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Old 03-16-2012, 02:47 AM   #11
barleyhole
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Efficiency just means how much of the available sugars, most of them fermentable, made it out of your grain and into the boil kettle from mash and mash out. Usually there are a lot of factors that play into your mash efficiency on your system, including mash temp, duration, grain crush, water volume, pH, and sparge/mash out process. It may take a couple of all-grains to figure out your system, so it's good to estimate you'll get 68% efficiency when calculating your grain bill.

+1 on Ray Daniels' book. I use nothing but that. Not only does he do a great job describing ingredients and styles, but also provides simple equations and properties of malts and hops to create your own recipes. Beersmith would certainly help to not have to calculate everything out by hand though (which is easy btw).

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Old 03-16-2012, 03:44 AM   #12
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I find it helpful to look at recipes online. See what is common to most recipes. See what is different and what people comment about it. Figure out which elements you want in your beer and what recipes you can use for a model. Adjust from there. The style guidelines are also helpful in identifying parameters and common ingredients. Beersmith has these loaded in the styles but if you're using something else the style guidelines can be found online. Designing Great Beers is a good text.

One problem you might run into early on using the ranges set out in the style guidelines and the range approach in Designing Great Beers is sometimes you can have your ingredients all fall into the style guidelines but the way you fit everything resulted in a beer that wasn't what it should be. For example, one of my very early recipes was supposed to be a red ale. It fit right in the ranges in Beersmith. However, it was not a red ale. It was very clearly a brown ale, almost a porter. It was delicious but not what I had expected.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can start with a well regarded recipe and just change one or two elements and continue to adjust from there. Most beers are not incredibly complex -- or at least do not have to be -- but small changes can be easily noticed, especially when you change prominent ingredients. A pale ale is very simple but you can make endless combinations of hops and add them in different amounts at different times to produce completely different beers.

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Old 03-16-2012, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hophead138
thanks everyone ill have to check that book out. but my biggest question is how do i know what the gravity of my wort will be based on my grain bill.
+ 1 on the "Designing Great Beers" book suggestion; the author does a great job explaining this topic in a way that really helps you see what's going on under the hood in a beer calculator like beersmith.
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Old 03-16-2012, 12:17 PM   #14
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alright that sounds good. So im going to be doing a partial mash this sunday. Is there any way to sorta get a feel for the efficiency of the grains ill be using in that recipe. i know it wont be as in depth as if i was doing an all grain batch but maybe something i can look for or pay attention to that might help to get my feet wet?

Im making an American Pilsner btw.

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