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Old 11-26-2012, 03:38 PM   #1
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Default Beersmith 2 question on choosing your mash

So I have a basic AG setup with an original turkey fryer 30qt HLT with no valves, a rectangular cooler mashtun with CPVC manifold, then a nicer SS BK with a ball valve to drain into my fermenter. I haven't made a beer that's required a protein rest or decoction, etc. (or maybe I have and just don't know how to do it and made a less than ideal beer as a result?)

On every batch I have made I heat the strike water, mash for an hour, collect runnings, meanwhile I heat sparge water then batch sparge at the appropriate time.

I have been using Beersmith2 and I like it, except I do not understand what mash profile I am supposed to use, and other questions...

1) I assume for the majority of my beers I would do single infusion, light body, batch sparge. However Why does it force me to do 2 steps? and why would I do that anyway? and which volume should I do first? and why? I end up choosing fly sparge to get a single volume of water to heat for the sparge, and that might not be the right thing to do.

2) Why would I pick light body vs Medium body?

3) Why would I, or wouldn't I, choose to mash out?

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by natewv
So I have a basic AG setup with an original turkey fryer 30qt HLT with no valves, a rectangular cooler mashtun with CPVC manifold, then a nicer SS BK with a ball valve to drain into my fermenter. I haven't made a beer that's required a protein rest or decoction, etc. (or maybe I have and just don't know how to do it and made a less than ideal beer as a result?)

On every batch I have made I heat the strike water, mash for an hour, collect runnings, meanwhile I heat sparge water then batch sparge at the appropriate time.

I have been using Beersmith2 and I like it, except I do not understand what mash profile I am supposed to use, and other questions...

1) I assume for the majority of my beers I would do single infusion, light body, batch sparge. However Why does it force me to do 2 steps? and why would I do that anyway? and which volume should I do first? and why? I end up choosing fly sparge to get a single volume of water to heat for the sparge, and that might not be the right thing to do.

2) Why would I pick light body vs Medium body?

3) Why would I, or wouldn't I, choose to mash out?
Beersmith is a tool and will not teach you how to brew beer, only assist in calculations and recipe creation/management.

You need to do some learning about brewing in all honesty.

If you are batch sparging then you don't select fly as they are not the same and volumes will be off. To start, select single infusion batch sparge medium body for a general base line.

Everything in the software is based upon your equipment profile so you should find the default that most closely matches your set up to start. As you brew a few batches make notes and pay attention to all the items in the profile you have control of so you can make adjustments like losses and boil off.

As for the rest, it up to your understanding of beer styles and what type of body you like in your beer or to style. For example a scotch ale would have a full body and a pilsner would have a light body. The software will calculate your mash temperatures and volumes to achieve the desired finish of your product.

If you don't have "How to brew" by Palmer then get a copy or read the free version on line-google it!
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:34 AM   #3
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You need to do some learning about brewing in all honesty.
Whoa, easy man. Clearly I need to do a better job of framing my questions, but if we are talking "in all honesty" terms here you need to do some learning about arrogance. I've been brewing and reading about it for 2 years, and while I admit I still feel like a noob sometimes, and like to ask stupid questions, I don't need you passing judgement so carelessly. Give me a break.

I know what Beersmith is for, I have read Palmer, I think I have a pretty good handle on my equipment profile. I'll do a better job asking my questions and if anyone has any advice that would be awesome.

1) I've always done a single batch sparge prior to using Beersmith. Can anyone help me understand why my only choice is to batch sparge with 2 steps vs. with 1 step? Do I have my tun volume incorrect, or is it something else?

2) I understand the difference between a light body or medium body beer, i.e., lower mash temps (more fermentables) for a light body, higher mash temps (less fermentables) for a fuller body but the lines seem a bit blurry between styles. It seems mash temperature and time is what Beersmith varies here, but let's say I pick the American Stout style, why would it even let me select light body?

3) I retract question 3. :-)
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by natewv View Post
Whoa, easy man. Clearly I need to do a better job of framing my questions, but if we are talking "in all honesty" terms here you need to do some learning about arrogance. I've been brewing and reading about it for 2 years, and while I admit I still feel like a noob sometimes, and like to ask stupid questions, I don't need you passing judgement so carelessly. Give me a break.

I know what Beersmith is for, I have read Palmer, I think I have a pretty good handle on my equipment profile. I'll do a better job asking my questions and if anyone has any advice that would be awesome.

1) I've always done a single batch sparge prior to using Beersmith. Can anyone help me understand why my only choice is to batch sparge with 2 steps vs. with 1 step? Do I have my tun volume incorrect, or is it something else?

2) I understand the difference between a light body or medium body beer, i.e., lower mash temps (more fermentables) for a light body, higher mash temps (less fermentables) for a fuller body but the lines seem a bit blurry between styles. It seems mash temperature and time is what Beersmith varies here, but let's say I pick the American Stout style, why would it even let me select light body?

3) I retract question 3. :-)
1) better efficiency is (AFAIK) the only difference ...you can rinse something much better if you rinse it twice instead of once.

2) You'd think picking a stout style (in beersmith) would only give you only a medium or heavy body mash choice, but that's not the case for whatever the reason.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:24 AM   #5
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What if I want to mash low and and add malto dextrin to get more body. It should not limit you..

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Old 11-27-2012, 02:54 AM   #6
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The good thing about beersmith is that you can modify it to cater your specific mash temps. I still haven't figured out how to get batch sparging down to one step. But I have recently sparged with 2 steps like it so eloquently forces us to do, and found the body of the finished product to be more robust and better tasting. And if you are batch sparging into a rectangular mashtun w/a manifold, it doesn't add much more time to the process.

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Old 11-27-2012, 02:11 PM   #7
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The good thing about beersmith is that you can modify it to cater your specific mash temps. I still haven't figured out how to get batch sparging down to one step. But I have recently sparged with 2 steps like it so eloquently forces us to do, and found the body of the finished product to be more robust and better tasting. And if you are batch sparging into a rectangular mashtun w/a manifold, it doesn't add much more time to the process.
There is a way to change the default but all I do is add the two recommended amounts together and combine them as one sparge so IOW, if it says first step is 3 gallons and second step is 2.5 gallons I just combine them to a total of 5.5 gallons assuming it all fits in the tun with the associated grain bill. When sparging there is no additional absorption to factor in.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:13 PM   #8
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What if I want to mash low and and add malto dextrin to get more body. It should not limit you..
This should not effect the mash/sparge requirements but will effect your anticipated OG/FG and is handled in the recipe creation calculations for gravity.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by natewv View Post
I have been using Beersmith2 and I like it, except I do not understand what mash profile I am supposed to use, and other questions...

1) I assume for the majority of my beers I would do single infusion, light body, batch sparge. However Why does it force me to do 2 steps? and why would I do that anyway? and which volume should I do first? and why? I end up choosing fly sparge to get a single volume of water to heat for the sparge, and that might not be the right thing to do.

2) Why would I pick light body vs Medium body?

3) Why would I, or wouldn't I, choose to mash out?
I'm still plenty noob here but will take a shot at your questions:

1) As mentioned above, I think single infusion, medium body, batch sparge is a better baseline than light body. It sounds like you're plenty familiar with bodies of various beer styles so I would pick the body that best matches the style of beer you're making.

1) I mostly do single infusion as well. I don't know why BS forces multiple batch sparges but I like it, however I don't use their amounts. After draining my first runnings I simply determine the amount of remaining water I'll need to reach my preboil amount, and split it to about 65%/35%. I then proceed to do the first batch sparge with the 65% water amount with an effort to bring the grainbed up to the standard 168*F. I believe this first batch sparge rinses the grains of most remaining sugars and I collect all of it in the BK. I then proceed to the second batch sparge using the 35% water amount, PLUS a little insurance water (2 quarts). I believe that these runnings will be very low in sugar content and not affect your overall efficiency by more than a couple percent at most. I then drain the 2nd batch sparge runnings until I hit my preboil volume at which point I stop draining. The remainder of runnings is left for the compost . I would not choose fly sparge unless that's what I was doing - as I'm sure you're aware, it's a different process (pretty much) entirely.

2) You would pick a body based on the style of beer you're trying to make. The BJCP would be a good place to read about a style and should help you determine the body style you're after. Body and residual sweetness go hand-in-hand.

3) Based on everything I've read, us batch spargers don't need to worry about a mashout step, however from the sounds of it it should hurt anything if you choose to done one either. If your MLT can handle the volume then I would say go for it because if you ever to switch to fly sparging you'll already be including that step.

Regarding your stout question, I can see an instance where I would want a med ABV, heavy body, dry stout. If I chose to mash at a higher temperature then I assume I would be creating more longer-chain sugars that won't ferment possibly leaving me with a sweeter stout, therefore it would seem that I could choose to do a light body stout (i.e. lower temp mash, more fermentables, less residual sweetness) and simply add more carapils (or the like) to increase body without leaving the final beer too sweet. At least that's my noobish take on it
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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So the Loose Cannon clone I made over the weekend called for 2 batch sparges, .71 gal and 3.42 gal. I just added those numbers together and did 1 batch sparge (which by the way all volumes were identical whether I choose batch sparge or fly sparge).

I'm just curious what would a 3/4 gallon batch sparge even acheive? I don't even feel like it would even reach half of the grain bed? Is it like a "pre-rinse" of sorts? When you do 2 batch sparge steps, do you let each rest for 10 minutes or so or do you just drain/vorlauf after a couple of minutes, and then do it again with the 2nd volume of sparge water?

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