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Old 10-04-2012, 04:25 PM   #1
J187
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Default Beersmith - setting up equipment

I'm trying to setup equipment in beersmith since none of the default options match what I typically do.

This is for extract brewing

What I do:

I have a 5 gallon capacity stainless kettle. I usually do a 3 gallon boil in the 5 gallon kettle, then I add to my fermenter and fill with top off water to 5 gals.

1. Will beersmith make and calculations based on brewhouse efficiency that would give me false readings as an extract brewer? What should I set this to?

2. I have my "mash tun" vol set to 5 gals - I'm guessing this is what I should do for an extract brewer using a 5 gal kettle, even though it says "mash tun" i'm guessing this is where I am supposed to enter my kettle vol? I left the mash tun weight at default.

3. Top of water for kettle? What should I put here? Will it matter? I'm not topping anything off as extract brewer except the fermenter and I have that set to 5 gallons minus (boil volume - boil off).


Also - as an extract brewer - shouldn't I be adding enough top-off to my fermenter to end up with a 5 gallon bottling volume?

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Old 10-04-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by J187 View Post
I'm trying to setup equipment in beersmith since none of the default options match what I typically do.

This is for extract brewing

What I do:

I have a 5 gallon capacity stainless kettle. I usually do a 3 gallon boil in the 5 gallon kettle, then I add to my fermenter and fill with top off water to 5 gals.

1. Will beersmith make and calculations based on brewhouse efficiency that would give me false readings as an extract brewer? What should I set this to?

2. I have my "mash tun" vol set to 5 gals - I'm guessing this is what I should do for an extract brewer using a 5 gal kettle, even though it says "mash tun" i'm guessing this is where I am supposed to enter my kettle vol? I left the mash tun weight at default.

3. Top of water for kettle? What should I put here? Will it matter? I'm not topping anything off as extract brewer except the fermenter and I have that set to 5 gallons minus (boil volume - boil off).


Also - as an extract brewer - shouldn't I be adding enough top-off to my fermenter to end up with a 5 gallon bottling volume?
You said that you are an extract brewer, and that you boil three gallons and top off the other two gallons in the fermenter.

Here are my thoughts on your questions.

1. Brewhouse efficiency is not really going to matter to you as an extract brewer. This is really a measure of how well one extracts the sugars from a grain bill into the boil kettle. This has already been done for you by the company that is producing your extract. The only things that I can think that will affect your gravity are the amount of extract that you use, the water volume that you top off with, and your boil-off rate.

2. You really don't need to worry about the mash tun yet, either. Again, this is for all grain brewing.

3. Top off water for the kettle? If I understand this correctly, this is relating to all grain brewing again. This would relate to after having drained the mash tun and completely collecting the wort, you want a desired volume in the boil kettle prior to beginning the boil, based on the boil off rate. This would be the amount of water to bring your kettle to the correct pre-boil volume. Not really relevant to you yet.

Finally, as an extract brewer, doing partial boils, you will want to add some water to the fermenter to bring your fermentation volume up to the desired level. You are correct.

Another thought, being an extract brewer and using Beersmith is a good way to become more familiar with the program. There is much in the equipment profile that does not yet pertain to you because it is focused toward all grain brewing. However, I would still encourage you to use Beersmith for your brewing. You will want to enter your recipes into the program, and be sure to indicate that you are doing extract (or partial mash, if that is the case) in your recipe. Beersmith will use this information to calculate original gravity, expected final gravity, etc.

I hope that this helps. Good Luck! Mark
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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You said that you are an extract brewer, and that you boil three gallons and top off the other two gallons in the fermenter.

Here are my thoughts on your questions.

1. Brewhouse efficiency is not really going to matter to you as an extract brewer. This is really a measure of how well one extracts the sugars from a grain bill into the boil kettle. This has already been done for you by the company that is producing your extract. The only things that I can think that will affect your gravity are the amount of extract that you use, the water volume that you top off with, and your boil-off rate.

2. You really don't need to worry about the mash tun yet, either. Again, this is for all grain brewing.

3. Top off water for the kettle? If I understand this correctly, this is relating to all grain brewing again. This would relate to after having drained the mash tun and completely collecting the wort, you want a desired volume in the boil kettle prior to beginning the boil, based on the boil off rate. This would be the amount of water to bring your kettle to the correct pre-boil volume. Not really relevant to you yet.

Finally, as an extract brewer, doing partial boils, you will want to add some water to the fermenter to bring your fermentation volume up to the desired level. You are correct.

Another thought, being an extract brewer and using Beersmith is a good way to become more familiar with the program. There is much in the equipment profile that does not yet pertain to you because it is focused toward all grain brewing. However, I would still encourage you to use Beersmith for your brewing. You will want to enter your recipes into the program, and be sure to indicate that you are doing extract (or partial mash, if that is the case) in your recipe. Beersmith will use this information to calculate original gravity, expected final gravity, etc.

I hope that this helps. Good Luck! Mark
Thanks for your response. I do think however, you've misunderstood the majority of my questions and that's most likely my fault for not phrasing better. To clarify, I'm very much aware that those settings in beersmith are pertaining largely to AG. However, mash tun vol for example seems to be the ONLY place an extract brewer can enter their kettle volume - there is no "extract kettle vol" or any settings to change equip to extract. So, being that as the case, I was wondering if maybe some of the other settings that appear as AG settings might also be used as some sort of factor to the formulation even for an Extract brewer.

I definitely find beersmith useful as an extract brewer, in fact, I don't know how else I would formulate recipes - I'm certainly not doing math

My top-off water in the fermenter question wasn't asking if I should be adding water to the fermenter at all, this is certainly how I've made all of my extract beers... my question was not phrased well, but was really about the amount... I notice several instances in which the "bottling volume", both on my beersmith and other peoples extract recipes, is something like 4.75... but I don't understand that - why stick to the set amount of top-off water in extract brewing and losing bottle volume due to the boil off and trub loss? Why not just simple add water to the fermenter, to top off whatever is left of the 3 gallon boil after trub, boil off, whatever, to equal 5 gallons in the bucket??
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:42 PM   #4
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However, mash tun vol for example seems to be the ONLY place an extract brewer can enter their kettle volume - there is no "extract kettle vol" or any settings to change equip to extract.

You would enter your kettle volume by choosing the type of kettle that you have. This would be found under the Equipment Profile, where there is a place to choose your boil kettle (at least in version 1.4). There are several different options already listed. If you don't like one that is listed, you can copy one, and then modify it to your specifications. If you have questions on how to do this, you can check out the beersmith web site here

As far as the volume of top off water to use, I would add enough to bring the total volume to about 5.5 gallons. The reason for this is so that I can get 5 gallons in the bottle. I find that I lose about a half-gallon due to trub losses and losses that I can siphon. I agree with you that you should go for a larger volume.

Mark

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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Default Water Additions

Something else I just thought of.

When you get your kettle set up, you will have a five gallon kettle. However, you will also want to indicate in your recipe formulation screen, which will use your equipment profile, that you are doing an extract batch. I am guessing that you will have the option here of showing how much water to add to the fermenter.

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