Author Topic: Messed up my water volume  (Read 2595 times)

Offline tntpilsner

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Messed up my water volume
« on: July 30, 2018, 01:04:04 PM »
Hello,
I'm very new to brewing and to Beersmith, but I have done two BIAB batches with Beersmith.
Yesterday, I had scaled a 6.6 gallon recipe from Beersmith cloud to 5 gallons, and I gave it a whirl.
My pre-boil SG was 1.062 after I mashed, when the estimated was 1.061. So I figured I was doing pretty well at that point.
However, I ended up with about 5.75 gallons going into my fermenter (instead of the 5.0 gallons I wanted), and a OG going into the fermenter of 1.064, when the estimated OG was 1.072.

I'm pretty sure I have my boil-off figured too high...I was pre-occupied and did not measure my actual boil-off, but I think it was less than the 1.00 gal I have set up in my Equipment profile.

So I'm doing BIAB in a 10 gallon pot, no false bottom or anything, just the bag.

Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what I may need to adjust. Here are a few screenshots that hopefully can show what I'm doing wrong.





EDIT: Duh, I actually want to bottle 5 gallons, so I'm closer than I thought. But I think 5.75 gallons going into the fermenter is still going to leave me with too much when it comes time to bottle, meaning beer that doesn't hit the Gravity the recipe calls for.  Thanks again.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 01:27:45 PM by tntpilsner »

Offline Oginme

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Re: Messed up my water volume
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 01:34:27 PM »
First a suggestion:  Please save the recipe and post it as a .bsmx file as the screen shots are too small for my poor old eyes to make out the figures on them.  It will also give us a better chance of chasing down where things are going wrong.

Now onto some questions:

(1) are you taking your gravity readings with a hydrometer or refractometer?  If with a hydrometer, what temperature is the wort when taking the readings.

(2) you ended up with 5.75 gal, is that into the fermenter or end of boil?  If into the fermenter, how much trub did you have left behind?

(3) It looks like your ending place is pretty close to where you wanted to be at 5.75 gal (assuming that this is end of boil volume) and though I cannot read where you started (pre-boil volume), you should have gained more gravity points.  I am guessing that the math would indicate that one of your measurements is off.  If you are even close to the 6.99 pre-boil volume from your equipment profile, like let's say 6.7 gallons from the mash the 6.7 gal x 62 gravity points = 415.4 total points.  415.4 total points / 5.75 gallons = 72 gravity points or a gravity going into the fermenter of 1.072.

(4) conversely, if your ending gravity reading is correct, then you had 5.75 gal * 64 gravity points = 368 total points.  368 total points / 62 gravity points pre boil = 5.94 gallons pre-boil.  Even if I consider that you had the 0.75 gal of trub in the calculation, then (5.75 + 0.75) = 6.5 gal * 64 points = 416 total points.  416 total points / 62 gravity points = 6.71 gal starting volume.  In either case, you lost only around 0.2 gallons in your boil off.  Did you boil with the lid on? 

(5) If you know your starting volume is greater than around 6.9 gallons, then the issue may come down to a bad reading on the gravity measurements, either by pulling a bad sample or measuring hot wort and trying to correct it to calibration temperature of your hydrometer.  Likewise, if you took readings with a refractometer, I always recommend taking the readings at least three times stirring well between sampling.  It is too easy to get a poor reading from either a dirty prizm or stratified wort.

(6) also, how are you measuring your volumes in the kettle?  Did you make a dip stick or are you relying on a premarked scale on your pot?


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Offline tntpilsner

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Re: Messed up my water volume
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 02:05:47 PM »
Haha, sorry about that, I didn't realize I could do that until you mentioned it. I have a LONG way to go here.
Speaking of, most of the values I entered were based on suggestions I found on forums (probably mostly here or homebrewtalk), so the trub loss, etc. is really a guess.
My pot and the weight of it should be correct, though.
OK-
1. I'm using a hydrometer, and I know I could be off a bit due to my noob-ness. I did correct for temp (I think it was 72 or so for pre-boil and 70 for post boil, IIRC)
2. 5.75 actually went into the fermenter, and I left a good bit of trub in the kettle. I should have measured it, but it covered the bottom of the kettle, probably a good 1/2" deep.
3. Again, I'm new so I'm so busy/pre-occupied that I didn't write down my pre-boil volume. I do recall starting the mash at 7.75 gal. (12 lbs. of grain, I do not squeeze the bag),
and I believe the pre-boil was right at 7 gallons, it may have been a little higher. I did a slow boil so I don't think I boiled off as much as I anticipated (?)  Oh- and I had reflectix around the pot for the boil, but in the future it is coming off when I begin the boil, I scorched it a bit.  It is a triple thick bottom on the kettle.
I would NEVER boil with the lid on, haha!
And I could have had a bad pre-boil sample, I had put it in the fridge for quite awhile and it had separated, not sure if that hurts the reading.
I do measure the volume by the marks on the (Bayou Classic) kettle, but I had tested them with water when I got the kettle and the marks are very close, they may be just a little high but not much at all (i.e. 7 gal mark may be 7 gal plus a few ounces).
thanks again!

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Messed up my water volume
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2018, 03:00:36 PM »
You really need to create an accurate, customized equipment profile. Every Beersmith user should do this before they make a single batch. The profiles that come pre-loaded with the software are starting points and even if you find one that has the exact same name as they system you brew on... your won't behave the same as the other.

You need to actually measure your volume losses. Find out how much liquor is absorbed by your mash... how much is left behind in the mash tun... how much boil off do you have?... how much is lost to trub in the boil kettle... how much will you leave behind in the fermenter... and if you use pumps and plate or counterflow chillers, how much is left behind in those not to mention what is left behind in the hoses.

It sounds like a lot of work but it's not really and it make the software much more accurate and reliable for you.

This guy walks through all of those places where you may encounter losses to help you create a custom profile: https://youtu.be/HwEbjOt8OR8

I don't know if you've heard of Brulosophy or not but they have a tutorial out as well that may be helpful: https://youtu.be/QmW7pwQP5mQ

And then there is the creator of Beersmith and his tutorial: https://youtu.be/8GxZ-qEWLqM

Watch them all. They each come at the subject from an ever so slightly different approach and you may find one easier to follow than another.

Good luck!
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Offline tntpilsner

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Re: Messed up my water volume
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2018, 03:11:36 PM »
Thank you! And yes, I love Brulosophy, I'll check these all out.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Messed up my water volume
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2018, 09:31:08 PM »
Haha, sorry about that, I didn't realize I could do that until you mentioned it. I have a LONG way to go here.

No problem, we've all been there trying to figure teh program out!

Speaking of, most of the values I entered were based on suggestions I found on forums (probably mostly here or homebrewtalk), so the trub loss, etc. is really a guess.

OK, See Kevin's suggestion on setting up your profile and how to measure critical parameters. Getting the profiles right goes a long way to having the software become more valuable to you in the long run.
My pot and the weight of it should be correct, though.
OK-
1. I'm using a hydrometer, and I know I could be off a bit due to my noob-ness. I did correct for temp (I think it was 72 or so for pre-boil and 70 for post boil, IIRC)

That should be fine.  The real issue a lot of people have is taking a reading on very hot wort.  The wort is constantly changing as it cools down to room temperature and trying to guess what the wort temperature is while you are reading the hydrometer is really iffy. Near room temperature, however, there is little change with the addition of the hydrometer and the rate of temperature change in the wort is negligable.

2. 5.75 actually went into the fermenter, and I left a good bit of trub in the kettle. I should have measured it, but it covered the bottom of the kettle, probably a good 1/2" deep.

Again, to get the most from the software you will want to get into the habit of taking readings on volume and gravity throughout the brew session.  Doing this has helped me through a lot of potential issues tracking down changes in milling and boil off rates.  After 140+ recipes brewed with BeerSmith, I still collect the data religiously. 

3. Again, I'm new so I'm so busy/pre-occupied that I didn't write down my pre-boil volume. I do recall starting the mash at 7.75 gal. (12 lbs. of grain, I do not squeeze the bag),
and I believe the pre-boil was right at 7 gallons, it may have been a little higher. I did a slow boil so I don't think I boiled off as much as I anticipated (?)  Oh- and I had reflectix around the pot for the boil, but in the future it is coming off when I begin the boil, I scorched it a bit.  It is a triple thick bottom on the kettle.
I would NEVER boil with the lid on, haha!
And I could have had a bad pre-boil sample, I had put it in the fridge for quite awhile and it had separated, not sure if that hurts the reading.

the separation should not have caused any issue with the gravity reading.  It is actually easier to read the gravity with clear wort.

I do measure the volume by the marks on the (Bayou Classic) kettle, but I had tested them with water when I got the kettle and the marks are very close, they may be just a little high but not much at all (i.e. 7 gal mark may be 7 gal plus a few ounces).

Excellent!  Too many people rely on the factory stamped markings as being nuts on, when they could be off by quite a bit.  Especially when the kettle has valves, temperature ports, etc. 

thanks again!

Overall, I think this was a good exercise for you and hopefully you can focus on getting the readings you need next time.  From there, you can tune in the software to better mimic your process.  If you get lost in some of the calculations, post it and there are several here who can help explain them well.  I've found Marshall Schott's videos on setting up equipment and mash profiles to be very good and thorough.
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline tntpilsner

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Re: Messed up my water volume
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 07:26:34 AM »
Overall, I think this was a good exercise for you and hopefully you can focus on getting the readings you need next time.  From there, you can tune in the software to better mimic your process.  If you get lost in some of the calculations, post it and there are several here who can help explain them well.  I've found Marshall Schott's videos on setting up equipment and mash profiles to be very good and thorough.
Thanks again so much. I've been listening to hours of Marshall's podcast, so I'm sure his videos are great. I'll check them out for sure. I have so many notes on this stuff, I think I get overwhelmed on brew day and neglect the data gathering, but that will change after this incident.