Author Topic: "Lazy" Brewing System  (Read 6586 times)

Offline Djehuty

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"Lazy" Brewing System
« on: March 16, 2010, 05:05:39 PM »
Greetings,

I'm trying to work out how to use a slightly unusual brewing system in BeerSmith.  I found a reference to it in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing, in which he called it the "laziest" method of preparing an all-grain brew.  Instead of mashing and sparging to produce six gallons of wort, then boiling it down to five, then cooling it, one produces about three gallons of wort (no sparging), then dilutes it with cool water to fill a five-gallon fermenter.  The only drawback is that one must use (according to Mosher) 1.4 times as much grain and 1.1 times as much hops.

My current setup (and lack of money for a new brew pot, wort chiller, and so forth) strongly favors this method.  ::)

How would I go about getting BeerSmith to work with this method?

Offline BeerSmith

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Re: "Lazy" Brewing System
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 10:06:12 PM »
I would suggest the easiest way would be to use the smaller size for your boil, mash, etc, but then add a significant amount of "top up water" in your equipment profile to reach your final target volume.  To account for the extra grain needed, you can simply use a much lower brewhouse efficiency (if an average efficiency with a full size batch is 70%, you would want to use 70/1.4 = 50% mash efficiency.    You don't need to separately adjust for the hops, as using a small boil size will factor the lower hop utilization into the IBU calculation automatically.

Cheers,
Brad
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Offline Djehuty

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Re: "Lazy" Brewing System
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2010, 12:53:22 AM »
Thank you, it was the efficiency that was tripping me up.  That's why I couldn't get the amount of grain needed to change.

I did note, though, that the amount of hops needed to achieve the same bitterness was more than 10% greater.  Is the flaw more likely to be in BeerSmith or in Randy Mosher's rule of thumb?

Offline Djehuty

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Re: "Lazy" Brewing System
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2010, 12:32:04 AM »
I'm still having trouble with this, possibly because I don't fully understand the process or the software.  I've chosen Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out as my mash profile.  I've set my brewing efficiency to 50%, and included a 2-gallon top-up.  For the Irish red ale recipe I'm trying to build, I wound up with 13.75 lbs. of grain, and 2 oz. of hops.  The mash asks me to add 17.19 quarts of water at 168.7 degrees Farenheit.  The program also tells me I need a 5.37 gallon mash tun.

I have a five-gallon cooler that I'm about to turn into a mash tun.  My brew pot also holds only five gallons.  Am I likely to be able to do this?  Or do I need to give up and buy different gear?

Offline UselessBrewing

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Re: "Lazy" Brewing System
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2010, 07:17:11 AM »
Is the flaw more likely to be in BeerSmith or in Randy Mosher's rule of thumb?
Most likely neither. His rule of thumb is a general guideline not a hard fast rule. The isomerization of the Alpha Acids (AA) into the wort is dependent on things like Original Gravity (OG) and Wort PH, which can vary greatly depending on the beer your making. The software takes this into consideration. If you have all the variables set correctly in BeerSmith, you can be confident that it will be correct.

I'm still having trouble with this, possibly because I don't fully understand the process or the software.  I've chosen Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out as my mash profile.  I've set my brewing efficiency to 50%, and included a 2-gallon top-up.  For the Irish red ale recipe I'm trying to build, I wound up with 13.75 lbs. of grain, and 2 oz. of hops.  The mash asks me to add 17.19 quarts of water at 168.7 degrees Farenheit.  The program also tells me I need a 5.37 gallon mash tun.

I have a five-gallon cooler that I'm about to turn into a mash tun.  My brew pot also holds only five gallons.  Am I likely to be able to do this?  Or do I need to give up and buy different gear?

Can you post your recipe.bsm file for us to look at? From your explanation above, I would say you need bigger equipment. But that may not be true. Because you can vary the water to grain ratio, and other settings to accommodate shortcomings in your equipment.

Cheers
Preston
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Offline MaltLicker

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Re: "Lazy" Brewing System
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 07:21:09 AM »
The EE% of 50% is dictating that you use 13.75# of grain to reach your OG target.  A water ratio of 1.25 qt per pound leads to the 17.19 qts in mash.  13# and 17 qts would be pushing a 5-gal vessel.  

You could reduce the water ratio and make it (barely) fit, but you can see the constraints of trying to do any brews with higher OGs.  

When I pursued this path, I originally mashed the maximum pounds (~7#) that I could sparge in a pasta strainer I had, and then added DME to reach the OG target.  Then I realized I could go all-grain if I would accept smaller batches of about 3.25 final volume.   So, if you're committed to making 5.0 gallons of final volume, then you could either mash your maximum and add some extract, or buy bigger equipment if you want AG and 5 gals.  

If you can accept small batches, you could do AG with current equipment.  I did this, so I could learn about AG methods while gradually assembling bigger outdoor equipment.   Any of these options will make fine beer.  

Offline Djehuty

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Re: "Lazy" Brewing System
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 10:29:00 AM »
I guess I need bigger pots and such.  I'd post the recipe file, but I believe it would be a waste of time.  I've tried reducing the water-to-grain ratio, but I have some concerns about relying upon that, as I'm sure it will have an effect on the finished product.

Thanks for the help! :)