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Old 05-16-2010, 11:31 PM   #1
bigbadgreen
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Default first AG, a couple of beersmith questions.

Hello. After a couple of years brewing extracts I've finally made the jump to AG. I've decided to jump in with a belgium tripel. I'll be using batch sparging and going for a 5.5 gallon batch. I've entered my recipe into beersmith and let it calculate a brew sheet. I have some questions on the temps involved. Is there a way to modify the temps and durations that beersmith uses? I'm only asking as the recipe gives way lower temps and longer times than what beersmith is telling me.

beersmith is saying mash in with 170.5F water and hold at 158 for 45 minutes, then sparge with 168.

the recipe is saying mash in and hold at 146 - 148 for 90 minutes and then sparge for one hour. I'm assuming the sparge for an hour because the person who wrote the recipe is fly sparging?

I also have no idea about my efficiency. I've put in %65 into beersmith and have also went with a %13 evaporation rate as I really have no clue what my system will produce.

I know I should probably be following the recipe, I'd like to know how to adjust the time and temps in beersmith though so I don't have to remember to modify them manually every time. But I also realize that beertsmith is set up to calculate everything to achieve a beer in the desired style based on what numbers I tell it. Ah so much fun. I can't wait to jump in.

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Old 05-17-2010, 01:27 AM   #2
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When you entered the recipe in Beersmith, you chose a mash profile with the words "full body" in it. This will use a temperature of 158F for the mash. You could either pick a mash profile with "light body" in the description, which will use a mash temperature of about 150F, or you could design your own mash profile H click on insert/mash profile and define a profile to suit your requirements.
If you mash at 146 - 148F, you will need longer than if you mash at 158F. I use a 90 minute mash with good results at 148F.

I agree with you about the sparging for 60 minutes because of fly sparging, but I've found you can fly sparge much faster with an MLT that has a larger cross sectional area, than you can with a slimmer one.

65 - 70% seems a good starting point if it's your first AG. When it's done, you should be able to adjust that, and hopefully you will get similar efficiency on your subsequent batches.

Good luck.

-a.

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Old 05-17-2010, 01:52 AM   #3
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Also keep in mind that BeerSmith probably is not adjusting for your mash tun. If you're using a cooler, you can either preheat it with boiling water (dump this, then add your water and grains) or bump up the temperature to account for this. Amazingly, that is in another section of the program (Strike/Infusion Temperature) instead of it just being automatic.

I generally cross off whatever temps and quantities BeerSmith gives and put in the ones I calculate from that tool. It has worked pretty well so far.

Also, when you sparge, keep in mind that your grain bed is going to cool down by the time you've collected your first runnings. You want to sparge at 168F but if you use that tool, do not assume your grains are at 158F. Try something like 140-145F and let it go -- or better yet, get your sparge water hot enough (170F), then measure the grain bed temp, go and let BeerSmith calculate it during your brewday and heat the sparge up to the proper temp.

For a narrow kettle, I'd say that .5 gal / hr is reasonable; for wider kettles, 1 gal / hr seems right. It depends on burner strength as well as weather, of course, but you should be in those ball parks. You probably have a 30+ qt pot, so I'd guess nearer to the 1 gal / hr. (Just my experience).

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Old 05-18-2010, 01:19 AM   #4
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thanks for the replies.

ajf, I didn't realize that the body diffrerence effected the temps and probably was flying through the program and skipped right by. I'll adjust it to the light body and go with a longer mash at a lower temp.

joe, thanks for the tip of the strike/infusion tool. Hopefully this can get me closer to temps I need. I'm sure there will be lots of adjusting for the future.
I have a 40qt pot to use for my mash and sparge water and a 60qt pot for my brew kettle. they are a bit wider so I'll be setting it for 1 gal pre hour, although before I brew I think i'll throw the pots on the burner one night and see how much I am losing in an hour.

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