AG brewers using BeerSmith- please help

Hello all:

I’ve been using BeerSmith 2 for my AG brewing. I’ve noticed that I am frequently low on the temperatures after adding water at the temps and amounts specified by the software. For example, my mash-in this morning fell 3 degrees short. Mash-out temps also tend to fall short, also. I keep having to add more, hotter water to hit my target temps.

I’ve checked temps with 2 different thermometers that I know to read relatively true. They agree on my temps.

I’m a slightly modified equipment profile, but have left all the defaults for 10 gal round igloo coolers that I use as mash and lauter tuns. I have checked the box to adjust to equipment and grain temps and enter my ambient temperature in the brewhouse/garage.

Am I missing something? Any suggestions on what to adjust?

Did you enter the current temps of your mash tun and grain into beersmith. I know i had a problem with this when it got cold here.

It cannot possibly keep track of all the variables that each brewer deals with. If you are consistently off by a similar number of degrees, just adjust for the next batch and keep track of what you do.

I am having trouble adjusting my equipment info so it won’t keep telling me to batch sparge two times.

I’ve entered the grain and mash tun temperatures and checked the box to adjust for them. But, it does not seem to do a good job at compensating for lower ambient temps with my equipment (which is pretty standard stuff), which is when I’ve had more trouble.

I’d like to make some adjustment to my equipment profile to better compensate because I hate having to guess at adjustments while brewing. I’ll keep fooling with the settings.

I had a similar problem with my mash temps, so I started keeping detailed notes using the same thermometer (your thermometer may be off by a few degrees as well) and adjusted my strike water accordingly (for my setup, I have to up my water temp 4 degrees). On a side note, my thermometer broke on my last batch, so now I have to start over with the note taking to see how far off my new thermometer will be. Hope this helps you out.

At the suggestion of someone here. I started filling my mash tun with 165-170 degree f. water and let it completely warm up the cooler (55qt. Rubbermaid rectangle) as it drops closer to the target I add the grain and stir frequently to my target temp.( Usually less than 5 minutes). I even take the additional step of putting my towels in the dryer on high before I wrap the cooler. Saturday I did a 20 lb. 6.25 gallon mash that lost less than a degree over 90 minutes. I got a thermapen for Christmas and would like to say that until you can trust your thermometer you’ll always questions your temps. My $20.00 Kohl’s food net work thermometer with probe is 8 degrees high at 149 and 12 degrees high at 100 and 2 degrees high at boiling, and at those variations I just can’t trust it. PS Beersmith has been really nice for me especially tracking my procedures,results, and trying to get some consistancy.

Great suggestions. I like the idea of warming the tuns beforehand. I’ll play with tweaking the settings in Beersmith according to my system’s idiosyncrasies and the ambient temperature.

I use flytyer’s process.

Heat water to 170-180* and add to cooler. Allow temp to drop to 160*. Add room temp grain (65-70*). Stir. Temp usually stabilizes just above 150*. Stir until I get where I want it. 150* is my target for most beers.

i always fill my mash tun with 190 degree water for an hour and while its sitting, i heat up my mash water to the proper temp, drain mash tun after 45 min to an hour and mash. always hit temps.

Why do you waste the water in the tun? Let it cool to your mash in temp. Then add the grain.


its just what i have always done. plus alot of time my mash water levels are alot lower than the top so my mash tun isnt full. I always fill it full when pre-heating just to be sure i hit temps. but assuming i know how much water is in there i could drain to a specific level

Some good advice given above. Here’s the procedure I’ve been using lately:

  1. While strike water is heating, measure grain temp and plug into Beersmith
  2. Heat mash water to ~10 degrees above target temp
  3. Add to the cooler and close the lid
  4. Wait ~5 minutes for the cooler to come up in temp
  5. Remove the lid and stir until the target temp is reached
  6. Add grain slowly while stirring very carefully to prevent doughballs

I brew 5 gallon batches using a 10 gallon beverage cooler. I land within one degree every time–if not spot on. Even in the last two very cold brew sessions, my temp held steady for the entire mash with no blankets, towels, or any other type cooler swaddling.

if you close the lid for a bit, the steam from 190 degree water should preheat the entire tun. Draining some like you mentioned would also work. Just depends on how much water you’re willing to poor down the drain

Change (increase) the specific heat value of your mash tun in your equipment profile. I raised it a tenth or two, and that seemed to be good enough. I regularly hit or overshoot my mash temps, now… overshooting is easy to handle, as a bit of vigorous stirring usually drops a degree or two.

I agree. Since it’s been cold during my last couple brews, I’ve gone in higher as a precaution (although it turns out I didn’t need to). I take the perspective that I’d rather mash in a degree or two higher, because that’s easier to fix than ending up low.