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Old 05-07-2008, 06:23 PM   #1
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Default No sparge, or partial sparge, and the Beer Smith

Ok,

I'm not really set up for AG. I have a 5 gallon brew pot, and a 2 gallon pot.

I recently did a low ABV blonde ale, and I did it AG, with split pot boil. This worked out well, and the beer is GREAT, but I'd really like to do another AG batch, without getting a larger brewpot and propane cooker (I'm brewing on my stovetop).

So, I'm thinking of increasing my grain bill, and decreasing my sparge amount.

How do I tweak a recipe in BeerSmith to figure out what my grain bill should be, in order to hit a particular OG? as near as I can tell, when I select my mash profile, it just automatically assumes my sparge. ???

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Old 05-07-2008, 06:32 PM   #2
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How do I tweak a recipe in BeerSmith to figure out what my grain bill should be, in order to hit a particular OG?
In the recipe view, simply add or subtract grains until you hit the OG you are after.

Pay attention to the proportions of grain to keep the recipe "intact." For example, suppose the recipe is 90% 2-row, 5% Munich, and 5% Crystal 40 with an OG of 1.070. Say you want to change the OG to be 1.055. Simply reduce the amount of grain in the recipe until you get to 1.055, but try to keep the proportions about the same (a percent or two either way won't matter that much). I'd also pay attention to the IBUs coming from the hops and reduce them accordingly.

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as near as I can tell, when I select my mash profile, it just automatically assumes my sparge. ???
Yes, but you need to go to the equipment view and create a profile for your specific equipment set up. This way BeerSmith will know how much sparge water you need. You can also change the number of sparges (if you want one big one or two equal sized ones, for example) by pressing the "detail" button for the mash profile and clicking the appropriate boxes.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:43 PM   #3
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With all the extra grain you're going to need to get a high enough OG with a no sparge, you might as well skip that, sparge a smaller grain bill and add a pound or two of DME to get up there.

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Old 05-07-2008, 07:31 PM   #4
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I would also suggest that you do a partial mash with a late extract addition. You can certainly do a recipe all grain and add top-up water at the end of the boil, but expect that you are going to suffer from low hop utilization and you may get a little darker, more caramelized wort at the end of it all (could be OK for some styles, but not all).

If you don't want to add extract, then boiling a higher gravity wort and topping up with water at the end is still possible. The problem is that when you reduce your sparge water (to reduce the boil volume), your efficiency suffers. I am not aware of any program (Beersmith or otherwise) that can estimate this effect on efficiency for you. If you can estimate it yourself (say through trial and error over time), then it is dead easy to use Beersmith to calculate your recipes.

Note that Beersmith WILL estimate your hop bitterness reasonably well if you change your wort gravity. But knowing exactly what that gravity will be based on extract efficiency is tough if you are only doing a 'partial' sparge.

Hence the ease of using extract (it will have a fixed, known gravity contribution).

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Old 05-07-2008, 07:36 PM   #5
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I suppose a good way to estimate is take your last calculated efficiency (assuming a full sparge) and subtract 40% from that since I typically get 60% of my fermentables out of my first runnings.

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:11 PM   #6
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seems like beer smith does't really figure how many sugars you are getting out in any given sparge - it's not accurate until you have figured out your normal efficiency, correct?

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:40 PM   #7
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seems like beer smith does't really figure how many sugars you are getting out in any given sparge - it's not accurate until you have figured out your normal efficiency, correct?
Correct.

AFAIK, BeerSmith uses an "assumed" efficiency that you give it. Based on results from a few brews, you should be able to dial in your efficiency for your rig, and then get pretty close most of the time. Then you can estimate down on your efficency for a no-sparge method.

Bobby_m has pretty good advice. I think I need to take gravity on my first couple gallons of runnings for a few batches, to get the same kind of estimate.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:45 AM   #8
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How do I tweak a recipe in BeerSmith to figure out what my grain bill should be, in order to hit a particular OG?
I just noticed tonight (don't why I haven't before...) that there is a "Gravity" button in the Recipe View that you can use to adjust a recipe to any gravity you want.

Say, for example, you enter a recipe and the estimated OG is 1.060 but you want it to be 1.050. Just click the "Gravity" button and enter 1.050 in the "Target Original Gravity" field. BeerSmith will automatically adjust the grain bill to hit that target gravity, keeping the proportions of fermentables constant.

There is also a button for scaling a recipe according to batch volume and/or efficiency that could be useful as well.
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