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Halving recipe changes properties in BeerSmith Software

Oginme

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I would guess that the other losses come with grain absorption. 

The other thing to consider is your boil off rate and it may be worth setting up and doing a boil with just water measuring volume in and out to get a better handle on that figure.

Since you do not have reliable markings on your kettle, how did you measure the volume of water in?  That may be another source of discrepancy in versus out.

I've met/heard of several brewers who mark their spoons.  I have one spoon and several pots/kettles, so it was easier for me to make a series of custom dip sticks.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
I would guess that the other losses come with grain absorption. 

I assume so too. So where do I change that setting? When I open the equipment profile I don't see where to input losses due to the mash. It only mentions mash deadspace losses (I assume it means if I am mashing in a separate vessle). Or do I enter the losses here for that. It is set to 0kg.

I just changed the Brewhouse efficiency from 66% to 63%. Before it suggested using a total of 16 liters (I used 16,5l) and that went down to 16,7 liters just by changing the efficiency. That means it is trying to concentrate the liquid a bit more then?

The other thing to consider is your boil off rate and it may be worth setting up and doing a boil with just water measuring volume in and out to get a better handle on that figure.

I'll try that tomorrow.


Since you do not have reliable markings on your kettle, how did you measure the volume of water in?  That may be another source of discrepancy in versus out.

I measured by weight each liter at a time into a bucket (I marked two 17 liter buckets along the side now with permanent marker). Then I just filled the bucket to the desired marking and weighed if it was correct before pouring it in.

But I just spent the last our engraving markings into the kettle :) Starting at 5 liters to 30 liters I added one liter at a time and engraved by scratching with a sharp piece of metal. It actually looks fairly good as I first started with a straight center line.

Thank you so much for your suggestions and help!!! I would be a bit lost without it  ;)


 

Oginme

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anak85 said:
I assume so too. So where do I change that setting? When I open the equipment profile I don't see where to input losses due to the mash. It only mentions mash deadspace losses (I assume it means if I am mashing in a separate vessel). Or do I enter the losses here for that. It is set to 0kg.

I just changed the Brewhouse efficiency from 66% to 63%. Before it suggested using a total of 16 liters (I used 16,5l) and that went down to 16,7 liters just by changing the efficiency. That means it is trying to concentrate the liquid a bit more then?

The setting for water absorption is a universal setting.  It can be found under 'options' > 'advanced'.  There are two figures.  The first is for standard mash tun configurations or basically any system where the water removal is solely by gravity.  The other is for BIAB mash profiles.  In order for this one to be active, the mash profile you use must be set for a full volume BIAB mash. 

Since you are mashing in the same vessel as you are boiling in, your setting for the deadspace in your equipment profile is correctly set.  Any volume losses which cannot be drained will end up at the end of the process as losses to trub and chiller.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
anak85 said:
I assume so too. So where do I change that setting? When I open the equipment profile I don't see where to input losses due to the mash. It only mentions mash deadspace losses (I assume it means if I am mashing in a separate vessel). Or do I enter the losses here for that. It is set to 0kg.

I just changed the Brewhouse efficiency from 66% to 63%. Before it suggested using a total of 16 liters (I used 16,5l) and that went down to 16,7 liters just by changing the efficiency. That means it is trying to concentrate the liquid a bit more then?

The setting for water absorption is a universal setting.  It can be found under 'options' > 'advanced'.  There are two figures.  The first is for standard mash tun configurations or basically any system where the water removal is solely by gravity.  The other is for BIAB mash profiles.  In order for this one to be active, the mash profile you use must be set for a full volume BIAB mash. 

Since you are mashing in the same vessel as you are boiling in, your setting for the deadspace in your equipment profile is correctly set.  Any volume losses which cannot be drained will end up at the end of the process as losses to trub and chiller.

The grain absorption is set to 0,96 fl oz / oz grain.  And grain volume is set to 0,652 L / kg.

Not sure I want to touch these without knowing what I'm doing... hmm.

If I work out my evaporation rate I should be able to work out how much I lost today during the boil. Then I can work backwards how much was absorbed into the grain I suppose...
 

Oginme

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I would not touch the grain volume without some concrete information saying that it is incorrect.  The grain absorption I update every 10 or so brews, though at this point it is almost imperceptible in the volumes.  The default is listed on the side, so if you change it you can change it back pretty easily.  I would not recommend changing it without some data to support the change.  The calculation, once you get your volume measurements squared away is pretty easy:  (Volume into mash - Volume following grain removal)  / weight of grains.  I calculate mine at liters per kg of grain and then have to convert it for BeerSmith which is stuck on fluid ounces per ounce of grain.  Average this value over the next 4 to 5 brews and you can be sure that you have minimized any noise in the measurement.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
I would not touch the grain volume without some concrete information saying that it is incorrect.  The grain absorption I update every 10 or so brews, though at this point it is almost imperceptible in the volumes.  The default is listed on the side, so if you change it you can change it back pretty easily.  I would not recommend changing it without some data to support the change.  The calculation, once you get your volume measurements squared away is pretty easy:  (Volume into mash - Volume following grain removal)  / weight of grains.  I calculate mine at liters per kg of grain and then have to convert it for BeerSmith which is stuck on fluid ounces per ounce of grain.  Average this value over the next 4 to 5 brews and you can be sure that you have minimized any noise in the measurement.

Ok, will be careful with that.

I boiled water for 30 minutes and then chilled to room temperature. I lost 2 liters from 15 liters initially. So that is a 4 liter loss per hour. That seems very high! The preset in BeerSmith is assuming 2,65 liters per hour.

Then I proceeded with my brewday and had a loss of around 4,25 liters during a 60 minute boil + steep + whirlpool. So that is quite accurate then.

BUT, I totally missed my numbers somehow.

Targets:
Pre boil gravity: 1.048 (I hit 1.047 so still good here)
Pre boil volume: 15,1 liters ( I hit 15,75 liters)

Post boil gravity: 1.067 (I hit 1.051)
Post boil volume: 11,1 liters (I hit 11,5 / 11.6 roughly).

Can you assist me how to set up my equipment settings based on this?

Here some more information.
I mashed in with 13,5 liters and sparged with 5 liters. The mash was 60 minutes at 67?C.

I attached my settings and the recipe I followed (added 0,5L to the mash and reduced the sparge by 0,5l but followed the rest exactly)

Also, just calculated by Brewhouse efficiency to be 53% instead of 63% which I had yesterday :( Really struggling to understand why I ended with such a low gravity even though I had set the boil off almost correctly.

I hope it still ends up as a decent yet little light IPA :)

 

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Oginme

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OK, so let's parse the data you collected.

You started with 13.5 liters in the initial infusion and sparged with 5 additional liters.  Your total mash volume is 18.5 liters.

From that you collected 15.75 liters of wort from the above water and 3.39 kg of grains.  The difference in volume in and out of your mashing step is 18.5 liters - 15.75 liters = 2.75 liters of water lost in the grain.  Having used 3.39 kg of grain, your grain absorption is 2.75 / 3.39 = 0.81 liters/kg.  This converts to 0.81 l/kg / 3.785 l/gal * 128 oz/gal / kg/1000 gms * 28.3 gms/oz gives us 0.694 fl oz per oz of grain which is your absorption rate.

Boil off is pretty straight forward: you started with 15.75 liters and ended up with 11.55 liters so you lost 4.2 liters per hour as you already calculated. 

Now let's see how reliable your numbers are.  If you took pretty good measurements, your gravity points pre-boil should be about equal to your gravity points post boil (within your ability to accurately measure).

So 15.75 liters at 1.047 gravity gives you 15.75 * 47 points = 740 gravity points

Post boil you ended up with 11.55 liters at 1.051 gravity, which gives you 589 gravity points.  Hmm, not very close at all.  Does your ending volume include wort which could not be drained from the vessel or is it the measurement before you drained the kettle? 

If you assume that your initial volume and gravity reading was correct, you should have ended with 740 gravity points / 11.55 liters or 64 points which gives a gravity reading of 1.064. 

Trying the reverse calculation (assuming that the ending measurements are correct) gives you 589 gravity points / 15.75 liters or 37 points which gives a gravity of 1.038.

These are basically the calculations you need to determine the boil off, grain absorption and the reliability of the data.  If you took the volume reading post boil after you drained the wort, add back in the volume which could not be drained and recalculate both the boil off and the gravity point balance.  If this volume is the actual post boil volume as measured in the vessel, then it suggests that one of your gravity readings is off.

 

anak85

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Oginme said:
OK, so let's parse the data you collected.

You started with 13.5 liters in the initial infusion and sparged with 5 additional liters.  Your total mash volume is 18.5 liters.

From that you collected 15.75 liters of wort from the above water and 3.39 kg of grains.  The difference in volume in and out of your mashing step is 18.5 liters - 15.75 liters = 2.75 liters of water lost in the grain.  Having used 3.39 kg of grain, your grain absorption is 2.75 / 3.39 = 0.81 liters/kg.  This converts to 0.81 l/kg / 3.785 l/gal * 128 oz/gal / kg/1000 gms * 28.3 gms/oz gives us 0.694 fl oz per oz of grain which is your absorption rate.

Boil off is pretty straight forward: you started with 15.75 liters and ended up with 11.55 liters so you lost 4.2 liters per hour as you already calculated. 

Now let's see how reliable your numbers are.  If you took pretty good measurements, your gravity points pre-boil should be about equal to your gravity points post boil (within your ability to accurately measure).

So 15.75 liters at 1.047 gravity gives you 15.75 * 47 points = 740 gravity points

Post boil you ended up with 11.55 liters at 1.051 gravity, which gives you 589 gravity points.  Hmm, not very close at all.  Does your ending volume include wort which could not be drained from the vessel or is it the measurement before you drained the kettle? 

If you assume that your initial volume and gravity reading was correct, you should have ended with 740 gravity points / 11.55 liters or 64 points which gives a gravity reading of 1.064. 

Trying the reverse calculation (assuming that the ending measurements are correct) gives you 589 gravity points / 15.75 liters or 37 points which gives a gravity of 1.038.

These are basically the calculations you need to determine the boil off, grain absorption and the reliability of the data.  If you took the volume reading post boil after you drained the wort, add back in the volume which could not be drained and recalculate both the boil off and the gravity point balance.  If this volume is the actual post boil volume as measured in the vessel, then it suggests that one of your gravity readings is off.

Yes. All measurements are of the wart in the kettle. I have roughly 10.8L in the fermenter.

I will take one more gravity reading not then.  (already checked the post-boil reading twice but maybe something was wrong with the chilling I did).^

Edit: no change. Still 1.050 @ 23?C, so 1.051. Very odd. Did I simply read the pre boil gravity incorrectly... hmm.
 

anak85

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So I took my assumptions from the Sunday IPA brew that I measured and used them to work backwards on my Saturday Pale Ale brew. They are pretty much spot on.

Volume in the fermenter is 8,75L.

+ 0,65L losses in the trub = 9,4L

+ 5 L boil off = 14,4L

+ 2 L loss in the mash (0,81L/kg) = 16,4L (My initial total volume was 16,5L)

So I guess my IPA measurements support my Pale Ale brew day results. The question is then why my Brewhouse Efficiency is around 63% for the Pale Ale and around 50% for the IPA.
 

Oginme

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The first thing I would recommend is to try batch sparging.  If the batch sparge brings your efficiency up by a good margin, then it would suggest that you have some channeling of the sparge water in your fly sparge so the water is bypassing much of the grains.

If the batch sparge does not help much, then it comes down to the standard factors which control mash efficiency:

1.  Crush
2.  Crush
3.  Crush
4.  Crush
5.  Crush
6.  Poor wetting of grains when doughing in causing dough balls which are protected from the water and enzymes.  Mix the heck out of the grains when doughing in.  I mean like 5 to 10 minutes of stirring!
7.  Mash pH is waaay out of the prime conversion zone of 5.2 to 5.6 pH (at room temperature).
8.  Work to minimize process losses (loss of volume + sugar = poor efficiency)
9.  Check your thermometer to make sure it is accurate
10. Check and calibrate your hydrometer and/or refractometer

Normally, most issues are solved with steps 1 through 6.  If your brewing water is very hard, it may be difficult for the pH to drop down to the ideal range for enzyme activity to convert the starches into sugars.  Hope this helps some.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
The first thing I would recommend is to try batch sparging.  If the batch sparge brings your efficiency up by a good margin, then it would suggest that you have some channeling of the sparge water in your fly sparge so the water is bypassing much of the grains.

If the batch sparge does not help much, then it comes down to the standard factors which control mash efficiency:

1.  Crush
2.  Crush
3.  Crush
4.  Crush
5.  Crush
6.  Poor wetting of grains when doughing in causing dough balls which are protected from the water and enzymes.  Mix the heck out of the grains when doughing in.  I mean like 5 to 10 minutes of stirring!
7.  Mash pH is waaay out of the prime conversion zone of 5.2 to 5.6 pH (at room temperature).
8.  Work to minimize process losses (loss of volume + sugar = poor efficiency)
9.  Check your thermometer to make sure it is accurate
10. Check and calibrate your hydrometer and/or refractometer

Normally, most issues are solved with steps 1 through 6.  If your brewing water is very hard, it may be difficult for the pH to drop down to the ideal range for enzyme activity to convert the starches into sugars.  Hope this helps some.

I just had my next brew day and had much better BHE results. 79%! I bought my own mill and crushed the grains myself. Also I spent a lot more time stirring the mash at the beginning and a second time after 20 minutes of mashing.

Thanks for your support :)

The BeerSmith Software does not quite correctly predict my water retention in the mashed grain. It is almost exactly 0,82L per kg grain and the BeerSmith predicted 0,94L / kg. How would you change that?
 

Oginme

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You can change the water absorption rate by clicking on 'options' > 'advanced' > 'grain absorption'.  Note that there are two values -- the first for standard brewing and the second for BIAB brewing. 
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
You can change the water absorption rate by clicking on 'options' > 'advanced' > 'grain absorption'.  Note that there are two values -- the first for standard brewing and the second for BIAB brewing.

Thanks. Which is the one to change?

0,82 L / kg is 27,73 fl oz / 35,3 oz -> 0,78555 fl oz / oz Is that correct? The grain absorption is set to 0,9600 and the BIAB grain absorption is set to 0,5860 currently.

And where do I set it if it is standard or BIAB? Is that done by ticking the little box in the mash profile?
 

Oginme

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If your mash profile has the box checked as a full volume BIAB mash, then you want to change the BIAB value.  Otherwise, change the standard grain absorption value.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
If your mash profile has the box checked as a full volume BIAB mash, then you want to change the BIAB value.  Otherwise, change the standard grain absorption value.

Great, thanks! Now my values in the recipe are spot on with the results I got. Finally getting closer to the real world and can start copying recipes to my system.

I brewed this one today and thankfully it stated the brewhouse efficiency they calculated with. http://brulosophy.com/recipes/tiny-bottom-pale-ale/

How do you go about to copying recipes when the efficiency is not stated anywhere? Just try and hit the numbers (% alc. / IBU / colour) with your system?
 

Oginme

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There are too many recipes out there where the authors thoughtlessly do not express the efficiency for which they designed the recipe.  Most often, publications will standardize a recipe on a certain percent.  I believe the AHA uses 70% total efficiency and BYO is at 65%.  For others the best way is to use my force fit method described below.

1.  Open up a recipe template with your equipment profile,

2.  Enter the recipe EXACTLY as it is printed or written.  BeerSmith helps in that you can enter in the exact weight and the units and it will convert to your preferred units.  For example, I use Kg and grams for malts and hops respectively.  I can enter in the weight of '1.5 oz' and the program will automatically convert this to grams when I hit enter,

3.  Using the sliders below the design box, click on the Est Orginal Gravity slider and a box will pop up.  Fill in the target OG from the recipe.  The program will adjust the weights of the grains to scale for that gravity target,

4.  Do the same thing with IBU and color.  Note that the hop scaling will not affect any hop addition which does not contribute to IBU, such as dry hops.  For these, I scale according the the ratio of the volumes between the printed recipe and my target batch size.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
There are too many recipes out there where the authors thoughtlessly do not express the efficiency for which they designed the recipe.  Most often, publications will standardize a recipe on a certain percent.  I believe the AHA uses 70% total efficiency and BYO is at 65%.  For others the best way is to use my force fit method described below.

AHA / BYO?

Oginme said:
1.  Open up a recipe template with your equipment profile,

2.  Enter the recipe EXACTLY as it is printed or written.  BeerSmith helps in that you can enter in the exact weight and the units and it will convert to your preferred units.  For example, I use Kg and grams for malts and hops respectively.  I can enter in the weight of '1.5 oz' and the program will automatically convert this to grams when I hit enter,

Ohh wow, that is useful! I always mess about with the annoying converters. I'll give it a try.

Oginme said:
3.  Using the sliders below the design box, click on the Est Orginal Gravity slider and a box will pop up.  Fill in the target OG from the recipe.  The program will adjust the weights of the grains to scale for that gravity target,

4.  Do the same thing with IBU and color.  Note that the hop scaling will not affect any hop addition which does not contribute to IBU, such as dry hops.  For these, I scale according the the ratio of the volumes between the printed recipe and my target batch size.

Thanks - that is very useful information!!

Also, I was told that I might have milled too fine. 0,6mm and that is probably why my water retension in the grain is so low at 0,78 fl / oz. Another user with the same setup has 0,84 fl oz / oz with a mill size of 1,2mm.

Since my grain was dripping very slowly I will go to the 1,2mm mill next time. I think I might have gotten lucky not to burn the kettle as it was only a 11L batch. Anything lager and the kettle might have run dry.
 

Oginme

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AHA = American Homebrewers Association
BYO = Brew Your Own (a popular home brewing magazine)

As far as your crush is concerned, as long as you did not get a stuck sparge or if you want to increase your run off rate then you don't need to change anything.  Unless you are seeing lots of shredded and cut hulls, or a lot of barley flour in your grist, I would not worry too much about it.

A finder crush will generally lead to slightly lower grain absorption rate, but the lower the grain absorption rate means the less sugars you are leaving behind in the mash tun.  There really is no 'correct' grain absorption number to target as it will vary from system to system and depends upon a number of factors related to mash liquor temperature, mean grain particle size, size distribution, amount of intact the hulls, grain bed depth, rate of drainage, amount of grain bed compaction, etc. 

 

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Gravity readings are taken at, or very close to , the calibration temperature of the hydrometer and adjusted to the actual temperature as needed. As you get further away from the calibration temperature the adjustment tables become less accurate.
 

anak85

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Oginme said:
AHA = American Homebrewers Association
BYO = Brew Your Own (a popular home brewing magazine)

As far as your crush is concerned, as long as you did not get a stuck sparge or if you want to increase your run off rate then you don't need to change anything.  Unless you are seeing lots of shredded and cut hulls, or a lot of barley flour in your grist, I would not worry too much about it.

A finder crush will generally lead to slightly lower grain absorption rate, but the lower the grain absorption rate means the less sugars you are leaving behind in the mash tun.  There really is no 'correct' grain absorption number to target as it will vary from system to system and depends upon a number of factors related to mash liquor temperature, mean grain particle size, size distribution, amount of intact the hulls, grain bed depth, rate of drainage, amount of grain bed compaction, etc.

Perfect - thanks!!
 
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