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Old 11-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #11
Mojzis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjackson View Post
Maybe I should switch to Beersmith?

I feel like this stuff is way too difficult in my current software.

How do you know what your brewhouse efficiency is? I'm only on my 3rd all-grain batch so have no idea what my efficiency is it floats a bit from being .025 to .005 off from what I expect it to be.
IMO I would switch to beersmith. That would make these calculations as easy as typing in the efficiency you want/expect. You can adjust the gravity with the click of another button.

 
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojzis View Post
IMO I would switch to beersmith. That would make these calculations as easy as typing in the efficiency you want/expect. You can adjust the gravity with the click of another button.
I just bought it. going to import all of my recipes from beer alchemy and go through the tutorials. The interface..there's a lot going on but I'll give it a shot.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #13
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It definitely gets easier the more you use it. The hardest thing for me was to get the equipment set up but keep good notes over the course of a few brews and you'll have it.

 
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamjackson

I have Beer Alchemy. It's not straight forward on this sort of stuff. I spent some time trying to figure it out.
I used beer alchemy to edit the recipes for you. I just entered your recipe at 70% mash efficiency. Then added the 30% you were low by made 100%
So I looked at the OG at 100% mash efficiency then reset the mash efficiency for 70%. Then click on the target stats and slide the OG slider till it reads what the 100%OG Should have been. Then it adjusts the grain bill accordingly.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilSwillBasementBrews View Post
I used beer alchemy to edit the recipes for you. I just entered your recipe at 70% mash efficiency. Then added the 30% you were low by made 100%
So I looked at the OG at 100% mash efficiency then reset the mash efficiency for 70%. Then click on the target stats and slide the OG slider till it reads what the 100%OG Should have been. Then it adjusts the grain bill accordingly.
Thanks. I'm not trying to diss Beer Alchemy, just wanted something a bit more powerful.

So, I did follow the advice and bought all of the extra grain needed today and milled it a lot finer than the last batch.

====

Of note, turns out I was getting far lower efficiency on my last batch than I realized...about 45% was my efficiency on the beer I did on Sunday. That's WAY too low.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:45 PM   #16
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You really gotta read-up and study the process. There's no good excuse for a really low efficiency. The fact that you're unsure how to scale up a recipe based on efficiency is somewhat troubling to me as well. It's simple math, but the software helps, obviously. What you want to do is just keep the proportions of each grain the same (ie. if recipe has 70% 2-row, 10% C-60 and 20% Vienna) and end up with the planned OG. If the recipe for 75% efficiency and you're getting 60%, multiply each grain weight by 1.25 (75 div by 60). BeerSmith has ways to help you with this, but I don't use it. I use a spreadsheet that doesn't have any scaling functions, just efficiency, grain bill, batch size, and OG. I tweak things until the proportions (percentages of grain bill) are the same for each ingredient, at my known efficiency, until I get to the OG the recipe calls for.

You need to get to a consistent efficiency first. I'd stop trying to make complex, big beers if you don't even know what your real, consistent efficiency is. You're going to bang your head on the wall over and over until you get that sorted. Grind the grain fine, pay close attention to every temp and volume. Take notes. If you're low on a temp, increase starting temp next time. If you're low on a volume, increase volume next time by the amount you were short. Get 2-3 batches brewed where you're pretty close on all numbers, then see what the efficiency was (just change it in beersmith until you get the actual OG you ended up with, then record the percentage you had to use to get there and use it going forward).

Understanding WHY you're getting the numbers you get is just as important, otherwise you're shooting at a moving target.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!

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Old 11-20-2012, 11:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tre9er View Post
You really gotta read-up and study the process. There's no good excuse for a really low efficiency. The fact that you're unsure how to scale up a recipe based on efficiency is somewhat troubling to me as well. It's simple math, but the software helps, obviously. What you want to do is just keep the proportions of each grain the same (ie. if recipe has 70% 2-row, 10% C-60 and 20% Vienna) and end up with the planned OG. If the recipe for 75% efficiency and you're getting 60%, multiply each grain weight by 1.25 (75 div by 60). BeerSmith has ways to help you with this, but I don't use it. I use a spreadsheet that doesn't have any scaling functions, just efficiency, grain bill, batch size, and OG. I tweak things until the proportions (percentages of grain bill) are the same for each ingredient, at my known efficiency, until I get to the OG the recipe calls for.

You need to get to a consistent efficiency first. I'd stop trying to make complex, big beers if you don't even know what your real, consistent efficiency is. You're going to bang your head on the wall over and over until you get that sorted. Grind the grain fine, pay close attention to every temp and volume. Take notes. If you're low on a temp, increase starting temp next time. If you're low on a volume, increase volume next time by the amount you were short. Get 2-3 batches brewed where you're pretty close on all numbers, then see what the efficiency was (just change it in beersmith until you get the actual OG you ended up with, then record the percentage you had to use to get there and use it going forward).

Understanding WHY you're getting the numbers you get is just as important, otherwise you're shooting at a moving target.
I get your point and it makes sense so then I'm just a ****ty brewer. I've done nothing but study brewing, get decent enough equipment and do fine mills of grain. I've done dozens of batches each paying careful attention to the process. I know dozens isn't a lot around here but I only started in May so I've spent a lot of time and effort basically living and breathing beer since January and am doing the best I can short of just breaking down and buying a completely automated electric setup where the efficiencies are ultra high.

I've never made a bad beer but I almost always miss my OG on every batch.

If I'm just a crappy brewer, then fine. But it's not for a lack of trying.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:12 PM   #18
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Didn't mean to offend, just saying that every single phase is crucial. Once you fully understand them and you're getting consistency, it requires far less attention. For me it's simple:
  • Recipe scaled to match my batch size and efficiency.
  • Volume of strike and sparge water
  • Strike temp (aim high, stir down, then close tun when you're there)
  • hop schedule - again, scaled. Each addition should carry it's IBU numbers. That's how you properly scale them up.
  • boil, add hops, chill, rack, pitch starter, wait.

Check each volume for accuracy. Your software should not only tell you how much strike water to use, but how much wort you'll run-off after the mash, before the sparge water goes in. Check that, if it's low, sparge with more, if high, sparge with less. Be exact in how much more or less you use, based on the measurement of first runnings.

Same with preboil volume. If it's low, sparge with enough to get there, use cold water if you have to, it won't make a huge difference. If it's high, don't start teh boil timer until it comes down to your desired volume, then start hop schedule.

Crush is important, should be fine enough that there isn't a single uncrushed grain. All you need is SOME husks in there to create a filter bed. Most don't crush fine enough at first. Don't be afraid. Use rice hulls if you are.

Stir the crap out of the mash when you dough-in, and add the grain ever-so-slowly. I use a wire whisk=zero dough-balls. Then don't bother stirring again until the mash is done, and after the sparge water goes in.

At that point your efficiency is done, so long as your volume is right.
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Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!

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Old 11-20-2012, 11:32 PM   #19
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I suspect that you are having some problems with the batch and maybe even creating channels in the grain bed. We finally switched to HERMS and that drastically improved our grain use. I was adding and extra 0.5 pounds of two row (an everything else also adjusted up) for a five gallon batch. That helped quite a bit when we were just starting all grain. We are so much better now that I have to adjust now after I fill the BK. I normally have to add addition water to LOWER to correct OG. That means I have to adjust hops for the volume. We always adjust the batch for the correct OG. If we are shy, add a little corn sugar if that was part of the original recipe, or DME is it was light or just boil to reduce volume. Have not had to do that once we started to HERMS.

 
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:15 AM   #20
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i dont think a HERMS system is the best idea until you understand everything and can be consistent with even a basic setup. i just feel like you need to know whats going on with everything first. But hey, its just my opinion
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