Author Topic: Batch size input question  (Read 9430 times)

Offline jtoole

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Batch size input question
« on: October 24, 2015, 03:18:05 PM »
So on the design page where it says "Batch Size" (just right of Name, Brewer, Equipment) should I be inputting the end amount I want to keg (5 gal if that's what I'm looking to keg) or the amount into the fermentor (I usually get 5.5 gal into my fermentor)?  I noticed that changing this value affects the efficiencies and I'm looking to get this as accurate as possible.
Thanks in advance.

Offline brewfun

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2015, 03:49:49 PM »
For BeerSmith, a batch is the amount you want in the fermenter.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline rbc1225

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2015, 05:52:20 PM »
This might be a good spot to ask this question. I didn't want to start a new thread but it relates to batch size and what makes it to the fermenter. When I drain my boil pot there is say .8 gallons left in the bottom due to trub and just not able to drain it all. So originally I thought I could take care of this my compensating in the "Loss to Trub and Chiller" in the equipment section. When I do this though, the Post Boil Gravity does not change as I would think it would need to. Because I am actually adding more water to the original boil, thus diluting the original boil and I would think the gravity would go down a bit and need to be compensated by more grain. . So evidently BS seems assuming you keep the same Post Boil Gravity at that point. Not saying it's wrong, but I am wondering how I compensate for the .8 gallons or so that are left in the bottom of the boil pot to actually get the gravity correct?

I hope that makes sense. Thanks in advance.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2015, 07:27:36 PM »
BeerSmith bases all the calculations on the total efficiency (wort into fermentor).  Thus when you added the amount of trub loss, the program adjusts your mash efficiency to put more sugars into the system to account for the additional water.  So, take your recipe and remove the tub loss you just added and you will see the mash efficiency number go down accordingly.

Personally, I find that my mash efficiency is pretty consistent, while my brewhouse or total efficiency varies greatly depending upon the type of recipe and how much trub is left in the kettle due to hop loading.
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Offline rbc1225

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2015, 08:48:14 PM »
Just found how to setup the system using the efficiency's settings. Let me mess with that before you waste your time in explaining it. 


I can see when I change the space for trub it does change estimated Mash efficiency but I assume that means that is what it would take to meet the parameters below? It doesn't seem to change any temps or times that I would think would give me more sugars.  The reason I say that is if you change the trub enough you get effective mash efficiency's of over 100% which I don't see how that can be?  I would think there would be in input of how much wort is left in the boil kettle before it goes into the fermenter? I mean if I change my spout to the middle of my boil kettle there will be gallons left but would the sugars would be diluted and never used. I guess I am just not understanding how or why the effenciency's go higher the more trub or dead space I put in there.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 09:20:16 PM by rbc1225 »

Offline Oginme

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 06:05:32 AM »
Let's start with mash efficiency.

Mash efficiency varies greatly from brewer to brewer depending upon a number of variables:  Crush, mash time, crush, mash tun configuration, dead space, mash pH, infusion process, and, lastly, crush.  Mash efficiency can never go above 100% in real life IF you have the correct information for grain potential plugged into BeerSmith for each grain used.

BeerSmith is a modeling program.  It needs to set some parameters in order to calculate the output of the brewing process.  Brad chose to use Total (or Brewhouse) Efficiency as the fixed variable in the calculations in order to calculate the outcome of your particular brewing process.

When you input a recipe using your preferred equipment profile, which defines your personal process variables such as mash tun volume, weight, and specific gravity; dead space; trub losses; evaporation rate; and BREWHOUSE EFFICIENCY, the program uses the parameters you defined to calculate the output of OG and FG. 

So what happens when have your brewhouse efficiency set too high is that the program calculates the amount of sugars needed to satisfy the OG and compares that to what sugars are available from your grain bill to calculate your mash efficiency.  It automatically assumes that these sugars can be extracted and leaves it up the user to note the violation and correct it.

In simplistic form, it works on the basis of:   (OG / Brewhouse efficiency) = Sugars extracted.

If you increase the amount of water used, the program assumes that all the water will support the same concentration of sugars as what gets to the fermentor; a number set by the brewhouse efficiency.  To the program, the amount of water used is immaterial to the actual amount of sugars which can be extracted.

My recommendation is to go back through your process and calculate or figure out your actual brewhouse efficiency.  If you then make a change in trub or deadspace, use that figure to reduce the Brewhouse Efficiency to re-balance your system to bring your mash efficiency back into line with your actual results.
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Offline brewfun

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2015, 06:09:40 AM »
The reason I say that is if you change the trub enough you get effective mash efficiency's of over 100% which I don't see how that can be?  ... I guess I am just not understanding how or why the effenciency's go higher the more trub or dead space I put in there.

What you're looking at is Mash Efficiency, which is the sugar that gets to the kettle.

BeerSmith uses Brewhouse Efficiency, which is the total percentage of sugar that makes it to the fermenter.

If you tell BeerSmith that you expect 80% Brewhouse Efficiency, you're saying that 80% of all the sugars available will end up in the fermenter. This includes losses to trub and chiller as well as mash efficiency. That means that if you expect to have the same % of sugar in the fermenter, the ONLY place you can get it is through higher mash efficiency because that loss must have the same gravity as the rest of the wort.

When you add loss to trub & chiller, you're actually less efficient at getting sugars to the fermenter. If you  keep the same brewhouse efficiency, then BeerSmith will show you the required mash efficiency needed to get the Brewhouse Efficiency stated.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline rbc1225

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2015, 02:28:37 PM »
I think I see what you all are talking about now. Man, I had to adjust my brewhouse efficiency down to 35% to get things to line up though. Seems like I have some experimenting to do. :)

Offline scaesare

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2016, 10:04:16 PM »
So this is a topic that I've been trying to read up on regarding BS2 now that I'm moving from extract to all-grain brews. Forgive what may be a naïve question.

While I understand that the software is adjusting the brewhouse efficiencies based on the results of what ultimately gets in to the fermenter, it would seem that ultimately it isn't answering the question that I'd assume needs be answered:

Given my mash efficiency (an assumed fixed value) that determines amount of sugars in to the kettle, and my trub losses (also assumed a fixed value), that determines what gets in to the fermentor, the problem I really need to solve would seem to be:

For a given equipment profile, what does my grain bill need to be to hit my target gravity?

BS telling me that my efficiency has dropped as a result of trub loss with a larger kettle is interesting, but doesn't solve a problem for me, other than to indicate I now need to manually adjust my grain bill (perhaps with trial & error), in order to get the correct gravity & volume of wort in to my fermentor, despite trub losses.

This is exactly the sort of problem that software is typically good at: solve the variable I select based on the other values I choose.

That having been said, perhaps there's something I'm overlooking, but the replies above suggest perhaps not?

Offline brewfun

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 03:46:10 AM »
While I understand that the software is adjusting the brewhouse efficiencies based on the results of what ultimately gets in to the fermenter, it would seem that ultimately it isn't answering the question that I'd assume needs be answered:

For a given equipment profile, what does my grain bill need to be to hit my target gravity?

As you continue to  brew, your skill, processes and equipment will evolve. You'll end up with recipes that hit all the marks and fit the equipment you have at the time.

As you continue to change and enhance your brewery, you'll want to create new equipment profiles. Then, to adapt older recipes to new equipment, you'll use the "Scale Recipe" function. This function will adapt a recipe to changing dynamics in your brewhouse. You may even find that you'll have multiple profiles for the same equipment to account for differing ingredients, like large hop charges, for instance. As with most of BeerSmith, you'll have options within that function to suit your needs.
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Offline Oginme

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 05:49:43 AM »
While I understand that the software is adjusting the brewhouse efficiencies based on the results of what ultimately gets in to the fermenter, it would seem that ultimately it isn't answering the question that I'd assume needs be answered:

Given my mash efficiency (an assumed fixed value) that determines amount of sugars in to the kettle, and my trub losses (also assumed a fixed value), that determines what gets in to the fermentor, the problem I really need to solve would seem to be:

For a given equipment profile, what does my grain bill need to be to hit my target gravity?

BS telling me that my efficiency has dropped as a result of trub loss with a larger kettle is interesting, but doesn't solve a problem for me, other than to indicate I now need to manually adjust my grain bill (perhaps with trial & error), in order to get the correct gravity & volume of wort in to my fermentor, despite trub losses.


In BeerSmith, the brew house efficiency is the fixed variable.  Based upon other inputs in your equipment profile, the software will adjust your mash efficiency to achieve the stated brew house efficiency.  Thus when you increase your trub loss, BeerSmith calculates an increase in your mash efficiency to make up for the additional loss in sugars.

When looking at a recipe, you cannot ignore the trub losses because that volume contains sugars which were extracted during the mash.  If not taken into account, you could never balance out the grain extraction with the amount of sugars (specific gravity) and volume which ends up in the fermentor.

Instead of looking at the system with the volume in the fermentor as being the only output, you need to look at the post boil values as being the output.  This will fix the mash efficiency which as you noted is very consistent from brew to brew.  Once you have solved for your mash efficiency and are confident in the consistency, you can then separate out the trub and figure the brew house efficiency to achieve a consistent volume and gravity to the fermentor.

As an example, I most typically brew 10 liter batches.  I plan on having 1 liter of trub left over with coagulated proteins and hop residue left in the kettle when finished.  So the actual target for my system is 11 liters of wort.  I configure my equipment profile accordingly around my average mash/lauter efficiency (88% in my case) and then split the fermentor volume and trub loss.  Since my trub loss is 1 liter out of 11, my target brew house efficiency becomes (10 liters/11 liters) * mash efficiency (88%) or about 80%.  If I change my trub or volume to the fermentor greatly, I can easily figure the effect on brew house efficiency and make that adjustment.  This works well for small changes such as going from 1 liter of trub to 1.5 liters of trub.

By doing this, I have fixed the amount of extracted sugars for my system for that given set up and target volumes and balanced the system out using that number (essentially mash/lauter efficiency) as my fixed variable.

So how do I achieve the grain bill to get the desired numbers?  There are several ways to do this within BeerSmith.  The easiest is to enter the grains you want in your recipe.  You can either enter the weights in proportion to how you want them or use the 'Grain Pct' button next to the ingredients box on the design page to fix the percentage of each grain.  Next, click on the slider below the ingredients box for the 'est original gravity' and enter your desired target.  BeerSmith will adjust the grain bill accordingly to achieve that target given you current brew house and mash efficiencies.  You can do the same operation for hop additions as well.

Generally, I will enter in all the ingredients, fix the percentage of the grains, balance out the hop bitterness as I would like,and then make the adjustments using the sliders.  Lastly, if I need to make a final adjustment for color, I will click on that slider and fix that value to where I want it.  The color slider works well over a small range of adjustment, but struggles with large changes in SRM (like +/- 6 or 7 points).
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Offline scaesare

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2016, 07:37:39 AM »
I appreciate the responses, and believe I understand how the software is working, based on my observations and your descriptions.

My issue is, it doesn't seem to be providing the most useful information. It' ultimately solving for the variable: What's my brewhouse efficiency?.

The answer to that should be rather constant once I work out my equipment info (mash efficiency, trub amounts, etc...).

Ultimately the useful question to answer (at least for me) is: What do I need to buy to end up with 5 gallons of correct ABV beer in my keg, given the equipment I'm going to use?

Thus it seems that BS accounts for the trub in the bottom of my kettle by telling me my brewhouse efficiency has gone down as a result of needing to have additional liquid on order to hit my bottling volume. If I brew this recipe, I now have "diluted" beer in the keg. For some reason it doesn't scale the grain bill to account for the kettle losses, despite knowing about them.

So now, in order to get my correct 5 gallons in to my keg at the right ABV, I have to go manually scale my grain bill to account for this.

See rbc1225's example above... while everybody has explained what BS is doing, nobody has addressed the issue of: What it's doing isn't as useful as it could be. I think targeting the end result (bottling vol) rather than an intermediate step ( fermenter volume), and using the constants supplied(trub & fermenter losses, boil off volumes, ettc...) and  solving for all other variables (grain bill, etc..) would make the program more useful.

On other forums, I've seen it suggested that, because BS doesn't account for what losses you get in the kettle when scaling a recipe, that you set those losses to 0, and then manually scale up the batch size and hand-subtract those losses in order to generate the correct grain bill... so clearly I'm not the only one who finds this counter intuitive. That's working around the software, rather than having it work for me.

Unless I'm missing the obvious way to do this.

This is intended as constructive dialog... I'm a registered customer because I appreciate the product, but I find this to be a source of frustration and/or confusion.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 09:01:47 AM by scaesare »

Offline brewfun

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2016, 09:14:37 AM »
My issue is, it doesn't seem to be providing the most useful information. It' ultimately solving for the variable: What's my brewhouse efficiency?

It does, once you have a few measurements to give it. You'll find the Measured Efficiency in the Fermentation tab, second column, second field.

Quote
The answer to that should be rather constant once I work out my equipment info (mash efficiency, trub amounts, etc...).

Only if you are constant about your batch sizes. Using the same kettle for various volumes must take into account that you have a constant loss (unrecoverable wort) no matter what batch size. If it's a half gallon, this represents a higher percentage of smaller batches than large. Since it's a loss, it must be deducted from the overall (brewhouse) efficiency since it represents sugar that'll never become beer. Again, the greater the percentage of loss, the lower your brewhouse efficiency is.

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Ultimately the useful question to answer (at least for me) is: What do I need to buy to end up with 5 gallons of correct ABV beer in my keg, given the equipment I'm going to use?

Exactly! And Brewhouse Efficiency is the most accurate way to calculate this.

Quote
Thus it seems that BS accounts for the trub in the bottom of my fermenter by telling me my brewhouse efficiency has gone down as a result of needing to have additional liquid on order to hit my bottling volume.

No. The trub/loss BeerSmith accounts for is in the kettle and on the way to the fermenter. What you're describing is cellar yield.

Quote
If I brew this recipe, I now have "diluted" beer in the keg. For some reason it doesn't scale the grain bill to account for the fermenter losses, despite knowing about them.

Not correct. BeerSmith estimates the bottling volume in both the the equipment profile and on the Fermentation page. You can adjust fermenter yields to account for loss and hit a bottling target.

Fermenter losses are static and should be adjusted in the profile attached to the recipe. A dry hopped beer will have a lower yield than one that is not.

But, let's be clear, the beer isn't "diluted" if it started at the correct gravity, regardless of yield.

So, where does this additional "liquid" come from? Your efficiency.

When you state brewhouse efficiency, you're saying what percentage of the total available sugar will make it to the fermenter. So, if you say your BHE is 70%, and then increase the amount of trub, your gravity won't go down because you still state 70% of the total available sugar is going into the fermenter. This means that the ONLY place the sugar can come from is increased mash efficiency.

Quote
So now, in order to get my correct 5 gallons in to my keg at the right ABV, I have to go manually scale my grain bill to account for this.

Not entirely, you simply must adjust your sources of sugar, which is usually pale malt. But, this is available in the Scale Recipe function to quickly adjust all grain and hops. It's also available by double clicking the style bars (gravity, bittering, color) below the recipe window. This will adjust amounts within the parameters available from the ingredients. The bittering bar will not adjust hops that have a 0 IBU contribution.

Quote
I think targeting the end result (bottling vol) rather than an intermediate step ( fermenter volume), and using the constants supplied(trub & fermenter losses, boil off volumes, ettc...) and  solving for all other variables (grain bill, etc..) would make the program more useful.

Again, it's an available calculation in both the equipment profiles and the recipe.

Quote
On other forums, I've seen it suggested that, because BS doesn't account for what losses you get in the fermenter when scaling a recipe, that you set those losses to 0, and then manually scale up the batch size and hand-subtract those losses in order to generate the correct grain bill... so clearly I'm not the only one who finds this counter intuitive. That's working around the software, rather than having it work for me.

This makes no sense to me, since it's already in BeerSmith. There are some users that have a very difficult time separating Mash and Brewhouse Efficiency and want to measure their batch size in the kettle. For them, setting losses to zero makes Brewhouse and mash efficiency identical. Given your stated desire to work out yield, this is not the best option for you.

Quote
This is intended as constructive dialog... I'm a registered customer because I appreciate the product, but I find this to be a source of frustration and/or confusion.

I and others on this forum are just BeerSmith customers, too. We just happen to have been using the program a little longer than you and are sharing our knowledge. You're among friends.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 09:24:50 AM by brewfun »
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline scaesare

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 09:31:45 AM »
I inadvertently typed "fermenter losses" rather than "kettle". I edited my post before any replies showed up, so yours must have been in-process. Sorry about that.

I just double checked this:

I edited the equipment profile within that recipe and changed my "Loss to trub and chiller" from .5 gallons to 2 gallons.

The my pre-boil water volume went up accordingly. The grains did not change.

What am I missing?

Offline brewfun

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Re: Batch size input question
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 09:45:35 AM »
I inadvertently typed "fermenter losses" rather than "kettle". I edited my post before any replies showed up, so yours must have been in-process. Sorry about that.

I just double checked this:

I edited the equipment profile within that recipe and changed my "Loss to trub and chiller" from .5 gallons to 2 gallons.

The my pre-boil water volume went up accordingly. The grains did not change.

What am I missing?

That your mash efficiency went up.

When you state brewhouse efficiency, you're saying what percentage of the total available sugar will make it to the fermenter. So, if you say your BHE is 70%, and then increase the amount of trub, your gravity won't go down because you still state 70% of the total available sugar is going into the fermenter. This means that the ONLY place the sugar can come from is increased mash efficiency.

BeerSmith will continue to raise the mash efficiency past 100%. Since this isn't possible, you'll need to lower your Brewhouse Efficiency.

You can rough estimate BHE by multiplying mash efficiency by percentage of wort yield.

Suppose you expect 70% mash efficiency and need 5 gallons in the fermenter.

Previous Trub Loss: 0.5 gal. 0.5/5.5 = 9%. Therefore 91% to the fermenter.
BHE = 0.7*0.91 = 0.637 or 63.7% BHE

New Trub Loss: 2 gal. 2/7 = 28.6%. Therefore 71.4% to the fermenter
BHE = 0.7*0.714 = 0.4998 or 49.98% BHE (round it to 50%  ;))

Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.