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Old 09-01-2012, 05:19 AM   #1
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Default First All Grain BAtch - Wary of boil volume

Hi all,

I am planning to do my first all-grain batch this weekend, and I downloaded the Beersmith software to help out. I'm not sure I am doing it or reading it correctly though. It is telling me that for a batch size of 5 gallons, I would need 4.64 gallons of water to mash, plus a sparge volume of 4.48 gallons. Somehow this equals a preboil volume of 6.52 gallons (not sure where the other 2 and a half gallons went), and a full gallon and a half will boil off to make a batch size of 5 gallons? Does this make sense to anyone else? This is for a mash of about 12lbs of grain, BTW.

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Old 09-01-2012, 05:28 AM   #2
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Trub loss, mash tun dead weight, grain absortion. Theres a section where you enter your own equipment, its probably set at default.

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Old 09-01-2012, 05:47 AM   #3
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Sounds about right. Grain absorbs a pretty large amount and boil off rates are subjective to your system ( kettle surface area, altitude ect..). If its your first all grain don't worry about the details so much as focus on your process. It will take 3 or 4 batches to dial in your particular setup. If your volumes are off a bit it's not the end of the world, it'll just throw your gravity off a point or 2 in either direction. There's a pretty big learning curve in the move to all grain so don't sweat the small stuff. People have brewed for thousands of years without all the tools and calculations we have now! Good luck and cheers!!!

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Old 09-01-2012, 05:57 AM   #4
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Second the other responses... You will tend to lose .11 gallon/lb of grain to absorption on average. Trub loss and other factors are working against you as well... 5.5+- gallon at the final volume is not a bad thing because by the end of the transfer it will be mixed with everything you don't want in the fermenter.

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Old 09-01-2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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Keep track of your volumes along the way (1st runnings, pre-boil, final volume). Use these numbers to tweak your equipment profile on Beersmith. After a few batches, you'll have Beersmith dialed in to the point where you'll have complete faith in the numbers it gives you.

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downtown3641 View Post
Keep track of your volumes along the way (1st runnings, pre-boil, final volume). Use these numbers to tweak your equipment profile on Beersmith. After a few batches, you'll have Beersmith dialed in to the point where you'll have complete faith in the numbers it gives you.
Yep, measure, measure and then measure some more. Here's what I did to figure out what I was getting out of my system.

Find a way to measure the liquid in you boil kettle. I use a stick with half gallon increments marked on it that I can just stick into the boil to see how much is in there when I start the boil and when I end the boil. This is also helpful for getting your water volumes right off the bat for the mash and sparge.

Next, mark off your carboys with half gallon increments. I do some small batches so I start all the way down at two gallons but most people could start at four and go up to the full six.

Know all this you can keep track of grain absorption, how much you should get out of your mashtun, your boil off rate and any trub loss.
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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Also, Beersmith may default to finishing the boil with 6 gallons in the kettle. Assuming you have a 6 gallon fermenter or larger, after leaving behind 1/2 gallon in the boil pot, you will have 5.5 in the fermenter. After racking, you will leave behind another 1/2 gallon, giving you roughly 5 gallons of finished product.

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:36 PM   #8
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Be sure to configure the equipment profile in BeerSmith for your equipment. Since this is your first brew you will have to guess at your losses.

For comparison on my rig for 5 gallons finished beer in bottles I would calculate my volumes as follows.
Batch size = 5.0 gallons (finished beer)
Grain Absorption at .12 gallons/lb x 12 lbs = 1.44 gallons
Lauter dead space = .25 gallons
Preboil volume = 6.55 gallons
Evaperation .8 gallon/hour
Trub loss in Kettle .5 gallons
Volume into fermenter = 5.25 gallons
Fermenter trub loss = .25 gallons

5 gallon start + 1.44 grain loss + evaperation .8 + trub loss kettle .5 + lauter dead space .25 + fermenter trub loss .25 = 8.25 gallons total water required

Hope this helps explain some of the losses.

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Old 09-01-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inhousebrew View Post
Yep, measure, measure and then measure some more. Here's what I did to figure out what I was getting out of my system.

Find a way to measure the liquid in you boil kettle. I use a stick with half gallon increments marked on it that I can just stick into the boil to see how much is in there when I start the boil and when I end the boil. This is also helpful for getting your water volumes right off the bat for the mash and sparge.
A yard stick and a little math works well too.
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Old 09-01-2012, 01:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the thread guys. I've moved to all grain brewing, and I've got a bunch of new equipment that I'm not really of. Not sure how much my new 13 gal kettle will boil off an hour, over my 7.5gallon, and not sure how much my MLT will retain through the mashing and lauter process.

Atleast I was on the right track, I figured I would get a CPVC stick, and mark it with gallons, and record all my volumes before, and after. Will do this for 2-3 recipes, and then be able to calculate it.

Downloaded the trial Beersmith software, it's pretty confusing just playing around with it, but I anticipate getting used to it, and getting it set up for my gear. Couldn't figure how to change all that, and I'm pretty damn computer literate!

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