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Old 05-04-2009, 10:59 PM   #1
Champurrado
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Default Beersmith Muddle

I grew up using a slide rule, what can I say.....

I bought Beersmith and frankly, I'm generally happy with the tools and calculators. What I can't seem to grasp fully is the basic operation of the damn thing.

For example - I have a 10 gallon Igloo cooler/7.5 gallon kettle and although I select that option in the "My equipment" section, when I plug that into my recipes, it fails to accurately calculate my volumes. I did a 90 minute boil Lakewalk all grain over the weekend and ended up with 4.5 gallons in the fermenter instead of 5.5.

RATS!

Any idea how to calibrate the software to match reality?

Appreciate it.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:02 PM   #2
TwoHeadsBrewing
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Yes, you'll have to modify that setup to account for your ACTUAL deadspace and trub loss. You can do this under Equipment. Just double-click on the setup you use and adjust those parameters. I would guess either the boil kettle deadspace or the mash tun deadspace are the culprits here, but it could also be boil off.

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Last edited by TwoHeadsBrewing; 05-04-2009 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:37 PM   #3
Champurrado
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Thanks for the help. Still can't get the software to do my work for me.

I used 11 lbs of grain and 35.75 quarts of mash/sparge water.

I collected about 32 quarts of wort.

I could only fit about 28 into the kettle.

I ended up boiling the rest on the stove while the lions share boiled on the deck on a burner.

Result was not enough wort into the fermenter.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:40 PM   #4
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I'm on day 6 of the Beersmith trial. I actually had a similar issue as Champurrado. I have a 15-gallon brew kettle, and I'm (currently) an extract brewer. So the program's pre-programmed database of gear didn't fit me. Sure I can create a new "Brew Pot", but the fields for mash tun and lautering aren't necessary for me (and frankly pretty confusing at this point).

The first thing I did in Beersmith was create my own recipe for a hop bomb, based loosely on some recipes I've used or seen. For starters, there's not enough templates for IPAs. I ended up with 10 oz. of various hops, all added at 20 min or less (60 min boil), and 120 IBUs (YAHOO!!) Very interesting. I basically like how the recipe development process works. It's nice to be able to auto-tweak for bitterness, color or gravity. Will my recipe taste good--who knows! Likely I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm definitely intrigued though.

All of this said, the interface is complex. But not too bad for people who are 1) brew savvy, and 2) adept with Windows software (e.g the power of the right click).

A thought occurred to me: Beersmith could be SO much better with a HUGE database of recipes, equipment , ingredients, etc. The way it's set up, it seems that wouldn't be so hard to do. THAT SAID, I think for the price it's a value for the money.

Also occurred to me (yeah, I know, thinking too much): What the HELL is going on behind the scenes that allows some software app to calculate all these esoteric things?!? It really is mind-boggling. Surely that's where the money is--I know Beersmith is among the top 3 brewing softwares--so it must at least be mostly accurate. I wonder though...are other softwares MORE accurate due to some "better algorithms"?? Hmmm...

Disclaimer: It's my heritage that I can't read the manual. Sorry, but it's in my genes. Couldn't even tell you if Beersmith has a manual.

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:00 AM   #5
TwoHeadsBrewing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Champurrado View Post
Thanks for the help. Still can't get the software to do my work for me.

I used 11 lbs of grain and 35.75 quarts of mash/sparge water.

I collected about 32 quarts of wort.

I could only fit about 28 into the kettle.

I ended up boiling the rest on the stove while the lions share boiled on the deck on a burner.

Result was not enough wort into the fermenter.
So you boiled in two separate containers simulatneously? That's going to effectively double your boil off rate, which is likely where all your wort went. In that case, I would add some pre-boiled and cooled water to top off the fermenter.
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
jwright
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So, I'm a little late to the thread, but as a new Brewsmith user I understand your pain. I only have a few bits of maybe slightly helpful info. There are lots of recipies available at the brewsmith webpage for free. The have collected them into 3 or 4 large files to make it easier to download and incorporate into the program.
I dont know about a "manual" but I use the help button alot - at each pop up widow or section, the help button will bring up all the terms and inputs for that box - really useful in trying to figure out the software.
Lastly, the most helpful thing I did was to start out wtih an existing HBT recipe (ed wort or Biermuncher that gives a lot of details like volumes and FG and efficiences.) I would then replicate that in the software and play with my parameters until I got the same results. It really helped me learn the software and figure out what each change I made would affect in another portion of the recipe.
for what it is worth,
jason

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