Beersmith and brewhouse effeciency

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by sergeantstogie, Mar 7, 2012.

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  1. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    I've been coming up short on the batch sizes. My batch today came up a 1/2 gallon short. My measured mash efficiency was 85%. Cool. My measured brewhouse efficiency was 74.9. So I guess my question is, what should I fix? Should I assume it is excessive boil off? Doesn't make sense since I hit my gravity readings. I dunno. Should I change beersmith to reflect the 74.9 (75) so that I wind up with more than my target batch size? What am I missing here?

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Hogie

    Hogie Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2008 Michigan

    Hard to tell based on the info. You could be boiling off too much, or losing too much along the way in transfers. The answer is simple however, start with more in your kettle, don't boil off as much & adjust grain bill to hit your target gravity.
     
  3. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I have been getting better than usual efficiency recently and found that my boil volume for my last batch was short by almost a gallon. In my case I dont necessarily think the two are related.

    I think my new brewpot boils off more than my old one (much larger surface area), time to figure this out!
     
  4. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

    Thats my gut feeling too. I noticed about 45 minutes into my boil that it seemed I am losing more with this boil kettle.
     
  5. Homebrew42

    Homebrew42 Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2006 New York

    Sparge more. However much you're coming up short, collect that much more pre boil volume.
     
  6. Hogie

    Hogie Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2008 Michigan

    How are you calculating your efficiency? If you think your efficiency is better because of a higher post boil gravity reading, but you are only getting 4 gallons, then your efficiency is not necessarily better (ie your software might think you got 5 gallons at that higher og).

    As I said earlier, the solution is simple: Sparge more ie start your boil with more wort, so that at the end of your boil you end up with 5.5-6 gallons (adjust your grain bill accordingly so that you still hit your target OG).
     
  7. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Pre boil gravity reading is what I am going off of. I agree, post boil just goes way up because of the lower volume of wort. I will be sparging more in future batches, hopefully I can dial this in soon.
     
  8. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I recommend setting your "batch size" to the amount of wort in your kettle "post boil" then setting your OG to your measured OG. After that, adjust your "brew house efficiency" to the % that makes beersmiths predicted OG match your actual measured OG. While this kind of cheats the idea of brew house efficiency by not factoring the transfer loss / kettle deadspace in, it allows you to better regulate your brew house efficiency expectation and hit your target volume. Just make sure to monitor your dead space / transfer losses from batch to batch and always create a batch size that is the same amount larger than what you actually want to make it into the fermenter.
     
  9. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (267) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    BeerSmith's 'batch size' is the amount you want to package.
    'Loss to Trub' is the amount of slop left in the kettle after you rack clear wort to the fermentor.

    It's trial and error until you get dialed in to your process.
     
  10. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I thought loss to trub was amount left behind in the carboy after racking/bottling, no?

    Regardless of that, it's just easier for me to measure my post boil amount prior to chilling and transferring. I usually assume about a 4% loss for heat expansion dissipating and I just never leave much wort behind in the kettle so I don't bother entering a value for it. I do lose some in transfer though.
     
  11. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (267) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    I'm not a BeerSmith authority but I'd guess that depends on whether you rack everything from the kettle into the fermentor or leave as much sludge as possible behind.

    Some do.
    Some don't.

    I've no idea whether I'm using BS the right way but I'm dialed into the s/w well enough to hit the targeted volumes...gravities...and the ales are more-often-than-not tasty to boot.
     
  12. seth72104

    seth72104 Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2009 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    'Loss to Trub and Chiller' is the amount lost to trub in the kettle and to your chilling setup. 'Fermenter Loss' is the amount lost to trub and yeast in the fermenter.

    'Batch Volume' is the amount going into the fermenter. The amount you package = Batch Volume - Fermenter Loss
     
  13. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for the clarification on Trub / Fermenter Loss.

    While I don't doubt the definition you gave for "Batch Size" (as it is Beersmiths definition) I take objection with the way Beersmith has defined it for a very valid reason (I believe). When you change the Batch Size in Beersmith, it changes the predicted Original Gravity. Considering post boil losses in actuality don't change your gravity (they only change your volume) changing the Batch Size shouldn't.
     
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,481) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I haven't used Beersmith in a very long time, but... (if it's well designed), when you change your batch size, it should change your OG, as long as it is also changing the appropriate volume calculations to get you to that batch size. Thus you're putting the same amount of fermentables into a different volume of water (pre-boil).

    I think your objection assumes that when you change batch size, the adjustment made to get you there is in the post boil losses. That wouldn't be a good design, because post boil losses should not be dependent on batch size. (They should be constants (or nearly so), given the same brewhouse equipment and hop schedule.)
     
  15. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    That's a good way to look at it and considering I have never really focused on inputting my actual volume calculation presets it is very likely to be what is happening. Thanks for that!
     
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