BrewCipher 6

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by VikeMan, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. fourpawsjoe

    fourpawsjoe Initiate (0) May 12, 2020

    @VikeMan, thanks for the great product and all the work you do, I've been using it for over a year now. One issue I regularly have though is my final gravity being much lower than what's predicted, do you have any ideas why this would happen?

  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Assuming your FGs are lower pretty much across the board, but your OGs are right on, i.e. you're getting a higher attenuation % than predicted, then you may want to adjust the "Attenuation Power Factor" on the Brewhouse sheet. Here's something from the user guide. I'll bold the most relevant parts....

    "Attenuation Power Factor: BrewCipher predicts attenuation, and thus final gravity, based on yeast strain, grain bill, mash time, and mash length. There are a myriad of other small (and largely un-modelable) factors beyond the scope of the model. Also, there will be variability from brewhouse to brewhouse even within the same nominal values for the modeled parameters. Some examples: accuracy of thermometers and hydrometers; mashout or lack of mashout; time to transfer wort to kettle and temperatures during transfer; time to reach a boil; grain differences between maltsters; general health of yeast; etc. These other factors are the reason for the Attenuation Power Factor. If you consistently get more attenuation than predicted (across many recipes), adjust this factor upward. If you consistently get less attenuation than predicted (across many recipes), adjust this factor downward. Otherwise, leave this at the default (0.984) or at 1.000. The default value of 0.984 dials-in the attenuation predictions in my brewhouse, resulting in the smallest average deviation between predictions and actual measurements. Your mileage may (and probably will) vary! Note: This factor affects ALL mashes, including Multi-Step Infusions. But if your attenuation variances are ONLY when you do Multi-Step Infusion Mashes, leave this factor alone and adjust the "STEP INFUSION ATTENUATION POWER FACTOR" instead."

    So, you can tweak the value of that factor to whatever value gives you the best agreement, on average, between predicted and expected attenuation.

    On the other hand, if you only seem to get higher attenuation (low FGs) when using certain grains or yeast strains, you can adjust the grain's "Basic Attenuation" number or the yeast's "Factor" number on the Grain Lookup or Yeast Lookup sheets.

    Let me know if this doesn't help. "I'm here all week!"
  3. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (382) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I have a known free-fall drop in temperature during a hopstand of a known duration; 185° -> 155° over 45 minutes.
    When entering Avg Temp for Flameout/Hopstand/Whirlpool should the value be weighted more to the lower end. If yes, is there a seat of the pants way to figure what would be reasonable (SWAG maybe)?
    Probably over-thinking this.

    A while back I added strike water to an ambient temp mash tun (10-gallon round water cooler) then added ambient temp grains (both ~ 73°). Came up short on the target mash temp.
    On a later recipe I added about a quart of > 200° water to the empty mash tun for about 30 minutes then dumped it, added strike water, and added the ambient temp grains. Overshot the mash temp.

    Yesterday I did the same as the first scenario and again undershot the mash temp. I pilfered 54 oz from the 176° sparge water to bring the mash temp up, resulting in a thinner mash. After the fact, the sparge water was not topped up to the original calculated volume and I had to top-up the kettle to get the pre-boil volume.
    I thought about adding near boiling water to the mash to up the temperature but wasn’t sure of adverse impact to (some) of the grain. Plus, I didn’t have any ready and it seemed like a ‘time is of the essence’ deal.

    Additionally, I overshot the post-boil OG by 4 points because I came up short on the volume to fermentor but that’s another story and I should be able to dial that in over time, or keep some extra boiled/cooled water on hand.

    My curiosity is around the mash temp with regards to the tun and grain temps. How does one account for preheating the mash tun? Is that adjusted in the Brewhouse tab, thermal properties for the mash tun? Can/should I adjust the ambient grain/tun temps in the recipe tab? If the latter, would an average of the grain and tun temps be close enough?

    I probably need to decide which method to use (preheated tun, or not), use it consistently, and adjust the Mash Tun Initial Heat Absorption Value.

    Thanks again for providing BC!
  4. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (407) May 2, 2006 Utah

    @riptorn, I'm sure Vikeman will provide some feedback, but two things about your post struck me:

    Because you didn't throw any water away, I don't think adding some sparge water to the mash explains why you didn't achieve your anticipated preboil volume. Seems like something needs to be adjusted somewhere in the spreadsheet.

    I believe this is correct.

    riptorn and VikeMan like this.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    It won't make a big difference in the calculation, but what I usually do in that situation is...
    ((1 x T1) + (2 x T2)) / 3
    ...where T1 is the higher of the two temps. Basically just to acknowledge with some arm-waving that the rate of change in T slows as you get lower, without whipping out the hard math.

    If that happens consistently, a tweak to the Mash Tun Initial Heat Absorption Value is in order. Since you have at least a couple (non preheated) batches worth of data, it should be quick work to find the value that causes the average error to be the smallest.

    If you get the Mash Tun Initial Heat Absorption Value right, it takes care of "preheating" intrinsically, i.e. there's no need for a separate preheating step.

    This sounds like there's an issue with a volume parameter somewhere. Moving some water from sparge to strike shouldn't have caused you to be short in the kettle, because your total water didn't change.

    BrewCipher doesn't directly support separate preheating of the mash tun, because you'd still need to be able to know and set the Mash Tun Initial Heat Absorption Value for sparge temperature purposes. (The tun's thermal mass is also used there.) And if you know/set that, there's no reason to preheat separately.
    riptorn likes this.
  6. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (382) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Did you arrive at the 0.74 default for your Xtreme 52 qt using data over enough batches to feel comfortable, or is there a dress rehearsal to get close? I don't think my notes from the previous two batches mentioned are detailed enough.
    Until I get enough data I'll bump up the value and will forego preheating the mash tun.

    I suspect one of the deadspace values and will go through the exercises of measuring them again.
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I measured it, with hot water. It's been many years, but it would have gone something like this...

    - Add 5 gallons of 165F water to mash tun at 70F ambient air/tun temp.
    - Cover and wait 5 minutes, then measure and record the water's temp.
    - In a separate copy of BrewCipher (i.e. you're not going to save this for later use...)
    ----change every number in the "Volume and Volume Losses" section to 0
    ----change BIAB indicator to "Y" (to force all water to strike)
    ----change all Hop qtys to 0
    ----change all grain qtys to 0, except one (any one). Set that one to 0.0000001 (to avoid division by zero error)
    ----set batch size to 5 gallons (total water will then also be 5 gallons because of all the zeroing)
    ----set "Ambient Grain and Tun Temp" to 70F
    ----set "Mash Temperature" to the value you measured after 5 minutes above
    ----tweak "Mash Tun Initial Heat Absorption Value" until the Strike Water temperature being called for is 165F

    Now you have the Mash Tun Initial Heat Absorption Value for your tun.
    Obviously, the 5 gallons, 165F water, and the air/mash tun temp of 70F are arbitrary. Use whatever works for you there. But if yours are different, make sure to change them when you input/observe them in the sheet in later steps.
    frozyn and riptorn like this.
  8. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (382) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    :+1: Great that you took the time to put that together. I'll go through the motions before my next batch, and copy/paste that guide to the new User Scratch sheet so it'll be at the ready if I ever change coolers.
    And thanks to @utahbeerdude as well.
    utahbeerdude and VikeMan like this.
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Version 6.4 is up for download. It includes an update to the Fruit Calc sheet and some minor housekeeping. If you use the fruit calculations, I recommend downloading V6.4. If you don't use the fruit calculations, and already have V6.3, it's probably not worth downloading.

    The change to the Fruit Calc sheet is this:
    Previously, all fruit carbohydrates were included in the effective OG and (where estimated not fermentable) FG.
    In V6.4, an estimate of non-soluble fiber (e.g. cellulose) is excluded from the effective OG and FG.
    In most cases, this does not affect the predicted ABV (to one decimal). But in the case of fruits with large proportions of insoluble fiber, the ABV prediction may change slightly, due to a resulting change in effective volume of the fruit water/carbs.
    #49 VikeMan, Jul 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
    utahbeerdude, Jasonja1474 and riptorn like this.
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Version 6.5 is up. Corrects a bug in 6.4's fruit calc. I hate when that happens. Apologies to anyone who downloaded 6.4 earlier today.
    #50 VikeMan, Jul 2, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
    riptorn likes this.
  11. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (382) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Regarding the somewhat interchangeable usage of sparge/kettle for salt additions on the Water tab; does that apply to Sparge Water Acidification as well when adding Phosphoric acid or Lactic acid?
    Or can/should those (phosphoric/lactic) be added to the kettle? Or does it matter?

    Edited to add:
    I already added Lactic acid to one gallon of the sparge water. If it makes a difference, I'll dump the gallon, use clean water and put all remaining water adjustments in the kettle.
    #51 riptorn, Aug 2, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  12. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Sparge water acidification is really for acidifying the sparge so that the pH doesn't get too high during runoff. So you added it at the right time!

    Note: if you are sparging with RO/distilled, the calculation will give you a tiny amount of acid to add, because distilled water has virtually no buffering capacity. For the same reason (lack of buffering capacity), you can just skip the sparge acidification when using distilled/RO. It won't really make any difference.
  13. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (382) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Thanks. I've used only distilled until the previous batch, which used non-adjusted well water. First time adjusting the well water. There were some trial and error challenges manipulating the additions to get it 'close' to the suggested overall water profile for generic amber ale, while maintaining a desired chloride to sulfate ratio of >1.0. We'll see how it goes.
    VikeMan likes this.
  14. riptorn

    riptorn Disciple (382) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    BC was spot on.

    For the last batch I hit all the numbers except the fermentor volume, which was supposed to be 5.0 gal and came in at 5.25.
    After closing the fermentor I revisited the Brewhouse tab and saw where I’d entered 0.25-gal for the kettle dead-space. So, if I hadn’t tipped the kettle to get as much wort as possible, it would have been a near perfect harmony between symbionts wort and riptorn. (throws hat in the ring to pen a blurb for the inside back flap)
    VikeMan likes this.
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Heh. We could put it in the virtual inside back flap of the users guide.
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Version 6.6 is up for download at the usual places (linked at beginning of this thread).

    V6.6 tweaks the fruit calculations, improves fruit data, and adds a couple of advanced user selectable parameters on the FruitCalc tab. It also fixes a bug in the pH tab that is (was) unique to OpenOffice users.

    If you use the fruit calculations or are running in OpenOffice, this update is probably worth the download.