have a quick question about the BeerSmith software. It says that the estimated pre-boil gravity should be 1.041 SG. But it does not mention at which temperature. I am guessing at the mash temperature otherwise the conversion to 20?C would be 1.068 which is higher than my target gravity of 1.055SG

My last mash temperature is 78?C.
 

Kevin58

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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.
 

Oginme

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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.

 

anak85

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Oginme said:
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)
 

Oginme

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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!



 

anak85

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Oginme said:
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.

Oginme said:
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 :)

Oginme said:
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?
 
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