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Author Topic: Setting up equipment in beersmith  (Read 189 times)

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Offline solidute16

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Setting up equipment in beersmith
« on: February 09, 2018, 12:42:22 PM »
This could be covered somewhere but i couldn't find an answer with a search.


Anyway....

I scored a keggle. Ive added a 1/2 inch ball valve and tried to figure out how to set up my equipment in beersmith- im talking maximum volumes (i want to make the biggest brew i can each brew day because i find it wasteful to put the work in for a smaller result) deadspace etc.

I did a water only test which ended up nowhere near the mark in a brewday trial. I dont have the exact figures available to me at the moment sorry. I made some adjustments for the next brew day and had to do some guesstimation on the fly as i wouldve had a big spillage if i didnt followed by a boil over.
I know there are a few variables for individual equipment setups such as boil off rate, burner type, position of tap etc that will make slight differences to the results.

What i would like to know is:
What exactly do i need to put into beersmith (deadspace, trub loss etc) and exactly how do i go about measuring it?

I have a mate who is able to give me a hand but thats not for another month or so and I'd like to have a brew day before then if i can get a better understanding of what im doing wrong.

Thanks for any advice.

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Online Hatchy

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 12:56:01 PM »
I assume you're brewing in a bag with one vessel?

The maximum batch size I got with a keggle was 35L. I boiled over pretty much every brewday with that keggle trying to get maximum beer. You'll get less if you're brewing in a bag because of the displacement of the grain - you can probably get around that by sparging - I've never brewed in a bag so I don't know how you'd do that.

Deadspace should be fairly easy to measure. Put 5L of water in the keggle, then run as much as you can out of the ball valve and what's left in the keggle is your deadspace.

Probably worth mentioning that I haven't brewed for years and haven't set up Beersmith for longer, but that's what I'd do.

Brewing with the same grain billfor your first few brewdays is a good way to make sure you know what you're getting from your system. You can change the hops and/or yeast so that you don't have 140L of the same beer, but keeping the grain bill the same means that you know if you're getting consistent results.
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Offline solidute16

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 03:49:04 PM »
I assume you're brewing in a bag with one vessel?

The maximum batch size I got with a keggle was 35L. I boiled over pretty much every brewday with that keggle trying to get maximum beer. You'll get less if you're brewing in a bag because of the displacement of the grain - you can probably get around that by sparging - I've never brewed in a bag so I don't know how you'd do that.

Deadspace should be fairly easy to measure. Put 5L of water in the keggle, then run as much as you can out of the ball valve and what's left in the keggle is your deadspace.

Probably worth mentioning that I haven't brewed for years and haven't set up Beersmith for longer, but that's what I'd do.

Brewing with the same grain billfor your first few brewdays is a good way to make sure you know what you're getting from your system. You can change the hops and/or yeast so that you don't have 140L of the same beer, but keeping the grain bill the same means that you know if you're getting consistent results.
Whoops yep brew in a bag.

Looks like i might need to get my hands on a bigger pot if i want to make a bigger batch then... guess that means I need to remove all the nasty accessories from the 18 gallon keg i inherited from the father in law and have some decent welding/repairs made then

Cheers

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Online Hatchy

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 04:35:03 PM »
I'm sure you can get ~35L from it brewing in a bag. If you've got a way to suspend the bag over the keggle then you can pour sparge water through the grain to get up to volume.

Don't forget that the grain will be significantly heavier after mashing due to absorbing water - it'll also be hot enough to be really uncomfortable if you're not careful.

Obviously you're right that a bigger kettle means that you can brew bigger batches. I used a keggle for a mash tun for years, so I wouldn't recommend getting rid of it when you upgrade your kettle. Keggles also make reasonable HLTs.
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Offline solidute16

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 05:31:28 PM »
I do have a pulley set up over the keg to hold/lift the bag so all good there.

I always planned to use the bigger keg just wasn't rushing into fixing it. Just something i can transition into once i know what I'm doing.

As far as bigger gear = bigger batches then where do we stop hey?

 but yeah main aim is for a keg plus a dozen or so bottles once im all set up. But baby steps for now



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Offline bookworm1707

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 07:11:00 PM »
When I did brew in a bag, a long time ago so the memories are a bit hazy. But...
if you fill the keggle as you usually do (let’s say 30l) and have a few pots going in the kitchen with more water. Then, if you can, put the empty bag on the keggle log a bin bag and pour the grain in slowly. Use the hot water from the kitchen and measure how much more you can fit in. Next time add the extra when you initially do the sparge water.

When you use the pulley on the bag pour some more hot water over the top, slowly, it should filter through to the bottom. Can add an extra few litres here. Be aware that adding too much sparge water can lead to bad things, from memory tannins or something.

You probably already do a lot of this stuff but just in case...

(I’m heading over to YP for the March long weekend, happy to bring stuff over if you have anything waiting.)

Offline Dez

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 08:27:17 PM »
How much were you hoping to get out of your keggle?
You can get over 40L easy enough but it does involve a few tricks and a willingness to take a hit on mash efficiency.
Use fermacap to reduce boil overs. (Careful on the hop drop)
Aim for a higher og and top back up with water at flame out.
As far as setting up beersmith goes. I'd just work backwards from the first few batches to dial it in.
Dead space is easy to measure but you wont always want to draw the break and hop matter across to the fermentor so what's truly left often varies.
Oh yeah, also. Your mash efficiency goes to shit after about 7kg of grain on that set up too from memory. I think about 10kg was my limit but I'd need to pull out my old notes to be sure.

That's a pic of about as much as I'd fill to. I'd still need to top back post boil to hit over 40L in fermentor.
There are more tricks involved. But I'm running out of ink.
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Online Hatchy

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 08:46:56 PM »
That picture makes me feel like I'm standing on a sticky floor with wet feet Dez.

Good point about topping up the kettle at the end of the boil, I hadn't thought of that. It does seem like a pretty complicated way to go for a new brewer though.
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Offline punkin

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 05:07:43 AM »
I found back to back batches to be the best way to maximise the beer from a brew day. On my system it adds about an hour to a brew day to get twice as much beer.
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Offline Dez

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 05:13:07 AM »
Fermacap is a great thing Hatchy.
I agree on it being overly complicated for an inexperienced brewer. Personally I'd stick with single batches until I had the process dialled in. But each to their own, it can be done.
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Online Hatchy

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 09:42:00 AM »
I found back to back batches to be the best way to maximise the beer from a brew day. On my system it adds about an hour to a brew day to get twice as much beer.

This is good advice.
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Offline solidute16

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Re: Setting up equipment in beersmith
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 10:44:43 AM »
Cheers. Plenty to think about for sure

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