BeerSmith 2 Expert needed

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Justin Davenport

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Hi all,
Are there any seasoned BeerSmith users on here? I am starting to get a bit desparate, because the figures I am inputting into my equipment profile are producing very unexpected results when it comes to preparing a recipe and the actual figures I get on a brew day. For example, in my equipment profile, for my mash tun I have no losses due to dead space and I assume the software has the correct figure for grain absorbtion, yet I am getting 2.5-3 litres extra wort into the boil kettle than the recipe indicates! This is just one of many issues I am having. I have been using the software for years and slowly trying to update the software to reflect my results on a brew day, but if anthing I am getting further away. All I want is a predictable brew day. I am sure my equipment profile figures cant be THAT far out. BeerSmith heroes please come at me.
 

SouthDowns

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Quick question. When you set up your equipment profile, did you work out your system losses with water ie. Not on a brew day? Does that 2-3 litre overshoot follow through to your final volumes/measurements etc.
 

Justin Davenport

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Quick question. When you set up your equipment profile, did you work out your system losses with water ie. Not on a brew day? Does that 2-3 litre overshoot follow through to your final volumes/measurements etc.
Hi SouthDowns, no I measured the losses on brew days such as loss to to trub, evaporation etc.. To my mind, the mash tun discepency can only be due to the grain absorbtion being way out?
 

SouthDowns

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Ok. I have never (to my recollection) altered the grain adsorption figures in the software.

What type of mash tun do you have? Are you confident in the volume of water you are adding to the grain bill being correct?

Sorry for the simple questions!
 

Justin Davenport

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Ok. I have never (to my recollection) altered the grain adsorption figures in the software.

What type of mash tun do you have? Are you confident in the volume of water you are adding to the grain bill being correct?

Sorry for the simple questions!
I appreciate the help mate, no question is too simple for me!
Its a plastic chiller box type with a recessed spigot so there is literally no dead space. I am as confident as I can be with the measurements. I put the water into my boil kettle which has sight glass which I measured and marked myself in 1 litre increments
 

SouthDowns

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What is your grain adsorption set at? Mine is 0.96 FL oz/oz grain. As I said, I have never altered this.

I lose approx 2.5 L to dead space in my cooler type mash tun. Yours is likely different to mine but I would suggest to fill to just above the tap with water then place on a flat surface and open tap and drain until flow stops. Shut tap and measure any residual water left in the mash tun to confirm you have zero dead space.
 

Justin Davenport

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What is your grain adsorption set at? Mine is 0.96 FL oz/oz grain. As I said, I have never altered this.

I lose approx 2.5 L to dead space in my cooler type mash tun. Yours is likely different to mine but I would suggest to fill to just above the tap with water then place on a flat surface and open tap and drain until flow stops. Shut tap and measure any residual water left in the mash tun to confirm you have zero dead space.
Yes - mine is at 0.96 also. If I am right though adding anything for dead space would then increase the ammount of liquor giving me even more than 2.5-3 litres? Or am I missing something?
 

nickjdavis

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If you are getting more pre-boil volume in your kettle than Beersmith is suggesting, then your mash is not absorbing as much liquor. All you need to do is to reduce your grain absorption setting to compensate. My grain absorption setting is 0.65...I'm using a Braumeister BM20.
 

Justin Davenport

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If you are getting more pre-boil volume in your kettle than Beersmith is suggesting, then your mash is not absorbing as much liquor. All you need to do is to reduce your grain absorption setting to compensate. My grain absorption setting is 0.65...I'm using a Braumeister BM20.
Hi. Thats what I had deduced but it seems that no-one really messes with the absorbtion rate
 

nickjdavis

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Hi. Thats what I had deduced but it seems that no-one really messes with the absorbtion rate
What have you got to lose by trying it once? Drop the absorption down to 0.8 if it gets the predicted pre-boil volume closer to the actual....if it gets you closer, but "not quite there" then drop it a touch more.

If you have records of prior grain bill size, mash and sparge liquor volumes and what you actually got into the kettle then you should be able to make a pretty good calculation as to what you need to set the absorption rate at.

Could it be the quality/age of the grain?
Not sure about that but the crush size might have influence.
 
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What equipment/system are you using?

First thought is your efficiency seems low, most homebrew set ups should be getting 70+, Beersmith give 72% as an average.

But I'm not sure if that would result in 2.5l of extra wort. Could you tell us from this recipe what your total liquor volumes and mash weight were?

Could it be a crush issue where the grains are not absorbing the anticipated amount of liquor? Do you crush yourself?
 

Ossiary

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Hi, bit of a shot in the dark here. I seen to remember that the default “Mash Tun Loss” on Beersmith is 2.84 L, mine is higher and was changed accordingly. If that’s the case, did you drop yours down to zero manually? I noticed that in your screenshot the box to “Adjust Mash Vol for Losses” is not ticked, so might be still applying the Default 2.84 L Loss instead of adjusting for your manual values? Might be worth ticking the box and checking the volumes to see if they change?
 
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Philthebrewer

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I changed the absorption rate previously. Very different set up with BIAB but may be worth a try as suggested.
I have also dropped the absorption rate, to match measurements I made on my BM20 and on my Brewzilla 35. Perhaps recirculating mash systems have lower absorption, who knows, but I do know that it fixed my problems. I now hit my volume and OG estimate marks pretty much perfectly every time. The absorption rate tweak is a universal number in a different part of the Beersmith software, if I remember correctly.
 

SouthDowns

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I seem to recall reading somewhere that adsorption rate is lower on BIAB to all grain. I am not sure about Beersmith 2, but Beersmith 3 applies a different adsorption rate for these systems (0.586 fl oz/oz). The adsorption rate settings can be found in the advanced options settings in BS. As YeastFace said, it would be worth knowing more about your overall process; what equipment you are using, following through your volumes and numbers etc. - and your Brewhouse efficiency does seem low.
 

Justin Davenport

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Ok so thanks for the suggestions everyone - very much appreciated. I am brewing again today with a brand new batch of Warminsters Maris Otter so that will eliminate the grain age/quality issue. I deliberately put the brewhouse efficiency low to try and get anywhere near my predicted numbers, I will raise that again today to nearer 70%. I am going to leave the absorption rate alone today (brand new, quality grain) and then if I have the same issue with boil volume I will adjust because I really cant see any other option. I will check the "adjust mash volume for losses" check box (although this doesnt seem to make a difference). Of course I will take careful notes of all my figures.
I will let you know how I get on.
Thanks again for the advice.
 

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