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Possible bug with efficiency setting

Bane

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I changed my efficiency setting and it did not change my water quantity on my steps. Is this normal? I brewed yesterday and and beer smith 3 said to use about 10.5 gallons, for mash. After mashing, I had 9.5 gallons to boil. After boiling, I had about 9.25 gallons. This calculates out to slightly over 90% efficiency.  No matter what I set the efficiency to, beersmith 3 keeps insisting in the steps that I need 40.94 quarts at mash in. Is there a way to correct this?
 

Oginme

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The total or brew house efficiency affects the sugars which are extracted from the grains which end up in the fermenter.  It does not affect the volume balance which is completely controlled in your equipment profile. 

If you are calculating your 'efficiency' based solely upon the volume, then you are really looking at volume losses which are controlled by the batch size, mash tun losses, boil off rate and your trub loss.

How long did you boil?  It would appear that your boil off is only 0.25 gallons. Calculate the hourly boil off rate and compare that to your equipment profile to figure out if this is where your error is.

 

brewfun

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Efficiency is related to the amount of sugar extracted from grain. The Brewhouse Efficiency changes the percentage of available sugar that makes it to the fermenter. B'house efficiency is your expected mash efficiency times the percentage of post boil wort that goes to the fermenter.

Water use will be constant based on batch volume and grain weight. What actually changes is the mash efficiency. The grain still retains the same quantity of water, you still have the same boiloff and other loss.

As you change the amount of grain (or anything in the fermentables category) the predicted gravity will change, but it'll always assume this is relative to the B'house efficiency you set. If the B'house is set too high, you can get mash efficiency over 100%, which clearly isn't going to happen.
 

Bane

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I guess I am miss-understanding what efficiency is than. What would I need to adjust to correct this volume situation?

Thanks,
 

Bane

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Oginme said:
The total or brew house efficiency affects the sugars which are extracted from the grains which end up in the fermenter.  It does not affect the volume balance which is completely controlled in your equipment profile. 

If you are calculating your 'efficiency' based solely upon the volume, then you are really looking at volume losses which are controlled by the batch size, mash tun losses, boil off rate and your trub loss.

How long did you boil?  It would appear that your boil off is only 0.25 gallons. Calculate the hourly boil off rate and compare that to your equipment profile to figure out if this is where your error is.

I'm at altitude, so I boil longer. I boil for 64 minutes.
 

BOB357

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The only substantial difference you will see at altitude is lower hop utilization, due to the lower boiling temperature. There is a place to enter your altitude in the equipment profile that will correct the utilization %. Boiloff rate is pretty much a product of surface area and boil vigor. Humidity, and to a lesser extent, other climate related things play smaller parts.

If you haven't already, you need to set up an equipment profile that vary closely matches your equipment and various volume losses during the brewing process. Here's a link to a video that explains how to do that:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/04/beersmith-tutorial-equipment-profile-setup/

If you use the BIAB process, this links to the video you want:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/11/beersmith-tutorial-biab-mash-profile-setup/

The great thing about BeerSmith software is that it allows you to make various adjustments to tailor it to fit your equipment and process. In order for the software to give you accurate information, it requires accurate inputs from the user. There's an entire library devoted to information on how to use the software. Here's a link to it:

http://beersmith.com/blog/beersmith-home-brewing-guide/

If you don't find anything there to address a question you have, there are some people here that know BeerSmith well and will be more than happy to help.

 

Bane

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BOB357 said:
The only substantial difference you will see at altitude is lower hop utilization, due to the lower boiling temperature. There is a place to enter your altitude in the equipment profile that will correct the utilization %. Boiloff rate is pretty much a product of surface area and boil vigor. Humidity, and to a lesser extent, other climate related things play smaller parts.

If you haven't already, you need to set up an equipment profile that vary closely matches your equipment and various volume losses during the brewing process. Here's a link to a video that explains how to do that:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/04/beersmith-tutorial-equipment-profile-setup/

If you use the BIAB process, this links to the video you want:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/11/beersmith-tutorial-biab-mash-profile-setup/

The great thing about BeerSmith software is that it allows you to make various adjustments to tailor it to fit your equipment and process. In order for the software to give you accurate information, it requires accurate inputs from the user. There's an entire library devoted to information on how to use the software. Here's a link to it:

http://beersmith.com/blog/beersmith-home-brewing-guide/

If you don't find anything there to address a question you have, there are some people here that know BeerSmith well and will be more than happy to help.

I have a BIAB profile setup. I'm just not sure at this point what to adjust to get the post boil volume corrected. For example, I just tried changing the boil off to .50 gallons from Beersmith's default of 2.5 per hour and it did not change the starting water amount in the brew steps, I thought that would make a difference. So, I am at a loss at this point as to what would need to be changed.
 
 

Oginme

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Where did you make the change? Was it editing the equipment profile from within the recipes?  Or, did you edit the profile in your equipment profile library?

Recipes in BeerSmith are mini-archives.  That way users can make changes to their profiles without affecting past brewed recipes.  So, if you make a change to your profile outside of the recipe then you will need to update the recipe with your new profile, even if it has the same name.  For this reason, I recommend appending the date that you last updated you profile to the name so you can tell at a glance if your recipe has the latest version or not.

Likewise, if you change something in your profile within a recipe that change will only affect that recipe and your profile in the profile library will not be changed.  If you do this, you can save the profile you changed within the recipe by clicking on the little disc icon next to the equipment profile.
 

Bane

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Bane said:
BOB357 said:
The only substantial difference you will see at altitude is lower hop utilization, due to the lower boiling temperature. There is a place to enter your altitude in the equipment profile that will correct the utilization %. Boiloff rate is pretty much a product of surface area and boil vigor. Humidity, and to a lesser extent, other climate related things play smaller parts.

If you haven't already, you need to set up an equipment profile that vary closely matches your equipment and various volume losses during the brewing process. Here's a link to a video that explains how to do that:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/04/beersmith-tutorial-equipment-profile-setup/

If you use the BIAB process, this links to the video you want:

http://brulosophy.com/2014/08/11/beersmith-tutorial-biab-mash-profile-setup/

The great thing about BeerSmith software is that it allows you to make various adjustments to tailor it to fit your equipment and process. In order for the software to give you accurate information, it requires accurate inputs from the user. There's an entire library devoted to information on how to use the software. Here's a link to it:

http://beersmith.com/blog/beersmith-home-brewing-guide/

If you don't find anything there to address a question you have, there are some people here that know BeerSmith well and will be more than happy to help.

I have a BIAB profile setup. I'm just not sure at this point what to adjust to get the post boil volume corrected. For example, I just tried changing the boil off to .50 gallons from Beersmith's default of 2.5 per hour and it did not change the starting water amount in the brew steps, I thought that would make a difference. So, I am at a loss at this point as to what would need to be changed.

Also, wanted to mention, there is a difference in boil at altitude. I used to live at almost sea level in San Diego and now live at about 8500 feet. I have brewed the same recipes in both places and found that I need to boil longer to get the same level of carmelization at altitude as I had in San Diego. I generally see this through the color of the finished beer. Also, other brewers here have found this to be true. New Belgium for example had to change their recipes when they opened their North Carolina brewery; they however had to go the opposite direction.
 

BOB357

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I doubt seriously that any "substantial" difference in caramelization would be addressed by adding 4 minutes to a 60 minute boil, but I'm not going to get into a pissing contest over something that has nothing to do with your original concern or my response.

I stand by my original statement in regards to "substantial" differences when brewing at altitude and again, suggest that you start by setting up an equipment profile with accurate entries, following the steps in the BIAB video I linked.


 

Bane

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I think I found the issue. The "recoverable mash dead space," was set at 3 gallons. Changing that brings my volumes to where they should be. One of the equipment profile videos said to zero that for BIAB, so hopefully that is the correct adjustment.
 

Bane

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BOB357 said:
I doubt seriously that any "substantial" difference in caramelization would be addressed by adding 4 minutes to a 60 minute boil, but I'm not going to get into a pissing contest over something that has nothing to do with your original concern or my response.

I stand by my original statement in regards to "substantial" differences when brewing at altitude and again, suggest that you start by setting up an equipment profile with accurate entries, following the steps in the BIAB video I linked.

I appreciate your help, but you are wrong on the altitude issue. You can actually see the differences in the colors of the wort post boil Beersmith can also show you the SRM differences when you adjust for altitude in the Mash profile.
 

Oginme

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Bane said:
I appreciate your help, but you are wrong on the altitude issue. You can actually see the differences in the colors of the wort post boil Beersmith can also show you the SRM differences when you adjust for altitude in the Mash profile. I've attached screen shots of the SRM change in BS3, the only thing than changes is the elevation in the boil setting. The first photo is of the change at 800ft, the second is 5869 ft.

I would suspect that your 'SRM' change based upon altitude is a difference in actual extraction and process losses.  You have two recipes one of which has a target OG of 1.099 and the other with a target of 1.083.  With the same grain bill, this would indicate you have a greater dilution of your sugars in the recipe with the lower projected SRM.  Your difference between the two altitudes should be in the isomerization of hop acids due to the lower boiling point at altitude and boil off rate which will be affected by the lower air pressure at altitude. 

Both of these can be compensated for in your equipment profile.
 

Kevin58

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Your .25 boil off rate sounds bizarre. Then you changed that to .5. Was that a random choice? Have you actually calculated your boil off rate? It should be one of the steps you undertake to set up your equipment profile. You can't just click BIAB in the equipment profiles that come with Beersmith and expect it tow work for you. They are mere starting points for you to create your own custom profile.

A boil off test should start with you filling your boil kettle with a known amount of water... say two gallons. That volume should be accurately measured too. Do not trust the etchings on a kettle... do not just fill a gallon container to a level that looks about right. Weight it on a scale. One gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs or 3.78 kg. (if you have etchings on your kettle this is a good time to verify them) Then boil that measured volume for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame, let it cool and then measure how much water remains. Multiply that number by 4 to come up with your hourly boil off rate.

You also want to accurately measure all of your losses... water lost to grain absorption... water left in hoses and pumps... trub loss... everything. Because if you are guessing at any or all of these and are off by even just a little bit on each, it will add up to a discrepancy large enough to make you pull your hair out trying figure out why you aren't getting the results that BS is giving. @BOB357 posted a couple of links that will help setup an equipment profile.  They work.
 

GigaFemto

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Kevin58 said:
Then boil that measured volume for 15 minutes. Turn off the flame, let it cool and then measure how much water remains. Multiply that number by 4 to come up with your hourly boil off rate.

You are absolutely right about most of this, Kevin. One minor point, though, is that the BeerSmith boiloff rate is measured at boil temperature, so don't make your measurements on cool water. Or, if you do, correct the measurements for the thermal expansion to boiling temperature (4% default).
 
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