Beersmith 3: step-by-step usage

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I've been using Beersmith 3 (BS3) for a while, but I've only recently got to grips with its water volume calculations; especially the correct way to use the slightly cryptic 'mash tun addition' and 'mash dead-space' options.

Here's a short step-by-step, with a particular focus on the mash and sparge volumes so as to get: (a) the desired mash thickness; and (b) the right final volume into your keg/bottles.

Apologies that the following seems a bit of a faff: it's simpler than it sounds and you only have to go through most of it once.

Let's say we want to brew a simple beer recipe:
  • 3kg pale ale malt + 1kg medium crystal
  • desired mash thickness 3 L/kg
  • NO recirculation of the mash liquid
  • 60 min boil with 15g Magnum hops
  • aiming to make enough to fill a 19L Corny after leaving 2L of gunk in the fermenter.
Step 1: create a new recipe
Click on the 'My Recipes' folder in the left-hand pane and then the 'Add Recipe' button (top left). Make sure you're on the 'Design' tab.
Enter a name for your recipe, but don't bother entering any ingredients or parameters just yet.

Step 2: create an equipment profile
Click on the 'Equipment' field near the top of the main panel (1), then 'Create an Equipment Profile' (2):

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 16.31.08.png


The Equipment Wizard will open. This is a bit over-the-top for now, so click on 'Normal Equipment Editor Mode' (3)

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 16.40.54.png


You should now see the 'Equipment Profile' (see below). Edit the following fields, plus any others you recognise:
  • Name: give your profile a name, like 'Mash for 19L Corny'
  • Type: select 'All Grain'
  • Mash Tun Volume: enter the maximum capacity of your mash tun. This is just so the tool can check it's not going to overflow. For my setup this is 30L.
  • Recoverable Mash Deadspace: this is the 'recoverable' volume i.e. below the grain screen, but above the level of the tap. For my setup this is 3.0L see note below.
  • Mash Deadspace Losses: this is the 'un-recoverable' volume left below the level of the tap/pump. For my setup this is 0.5L see note below.
  • Adjust Mash Vol for Losses: you almost certainly want to tick this box. It controls whether extra water is added to the mash to compensate for the un-recoverable deadspace (the recoverable deadspace is always added) see note below.
  • Batch Volume: the volume you want to end up with in the fermenter - in our case 21L (=19L + 2L fermenter loss)
  • Fermenter Loss: the volume you expect to leave behind in the fermenter - in our case 2L
  • Calculate Boil Vol Automatically: tick this box
  • Use boil off as an hourly rate: tick this box.
  • Cooling Shrinkage: leave this at 4% (it is simply the thermal expansion of water)
  • Loss to Trub and Chiller: enter any unrecoverable volume that gets left behind in your boiler - in my case 0L.
When you are done, click the 'OK' button.

Important note about deadspace volumes and recirculation:​
When recirculating I generally find that once the mash gets going, the 'recoverable deadspace' in the tun has no liquid in it because the pump is emptying it at least as fast as it flows through the grain bed.​
Therefore I DON'T want the tool to add extra water to the mash for this space otherwise my mash would be too thin.​
Equally however I DO want the tool to add extra water for the 'unrecoverable deadspace', because that amount of liquid is not being pumped back through the grain.​
Therefore If I am recirculating (with a pump), I set the 'recoverable mash deadspace' to zero.
Note that regardless of whether I'm recirculating or not, I always set the 'Mash deadspace losses' to the un-recoverable volume of the tun; and tick the 'Adjust Mash Vol for Losses' box.​



Finally (and importantly) click on the 'disk' icon to make sure that the new profile has been saved:

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 18.16.02.png


Step 3: Enter your recipe ingredients
Return to the main panel and make sure you're on the 'Design' tab.
Check that your newly-created profile is selected under 'Equipment' and notice that the batch volume has been picked up from the profile - in our case 21L. Remember that this is the amount you're aiming to get in the fermenter.
Now enter your fermentable and other ingredients.

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 18.56.57.png

If you like, select a Style and review the predicted OG, Bitterness, Colour and ABV:
Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 19.24.37.png



Step 4: Select the mash
In order to set the mash thickness we must configure the mash. Let's keep things simple and go for a single 66ºC step.

Select the 'Mash' tab (1), click on the mash profile (2) and select (for example) 'Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash-Out'.

Edit the mash step by double-clicking on it (3). This opens the Mash Step window.
Edit the circled fields: Step Temperature, Step time and Water/Grain Ratio.

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 22.57.29.png


Notice how the 'water to add' field changes when you enter the mash thickness. In this case it becomes 12L (= 4kg x 3.0 L/kg).
Notice also the 'Mash Deadspace Addition' field. This has been picked up from the equipment profile. Note that if we were going to recirculate during the mash (with a pump), we should probably edit the equipment profile to set the 'recoverable mash deadspace' to zero. (Note: you can also tweak this in the mash section of the 'volumes' tab).

Finally click the 'OK' button, then save the modified profile by clicking on the 'disk icon' (4) so that you don't have to modify the mash step again next time.

Step 5: Read off the Water Volumes
Click on the 'Vols' tab.
The key things to note here are the 'Tot Mash Water' and the 'Sparge Vol' (circled), which tell you how much water is needed in each case.
Don't be misled by the 'Mash Volume Needed' field - this just tells you how much space the wet grain will take up in the tun.
Notice that the water available from the mash (11.49L) plus the Sparge Vol (12.77L), minus the unrecoverable mash tun loss (0.5L) comes to the 'Est Pre-Boil Vol': the desired amount of wort into the kettle (23.77L).
That figure, minus all the boil-off and shrinkage losses etc. gives us our desired 21L into the Fermenter - and 19L into the Keg.

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 23.08.59.png


EXCELLENT - now we are good to go. Click the Green OK button (top right) to save your new recipe.
 
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Braufather

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I’ve diwloaded beersmith a couple of time but have given up un it, as it seemed to much of a faff. This will be a good help and I’ll have another look. Cheers.athumb..
 

StoutWolf

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Adding my thanks for the excellent work in the original post. My early 2022 brewing has been far from prolific despite some shiny new kit from Santa.
I finally found the time last weekend to get a brew on and whilst using paper, pen and calculator to scale a recipe and calculate water volumes and temperatures, I vowed to switch to a software solution before the next brew.
So this threads timing was opportune and yesterday I jumped in headfirst and really appreciated the walkthrough to get me started. Whilst I reckon paper and pen would have been quicker yesterday, I'm sure BS3 will more than make up for the sunk time in future. As a bonus I can read the resultant recipe much easier than I can my terrible handwriting; Also I should be able to find past brewsheets in future when I want to refer to them!
Now to transfer the remainder of my inventory into BS3 and hopefully that will be most of the costs incurred and the benefits should be ready to enjoy 🙂.
Cheers TETB cheers:
 
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Adding my thanks for the excellent work in the original post. My early 2022 brewing has been far from prolific despite some shiny new kit from Santa.
I finally found the time last weekend to get a brew on and whilst using paper, pen and calculator to scale a recipe and calculate water volumes and temperatures, I vowed to switch to a software solution before the next brew.
So this threads timing was opportune and yesterday I jumped in headfirst and really appreciated the walkthrough to get me started. Whilst I reckon paper and pen would have been quicker yesterday, I'm sure BS3 will more than make up for the sunk time in future. As a bonus I can read the resultant recipe much easier than I can my terrible handwriting; Also I should be able to find past brewsheets in future when I want to refer to them!
Now to transfer the remainder of my inventory into BS3 and hopefully that will be most of the costs incurred and the benefits should be ready to enjoy 🙂.
Cheers TETB cheers:
Oh thanks mate - that's really kind of you to share that; makes me feel really chuffed after a rather tough day athumb..
 

StoutWolf

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Oh thanks mate - that's really kind of you to share that; makes me feel really chuffed after a rather tough day athumb..

You're welcome, thanks for the inspiration...

I'm back to add that over the last few days I've added my inventory to BS3 as best I can. It's a little rough at the moment and I'll refine quantities, dates etc as I use things. I've maybe gone a bit over the top by adding all my equipment as Misc items, but this means I can:
  • track purchases / sunk costs (ouch!),
  • know what keg and bottle capacity is available (lot's but will hopefully reduce quickly now!),
  • easily make a list of equipment needed for brew/bottling day (equipment is not stored in the kitchen and I always forget stuff!).
I was initially a little disappointed to see there was no means to sum/sumif value of items in inventory. So, I used the online contact form to ask whether this or an export csv might be added in future. Within 24 hours I had a response saying it hadn't been requested, but csv export should be easy to implement and they would look to do so asap.🤞

I've also used some prefixes and suffixes in item names to group items within inventory and include year of purchase / harvest etc. This should mean that with a csv export and an excel template I can readily assess which hops & malt are getting old and I I should be looking to use up.

Next I will be retrospectively adding the recipes I've brewed in the past couple of years as best as I can recall and using limited information from the brewsheets that I can still find. Once that's done, I should have a good base to build good future record keeping on. I did the first of these retrospective brews this morning and it took less than 10 minutes, so hopefully the work on the inventory will pay off by making this fairly quick and straightforward.

Quick example of a recipe including my equipment checklist, alternative version without the equipment used for costings etc.

1646725513956.png


:cheers2:
 

StoutWolf

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One thing I have started to do is create a recipe folder sub divided by style of beers that I really enjoyed and want to brew again. A core range I suppose. I update with taste notes etc.

I then have a separate "brew day" folder where I capture the session data for each brew and my brew day notes.

I was wondering how the software handles rebrews / versioning and session notes. Not got that far yet other than adding notes to my first couple of brew entries. This sounds like something I will likely adopt. Thanks.
 
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You're welcome, thanks for the inspiration...

I'm back to add that over the last few days I've added my inventory to BS3 as best I can. It's a little rough at the moment and I'll refine quantities, dates etc as I use things. I've maybe gone a bit over the top by adding all my equipment as Misc items, but this means I can:
  • track purchases / sunk costs (ouch!),
  • know what keg and bottle capacity is available (lot's but will hopefully reduce quickly now!),
  • easily make a list of equipment needed for brew/bottling day (equipment is not stored in the kitchen and I always forget stuff!).
I was initially a little disappointed to see there was no means to sum/sumif value of items in inventory. So, I used the online contact form to ask whether this or an export csv might be added in future. Within 24 hours I had a response saying it hadn't been requested, but csv export should be easy to implement and they would look to do so asap.🤞

I've also used some prefixes and suffixes in item names to group items within inventory and include year of purchase / harvest etc. This should mean that with a csv export and an excel template I can readily assess which hops & malt are getting old and I I should be looking to use up.

Next I will be retrospectively adding the recipes I've brewed in the past couple of years as best as I can recall and using limited information from the brewsheets that I can still find. Once that's done, I should have a good base to build good future record keeping on. I did the first of these retrospective brews this morning and it took less than 10 minutes, so hopefully the work on the inventory will pay off by making this fairly quick and straightforward.

Quick example of a recipe including my equipment checklist, alternative version without the equipment used for costings etc.

View attachment 64294

:cheers2:
Nice work! I must admit I'm still using an external spreadsheet for what I might laughingly call 'stock control', so I might have look at the BS3 inventory.

I too find it very useful to refer back to the original recipe and what I actually did; and I keep my recipes in three folders: 'original unscaled recipes', 'scaled not yet brewed' and 'recipes as brewed'.
I also make heavy use of the 'notes' tab to remind myself of things I need to do next time (e.g. 'mash stuck - increase liquid').

The version number field in the recipe is fairly straightforward - if you change it, then when you save the recipe it just prompts you as to whether you want to save under a different name:

Screenshot 2022-03-09 at 09.33.42.png
 

-Bezza-

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Don't suppose anyone has a screenshot of the settings they have for the Grainfather? I've been tinkering for a while but still can't get it right and there are so many different points of view online, mixed with US measurements.

I tend to find that in Beersmith my boil volume is too high so I have either been basing it off the GF calculator or just mashing at 2.8-3.0l/kg and stopping my sparge once the wort is nearing about 26L. Hardly scientific!
 
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Don't suppose anyone has a screenshot of the settings they have for the Grainfather? I've been tinkering for a while but still can't get it right and there are so many different points of view online, mixed with US measurements.

I tend to find that in Beersmith my boil volume is too high so I have either been basing it off the GF calculator or just mashing at 2.8-3.0l/kg and stopping my sparge once the wort is nearing about 26L. Hardly scientific!
Don't know whether it helps, but the GF website says (here) that the G30 example recipes use the following figures:
  • Water To Grain Ratio = 2.7 (litres of water per kilogram of grain. Common value used in brewing. Optimum value for mashing in G30 from testing)
  • Mash Tun Deadspace = 3.5L (dead space between the base and bottom of grain basket)
  • Grain Absorption Ratio = 0.8 (ratio to determine the amount of water that is absorbed in grain which will be removed after sparging)
  • Post Boil Losses = 2L (rough estimate. Includes both chiller losses and trub loss in the boiler. Will change depending on the amount of kettle hops and determination of brewer to maximise fermenter volume.)
  • Evaporation Rate = 3L/h for 230V, 2L/h for 120V (evaporation rate is lower for 120V GF models as it has 1600W heating element rather than 2000W)
 

-Bezza-

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Thanks - this is my latest iteration which I think is getting pretty close. It's based on a brew to fill a corny. I find my boil off isn't as high as they suggest, unless I decide to blow a fan over the top of the kettle:

1646836733540.png
 

-Bezza-

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Nice work! I must admit I'm still using an external spreadsheet for what I might laughingly call 'stock control', so I might have look at the BS3 inventory.

I have been using the inventory feature but I would say it's limited. Whilst you can record items, amount and price, I can't see that you can record purchase date or best before date. Also, in the case of things like hops, I don't believe you can record the specific AA% of the batch, nor can you record different prices for the same inventory item. So I would say it's useful for checking you have the stock to brew what you want but you have to manually amend the recipe for AA% and price.
 

StoutWolf

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I have been using the inventory feature but I would say it's limited. Whilst you can record items, amount and price, I can't see that you can record purchase date or best before date. Also, in the case of things like hops, I don't believe you can record the specific AA% of the batch, nor can you record different prices for the same inventory item. So I would say it's useful for checking you have the stock to brew what you want but you have to manually amend the recipe for AA% and price.
Agree there are limitations that I would like/hope to see addressed, particularly around year of harvest, which really should be its own field, but some limitations can be worked around.
  • You can edit specific AA's,
  • You can record multiples of same hop with different AA's and/or prices so long as you name them slightly differently. I use the supplier and/or year to differentiate.
  • I store order details in Notes - again would ideally be a field that can be displayed / sorted on.
If using a hop with a different AA to recipe and you know what IBU the recipe wants, the adjust bitterness tool will get you there.
I love that once stock is in inventory, and you commit to brewing a recipe you can remove the required stock from inventory with one click

1646848224253.png
 

nickjdavis

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I'd love to see a feature in the inventory where it not only showed you how much you have got in stock, but also how much you plan to use in future brews. I have recipes built out ready to brew until the end of the year and it would be great if BS could have a feature whereby it showed you how much of an ingredient you planned to use in the next 3,4,5 brews and what your "stock defecit" was.
 

-Bezza-

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Don't know whether it helps, but the GF website says (here) that the G30 example recipes use the following figures:
  • Water To Grain Ratio = 2.7 (litres of water per kilogram of grain. Common value used in brewing. Optimum value for mashing in G30 from testing)
  • Mash Tun Deadspace = 3.5L (dead space between the base and bottom of grain basket)
  • Grain Absorption Ratio = 0.8 (ratio to determine the amount of water that is absorbed in grain which will be removed after sparging)
  • Post Boil Losses = 2L (rough estimate. Includes both chiller losses and trub loss in the boiler. Will change depending on the amount of kettle hops and determination of brewer to maximise fermenter volume.)
  • Evaporation Rate = 3L/h for 230V, 2L/h for 120V (evaporation rate is lower for 120V GF models as it has 1600W heating element rather than 2000W)

I'd made an excel version of this a little while back and was just comparing to Beersmith. Turns out their default grain absorption ratio is 0.96 rather than 0.8 which seems to be the reason for the sparge water volume to overshoot each time.

The bit I can't get my head around is needing to set my Mash Tun Addition to 3.5L and the Deadspace to 0L to get the same-ish answer as the Grainfather calculation on the sparge, i.e. the sparge volume is 3.5L higher without this adjustment (note the below is for a 45 min boil).

1647008431213.png
 
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I'd made an excel version of this a little while back and was just comparing to Beersmith. Turns out their default grain absorption ratio is 0.96 rather than 0.8 which seems to be the reason for the sparge water volume to overshoot each time.

The bit I can't get my head around is needing to set my Mash Tun Addition to 3.5L and the Deadspace to 0L to get the same-ish answer as the Grainfather calculation on the sparge, i.e. the sparge volume is 3.5L higher without this adjustment (note the below is for a 45 min boil).

View attachment 64479
Just in case you weren’t aware, you can change the grain absorption rate in (iirc) ‘preferences->advanced’ … it’s a universal setting for all recipes I think
 

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