# 1st Time Batch Sparging. Questions on BeerSmith 2.2

O.K. so I have been brewing for a couple of years and graduated to all grain (BIAB) about a year ago and decided to take it to the next level and try batch sparging. I made a mash tun and ordered an all grain version of the JP Elevenses Ale. I’m hoping it will turn out as awesome as the partial mash kit I brewed. So I purchased the latest copy of BeerSmith and am slightly confused by some of the formulas. Below is a copy of the Elevenses recipe as I have entered it into BS. If my gravity is good I can possibly do a 5.5 gal batch but maybe not…we’ll see. Some of the grains didn’t appear in BS exactly as they did in the Elevenses recipe. Also for the batch sparg I assume the 3.74 168° water is first and the 2.09 is second? That can’t possibly be enough water? Also I thought the original temp was supposed to be 154° for 60 mins and then 170° for 10. Beersmith doesn’t seem correct at all

How does my recipe look?

I have batch sparged 492 batches and my advice is to ignore what Beersmith tells you for water amounts. Mash with whatever amount of water you like. I usually go around 1.65 qt./lb. After you runoff your mash, measure how much wort you have in the kettle. Subtract that from the amount you want to boil. The answer you get is how much sparge water to use. Yes, it really is that simple!

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I am a long time user of BeerSmith and have learned to trust my experience over what BeerSmith says. It is a great program, but will take you awhile to get it to work with your methods. I would go with Denny on this.
For the record, I miss ProMash, it was so much easier to dial in with my methods.
Thanks
Ed

I’m still using it.

OK so let me try to figure this out:
Beersmith says to mash in with 10.73 qts (2.7 Gal) on a 8.6 lb grain bill. It then tells me to sparge twice; once with 2.09 gal and once with 3.74 gal at 168° That’s confusing as hell. Makes no sense. Just on what I know now I would have mashed in with half of my water the sparge being about 170° They are telling me to do a 2nd and 3rd running are they not?

What Denny says is to mash in with just over 14 qts and add in the remainder on the sparge to get my final boil volume. He makes a hell of a lot more sense that Beersmith …so Denny are you telling me I just wasted 28 bucks on the software?

Also the NB recipe for this beer calls for 2 weeks in the primary and 2 weeks bottle conditioning. I’m hoping this will be my new session beer, for any that have brewed this before did you follow the recipe? I would surely think it would be done fermenting at 2 weeks. 4 weeks from brew day to drinking would be awesome.

Me too.

Keep good notes, play with the software until you can dial it in to your brewing methods. I find BeerSmith is right on for me, but you have to become a little familiar with it first. My first few brews with it were way off. After you brew, look at where the software was different from your methods, and adjust the software.

Thanks

Ed

There’s a stupid setting in the mash profile that can screw things up. Be sure to check “Drain mash tun before sparging”. It seems it should be checked by default if you choose batch sparging, but it’s not. If it’s unchecked, BeerSmith will calculate your volumes like you’re fly sparging.

Again its getting more complicated than it has to be. You have done a lot of biab so you already know how to mash. Think of it as doing biab twice with the same grain which alot of people who don’t have a tun do. The volumes don’t matter much as long as you get the volume to your pot.

Whether you wasted your money or not depends on what you wanted to get out of Beersmith. I use it for a brew log, recipe building and repository, and to document my process…and probably some other things I’m not thinking about right now.

You do have to dial in the software to your equipment and process if you want BS2 to tell you how much strike water you need and at what temp to achieve your mash temp. So keep playing with it and customize it to your needs. You might as well you paid for it and I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did at some point.

As to your mash or pretty much any other aspect of homebrewing…listen to Denny. Nuff said.

Then go back to Beersmith and put in your numbers and save your mash profile. Use that profile next time you brew and it will calculate your strike and sparge adjusting for the new grain bill.

Thank guys for all the awesome advice.

Brewingrover: I made that change in the mash profile and now this is how it reads which makes mere sense. Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 5.83gal) of 168.0 F water

Dannyboy: Yes I agree it will make a great recipe book. I can print them out and put in a binder.

Denny: Always appreciate your wisdom sir!!!

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This is probably the one feature of BS I don’t use. There are too many variables to consider to have it predict exact volumes and temps. I’m sure you could probably dial it in to be pretty accurate with your system but to me it doesn’t seem worth the time. It’s much easier just to mash with whatever volume you want then make up the difference for your sparge.

Temps are a little bit trickier and something I still have trouble with at times. grain temp, mashtun temp, outside temp, all have an effect on your final mash temp. I will say its MUCH easier to overheat your strike water and cool it down than it is to heat it back up if you are using a cooler mashtun.

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No, you haven’t wasted your money, but you need to remember that Beersmith is a tool to hwlp you brew. It is not instructions about how to brew. In this case, experience and common sense work better that Beersmith. If you need more insight into batch sparging, check out my website at dennybrew.com.

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I’ve taken issue with Beer Smith’s volume computations before; 5.83 gallons, seriously, who would measure that. But that, IMO, is its one shortcoming. I would still highly recommend it as a recipe capturing tool. As Denny implies, no tool can replace experience, so take the numbers BeerSmith gives, as a starting point, not a precise formula.

Imagine if the frozen pizza said to cook for 19.21 minutes. It doesn’t. it says 18-23. There needs to be some leeway on the numbers.

Good points. I know my BIABacus program gives me the exact amounts of water and is usually spot on. I’ll give it a shot

I’m going to be the dissenter here - I’ve found BeerSmith’s volume and temperature calculations to be very accurate. You do have to play around with your settings a bit, like deadspace and mash tun mass. If you record as much data as possible, though, from 3 or 4 brew days with your system, you can adjust your equipment profile pretty quickly to re-create what you recorded from your brew day. It’s certainly easy on brew day, once you dial in your system, to know exactly how much sparge water you need before-hand so you can do your water adjustments once for the proper volume.

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I’m with porkchop on this one. The key is to setup your equipment profile correctly.

Ignore the two step batch sparge instructions and use the entire volume in one step–unless, of course you are brewing a huge beer and can’t fit the entire sparge volume in one step. I’ve never understood why BS always recommends two steps.

As far as volumes are concerned, I aim for a water:grain ratio of 1.5+:1 and close to equal runnings.

Well my first batch sparge well pretty well. For the Elevenses Ale I ended up with a pre-boil gravity of 1.039 and an OG of 1.045 (right on the money) with 5.25 gallons into the fermentor. That’s pretty good efficiency. Mash out was 3 gallons and I sparged with 5.5 gallons at 160° I only lost about 3-4 degrees in 60 minutes and my mash tun preformed very well. My sparge water was at 170° but next time I plan to sparge at about 180° I was surprised iut dropped from 170 to 160. I like this batch sparging stuff Thanks Denny I definitely know it will be the way to do 10 gallon batches.