BeerSmith Software > BeerSmith 2 Questions

Setup Brewhouse / Mash Efficiencies in BS2

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burtbros:
I struggled with understanding the efficiency calculations in BS 2 and I have seen more than a couple of posts trying to decipher what is going on and how to adjust so that your estimates will match your actual OG, FG and ABV.  Isn't that what we want after all?  To be able to accurately estimate the outcome for a recipe?

For the HOW DO I DO THIS? part, skip to the bottom of page.

I am not going to get into the sugar content of my grain or how my calculations don't match BeerSmith.  I just want to get the estimates to be accurate.

First a few definitions:

End of the Process - This has no definition and anybody who uses this in their description is intentionally confusing the reader.  For me, the End of the Process is when I dispose of the finished product after fully metabolized through my liver.  To represent the End of the Mash or Boil or Fermentation as “End of the Process” is inaccurate.  Even these definitions are suspect, as End of Mash and Beginning of Boil may have different volumes.  This can be significant.  I will try to be more exact in my descriptions.

Brewhouse Efficiency - This value is located in the equipment profile as an adjustable value.  This is an efficiency number that accounts for losses due to evaporation during boiling, dilution by adding water to the boil and liquid left behind in trub and other losses.  Not clearly stated anywhere, the Brewhouse Efficiency in BS 2 is not a calculated value.  It is a number that is adjusted directly by the user to reflect the reality of their equipment.  And as such, is a value that INCLUDES the various values on the equipment profile page and therefore is unaffected by changes made to the other values on the equipment profile page.  If you change any value on the Equipment profile page, you must re-evaluate your Brewhouse Efficiency independently and update.  BeerSmith does not do this for you.

Measured Mash Efficiency - This value appears on the Mash tab in the lower right quadrant.  It is a calculated value and cannot be changed directly.

Estimated Mash Efficiency - This value appears on the Mash tab in the lower right quadrant.  It is a calculated value and cannot be changed directly.

Brewhouse Efficiency Tot Efficiency -  This value appears on the Fermentation tab, center column.  This value looks like a calculated value, it is not calculated.   It is a read only copy of the Tot Efficiency value that is entered into the Design tab top section second column.  It’s presence here is confusing.  It is meaningless as this value is arbitrary and is not used in any further calculations that I can find.  Somebody please correct me!

Brewhouse Efficiency Measured Efficiency -  This value appears on the Fermentation tab center column, beneath the Tot Efficiency value.  This is a calculated value and cannot be directly changed.

Measured Efficiency - This value appears on the Design page in the lower right quadrant, although it may be removed from view by adjusting the "Select Fields" option above it.  It is a calculated value and cannot be changed directly.  It is the same as the “Brewhouse Efficiency Measured Efficiency” value.

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Let's dispense with the last definition first.  The "Measured Efficiency" is a repeat appearance of the “Brewhouse Efficiency Measured Efficiency” value.  This value is impacted by adjusting the Measured OG and Measured Batch Size values immediately above it. These values are input by the user.   Adjusting grain (or sugar) quantities or the respective yield values will also impact this value. 

The Measured OG value that appears on the design tab, lower right quadrant is the same as the Measured OG (Into Fermentor) found on the Fermentation Tab, 8th value down on the left side.  Changing one, changes them both.  Be careful here.  You probably should not adjust this value here on the Design tab.

The Measured Batch Size that appears on the design tab, lower right quadrant is the same as the Measured Batch Size found on the Fermentation Tab, 6th value down on the left side.  Changing one, changes them both.  Be careful here.  You probably should not adjust this value here on the Design tab.

So in our definition here, “Measured Batch Size” is not the “bottling quantity” as the “bottling quantity” will be the “Measured Batch Size” reduced by liquid retained by the yeast cake and any dry hops included in the ferment.  Batch Size is the volume into the fermentor. (IMHO, batch size is what I should put into the keg, but for Beersmith, it is volume into fermentor)


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Brewhouse Efficiency Measured Efficiency - (same as Design/Measured Efficiency)  This value is calculated from the “Measured OG” value entered in column one, “Into Fermentor” Section of the Fermentation tab and the “Measured Batch Size” value that is entered just above it.  Also factored into this calculation are the quantities of grain in the recipe and the respective yield of each grain.


The “Brewhouse Efficiency Measured Efficiency” value changes as the OG into fermentor, volume into fermentor and grain (and sugar) quantities in the recipe are changed.  It is a measure of how efficiently you extracted the sugars from the grain, based in part on the laboratory predictions of the sugar content of the grain.  A value of 100% here says that you got 100% of the sugar out of the grain as determined by the laboratory that sampled the grain and assigned the Yield values found in the definition of each grain.  For this value to be accurate, you must first adjust the Yield values for each of the components of your recipe.

Brewhouse Efficiency Tot Efficiency - This is an arbitrary value that looks like it is a calculated value.  It is not calculated at all.  It is a read only copy of the Tot Efficiency value that is entered into the Design tab top section second column.  It’s presence here is confusing.  It is meaningless as this value is arbitrary and is not used in any further calculations that I can find.

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Estimated Mash Efficiency - This value appears in the lower right corner of the Mash Tab and is determined by the Batch size value entered on the Design tab, the Brewhouse Efficiency value entered in the Equipment Profile.  It is also impacted by the quantities of grain or sugar in the recipe and the respective Yield values for the grain.

The Estimated Mash Efficiency value also appears on the Design page, column 3 top section as a read only value (Est Mash Eff).  Be forwarned that this appearance on the Design page may not always be updated.  It is possible to make changes to a parameter and this appearance of the value may not update until you visit the Mash tab and return.

Measured Mash Efficiency - This value appears in the lower right corner of the Mash Tab and is determined by the Measured Pre-boil Gravity and Measured Pre-boil Volume above it.  It is also impacted by the quantities of grain or sugar in the recipe and the respective Yield values for the grain.


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OK, so now we are all thoroughly confused.  I know I am.

What I want, is to have a meaningful estimate of my efficiencies that will lead to accurate predictions of my OG, FG and ABV.  End to end.

HOW DO I DO THIS?

It is remarkably simple.  Especially given the complexity of the above.

1) Your predictions will vary based on the Yield values defined in your Grain and Sugar definitions.  If you have Yield values from your grain distributor, you should start with updating these values.  If you don’t have accurate values, then join the club, use the defaults that come with BeerSmith!  YMMV

2) Update your equipment profile with quantities and volumes that fit your equipment.  You can test your boil off rate by boiling a gallon of water for an hour, but that value is not used in calculating your efficiencies.  Indeed, most of the quantities in your Equipment definition are ignored, except that all of the values are combined (baked in) into the value that you arbitrarily assign as the “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” value.  This value is your adjustment dial for fine tuning your efficiency to match what you really get.  Pretty simple really.

3) When you define a new recipe or update a recipe with the copy of your equipment profile, an independent copy of the Equipment Profile is stored with the recipe.  Changes you make to your equipment profile in the recipe are not forwarded to the master equipment profile stored in BeerSmith.  You will need to make your changes in the Equipment profile (and any recipes previously created) for your changes to be seen.  Changing your profile in a recipe changes it ONLY in that recipe.  For now, leave your “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” at whatever value you like.  Now brew your beer.

4) After you have brewed a batch of beer, look at the values in the “Mash Efficiency” section in the lower right corner of the Mash tab.  The “Measured Mash Eff” value is calculated by BeerSmith from your operating parameters, and if you have accurately entered your measured parameters along the way, this value is a summation of the actual values of the brew process.

5) Immediately above the “Measured Mash Eff” value is the “Est Mash Eff” value.  This is a value predicted by the appropriate brew recipe values and adjusted by the  “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” parameter.

6) Now go to the Equipment profile in this recipe and change the “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” parameter up or down until the two values on the Mash Tab are equal.  This is the experimentally determined value for your “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” value.

7) Once the “Measured Mash Eff” and the “Est Mash Eff” values are equal, note the “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” value in your recipe and adjust the “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” in the Master Equipment Profile. That should get you very close to your true value.  As you do additional brews, continue to monitor these two values, and if you see you are consistently off, then make a small adjustment to the main Equipment profile.

Pretty easy really.  Your predicted OG’s and FG’s should be closer to your actual values.

Short Procedure for the truly busy:

1) Brew Beer.

2) Adjust “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” in the recipe Equipment Profile until “Measured Mash Eff” value and the “Est Mash Eff” on the mash tab are equal.

3) Copy the updated value from “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” in your recipe to the “Equipment Profile / Brewhouse Efficiency” in the BeerSmith Profiles.

Slurk:
Nice work burtbros!
I have struggled a lot with BeerSmith-2 in the beginning and still do from time to time, also due to the definitions. For me the BS-forum was always a source of help and support, like your post ;)
For me BS-2 has been a very supportive tool so far and has in a number of cases opened my eyes. I had to make some deep dives since the software was not always intuitive and self explaining enough to me. I know, and accept, that we sometimes think in different ways regarding approach, logistics, planning etc. I moved from The Netherlands to Norway for 12 years ago, and this was in some areas a real challenge, so why should it not be the same for me using an American Beer Software programme :)
R, Slurk

TimmyR:
Outstanding post.  I am still trying to get BeerSmith2 dialed into my process.  I do find that it takes some tweaking of "Tot Efficiency" to get my estimated numbers to match my actual numbers.  I am pretty confident in my volumes and gravities.    Still working out the details and trying to account for all my losses during the process.

Thanks burtbros for a great post.

grathan:
Kudos, you have a very attentive eye.

 Beersmith2 seems a mess and yet the coder who took our money creates podcasts and mobile phone apps instead of fixing it.

dracus:
Thanks for this....I have been having an issue with my numbers working out correctly...

I seem to constantly end up 10-15 gravity points low on pre boil and post boil yet my "mash efficiency"  is awesome. This will give me an excellent place to start figuring out where the issues are.

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