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Beersmith Specific Heat Adjustment for Strike Water

Anyone use Beersmith and find that the “Adjust Temp for Equipment” doesn’t seem to give the best results for heating strike water / hitting mash temps? Anyone have a better solution than adjusting the specific heat value in the equipment setup?

I am brewing an iipa, and beersmith said to heat the strike water to 175 for a mash target of 157. I was busy with other things, and the water was 190… impatient, I only let it cool to 180-182 before adding it to the tun, followed by grains. When I checked my temp (thermapen!), it was 157 on the nose.

I’ve futzed with the specific heat value (igloo cooler, 0.3 → 0.5) in my equipment setup, and adjusted my mash tun & grain temps downwards a bit, arriving at a beersmith-calculated strike temp of about 180. I suppose this is what needs to be done… but I’m curious how anyone else does it, or if anyone else has experienced this problem.


I don’t use Beersmint but I pump ~180°F strike water into the tun and let it sit for a bit till the temp comes down to dough in temperature. This gives the cooler a bit of time to stabilize at the new temperature.


I’va had that same issue with hitting my target mash temp. I just brewed a batch of caribou slobber today and under shot my temp big time. I don’t have very good luck when it comes to hitting my mash temps. I am considering going to a heated mash tun so i have better control over my temps.

I batch sparge so I preheat the cooler with a gal. or two of boiling water then dump it out and add my mash water. The post from Johnpictech about using hotter water and letting it sit till strike temp sounds interesting.

I have been using this mash infusion calculator with good results.

I use a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler for my mash tun. To pre heat my mash tun I add 2-3 gallons of hot water from the kitchen sink at around 130 F, slosh it around a bit and let it sit for 10-15 mins while my water heats up. I have beersmith but dont use the temp adjust feature. I just add a couple degrees to my strike water and usually round up to the closest gallon or half gallon so the water volume is easier to calcaulate for 1st and 2nd runnings.

I usually hit my mash temps or are just 1 or 2 degrees high which then i do a little extra stirring to bring the temp down.

The BeerSmith calculations work for me. I add the strike water to the cooler first, close the lid, and wait about 5 minutes for the cooler to absorb the excess heat. Then I add my grain, stir to get rid of dough balls, and mash for 60 min. I hit my mash temp pretty consistently.

I batch sparge in a 10 gallon round Rubbermaid cooler.

Have the same problem with Beersmith. I love the program but using Beersmith to hit your mash temps. is useful only if you take what they say and add 5 degrees to your strike water.

Does BS only let you adjust the specific heat, or can you also set the volume of the cooler? You’d need both to get the heat loss correct.

I have had good luck with Beersmith while we were using the 10gallon cooler mashtun but then we switched setups to a converted 15 gallon keg for mashtun and beersmith told me to heat the strike water to 175* for a 154* mash and when we mixed it in the temp reading was around 160*. Don’t know what happened there.

I am going to add another burner to my stand and use my extra 30qt kettle for my mash tun so I am able to control my temps and and my volumes better. I seem to come in under temp quite a bit, but about half the times I have, the finished product seemed better when leaving the temp where it was at as opposed to adding water to bring the temp up.

The best beer I ever made was a complete and total screw up during the mash process. After I add my strike water and am happy with the mash temp, I refill my strike water kettle to heat it for the sparge. Well I forgot to close the valve and filled my mash tun to capacity with water/grain. the mash temp was 141 degrees. Rather than toss it out and start fresh, I finished it out, the Og was in the predicted range, and the finished beer was full of flavor, body, a nice thick head that looked like tan whipped cream, and was very drinkable despite the high alcohol content. I will never be able to make that beer again other than knowing the ingredients I used. It was an american amber ale kit with a few diferent added grains. I share my homebrew with anyone that will try it, but not that batch, only my closest friends got to try it and only a small amount.

Was it the low mash temp that made the brew. Was it the ingredients I chose to use. Was it that I collected all the wort from a single running with no sparge at all. I don’t know, all I know is Ive never made another brew that compares to that brew. I’ve had other brews that turned out bad, but I could always figure out where or what I messed up. The awesome mistake of a brew, too much went wrong to ever figure that one out.

Sorry for the long story, but I know the less variables I have when brewing, the better I should be able make my beer.

I never pay much attention to strike temps programs give me they always seem to be off to much.
I almost always pre heat my cooler, if I dont I usually get my water at about 10-15 degrees hotter than it says to and stir or add some ice.
Being a little hot is not bad or stirring will bring it down to temp quick.
Being under you r pitching temp sucks to bring it higher

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