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Old 11-15-2007, 02:15 AM   #1
Acropolis
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Default Pardon My Ignorance

Well, after extract brewing for over 15 years, I finally decided it was time to try my hand at AG brewing. I am not sure why I never tried it before now, but I finally decided I couldn't wait any longer.

With that said, I have a few AG newbie questions. I have a 7.5 gallon pot, a 5 gallon pot and a 10 gallon igloo cooler (round). My initial plan is to brew a recipe I found online that sounded good (open to feedback if you are familiar with it). It is Joe's Irish Red Ale. I loaded it into a demo copy of Beersmith (I figured if I am going to go AG, I probably should do a better job of record keeping).

I wanted to verify that I understand the process correctly. My plan is to a batch sparge using the igloo cooler. My understanding is that I will mash the grains for 60 minutes in the cooler. Following this, after draining the wort, I will add additional water as specified for 5-10 minutes (stirring) and then pull off the additional wort, finally boiling the wort as with other brews.

1. Do I need to sparge a second time?

2. When loading the recipe into Beersmith, which Mashing Profile do I select for the process that I have outlined?

3. In Beersmith, if I select "Single Infusion, Light Body" for example, it has me using 12.96 quarts of water for the mash in and 8.3 quarts for the mash out. This is just over 5 gallons. Won't I need a lot more water when you consider grain absorption and boil off? Is this supposed to include the sparge?

4. Should I just forget about Beersmith for now and just find a simple recipe for my first AG brew? I don't want to over complicate things the first time around, but I also want to try out the software to see how well it works.

Thanks in advance for your help,
Acropolis

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:45 AM   #2
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How much grain is in this recipe? Is the recipe calling for top off water?

Figure a pint per pound or so for absorption. I don't know how vigorous a boil you have, but I lose about 7 quarts in 90 minutes. Also figure you lose some in the equipment during transfers. Add all that plus your batch size and you know how much total water you need. Use anywhere from 1 to 1.5 quarts per pound for the mash - the remainder is sparge water. I fly sparge so I can't really help on your sparging, but it seems like many that batch sparge here split it into 2 additions, mixing and recirculating after each. Don't take my word for that though, let the batch spargers confirm that.

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:49 AM   #3
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1. No, but many feel that splitting your sparge H2O into to roughly equal batches increases efficiency.

2.That depends on what you want your beer to turn out like, but medium body, batch sparge would probably work well for you.

3. That's just the mash and mash out (optional) water, not the sparge water. Click on "water needed" on the left menu and input info there for water totals.

Beersmith (like other similar programs) is an invaluable tool, learn how to use it and get comfortable with it, and you'll love it.

Good luck!

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Old 11-15-2007, 03:24 AM   #4
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just to elaborate on 3...

that's the volume of water you'd need to raise the mash to mash out temperature, not necessarily the amount you need to hit your desired volume.

I've never used beersmith...you might look at promash evaluation copy. its a little more straight forward...at least in my humble opinion.

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Old 11-15-2007, 09:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of the responses. The first thing I did was go through and calculate some of the requirements by hand so I could get a better understanding of where I should be. Your responses have helped me better understand Beersmith. With that said, I think I have this figured out now.

  • The recipe calls for 8 pounds of grain for a 5 gallon batch.
  • Beersmith recommends 12 quarts (3 gallons) of water for the mash
  • They assume .96 gallons for absorption
  • They calculate 3.68 gallons of water for sparging
  • This will provide 5.72 gallons for boiling
  • The total water required is 6.68 gallons - this makes much more sense.

I think I am making this out to be much more complicated than I need to. Once I get one or two AG brews under my belt, things will be a little more relaxed at brew time.

I still have a few more questions, but they are mostly Beersmith related, so I will try and post them in the software section (I think I saw one). Thanks again for the help.

Acropolis
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acropolis
I think I am making this out to be much more complicated than I need to. Once I get one or two AG brews under my belt, things will be a little more relaxed at brew time.
Bingo! If you've been brewing for fifteen years, you know how to go with the flow.


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Old 11-15-2007, 01:59 PM   #7
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Beersmith does not display sparge water on the recipe sheet, as you have come to realize. To see sparge water volumes, you need to look at the brew sheet - if you've got the recipe page open, you can click "preview brewsheet", or while browsing your list of recipes you can highlight a recipe, make sure one of the brewsheet formats is selected in the drop-down box at the top, and the brewsheet will be displayed in the lower right pane.

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Old 11-15-2007, 02:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acropolis
  • The recipe calls for 8 pounds of grain for a 5 gallon batch.
  • Beersmith recommends 12 quarts (3 gallons) of water for the mash
  • They assume .96 gallons for absorption
  • They calculate 3.68 gallons of water for sparging
  • This will provide 5.72 gallons for boiling
  • The total water required is 6.68 gallons - this makes much more sense.

Acropolis

5.72 gal is awful small for a pre-boil volume for a five gal batch. I think most of us usually will start with more like 6.5-7.5 gal average, depending on the recipe.
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:42 PM   #9
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thre are a ton of batch sparge calculators on the net. I like brewing software, I use Promash myself but for ease of use the calculators win every time

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:02 AM   #10
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I use Beersmith and personally liked it a lot better than both StrangeBrew, ProMash or Suds v6.

I think, as others have said, that it's NOT including your sparge water.

I usually just "Preview Brewsheet" at the top to get my amount for sparge. I never figured out where it was supposed to appear/be added. (Edit: OOPS, I didn't see Funkenjaeger's post, where he made the same suggestion. Sorry!)

I hope you enjoy it, I think it's a great software program.

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