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Old 02-16-2012, 05:03 PM   #1
JakeFegely
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Default BeerSmith 1.4 trub loss

I've used BeerSmith 1.4 for about 20 brews and have it pretty well dialed in, with one exception. It will accurately predict my beginning gravity and volume. It will accurately predict my after-boil volume. However my OG is usually less than expected. I believe this is caused by the fact that the Equipment setting for trub and chiller loss calculates water loss only. In my mind at least, it should reduce the total sugars.

I've read this same question on HBT and BeerSmith forums. The answers I've read seem to fall into 2 areas. To test those responses, I took the results from my last brew and modified Beersmith to see if I could get BeerSmith to correctly calculate 4 key numbers - Beginning gravity and volume, and OG and volume.

Under my current use of BeerSmith I can correctly calculate 3 of the 4 numbers - everything except OG.

The first response to "correct/get around" this issue is to increase batch size. When I changed this on my last recipe, it dropped my BG to below actual and kicked BG volume above actual. Now only 2 of 4 numbers are correct.

The second response is to adjust brewhouse efficiency. I adjusted efficiency so that it predicted my actual OG. In that case both volumes were also correct, but my BG was again too low.

The only thing I can think of is to look at the recipe 2 ways. First, exactly as I currently do, so I know what BG and volume to expect. Then change the brewhouse efficiency (by a varying amount based on amount and type of hops). That will provide the correct OG.

Seems like a clumsy way to formulate a recipe. What am I missing?

Does BeerSmith 2.0 address this?

Thanks,
Jake


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Old 02-16-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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After collecting all your sweet wort, your BG (boil gravity) is only important in conjunction with the volume collected. The product will give you the total amount of sugars extracted which will allow you to calculate your BE. Then, using that information, you will be able to predict your OG (original gravity) based on what volume you wish to end up with.

A simple way to look at it would be:
BG x V1 = OG x V2, where V1=boil volume and V2=final volume of what is in the boil kettle, not what you transfer to the fermenter. BG and OG are self-explanatory. (using the gravity points behind the 1, not the entire value; 66, not 1.066)

Quote:
In my mind at least, it should reduce the total sugars.
No, the sugars don't go anywhere. After your boil, you allow everything to settle and transfer clean liquid only. Whether you end up keeping four gallons, five gallons, or six gallons, the concentration of the liquid remains the same at that point.

You don't want to make the mistake of using the amount of liquid transferred to your fermenter in any calculations - that volume is arbitrary in that you decide how much you take. What you leave in the kettle still needs to be accounted for in calculations.


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Old 02-16-2012, 11:08 PM   #3
JakeFegely
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Thanks for the post, but I'm not convinced that V2 should be the volume in the kettle. The BeerSmith BrewSheet lists the following steps in this order:
Boil
Cool wort to fermentation temp
Add water to achieve batch volume
Siphon wort to primary fermenter and aerate
Add yeast
Measure OG
Measure Batch Volume


That is the volume and gravity that I want to get to match my system. When I measure OG and volume at the point that BeerSmith says to, I have lost sugar.
at the bottom of the kettle
in tubing, pump, and chiller
in hops - particularly leaf hops

I don't really care what the volume is in the kettle, what I care about is the volume I have to ferment and package (and drink ). Further, the equipment details seem to provide all the tools to account for these losses - except the trub losses don't reduce sugars when in reality, there are sugars in all 3 losses I describe above.

I still would like to be able to get all 4 numbers (BG x Vol and OG x Vol) to match my system, at the points that BeerSmith says to measure them.

What am I missing?
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:16 AM   #4
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OK, I think I figured it out.

The brewsheet will read something like this:

Add water to achieve boil volume of X gallons.
Estimated Pre-Boil gravity is : 1.0xx SG
. . .
Add water as needed to achieve volume of Y gallons
Measure original gravity: ________ (Estimate 1.0yy SG)
Measure batch volume: ________ (Estimate y gallons)


If I set the trub loss field to 0, the math works out fine. If I set it to any value >0, the boil volume adjusts accordingly, but the Boil Gravity does not. To make the point by using an extreme example, if I set the trub loss to 100 gallons, it will still show the same BG value, but show the boil volume to [in this case] 111.7 gallons. This clearly demonstrates there is a problem with the software's math.

Maybe it's a bug, but I'm not sure you'll be able to reconcile those four values as you ought to be able.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeFegely View Post
Thanks for the post, but I'm not convinced that V2 should be the volume in the kettle.
Measure Batch Volume

That is the volume and gravity that I want to get to match my system.
I don't really care what the volume is in the kettle, what I care about is the volume I have to ferment and package (and drink ).
If all you care about is the volume you get to drink, why are you so worried about the OG and lost sugars? Just add some more water.

Just kidding. I encountered your same problem. Bmorebrew was on the right track with the trub losses being an influencing factor, but the root of the problem is that BeerSmith uses 'to the fermenter' for brewhouse eff, not 'to the kettle' like everyone else.

BeerSmith's definition of BH eff makes changes very difficult to deal with. For example- If you increase/decrease trub losses or lauter dead space, you also need to decrease/increase your efficiency in BeerSmith by some magical amount. You can get close with a 'back of the envelope' calc, but to do it accurately would involve more math than anyone would want to do, including BeerSmith. Even using its own BH eff definitions, BeerSmith doesn't account for trub losses correctly.

The worst part is how BeerSmith handles only an increase in trub loss, but no decrease in eff. Because of a flawed algorithm in how BeerSmith calcs recipes, this results in BeerSmith increasing mash efficiency, even above 100%, and that keeps the displayed OG the same. No warnings either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeFegely View Post
Further, the equipment details seem to provide all the tools to account for these losses - except the trub losses don't reduce sugars when in reality, there are sugars in all 3 losses I describe above.
The trub loss field is the bait in the trap with BeerSmith. It is all related to how BeerSmith chose to (improperly) redefine brewhouse eff to be 'to the fermenter', and use that as the sole efficiency input. Most people assume that if trub is increased, BeerSmith will adjust everything to compensatem, but it doesn't. See above about mash eff for how it plays an even worse trick on the user.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeFegely View Post
I still would like to be able to get all 4 numbers (BG x Vol and OG x Vol) to match my system, at the points that BeerSmith says to measure them.
You will only ever have this happen if you either:
Conform to the collective, and abide by BeerSmith's jacked up definition brewhouse eff. (Have fun accounting for leaf vs. pellet, or equipment changes)

OR

Set the trub loss field to 0, then simply scale your recipe's batch size to account for post-boil kettle losses. This way brewhouse eff in BeerSmith is reverted to the normal 'in the kettle' brewhouse eff that everyone else uses.

Not using the trub loss field in BeerSmith (and its idiotic def of BH eff) allows for much easier compensation for leaf vs. pellet, changes to equipment losses, trub increases due to grain/grind types, etc. It also make for much easier recipe sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeFegely View Post
What am I missing?
Hopefully nothing now.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmorebrew View Post
This clearly demonstrates there is a problem with the software's math.

Maybe it's a bug, but I'm not sure you'll be able to reconcile those four values as you ought to be able.
Take a look at the mash efficiency BeerSmith came up with. It was probably ~1500%.

Technically what we are seeing it isn't a bug, just a stupid design choice of how to define BH eff and generate mash eff. (although there is a different true math error in BeerSmith resulting in tiny discrepancy). Whatever the case, don't even bother bringing it up to the BeerSmith crowd. It is like a cult over there- BeerSmith can do no wrong!

I have battled several of the idiot fanboys over there. The funniest responses are when they admit to checking all the BeerSmith calcs by hand, and adjusting things manually. They say that is what I should do as well. Confusing.

I found a serious bug in BeerSmith related to this issue, and used it to bait the owner into a discussion about how his choice for 'to the fermenter' BH efficiency is extremely counter intuitive and problematic for recipe sharing, equip changes, and ingredient compensation. It is in the early stages, so we will see.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:46 PM   #7
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ha! I just posted a similar issue I am having with this trub BS.. Anyone found a solution?
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:42 AM   #8
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ha! I just posted a similar issue I am having with this trub BS.. Anyone found a solution?
Cwi nailed it. Just zero out your loss values and compensate in batch size. Dead space values are ok, but the trub loss and others make things to haywire.


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