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Old 02-23-2013, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default I'm starting to get confused!!!

A quick rundown. I have been on this forum for all most a year but never posted. ( I'm a reader not a poster) I have been brewing for just about a year. I have done 2 brewers best kits and then decided I wanted to go all grain. I have done 4 batches, all the same recipe of one that I got from this site. The first 3 I did as the recipe called. The last one I switched the hops amount and addition time around a bit. The 1st batch I bottled and it sucked very badly!!! The 2nd batch I keged and it turned out great and it only lasted 1 week. The 3rd batch was ok and the 4 wasn't much better but both were drinkable. I want to start this year off with trying some new things and learning more about what I'm doing. I got beersmith a few months ago and was a little overwhelmed at first and haven't used it yet. I found a recipe that I want to try and I put it into beersmith and edited my equipment profile. Here is where I'm getting confused!!!! I have a rectangle cooler that I use for my mash tun. The recipe that I used was very clear to mash in the water, gave me the temps that I wanted to hit and hold for 90 min. Then add just over 2 gallons more at a higher temp and hold for 10 min. Then lauter and add just over 4 gallons more. Then do a final lauter. When I set up my equipment profile on beersmith for single infusion, medium body, batch sparge it gave me a mash it amount of water and temp and then gave me a 3 step batch sparge of .57gal,2.26gal,2.26gal.
I'm confused on the 3 step batch sparge, why the 3 amounts of water additions and how do you do this? Is this the normal way? I have been looking all over the internet all day and can not find an answer. Also I'm trying to figure out how to get the pre boil gravity to see if I should be adding more grain to get to the original gravity because every time I am about .07 to .10 lower then the recipes original gravity after the boil.
Sorry for the noval. Thanks for reading

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Old 02-23-2013, 03:38 AM   #2
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That's really confusing. I guess I just parrot recipes from kits I've purchased and really liked. Then, I'll think, well, how much of "this" would I need to replace "that" or partially replace. It's fermentables verses liquid volume verses yeast, and then balanced flavor, aroma.... Is that more confusing? Not really though, just experimenting and getting a knack for how much of this and how much of that. Put down your pencil and have fun!

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Old 02-23-2013, 04:39 AM   #3
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I'm having lots of fun brewing!!!!! I just want to get a better grip and understanding on the out come from what I do and how I do it. I know there are many different ways of doing things, but I want to make sure I'm at least getting close to the ideal way of brewing. I'm interested in the science of it and brewing a beer that friends and family ask if I have another beer on tap instead of saying, oh you brewed some more beer, that not too bad!! lol.

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Old 02-23-2013, 04:56 AM   #4
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You will find plenty of info here on the science of brewing, it will boggle your mind many times over, keep having fun!

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Old 02-23-2013, 06:22 AM   #5
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To figure out your pre boil volume. I usually mash at 1.25qts/LB of grain. After I mash and vorlauf. Collect your first runnings. Measure the volume. And subtract that from your target pre boil volume. I usually split my sparge water in 2 so if I collect 2gallons if first runnings(I use 6.5gallon pre boil) then I would still need 4.5 gallons so I would do two sparges of 2.25gallons stir the mash let sit 10 minutes vorlauf, drain, sparge with last 2.25gallons stir let sit 10 min vorlauf l, drain, then start boiling the wort.

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Old 02-23-2013, 06:41 AM   #6
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Beersmith's calculations are based on the equipment profile. For gravity issues, it might be because your actual efficiency isn't matching their estimate. Try a simple recipe and record some hard #'s like mash efficiency (due to your crush and procedure), boil off rate etc.. measure everything and save it as your profile. The software will only estimate things as accurately as the numbers you have given it to start with for your profiles. If you are hitting pre boil gravities but not post boil then it's definitely your boil off rate. If you aren't getting your preboil gravities, i'd look at your crush first. Don't expect beersmith to be a quick fix if your last few batches before using it weren't great. It's a tool, just that, not a savior. Maybe go back to basics and review your procedure.

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Old 02-23-2013, 09:00 AM   #7
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"When I set up my equipment profile on beersmith for single infusion, medium body, batch sparge it gave me a mash it amount of water and temp and then gave me a 3 step batch sparge of .57gal,2.26gal,2.26gal."

Beersmith tries to size your sparge additions so you will get equal runoff after each water addition. I am guessing that your MLT cannot hold the grains and enough water to have a mash out and single batch sparge. If you go to the vols screen it is probably predicting around 1.7 gal of first runnings from the mash. With the .57 gal addition that gives you 3 equal steps of 2.26 gal. I have read several threads that claim equal runoff gives better efficiency and double batch sparge is more efficient than single batch sparge. I've yet to witness it, but I am relatively new and am still tweaking my process.

To see if you could get down to a single sparge edit your mash water addition to achieve a looser mash. There are those that claim a mash in the 1.5-2.0 qt/lb range will yield a higher efficiency and might bring your mash + mash out volume up to where you can get by on a single sparge.

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Old 02-23-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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I do partial mash beers,& was using 1QT per gallon for a mash of 5lbs of grains,biab style. And partial boil to boot. I went up to 2QTs per gallon & started using a paint strainer bag,& efficiency went up significantly. Of course,now being able to stir the mash helped with most of that I think. My OG's went up from 1.042-1.044 to 1.055. Even with the 2qt per gallon mash water volume,I still use 1.5 Gallons to sparge with. This gives a boil volume of 3.5 gallons in a 5 gallon BK/MT. It better accounts for boil off.
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Old 02-23-2013, 07:13 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help!!!!! I went to my local brew shop and picked up the goods to brew a simple beer. I had talked to them also and they were a big help! I came home and got into beersmith and edited my profile, got my mash tun out and checked my deadspace and then everything made since.
Thanks again!!!!!!!!!

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Old 02-23-2013, 09:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr
I do partial mash beers,& was using 1QT per gallon for a mash of 5lbs of grains,biab style. And partial boil to boot. I went up to 2QTs per gallon & started using a paint strainer bag,& efficiency went up significantly. Of course,now being able to stir the mash helped with most of that I think. My OG's went up from 1.042-1.044 to 1.055. Even with the 2qt per gallon mash water volume,I still use 1.5 Gallons to sparge with. This gives a boil volume of 3.5 gallons in a 5 gallon BK/MT. It better accounts for boil off.
Pretty sure you mean qts/pound not gallon.
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