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Old 03-24-2012, 06:57 PM   #1
JWest
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Default 10 gal cooler & Beersmith dead space corrections

I'm new to all-grain. In fact, I haven't even done an AG batch yet, but I did brew a PM last weekend as a bit of a try-out for my equipment & had some questions. I have a 10 gal Rubbermaid cooler, and the dead space below my FB (a Jaybird false bottom that sits 2" above the floor) is a little over 5 qts.

I didn't correct for this in Beersmith when I was figuring out how much strike water to use, so needless to say, my grist was super thick (especially since there was only a little over 5 lbs of grain) because of so much water under the FB. I added water until the grist looked more like grist and less like wet mounds of grain.

My question is, when I go all-grain (which will be in a couple weeks...got everything I need for a Kolsch, just waiting on a fermenter to free up), what should I put as the Beersmith correction for dead space? Should I put the 5+ qts, so that it adjusts my strike water volume, or should I put the lower amount that will actually be left in the MLT after the sparge, after I tilt it to drain as much as possible?

Do I need to use the 5+ quart value so that my grist thickness is what I'm shooting for, or do I need to use the volume of what's left over after sparge so I hit my volume correctly? I would guess that the volume would be less important, but I'm just wondering what the correct definition of dead space is in Beersmith.

Make sense?

Thanks for the help...

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Old 03-24-2012, 07:03 PM   #2
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That's a damn good question, I've always thought of it as actual loss in the tun (I use a manifold) but I see your point on water/grist ratios

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Old 03-24-2012, 08:30 PM   #3
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Whatever you lose to dead space is what you enter in Beersmith and the program will add that to your strike volume. That big cooler isn't a good choice for partial mashes, so a good thing you're going all grain soon.

Maybe think about using the FB as a Frisbee and get a braid instead. I loose about a quart and a half with a 30" braid in a 10 gal. Rubbermaid round cooler.

Once you go all grain you'll find a few other things you need to dial in.

Bob

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Old 03-25-2012, 02:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobBailey
Whatever you lose to dead space is what you enter in Beersmith and the program will add that to your strike volume. That big cooler isn't a good choice for partial mashes, so a good thing you're going all grain soon.

Maybe think about using the FB as a Frisbee and get a braid instead. I loose about a quart and a half with a 30" braid in a 10 gal. Rubbermaid round cooler.

Once you go all grain you'll find a few other things you need to dial in.

Bob
That didn't really answer my question...the way I see it, you "lose" water twice. Once is when you dough in, since some of that water is below the FB. The other is when you're draining after the sparge. I understand that you don't really lose the strike water under the FB, as you get it back when draining, but it does affect the thickness of the grist.

I think the answer is that Beersmith is using the volume left after the sparge as the dead space. So maybe I just use 5 qts more of strike water and subtract that from the sparge water. Then I enter the post-sparge volume as dead space in Beersmith. Does that sound reasonable?
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Old 03-25-2012, 02:33 AM   #5
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I think you should adjust the dead space to accommodate your equipment. The issue is is that when you add or subtract water you possibly change your SG and hop utilization. I would set the equipment profile and adjust the scale of the recipe to achieve final volume.

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Old 03-25-2012, 02:42 AM   #6
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One of the books I have (dont remember which and too lazy to go downstairs and look it up) said for mashing you should use the volume required to fill up to you false bottom (so 5 qts in your case) as deadspace and add that to your mash volume

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Old 03-25-2012, 02:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepDiver
One of the books I have (dont remember which and too lazy to go downstairs and look it up) said for mashing you should use the volume required to fill up to you false bottom (so 5 qts in your case) as deadspace and add that to your mash volume
That's the solution that makes the most sense to me too. Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWest View Post
That didn't really answer my question...the way I see it, you "lose" water twice. Once is when you dough in, since some of that water is below the FB. The other is when you're draining after the sparge. I understand that you don't really lose the strike water under the FB, as you get it back when draining, but it does affect the thickness of the grist.

I think the answer is that Beersmith is using the volume left after the sparge as the dead space. So maybe I just use 5 qts more of strike water and subtract that from the sparge water. Then I enter the post-sparge volume as dead space in Beersmith. Does that sound reasonable?
Your actual dead space is measured by putting a couple of gallons of water in your MLT, draining it as you normally would, and then measuring what didn't drain. Beersmith 2 simply adds the dead space volume to the amount of strike water it calculates based on your grain/water ratio. If you enter the actual amount that doesn't drain out, your mash thickness will be right.

Regardless whether you fly sparge or batch sparge, you get back the same amount of liquid that you sparge with, assuming you drain everything you can. Your dead space is filled with the liquid you entered as the volume of dead space, so regardless how you sparge, you get virtually no gain or loss of volume when you sparge. Again, this assumes you are draining all you can at the end of your sparge.

Using a cooler this size for a partial mash is very inefficient compared to using it for an all grain brew. Even so, if you're not open to trying a braid rather than the FB, you might try using something to lower the point you're drawing from or something solid to take up some of that dead space. That much space will make for a noticeable impact on your overall efficiency.

Hopefully, this helps a bit more.

Bob
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:48 PM   #9
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Makes sense Bob. Thanks. I think the issue was so striking because, as you said, I did a partial mash in a MLT that was way too big for a mash that small. I hope I won't even notice it when I do AG.

I appreciate the help.

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