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It seems I am always adding water...

Rep

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Hi

I have brewed nine beers using beersmith and the all grain method.  I am finding I must add water to my fermenter in almost all brewing situations.  I do measure my water accurately as Beersmith indicates.  Would I have Beersmith set up incorrectly?  I have gone through my equipment settings numerous times seeking a problem that I am unable to find.

Any help is appreciated.
 

BeerSmith

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Rep,
  I might suggest trying the Water Needed tool - which closely mirrors the internal calculations in the BeerSmith recipe software.

  If you enter your appropriate losses from equipment and your recipe into that tool you can basically track the math all the way down the sheet to see where you may be having a problem.

Cheers,
Brad
 

Wastegate

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Different equipment and procedures will always have different results, along with environment variables. You may have more boil off because of the temp of the boil or how arid the air is. I always make my batches at least 5.5gal. This allows me to make the batch big enough to leave some cold brake in the pot. And compensates for any variances. Yes it does affect my O.G., but not a large enough swing that I would ever notice it. Figure out how much you are short and adjust accordingly.

If you do have to make the recipe exactingly, then do as Brad suggests.

Side note. None of my beers have ever turned out identical no mater how hard I have tried. So I don't sweat it, its still better than BMC ever was.

Preston
 

Rep

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Wastegate said:
Different equipment and procedures will always have different results, along with environment variables. You may have more boil off because of the temp of the boil or how arid the air is. I always make my batches at least 5.5gal. This allows me to make the batch big enough to leave some cold brake in the pot. And compensates for any variances. Yes it does affect my O.G., but not a large enough swing that I would ever notice it. Figure out how much you are short and adjust accordingly.

If you do have to make the recipe exactingly, then do as Brad suggests.

Side note. None of my beers have ever turned out identical no mater how hard I have tried. So I don't sweat it, its still better than BMC ever was.

Preston

When you say adjust accordingly, do you mean to simply add water to the fermenter as I have been doing.  Or, the last two brews have found me about 3/4 of a gallon short.  Should I just add 3/4 gallon to the sparge volume that Beersmith calculates for me?
 

Wastegate

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Rep said:
When you say adjust accordingly, do you mean to simply add water to the fermenter as I have been doing.  Or, the last two brews have found me about 3/4 of a gallon short.  Should I just add 3/4 gallon to the sparge volume that Beersmith calculates for me?
I personally stay away from adding unboiled water to my fermenter. You could add 3/4 of a gallon to the mash-in. I don't think I would add it to the Sparg, you may get some off flavors from over sparging.

After thinking about this for a few min, it got me to thinking that there has got to be a better way.

First of all make sure you have your equipment setup correctly. I copied a profile that was close to mine and renamed it to my personal equipment and adjusted the profile to fit my equipment.

Now then. If you look at your equipment settings in BeerSmith, you could compensate or add this amount in a couple places. Assuming that "your" Equipment profile is good
1. You could add 3/4gal to the "Top up Water" and then everything would be fine.
2. You could adjust your evaporation rate higher to compensate which would add extra water to the boil.
3. You could change the "Lost to Boil Trub and Chiller".
4. You could add it to the "Top Up Water for Kettle"  (I would choose this one myself)

Hope this helps

Preston
 

Rep

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Wastegate said:
Rep said:
When you say adjust accordingly, do you mean to simply add water to the fermenter as I have been doing.  Or, the last two brews have found me about 3/4 of a gallon short.  Should I just add 3/4 gallon to the sparge volume that Beersmith calculates for me?
I personally stay away from adding unboiled water to my fermenter. You could add 3/4 of a gallon to the mash-in. I don't think I would add it to the Sparg, you may get some off flavors from over sparging.

After thinking about this for a few min, it got me to thinking that there has got to be a better way.

First of all make sure you have your equipment setup correctly. I copied a profile that was close to mine and renamed it to my personal equipment and adjusted the profile to fit my equipment.

Now then. If you look at your equipment settings in BeerSmith, you could compensate or add this amount in a couple places. Assuming that "your" Equipment profile is good
1. You could add 3/4gal to the "Top up Water" and then everything would be fine.
2. You could adjust your evaporation rate higher to compensate which would add extra water to the boil.
3. You could change the "Lost to Boil Trub and Chiller".
4. You could add it to the "Top Up Water for Kettle"  (I would choose this one myself)

Hope this helps

Preston

Preston....thanks for taking the time to respond and hanging in there with me.  AS it turns out.....

This evening a neighbor asked if I would help him with his first brew.  He bought a kit and I am more than happy to brew with him using my keggle set up.

We started out with six gallons measured into the boiler.  At 45 minutes I checked the volume just prior to droping in the wort chiller.  I had five gallons and some in addition.

Cooled the wort and guess what?  Yup, had to add at least a gallon.  Unfortunately, his new 6 1/2 gallon carboy had not been calibrated to measure out the gallons, so I am uncertain of the exact volume entering.  But I think we were actually a bit shyer than that gallon we added.

So I made a note to myself to stop in here tonight and ask if maybe my problem is my Beersmith settings relating to evaporation rates.  The evaporation rate is set at 9%.  Or, could the issue be the cooling loss set at 4%?

I think your ideas above will assist me in dialing in my system.

How do I go about deciding new rates?  Should I simply take a stab at a new number and try it out?

 

KEKO482

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From what I read on other forums a lot of people use 15% for evaporation rate or roughly 1.5 gallons an hour when using a keggle.
 

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True,
  On my own setup I run about 15-17% evaporation.

Cheers,
Brad
 

Wastegate

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Thats what I did (Brew some Beer). I also have my evaporation rate at 15%. The amount of evaporation you will end up with depends on how vigorous your rolling boil is. It will always be a best guess effort.

There are however some out there that are meticulous about settings, volumes, calculations etc. This is a hobby to me so I tend to keep it simple. So what if I leave 2 qts in the kettle, Its no big deal, I'm brewing beer , how bad can it be! The only thing I watch closely are temperatures, end of story! Everything else will end up where it where it ends up. I don't worry about OG because I don't own my own mill, if it's close Im happy. If not I'm still brewing beer , how bad can it be. I tend to brew light bodied beer, If my temp is to high I get a full bodied beer. If my temp is to low I use BeerSmith to tell me how much and what temp water to use to bring it up to the correct temp.

The only other suggestion I would give is to Warm your mash tun with boiling water before you mash-in. I usually use about 3 gallons. Then when I am ready to start the mash in drain this 3 gallons into another vessel for holding. It is easier to bring this water up to the temp you need if your mash is to cold.

Hope this helps

By the way congrats on getting the neighbors involved! +1! Thats a fine testament to your HB!

Preston
 

Rep

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I reset my Beersmith equipment evaporation configuration to 15%.  Keko and Brad made that suggestion above.

Wastegate, yes, I do pre heat my tun and keep the water.  I don't like wasting water, or the fuel to heat it.

Great attitude.  It is beer.  And in the end, it is beer.

Thanks

 

KEKO482

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Wastegate I do the same thing, I rather have extra wort then add water. I like to have around 6 gallon for the carboy then I leave around half gallon when I transfer to secondary. Then when adding the corn sugar I rack it to another carboy to bottle I lose some more which puts me right around 5 gallon at bottling time.
 

Rep

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I brewed a Honey Ale all grain this morning.  I had changed my evaporation rate from 9 to 15%.  I nailed the volumes needed.

Thanks for the help on this. It is appreciated.
 

Rep

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Rep said:
Hi

I have brewed nine beers using beersmith and the all grain method.  I am finding I must add water to my fermenter in almost all brewing situations.  I do measure my water accurately as Beersmith indicates.  Would I have Beersmith set up incorrectly?  I have gone through my equipment settings numerous times seeking a problem that I am unable to find.

Any help is appreciated.

I thought I would report back on the progress you folks helped me make.

Since posting this thread I have completed two more all grain beers.  The first had an increase of efficiency to 83% with the second at 79%.

This increase can be linked to:

1)  I increased my Beersmith calculation for boil off from 9 to 15% per hour.
2)  When mashing I checked my temps at five minutes.  What I am doing now is having some boiling water handy at that five minute check.  In addition I have added a thirty minute temp check and stir.  Again, boiling water is available.  If I use that water, it is taken from my sparges.  I then recalculate the total sparge water needed and divide that by two and double sparge.

In short, I am paying closer attention to my temps.

Again, I want to thank you all for the support you allowed me.
 

Wastegate

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Increased efficiency is always nice!  I have found the best benefit to having my equipment setup correctly, is extending the boil times 30-60 min. This increases the protein coagulation, which helps with Chill haze. Just make sure you leave the cold brake in the kettle. I did a Bohemian Pilsner three months ago and poured my first couple pints from the keg this weekend. Crystal clear and very tasty!

Cheers

Preston
 
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