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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brewing Software > Beersmith Sparging and Primary/Secondary Questions
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:55 PM   #1
tpizzy
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Default Beersmith Sparging and Primary/Secondary Questions

I just brewed my first batch using Beersmith, with some optimistic results. Based on the advice of many more knowledgeable brewers, I plugged in what I could and let the program do its thing. However, a few things stuck out to me:

- I use two 10-gal gatorade coolers for my mash and lautering tuns. However, there is only one field in the equipment profile to enter tun deadspace. I entered 0.5 gallons, which yielded me an extremely low fly sparge volume of only 3.37 gallons for a mash of 14.67 lb of grain and 4.59 gal of water. I've done some research and it seems that a few people have had this problem, but I didn't encounter a definitive solution. Estimated pre-boil volume was 5.7 gal, but I'd guess it was closer to 5.25 or less.

Would simply doubling the deadspace to 1 gal or more be the right course of action (to account for having two tuns), or is another factor at play that I should address first?

- The primary fermentation stage is only 4 days according to the program. This seems crazy short to me, especially for an estimated abv of 7.4%, but like I said, I sort of wanted to let the program do its thing as much as possible the first time around. Typically, I would keep in the primary for 2 weeks or more before moving to the secondary (I am dry hopping).

Is the duration of these steps calculated in the program based on my specific setup and recipe, or are these default values that I should tinker with? Also, the program suggested that I'd get a 0.010 drop in gravity between the secondary and bottling stages. Since I normally wait much longer to rack to the secondary, I usually don't take a gravity reading between these stages, and I want to make sure that I wouldn't be jumping the gun by racking too early.


Other info: Vol into the fermenter was 4.75 gal vs an estimated 5 gal on beersmith. Post boil gravity was 1.077, estimated final gravity is 1.020.

Sorry for the rambling post, and thank you in advance!

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Old 01-29-2014, 10:20 PM   #2
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Regarding the deadspace, simply combine the deadspace of both tuns. Personally, I tip my mash tun when lautering which virtually eliminates the dead space.

I have no idea where BS mentions fermentation time. I see a value for aging, but not fermentation length. Either way, I wouldn't let a piece of software tell me when fermentation is complete. You'll have to determine this the good ole' fashion way, taking gravity measurements, observation, and tasting the samples. Personally, I don't fool with a secondary, unless maybe doing an extended aging, fruit addition, or something like that.

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Old 01-30-2014, 05:48 PM   #3
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Many thanks for the reply. FYI, I noticed the fermentation length both in the "brew steps" document and in design/fermentation/the check mark box. Cheers

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Old 01-30-2014, 06:35 PM   #4
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I see, thank you. I use the Ale, Single Stage profile since I do not bother with a secondary which lists a 14 day primary length by default. I do see that the ferm time for the Ale, Two Stage profile is four days in the primary. With a healthy pitch of yeast, that could be an acceptable timeframe, although like you, I tend to give the beer more time on the primary.

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Old 01-30-2014, 09:14 PM   #5
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Completely agree. I am a single-stage guy 95% of the time. Sounds like most homebrewers are trending toward a much longer single stage fermentation these days.

Question though: do you use only a primary stage even when you dry hop? Maybe I have not researched the subject, but I would imagine that you'd get less surface contact with the hops if you were to drop them on top of the fermenting liquid.

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Old 01-30-2014, 09:36 PM   #6
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You can edit the fermentation profile to set up any primary and/or secondary time you want and at whatever temperature you want to ferment.

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Old 01-31-2014, 03:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpizzy View Post

Question though: do you use only a primary stage even when you dry hop? Maybe I have not researched the subject, but I would imagine that you'd get less surface contact with the hops if you were to drop them on top of the fermenting liquid.
I've dry hopped in the primary, but after fermentation settled down. It seemed to work just fine.



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